10 July 2024

Speed Limiters Now Mandatory In All New EU Cars

Cars have been able to figure out when they're speeding for a while, thanks to GPS as well as traffic sign recognition, and they've also been able to pump the brakes automatically when needed.

Having a computer automatically slow down a car in response to posted speed limits, therefore, was not really a question of technical feasibility for some time - but mandating it has been a question of political will.

That political will has materialized in the European Union, and starting July 7 all new cars sold in the EU will feature intelligent speed assistance (ISA) systems.

The systems themselves have been working their way into newly introduced models of cars starting in 2022, so quite a few new cars on the road already feature them. The July 2024 regulation extends that mandate to all new vehicles being manufactured for sale in the EU.


08 July 2024

Beaulieu Bikers' Day 2024


MikeG & I were very happy to attend Beaulieu Bikers' Day on Saturday 6th July.

I booked my ticket to this event in mid June, barely giving their "early bird ticket" competition a thought. I was bowled over to discover that I'd won a Friends of the National Motor Museum Trust annual pass worth £62.50 and a £250 Dearden Motorcycles voucher. What an amazing pair of prizes!

Mike & I rode up from Denmead. The weather started out with drizzle, and was like that for a chunk of the ride out to the New Forest, but soon perked up. The rest of the day was fine - which was perfect for wandering around Beaulieu & enjoying the day.

We were welcomed by Charlotte who was responsible for organising this event: who with her team had done a grand job! There were masses of visitors, stands from motorcycle dealers, Mental Health Motorbike had a stand, historic bike startups (loud!) great food & drink concessions & access to the excellent museum. What a fantastic day.

Honestly Beaulieu is such a special place: petrol head heaven! Set in a stunningly beautiful village, which in turn is in the heavenly New Forest. Honestly, treat yourself to a wonderful day out. Tell 'em Don sent you!

Google Photos HERE

Google’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increased by 48% Since 2019, Thanks to AI Pursuits


Google’s latest annual environmental report reveals the true impact its recent forays into artificial intelligence has had on its greenhouse gas emissions.

The expansion of its data centres to support AI developments contributed to the company producing 14.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2023. This represents a 48% increase over the equivalent figure for 2019 and a 13% increase since 2022.

“This result was primarily due to increases in data centre energy consumption and supply chain emissions,” the report’s authors wrote.

“As we further integrate AI into our products, reducing emissions may be challenging due to increasing energy demands from the greater intensity of AI compute, and the emissions associated with the expected increases in our technical infrastructure investment.”


03 July 2024

To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer. Honestly: what a waste of space!


Wikipedia: Microsoft Copilot is a generative artificial intelligence chatbot developed by Microsoft. Based on a large language model, it was launched in February 2023 as Microsoft's primary replacement for the discontinued Cortana.

The service was introduced under the name Bing Chat, as a built-in feature for Microsoft Bing and Microsoft Edge. Over the course of 2023, Microsoft began to unify the Copilot branding across its various chatbot products, cementing the copilot analogy. At its Build 2023 conference, Microsoft announced its plans to integrate Copilot into Windows 11, allowing users to access it directly through the taskbar. In January 2024, a dedicated Copilot key was announced for Windows keyboards.


01 July 2024

Another fantastic compo win - courtesy of Beaulieu & Dearden Motorcyles

On Saturday 6th July Beaulieu will be holding its first Beaulieu Bikers' Day!

Owners of all makes and models of bike are invited to ride into the grounds of the National Motor Museum and catch up with fellow motorcyclists.

A huge variety of bikes will be on display from cutting-edge sports bikes to powerful three-wheelers PLUS don't miss the exciting historic bike start-ups.

Tickets are just £10 per rider, which includes entry to the whole of the Beaulieu attraction. Book an advance ticket by 2pm Friday 21st June 2024 to enter into our prize draw! (NB: COMPETITION ENTRY IS NOW CLOSED).

Anyone booking an advance ticket before 2pm on Friday 21st June 2024 will be entered into the Advance Ticket Prize Draw. Prizes include a complimentary Friends of the National Motor Museum Trust annual pass worth £62.50 and a £250 Dearden Motorcycles voucher to use in store.

So I booked my ticket, barely giving the compo a thought. I was bowled over to discover that I'd won this amazing prize!

Kim, Calli & I took a trip out to the New Forest last week. Stopped off for a fantastic lunch at The Red Lion, Boldre. Then we popped to Dearden Motorcycles. I was made very  welcome by Julie & Nigel. Wow: the place is like a Tardis! Fairly nondescript from the outside but huge inside with a great selection of brands, bikes & accessories.  The bike that really jumped out at me was the Moto Guzzi V85TT - a truly beautiful bike, I feel a test ride is on the cards! I spent my voucher (with a bit of topping up) on a lovely Spada Lambert leather jacket & pair of Oxford riding jeans. Thanks so much to BeaulieuDearden Motorcycles for this fantastic prize!

Really looking forward to the Biker's Day!


Microsoft confirms recent Windows 11 updates break taskbar


Windows 11 versions 22H2 and 23H2 recently received a non-security update with a bunch of new features and small fixes. Sadly, KB5039302 turned out to be a real troublemaker. Microsoft has already confirmed that it causes infinite restarts on certain systems, and now, there is another known bug.

Microsoft published a new message on its official Windows Health Dashboard website to warn users that KB5039302 is breaking the taskbar on specific Windows 11 editions, namely Windows N.

For those unfamiliar, Windows N is a special version of the operating system with a bunch of media features removed, such as the Windows Media Player app. Microsoft also said that the bug affects customers with regular editions who turned off media features in the "Turn Windows features on or off" UI.

According to Microsoft and the official documentation, affected customers cannot interact with the taskbar, while the rest of the UI and File Explorer continue operating as usual:

After installing the June 2024 Windows preview update (KB5039302), released June 25, 2024, you are likely to face issues with the Taskbar. This issue is only expected to occur if you are using a Windows N edition device or if you turn off the ‘Media Features’ via Control Panel->Programs-> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows features on or off. N editions of Windows include the same functionality as other editions of Windows, except for media-related technologies, Windows Media Player, and certain preinstalled media apps.

You might not be able to view or interact with the Taskbar after logging in to your device once the update is installed. Other applications like File Explorer, Desktop and Settings will continue to work.

Microsoft is working on a resolution, which will be available in a future update. As a reminder, KB5039302 is no longer available for download - Microsoft pulled it after confirming reports about infinite restarts.


28 June 2024

Humanity's satellite habit could end up choking Earth's ozone layer


Large numbers of low Earth orbit satellites such as those operated by Starlink could pose a threat to the planet's ozone layer once they re-enter the atmosphere, according to recent research.

Constellations of small satellites being deployed for purposes such as broadband coverage typically have a relatively short life span, said to be about five years for Starlink, after which they re-enter the atmosphere and burn up, with replacements sent up to take over their roles.

But researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) say that this leads to the generation of aluminum oxides in the atmosphere, which are known to accelerate ozone depletion. The large number of satellites involved – Starlink alone was estimated to have 6,078 satellites in orbit as of May 2024 – could mean this presents a serious risk.

A research letter published in Geophysical Research Letters, "Potential ozone depletion from satellite demise during atmospheric re-entry in the era of mega‐constellations," says the demise of a typical 250 kg satellite can generate around 30 kg of aluminum oxide nanoparticles, which may endure in the atmosphere for decades.

The researchers calculate that large constellations of satellites may cause over 360 metric tons of aluminum oxide compounds to enter the atmosphere per year, which could lead to significant ozone depletion.

Aluminum is one of the most common materials in satellites, the article says, and reacts with oxygen upon re-entry in the atmosphere to generate aluminum oxide that can interfere with ozone chemistry. A chlorine activation reaction catalyzed on the surface of aluminum oxide particles boosts ozone depletion.