Tuesday 24 November – MAIN Meeting – 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Alex Zaharov-Reutt

2015 has flown by so fast that we have now arrived at the last Main Meeting of the year!

The year has seen Windows 10, iPad Pro, smartwatches, Android 6.0, iOS 9, virtual reality headsets, more malware, advances in robotics and plenty more – and as always, the best is still yet to come!

I have a review iPad Pro in my possession that I will be able to show on Tuesday night, complete with its keyboard and the Apple Pencil, along with some interesting videos of future technology which I shared at the ASCCA conference.

I will also be presenting at Customs House on the same day as the Sydney PC User Group’s Main Meeting from 2 to 4pm, so if you are around and want to see an extended presentation with plenty more that I did not have time to show at ASCCA or will have time to show at the Sydney PC Users Group, then please check out the Customs House meeting, too.

But who will be our Main Meeting presenter in November?

I had tried to organize Microsoft to be there, but it looks like we will have them appear in early 2016 – they have been very busy this year with Windows 10 and the coming Windows 10 Mobile for smartphones as you can imagine.

So, Symantec has very kindly stepped up as our Main Meeting presenter for the brand new Norton Security in an earlier timeslot than normal so we can enjoy Christmas drinks and nibbles at 7.30pm – and they are being very generous as you will see in a moment!

Symantec advises that today’s world is one where cybercriminals are working overtime trying to find new ways to steal personal information. In fact, according to Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report, there were nearly one million new threats released into the wild each day in 2014.

Naturally, Symantec says it is ‘increasingly important for consumers to take steps to protect themselves in this highly complex and connected world, no matter what device they are using.’

So, to help consumers overcome this challenge, Symantec has recently launched Norton Security Premium — an advanced, multi-layered protection solution that helps shield consumers from sophisticated and evolving threats across all platforms.

Mark Shaw, Security Expert at Symantec, will be our guest presenter, giving us an overview of the evolving security threat landscape and highlighting some of the key features and benefits of its latest security solution — Norton Security Premium. You will have the chance to see this solution in action and be in the running to win a 5 user licence in the raffle!

Plus each attendee will also receive a free single-user licence copy of Norton Security Premium!

I am sure a few other prizes can be rustled up, too!

So — see you at the final Sydney PC Users Group Main Meeting of the year!


WEB SIG Woes — Locked out of the 3rd Floor — AGAIN

Today we had our usual WEB SIG room booked on the 1st floor, 280 Pitt Street Sydney, but were bumped (without notice) to a 3rd floor meeting room.

We should have known that after an unknown number of minutes (probably 10 or 20 — no-one has officially told us), the lifts will no longer go up to the 3rd floor.

After the last time this happened (in 2012) we thought that the Management had understood our wish to visit the 1st floor kitchens for our coffee break and then RETURN to the 3rd floor. We had expected some solution to this problem. Some hope!

Oh NO. They’ve made no such provision in their clever computer-controlled-lifts. What  absolute contempt!

We weren’t so stupid as to allow ourselves to be trapped again at the coffee break.

BUT when we were exiting the building, one of us remembered the chicken in the refrigerator!

As you can now guess, those chickens are stuck there for the duration.

Good luck to the staff on Monday morning!


Tuesday 27 October – MAIN Meeting – 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Alex Zaharov-Reutt

It’s our second last Main Meeting of the year, and we’re going to find out at the second last minute who our presenter will be.

On Monday, we’ll find out if Intel is able to present its brand new 6th-generation range of Intel Core i-Series processors – more powerful than ever before while using ever-lower amounts of power for ever-longer portable battery life.

If Intel can come, we’ll have an updated newsletter on Monday.

If not, I’ll be at the Main Meeting to give a presentation to show you the following technologies:

– The new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models and the pressure sensitive screen;

– The Samsung Gear S2 Round smart watch vs the Apple Watch; and

– We will take a look at Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book.

So, check your email tomorrow to see which presentation you’ll get, and as always, there will be some prizes – and the usual segments.

See you on Tuesday!



Tuesday 22 September – MAIN Meeting – 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Alex Zaharov-Reutt

This month, we have two fantastic presentations for you!

Our first presenter this month is leading Australian streaming TV service provider, Presto.

A creation of Australia’s leading subscription television provider, Foxtel, Presto offers movies and TV shows on demand, on a low cost monthly subscription basis, both in SD and, as of last month, now over 2500 hours of Full HD content.

Packed with top quality content from top-notch Australian shows such as Wentworth and A Place to Call Home, through to quality US programming such as Modern Family, The Walking Dead, Mr Robot, Aquarius and many, many more.

Presto also has a wealth of recent movie content that you will easily and readily recognise, from the Captain Americas to Lucy, Whiplash, Transformers, Boyhood and much, much more.

Our guest presenter is Richard Cole, Senior Product Manager – IP Services Presto/Foxtel, who will be on hand to explain and present it all, and will answer all our questions.

We’ll get a chance to see the simplicity of Presto’s interface, the quality of Presto’s streaming and we’ll learn about all the devices you can access Presto on.

Presto is also generously giving away TWO full 12 month subscriptions for the raffle, while all members are invited to sign up for Presto’s free 30-day trial of the Presto TV & Movie package, so this will be an excellent first presentation, held between 6.30pm and 7.00pm.

Our second special guest presenters this month hail from leading pre-paid Australian telco, Amaysim.

It has been three or four years since Amaysim last visited the Sydney PC Users Group, and much has happened since that time.

Amaysim now not only offers a range of affordable 4G plans on the Optus network with more data than ever before, including its great ‘As you go’ plan, but also offers a range of affordable data packs designed to bring connectivity to tablets and even older smartphones. The company has also successfully listed on the Australian Stock Exchange earlier this year, and we’ll learn about it all on Tuesday night.

Presenting from Amaysim will be Ged Mansour, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications and Natasha McNamara, Communications Executive will be on hand to explain Amaysim’s offerings, the state of the industry and answer any technical questions.

Indeed, Ged remarked to me that when he last visited the SPCUG, he was very impressed with the level of technical knowledge our members had due to the quality of the questions asked that night.

Amaysim will be generously bringing along a couple of prizes, too, which should be a couple of SIM cards with several months of free airtime and data – it’ll all be confirmed on the night. There will also be a small surprise for each member attending on the night from Amaysim.

As usual, we’ll also have our regular segments including consumer reports, news, and interesting websites. We’ll likely have to compress some of these a little to fit some Q&A time in, otherwise you’ll have to come and talk to me during the break!

So, please come along to the next main meeting and learn about the latest from Presto and Amaysim!


Tuesday 25 August – MAIN Meeting – 5:30pm for 6:00pm – 8:30pm

Alex Zaharov-Reutt

It’s nearly time for the August Main Meeting of the Sydney PC Users Group, and this month we have two special presenters – one at 6.30pm and the other at 7.10pm.

Our first guest will be Lincoln Goldsmith, GM of Acronis, who will showcase the very latest Acronis True Image 2016 and the even better True Image Cloud – and how they’re completely compatible with Windows 10 and various earlier versions.
Acronis’ products have only just been released and there have been some big improvements over previous versions, so it is definitely one presentation you don’t want to miss.

There should also be a copy or two to be won in the raffle.

Our second presenter is Ross McInnes, Sales Manager with Mophie.

Mophie make the ‘juice pack’ battery pack cases for iPhones, and Ross will be showcasing Mophie’s latest and greatest products. Mophie were the first to create battery cases for iPhones and they have some very snazzy new models to showcase.

There should also be some Mophie stuff in the raffle.

We’ll have all the usual segments although Robert Israel is away this month.

However, we do have two excellent presenters, so – please come along to the Main meeting!


Tuesday 28 July – MAIN Meeting – 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Alex Zaharov-Reutt

We’re now well into the second half of 2015, bringing us ever closer to Windows 10, new iPhones and iPads, and a huge number of brand new gadgets and technologies that will be unveiled in the lead up to Christmas 2015.

We’re just at the start of all that happening, so we’ll certainly have some amazing things to see over the next few months, but who is our special guest in July?

It’s Chris Roberts, the VP and MD of Parrot in the JPAC region, with Parrot previously coming to visit the group some years ago when it first launched its revolutionary drone technologies.

Several generations of new drones and devices have been launched since then, with drones controlled by users on their smartphones and tablets becoming extremely popular – and gaining exciting new features and capabilities every year.

In 2015, Parrot has launched new drones for sea, land and air, as well as jumping drones, all of which are expected to be keenly sought after, after their impending launches in Australia in September and all the way through to Christmas 2015 and beyond.

Parrot also makes a range of other devices including its high-end Zik 2.0 headphones which offer superlative sound and stylish design.

We’ll have a nice selection of gizmos, gadgets and lightweight laptop bags available that I’ve collected and am happy to give away!

So, see you on Tuesday night, 28 July, for our next Main meeting!


Tuesday 23 June – MAIN Meeting – 5:30pm for 5:45pm – 8:30pm

Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Last month we had Lenovo’s Australian MD, Matt Codrington, join us live via Skype at Lenovo’s ‘Tech World 2015’ conference in Beijing – with me by his side as I was in China too, at Lenovo’s invitation.

This month we will be joined, live in person, by Lenovo Australia’s Product Marketing Manager, Lindsay Tobin, who will be sharing Lenovo’s new logo and aspirations to become the Australian consumer market leader, with Lenovo already the world’s #1 PC maker, seller and brand.

Lindsay will also showcase Lenovo’s 2015 consumer Windows notebook and tablet range, as well as Lenovo’s innovative Android devices, one of which includes a built-in projector and more.

The presentation will focus on the consumer range, but Lindsay will share information on a couple of Lenovo’s best-selling business machines and will remind us that Lenovo is now the world’s third largest smartphone maker after having globally acquired Motorola’s smartphone business.

Lindsay will also show us some of the work Lenovo has been doing with Microsoft to make the Cortana personal assistant even more intelligent on Lenovo computers thanks to Lenovo’s ‘REACHit’ software.

Lindsay has decided to very generously give away a Lenovo 10.1-inch Windows 2-in-1 Tablet computer, originally valued at $599 for the raffle! It has recently been superseded by the Miix 3 tablet, but this is still a fantastic computer and tablet that is going to be made even better by the free Windows 10 upgrade due from 29 July 2015.

It currently has Windows 8.1, so it runs all the Windows software that you use now.

Specs include an Intel Atom Z3740 quad-core processor, 2GB LPDDR3 1066MHz RAM, a 10.1-inch Full HD 1080P touch screen, 128GB SSD, 802.11 B/G/N Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, fully detachable keyboard, rear 5 megapixel camera and front facing 2 megapixel camera, Office 365 pre-loaded and more.

Here’s the US site link http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/tablets/lenovo/miix-series/miix-2-10-inch/. It lists a lower US price but that’s because of the US dollar price difference, but there are photos and videos.

Whoever wins this on the night will be very happy indeed, so to guarantee yourself a chance of winning it, come along on Tuesday night!

So… to find out more about Lenovo’s 2015 range, a bit more about Windows 10 and for your chance to win a Lenovo Windows 2-in-1 tablet in the monthly raffle… come along to June’s Main Meeting on Tuesday 23 June!



Tuesday 26 May – MAIN Meeting – 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Alex Zaharov-Reutt

I am still waiting to hear back from two companies on Monday as to whether they can present or not.

If they can, one or even both of these companies will present to you on the night.

If no-one is available, I will be appearing live from Beijing via Skype from Lenovo’s very first exclusive global event, Tech World 2015.

By 7.15pm, my scheduled video interviews will have finished and I will have a Lenovo executive on hand to give us a sneak peek at the latest innovations they will be unveiling on Tuesday 26 when the Tech World 2015 conference kicks off!

If we do have other presenters, I will still be able to Skype in from the event to say hello from Beijing and to introduce the Lenovo executive I am interviewing so he can brief you on what’s happening.

Either way, Lenovo effectively says it will unveil game changing new products, with ever greater emphasis on what it calls ‘human-centric design’ in all technologies, hardware and software, all designed to positively improve our lives for the better.

As the world’s No.1 PC maker, I’m sure Lenovo will be able to come to a future Main Meeting to show us its innovations.

I have organized a selection of prizes which I have given to the President to bring on Tuesday night.

I will definitely have a regular presenter in June.

Either way, it will be a good meeting!

See you virtually this month,


Tuesday 28 April – MAIN Meeting – 5:45pm – 8:30pm

Alex Zaharov-Reutt
We’re nearly into the fifth month of the year, which as they say in Latin is Tempus Fugit, or time flies.Of course, as is well known, time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.
Fruit flies are also easily dispatched with the Tennis Racket/Racket Bug Zapper that you can buy from http://www.thegiftedman.com.au/bug-zapper-tennis-racket for $10 each, so if you don’t like fruit flies flying into your fruit, there is definitely something you can do about it.

But all jokes aside, even though April is the month most well known for April 1st tomfoolery, the joke has been on me this month as I failed to find a presenter – but the Sydney PC User Group always has a backup presenter at the ready.

So,, here’s what we will learn about this month in a proper PowerPoint presentation with big images, videos, big text and colour:

1. The world’s slimmest computer – the MacBook – which Alex is reviewing in its resplendent gold colour, and which runs the Mac OS as nicely as it does Windows. We’ll take a look at the specs and the prices, and as the MacBook will be passed around the audience, everyone will get a chance to feel how incredibly light the computer is, and see how stunningly sharp the detail on the ‘Retina’-class 12-inch screen is.

2. We will have a look at the Apple Watch. Sadly I don’t have one as yet (and hopefully will by next month’s meeting) but there are some excellent short videos that explain how the watch works in various scenarios, and so we’ll take a look at those, as well as a selection of the 3000 apps that are available for it – which even includes banking apps from Westpac, St George, Commonwealth Bank and others!

3. Both Boost and Amaysim, Australia’s top two prepaid mobile network operators have released brand new plans that give even more value and more gigabytes of data for the same money, so we’ll take a quick look at what’s newly on offer.

4. We’ll take a look at the latest build of Windows 10, which is rumoured to be arriving for free download and free upgrade to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 computers in June or July. We’ll see the new Start Menu and we’ll see ‘Cortana’ at work – the new voice activated personal digital assistant that can answer your questions, open programs, show you files and more.

5. Were you still interested in buying an Armourcard? I have a code I can share with you that works until the end of April to get a 10% discount, but after that, the discount is gone and you’ll need to get one from one of the retail stores in Australia that carries it (or buy it online at the full price).

6. The Waytools TextBlade keyboard – this is the equivalent of a full-size keyboard with full-size travel on the keys but is thinner than an iPhone. I’ve ordered one and can show it next month but we can see the short promotional video so you can see it for yourself.

7. Naturally, we’ll have the usual segments – Q&A, news, consumer reports, general business and the raffle.

I have various gadgets and knick knacks that I’ll be bringing to the Main Meeting for the raffle, so it will be a grab bag of stuff – a speaker, a charging station and various other things, so we definitely have some prizes on offer.

So… I hope to see you at April’s Main Meeting – and that’s no joke!


Tuesday 24 March – MAIN Meeting – 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Alex Zaharov-Reutt

It’s almost time to get on the march to our March Main Meeting where our special guest will be Kevin Greely, the Channel Manager for Parallels Australia and New Zealand.

Parallels is most famous for its Parallels Desktop software allowing you to run any version of Windows, Linux, DOS or other compatible operating systems in a virtual machine on your Mac.

Kevin will tell us about Parallels and its products and services. This includes Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac and what it looks like to run Windows and the Mac OS on a Mac at the same time.

We will also learn about and see the latest Parallels Access 2.5 for iOS and Android.

This software allows you to control your PC or Mac from your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. It does so with a remarkably cool touch control interface that blows away competitors such as TeamViewer by giving you the precision of a mouse with the simplicity of your fingertip.

Both are paid products but they are not expensive, and we’ve asked Parallels to give one of each away for the main meeting raffle, and while they are yet to confirm, I do expect they will be able to generously offer at least one if not both of the demo’d software.

I also have a range of bits and pieces from press events I’ve been to that I will bring to add to the mix of giveaway goodies.

We’ll naturally have all of our regular sessions as well and I definitely look forward to seeing you at our March Main Meeting.

See you there! 🙂