Friday, 23 March 2018

With 'Siren,' Unreal Engine blurs the line between CGI and reality

Epic Games has been obsessed with real-time motion capture for years, but the company is now trying to take its experiments with the technology one step further. Enter "Siren," a digital personality that it created alongside a few prominent firms in the gaming industry: Vicon, Cubic Motion, 3Lateral and Tencent (which just became a major investor in Ubisoft). The crazy thing about Siren is that she comes to life using live mocap tech, powered by software from Vicon, that can make her body and finger movements be captured and live-streamed into an Unreal Engine project.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

World Water Day - 22nd March. This year's theme is "Nature for Water"

World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about focusing attention on the importance of water. The theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.

Damaged ecosystems affect the quantity and quality of water available for human consumption. Today, 2.1 billion people live without safe drinking water at home; affecting their health, education and livelihoods.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 commits the world to ensuring that everyone has access to safe water by 2030, and includes targets on protecting the natural environment and reducing pollution.

Give thanks to God that access to life's most basic & important commodity: water, is (for most of us) only the turn of a tap away. So many people have to contend with drinking water of worse quality than we use to flush our toilets. Please consider doing something about it.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Now is a good opportunity to check what Apps can access your Facebook data - a really good idea!

Article one: It's a sensational story containing allegations of sleaze, psychological manipulation and data misuse that has provoked an internationally furious response.

Tech giant Facebook and data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica are at the centre of a dispute over the harvesting and use of personal data - and whether it was used to influence the outcome of the US 2016 presidential election or the UK Brexit referendum.

Article two: Did you know, you’ve probably given numerous third-party applications access to all your personal data through Facebook, without even realising? If you’ve ever logged in to almost anything via Facebook, eg, booking sites or streaming services, used public Wi-Fi, played Candy Crush or answered any fun quizzes at any point, you’ll be affected.

If you quickly ticked a box to agree to the terms and conditions before signing in, playing a game etc, you’ve allowed access to your personal data. Unless you’ve actively opted out, these often long-forgotten apps will continue to have access to almost all of your personal information from your Facebook profile, even if you no longer interact with them.

To check & amend / delete apps with access to your data:
1) Login to Facebook.
2) Top blue bar, right hand side: click on the drop down arrow. 
3) Choose SETTINGS. 
4) Left hand menu bar: click on Apps.

You will now see a collection of apps which can access your Facebook data, by clicking on each app - you can see what data is available to each app. Click on the "x" to delete / remove the app.

If stuck, seek advice: contact Donline for help.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

If you’ve made cash from Bitcoin in the UK, you could face a hefty tax bill!

As the tax deadline fast approaches in the UK, those of you brave enough to have invested in the volatile world of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, could be facing a hefty bill.

As much as Bitcoin, and other virtual currencies, may seem like a quick route to a fast buck, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has warned that such gains are not out of the reaches of the taxman. Plus, given the recent volatility around Bitcoin prices, many investors may not even be aware of the tax owed on their cryptocurrencies.

This probably only applies if you got in & then out before the bubble burst.
Otherwise, maybe you could offset your losses against tax? 

Thousands of miles of UK roads in poor condition

Some 10% of the road network maintained by local authorities in Great Britain is in poor condition, or has been flagged for further inspection.

About 37,000 kilometres (22,990 miles) across England, Wales and Scotland fell below top standard in surveys carried out on behalf of the Department for Transport.

The RAC said the road network had suffered from years of underinvestment.

Car divers often complain about the quality of British roads. If you really want to find out just how bad and dangerous the UK road network is - try two wheels. Motorbikes & bicycles can really see & feel just how terrible the state of our road are. In a car, usually, the worst that will happen is damage to a tyre, or wheel. On two wheels, bad roads can cause injury or even fatalities...

Wintershall Estate: wonderful Easter plays in London & Guildford

The Wintershall plays are performed to over 35,000 people a year.  They were written by Peter Hutley (and originally produced by him) and have been performed since 1989.

The Life of Christ is performed every June at Wintershall with a cast of over 100, attracting thousands of people, many of them school children. The Nativity is performed at Wintershall in and around Holly Barn attracting 6,000 visitors each December. It featured on the BBC’s Songs of Praise in 1996 and again in 2004. In 2013, the Nativity was performed in the BBC’s Broadcasting House Piazza in London to critical acclaim.

In 2010, Wintershall brought the Passion of Jesus play to Trafalgar Square as a gift to the people of London. This has been performed ever since, with two performances on each Good Friday and an estimated audience of 20,000 each year. On Easter Saturday, there are two further performances in Guildford town centre.

This year the Easter events are:

On 30th March 2018 (Good Friday) watch the Easter story in central Trafalgar Square, London. No tickets are required. There is a performance at 12 noon and 3:15 pm.

On 31st March 2018 (Easter Saturday) the Wintershall cast of players and animals moves to the High Street in Guildford, in their home county of Surrey. No tickets are required. The play begins at the junction of High Street and Quarry Street at 12 noon and again at 2:30 pm.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Amazon Early Easter Sale!

As you might expect, this includes substantial discounts on personal & household products. Deals change daily, with some lasting only a few hours - so "keep 'em peeled"!