31 May 2017

Thy Kingdom Come: a prayer by John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

The Most Rev. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York and Primate of England
'Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord.'
Let us bring our needs before God, opening ourselves to God’s Love.

30 May 2017

Dissolving the dead: a radical alternative to burial and cremation

For decades, most people arranging a funeral have faced a simple choice - burial or cremation?

But in parts of the US and Canada a third option is now available - dissolving bodies in an alkaline solution. It will arrive in the UK soon.

Its technical name is alkaline hydrolysis, but it is being marketed as “green cremation”.

This is a long but very interesting article on the BBC
Well worth spending some time reading & contemplating.

29 May 2017

Travel update: Mediterranean cruise holiday

Kim & I, with our dear pals Tracy & Brian have just got back from a fantastic holiday aboard the TUI (Thomson) Discovery.

This was the itinerary:
20 May: Flight from Bournemouth Airport to Palma, Majorca. 
21 May: Day at sea.
22 May: Ajaccio, Corsica. 
23 May: Civitavecchia, Italy 
24 May: Livorno, Italy 
25 May: St Raphael, France 
26 May: Barcelona, Spain 
27 May: Palma, Majorca flight to Bournemouth Airport

For Kim & me, our holidays are usually a road trip by bike (although sometimes by car), or a cruise holiday. Cruises are fab: wake up each day in a wonderful new place, lots of great food & drink, lovely staff, great entertainment. What's not to like? I know lots of people who say: "well, I'm not a cruise person". Know what? Neither was I! Kim booked us on a (surprise) cruise for our honeymoon - & I was hooked! We have so far done 2 with P&O, 2 with Thomson / TUI, 1 with MSC. The cruise lines are all different, some more formal, some targeted to a younger audience, but all good! Like the sound of this? Go here & read some more: www.cruise.co.uk.

We had plenty of great days at the various ports & on excursions, but the highlight of the cruise had to have been Barcelona. Second time that I've been & it has to be my favourite city. I grew up in London, and frankly am pleased not to live in the smoke! However, I could happily life in Barcelona - what a beautiful city. The roads are wide & well planned out, lots of shade from the hot sun. We especially love Las Ramblas, and the truly awe inspiring Sagrada Familia.

Hope you too get a great break soon.
The world is a beautiful place - go exploring!

Fairtrade matters: nice one Greggs! Sainsbury's - not so good

Did you know that Greggs now have loads of Fairtrade in their mix? It’s true! You can now head to your local store and pick up a fairer tea (black, peppermint and green), coffee, hot chocolate, juice and banana. In the 10 years that Greggs and Fairtrade coffee farmers have been working together, they’ve invested over £1 million into their farms and communities.

Greggs care about Fairtrade so much that some of their staff recently went all the way to Peru to meet some of the farmers that grow their coffee. They wanted to hear directly why being a part of Fairtrade is so important. Find out what the farmers had to say in this lovely film Greggs put together from the trip. Watch it here now.

Sainsbury’s, however will start selling its own-brand tea under a new “Fairly Traded” label, sparking a fierce backlash from the Fairtrade Foundation, which currently has its brand on the tea.

The foundation said that it is concerned that the new “untested model”, which the supermarket is due to start using in an open-ended trial next month, will not help the most marginalised tea farmers and producers.

In Malawi, one of the countries to be enrolled in the new “Fairly Traded” pilot scheme, 75 per cent of the population already live below the international poverty line.

BTW, Greggs also do the best sausage rolls in the world!

19 May 2017

Thy Kingdom Come: a global prayer movement

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ

What started out as an invitation from the Archbishops’ of Canterbury and York in 2016 to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer.

The hope is that:

  • people will commit to pray with God’s world-wide family - as a church, individually or as a family;
  • churches will hold prayer events, such as 24-7 prayer, prayer stations and prayer walks, across the UK and in other parts of the world;
  • people will be empowered through prayer by the Holy Spirit, finding new confidence to be witnesses for Jesus Christ.

18 May 2017

Dell BIOS update kills PCs

Dell's latest BIOS update is bricking some machines – apart from a power light, they refuse to boot up at all, say users.

Many of those who installed the update now cannot boot up their machines. One typical explanation posted was: "Add me to the list Dell Inspiron 20 model 3052, updated on the weekend, woke up to a solid amber/orange light and a dead computer. Contacted Dell on facebook and this is what I was told "The updates Dell releases don't affect the system. But it would enhance the performance of the system" ummmm no....if they broke they need to fix it."

The main model affected by the allegedly dodgy update is the Inspiron 20 3052, although a few users reported similar problems with Inspiron 3252s.

The 59 Club & Father Bill Shergold

The 59 Club, also written as The Fifty Nine Club and known as 'the 9', is a British motorcycle club with members distributed internationally.

The 59 Club started as a Church of England - based youth club founded in Hackney Wick on 2 April 1959, in the East End of London, then an underprivileged area suffering post-war deprivations.

In 1962 a motorcycle section was established, meeting once a week on Saturday evenings at Eton Mission where there was ample parking and a large hall with table tennis, billiards, a juke box and a coffee bar. Motor Cycle staff writer Mike Evans in 1963 reported: "Ably managed by the Rev. Bill Shergold, the club is affectionately known by London riders as 'The Vic's Caff'!".

It was notable for its adoption by the British motorcycling subculture known as 'rockers', initially in the London area during the mid-1960s, its badge taking on an iconic value.

17 May 2017

The Denmead Cycle Ride: Saturday 22nd July 2017

This year's event is on Saturday 22nd July 2017.
Everything takes place in and around the Harvest Home Pub in Denmead.
We will be raising money for Brain Tumour Research.
There are 3 routes available: 10 miles, 20 miles, or 35 miles.
Have fun, get some exercise, support a great cause!
Click here to sign up. Hope to see you on the day!

Motorcycle Security - Part 2

If you are parking your bike somewhere regularly (home, work, etc), a ground anchor is probably the way to go. You use this to literally chain your bike to the planet!

The thieving &5$@#'s that are about nowadays, have upgraded from bolt cutters to battery powered angle grinders, so a thin chain or cable lock just isn't beefy enough.

Try these:
Both are tested & approved to Sold Secure Gold.

Good luck out there people, keep 'em peeled.

16 May 2017

A steering lock is not enough to secure your motorbike!

There's an easy way to steal a motorcycle and it's gaining popularity in London and throughout cities across the UK.

Here's how it's done: A would-be thief checks out a motorcycling parking bay or sees a motorcycle on its own. He looks for any additional security but can't see any. The bike's got its steering lock on, so can't easily be wheeled away. He has a glance around, no-one's looking, he grabs the bars and violently smashes them left to right - within a few seconds the steering lock's broken. He walks away.

A few minutes later, he returns on the back of his mate's scooter. He hops off, wheels the bike into the road, hops on and his mate on the scooter puts his foot on the stolen bike's pillion peg and pushes the stolen bike down the road under the scooter's power.

Then they either wheel it into a van or down a side street and push it home. In just a few minutes, your bike's stolen. It's that easy.

A disc lock costs from £10 - £120, you can spend what you see fit. The fact you've got something stopping your bike from being easily wheeled away will massively cut the risk of your bike being a target. 
It's strong, very obvious, Thatcham Approved & alarmed.

Updates aren't just for Windows: here are some for Apple!

On Monday Apple pushed out updates which are applicable for most of its customers: iOS 10.3.2 (for iPhone and iPad users), MacOS, OS X, watchOS 3.2.2, iTunes, Safari, tvOS and iCloud for Windows 6.2.1.

Just looking at the fixes that have been released for iPhones, iPads and Macs it is clear that scores of security vulnerabilities have been addressed.

For instance, now-fixed (providing you update!) security vulnerabilities in iBooks for iOS could have allowed a malicious hacker to force your iPhone to open websites without your permission and execute malicious code with root privileges.

Using the Win10 Yahoo Mail App? Time for a "Plan B"

Users of the Windows 10 Yahoo Mail app have begun receiving notifications within the app, informing them that the app will cease to work on May 22nd, just a few days from now.

The Windows Store listing for the Yahoo Mail app is still online but the ability to download it has been removed. In addition to this, a large number of users have begun reporting on Twitter that the app has already stopped working for them ahead of the cut-off which suggests that support for it has already begun to cease at least partially.

Generally using the words "email" and "Yahoo" in the same sentence is a bad idea. Do yourself a favour and move to Gmail.

Remote island has "world's worst" plastic rubbish density

Island Paradise? What are we doing to this world?

An uninhabited island in the South Pacific is littered with the highest density of plastic waste anywhere in the world, according to a study.

Henderson Island, part of the UK's Pitcairn Islands group, has an estimated 37.7 million pieces of debris on its beaches. The island is near the centre of an ocean current, meaning it collects much rubbish from boats and South America.

"Land crabs are making their homes inside bottle caps, containers and jars," Dr Lavers told the BBC. "At first it looks a little bit cute, but it's not. This plastic is old, it's sharp, it's brittle and toxic."

The condition of the island highlighted how plastic debris has affected the environment on a global scale, Dr Lavers said. "Almost every island in the world and almost every species in the ocean is now being shown to be impacted one way or another by our waste," she said. "There's not really any one person or any one country that gets a free pass on this." She said plastic was devastating to oceans because it was buoyant and durable.

15 May 2017

Microsoft warns ransomware cyber-attack is a wake-up call

A statement from Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith on Sunday criticised the way governments store up information about security flaws in computer systems.

A cyber-attack that has hit 150 countries since Friday should be treated by governments around the world as a "wake-up call", Microsoft says.

It blamed governments for storing data on software vulnerabilities which could then be accessed by hackers.

It says the latest virus exploits a flaw in Microsoft Windows identified by, and stolen from, US intelligence.

Please ensure that you are running up to datepatched systems, protected by quality antivirus software. Contact Donline if you need advice or assistance.

14 May 2017

Christian Aid Week 2017

It is better to die in a camp than to die in a war. That’s what Nejebar thinks. 

To risk your children’s lives in a plastic dinghy. And to leave everything you know behind. When the alternative is terror, bombs and bullets, almost anything is better.

Nejebar and her family are stuck in a camp after fleeing the threat of the Taliban in Afghanistan. All she wants is a future for her children.

Tens of millions of people worldwide are in this terrible position – fleeing conflict and disaster, making dangerous journeys in search of safety.

Christian Aid Week was set up 60 years ago to support our work with those left with nothing following the Second World War.

Compassion has no borders. So let's act again now, to help relieve the suffering of refugees like Nejebar and build a world where everyone has a safe place to call home.

Two Wheel Extravaganza at Bishop's Waltham: Sunday 14 May 2017

A great couple of hours or so was spent in Bishop's Waltham today, at the yearly "Two Wheel Extravaganza".

Started as a beautiful spring day, bright & warm, not too hot.
At Bishop's Waltham, there was lots to see & do: Loads of people & bikes, trade stands, good food & drinks. Fantastic.

Bri eyeing up a shiny new toy...

Then the heavens opened & it absolutely hammered down
After a short while, the skies cleared, and normal spring service resumed!
What a great afternoon out!

13 May 2017

"Accidental hero" finds kill switch to stop spread of WannaCry RansomWare cyber-attack

An “accidental hero” has halted the global spread of the WannaCry ransomware, reportedly by spending a few dollars on registering a domain name hidden in the malware.

However, a UK cybersecurity researcher tweeting as @malwaretechblog, with the help of Darien Huss from security firm Proofpoint, found and activated a “kill switch” in the malicious software.

The switch was hardcoded into the malware in case the creator wanted to stop it spreading. This involved a very long nonsensical domain name that the malware makes a request to – just as if it was looking up any website – and if the request comes back and shows that the domain is live, the kill switch takes effect and the malware stops spreading.

“I saw it wasn’t registered and thought, ‘I think I’ll have that’,” he is reported as saying. The purchase cost him $10.69. Immediately, the domain name was registering thousands of connections every second.

The kill switch won’t help anyone whose computer is already infected with the ransomware, and and it’s possible that there are other variants of the malware with different kill switches that will continue to spread.

Info on the NHS (etc) WannaCry RansomWare attack

The Windows vulnerability is not a zero-day flaw, but one for which Microsoft had made available a security patch on 14 March 2017 - almost exactly two months before. The patch was to the Server Message Block protocol used by Windows.

Organisations that lacked this security patch were affected for this reason, and there is so far no evidence that any were specifically targeted by the ransomware developers. Any organisation still running the end-of-life Windows XP, would be particularly at risk, as no security patches for that have been issued by Microsoft since April 2014. As of 2016, thousands of computers in 42 separate NHS trusts in England were reported to be still running Windows XP.

This, dear readers, is why you need to be running up to date, patched systems, protected by quality antivirus software. Don't say that you haven't been warned...

12 May 2017

HP ships high end laptops with key-logging software!

Conexant audio driver for headphones, which is installed on the computers, records the user's keystrokes to a file on disk, we're told. This file – C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log – can be read by any malware running on or anyone logged into the system.

The dodgy code lurks on ‪HP‬ Elitebook, Probook and Zbook laptops running Windows 7 or 10 and HP's bundled software. It was discovered by researchers at Swiss outfit Modzero, who went public with the programming cockup in an advisory on Thursday. It appears to be the result of debugging routines left lingering in the driver.

Modzero suggests people delete the MicTray utility and its logs, pending the availability of a patch to kill off the key logging. It also offers a comprehensive list of affected HP laptops.

In a statement, HP acknowledged the issue and said that a software fix would soon be available: HP is committed to the security and privacy of its customers and we are aware of the keylogger issue on select HP PCs. HP has no access to customer data as a result of this issue. Our supplier partner developed software to test audio functionality prior to product launch and it should not have been included in the final shipped version. Fixes will be available shortly via HP.com.

11 May 2017

Afro Celt Sound System - Interview & Concert Footage

This full length video interview was filmed in Exeter at the end of last years tour at our last sell out gig, it captures the band reflecting on our 1st ever national UK tour and has some great live footage from the gigs.

It's a great bit of historical footage capturing a huge turning point in the bands career.

We have edited it together and released it as a THANK YOU to all our fans for voting for us in the Best Band Category in the Songlines Awards and helping us win. 

And yes, we were there! Kim, Tracy, Bri & me. ACSS - FTW!

Pink Floyd’s "Their Mortal Remains" exhibition at the V&A London


London’s Victoria and Albert Museum has announced the first major international retrospective of Pink Floyd, one of the world’s most pioneering and influential bands. To mark 50 years since the band released their first single Arnold Layne, and over 200 million record sales later, The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Moral Remains experience will be a spectacular and unparalleled audio-visual journey through Pink Floyd’s unique and extraordinary worlds; chronicling the music, design, and staging of the band, from their debut in the 1960s through to the present day. The exhibition marks the first collaboration in decades of Pink Floyd’s remaining members and is promoted by Michael Cohl and Iconic Entertainment Studios. Tickets go on sale at 10:0am, Wednesday 31 August via the V&A and other ticketing partners.

The exhibition will celebrate Pink Floyd’s place in history as the cultural landscape changed throughout the 1960s and beyond. Pink Floyd occupied a distinctive experimental space and were the foremost exponents of a psychedelic movement that changed the understanding of music forever. They became one of the most important groups in contemporary music.

Please Give Blood - you could help to save someone's life!

The need for blood
We need to make sure that we have enough supplies of all blood groups and blood types to treat all types of conditions.
By giving blood, every donor helps us meet the challenge of providing life-saving products whenever and wherever they are needed.

Maintaining the blood supply
We need to maintain a regular supply of all blood groups and types so we can provide it to the hospitals and patients who need it.  
We sometimes need to target specific blood types to increase stock levels. That's why we sometimes contact regular donors with the particular blood type we need, and ask them to give blood.
We are indebted to our regular blood donors for their role in helping us to save lives.

10 May 2017

Deal Of The Day: LG 49" Ultra HD Smart TV £556.97

LG 49UH770V 49" Ultra HD Smart TV 
3840 x 2160 Ultra HD
webOS 3.0
IPS 4K Quantum Display
HDR Super
ColourPrime Plus

£556.97 inc. vat
£579.99 save £23.02

Upgrade your viewing experience with LG SUPER UHD TV
Bringing every color to life, LG SUPER UHD TV boasts compatibility with multiple HDR formats, an extended color range, and ultra-slim design. See how entertainment comes alive with lifelike colors, dramatic contrast and exceptional resolution.

Use Kaspersky software? Read this...

Russia’s growing aggression toward the United States has deepened concerns among U.S. officials that Russian spies might try to exploit one of the world’s most respected cybersecurity firms to snoop on Americans or sabotage key U.S. systems, according to an ABC News investigation.

Products from the company, Kaspersky Lab, based in Moscow, are widely used in homes, businesses and government agencies throughout the United States, including the Bureau of Prisons. Kaspersky Lab’s products are stocked on the shelves of Target and Best Buy, which also sells laptops loaded by manufacturers with the firm’s anti-virus software.

But in a secret memorandum sent last month to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Senate Intelligence Committee raised possible red flags about Kaspersky Lab and urged the intelligence community to address potential risks posed by the company’s powerful market position.

Emergency patch released for critical security hole in Microsoft’s malware scanner

You know a security hole is serious if Microsoft issues a patch for it just hours before the company is scheduled to release its regular bundle of Patch Tuesday updates.

Microsoft has issued an update for the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine, addressing a security vulnerability that could allow remote code execution if one of Microsoft’s anti-virus products scans a boobytrapped file. As Microsoft warns in its advisory, an attacker could exploit the vulnerability to seize control of a victim’s PC.

In short, running Microsoft’s anti-virus software would have protected against a raft of malware, but it may also have made your computer more vulnerable.

09 May 2017

Would cash prizes make you more likely to vote?

As the UK heads towards its third big national vote in three years, there are fears that people won't bother turning out - with apathy particularly strong among the young.

It's a problem across Western democracies. In last week's French presidential race, turn-out fell, and in the US last year, only slightly more than half of people eligible to vote cast a ballot for a presidential candidate. In Britain, turn-out has hovered at around 65% for the last two general elections, way down on figures from the previous century.

To combat the problem, several US cities are experimenting with a controversial idea: offering cash prizes to the electorate, in a bid to lure them out to vote. In these schemes, people casting votes are added to a lottery, with big money prizes for a lucky few.

Honestly? Just last century, women fought, suffered & died to get the vote, and we seriously can't be bothered? 

Blade Runner 2049 - coming soon!

Blade Runner 2049 - in cinemas: 6th October 2017

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

Your Dog Knows Exactly What You’re Saying

Like her dad, Calli also prefers Honda to Suzuki

It doesn't take a scientific study for dog owners to believe that their pets know what they're saying. (We cat owners are a little less certain.) But it’s not always clear exactly what Fido (or Calli) is paying attention to.

When we say “Good dog!” dogs hear both the words we say and how we say them, new brain scans show. For people, both the word and intonation are important, but no one knew—until now—whether that was also the case for dogs. (See "Dogs Are Even More Like Us Than We Thought.")

In a study published in Science, scientists found the canine brain also processes the information in a similar way as humans.

“I’m quite excited by this finding. It’s really exciting to see such close correspondence between brain activity in humans and dogs,” said Chris Petkov, a neuropsychologist at the U.K.'s University of Newcastle who was not involved in the study.

08 May 2017

Secret US spaceplane returns to Earth after record flight

The US Air Force's not-so-secret secret spaceplane, the X-37B, set a new orbital endurance record for a reusable unmanned spacecraft as it set down today at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Orbital Test Vehicle mission 4 (OTV-4) came to an end at about 8:00 AM EDT as the aircraft made an autonomous touchdown on the runway of the Shuttle Landing Facility after spending 718 days in orbit.

06 May 2017

The Ryde Queen Paddle Steamer: used to be one of Kim's family's ships!

BBC South Today 4 May: The Ryde Queen paddle steamer has been an important part of the Isle of Wight for 80 years. The paddle steamer was part of the D-day landings before being turned into a passenger ferry. But, now her future appears to be in doubt.

By Kim: Mum and Dad refurbished the Ryde Queen as a Floating club for the Marina and opened her in 1972 with Carolyn Moore, Miss Great Britain. She was berthed alongside "The Medway Queen" which opened in 1966, just after I was born. The top floor was a funnel bar where you could sit and look up the funnel whilst listening to piano music. The middle deck was a restaurant, bar and dance floor and the lower deck was the nightclub. At the rear it was a hotel here people could stay over if they were a bit worse for wear! 
There was often over 1000 people on the ships on a Friday and Saturday night.
We lived on the boat for a while while our house was being refurbished. 
Lots of happy memories although my parents worked long hours which was often difficult.
They filmed St Trinians on the deck and I served dinner to Geoffrey Palmer and Arthur Lowe when they were filming Bless Me Father episode All At Sea on the Marina. 
 It's sad to see her in such a sorry state, rest in peace Ryde Queen!

Here are some photos that Don took of the Ryde Queen on the 14th May 2016, looking tragically in a very sorry state...