Friday, 23 June 2017

PC rebooted every time user flushed the toilet...

Meet “Gary”, who once had an IT support ticket land on his desk stating that “the PC would reset every time the customer flushed their toilet.”!

Gary's first thought was that this was “probably static from the customer walking across their carpeted floor, touching the keyboard before sitting down, static discharge doing the rest.”

But then he read more closely and realised the PC was on a farm. Once he visited that farm he found that “the floors were all hard-wood, so that shot that idea to hell.”

The user then suggested Gary observe the PC as they walked to the bathroom. Gary heard the unmistakable gurgling that resulted and watched as the PC did indeed reset itself about two seconds later...

Read the full story at:

Winery tour: Three Choirs Vineyards, Hampshire

For my birthday, my dear stepdaughter Rosie bought me a couple of tickets for a tour and tasting at Three Choirs Vineyards, Shedfield, Hampshire. This, rather usefully, is "just down the road" from where we live! Kim isn't a huge wine fan, but Brian & I are, so courtesy of the "Tracy & Kim taxi company PLC" - off we went!

We had a great time: a good look at the vines, a potted history of the winery, a sampling of four excellent wines - paired with various cheeses. Our host, Sam was friendly and informative. Click here to view some photos of the lovely setting. 

I do hope that you too will be able to enjoy a visit, and partake of some of their marvelous wines. Our favourites were:
Classic Cuvée (sparkling).
Wickham Dry 2014.
Wickham Rosé 2014.

Got a Virgin Media Super Hub 2? Read & action this ASAP!

Virgin Media has told 800,000 customers to change their passwords to protect against being hacked.

An investigation by Which? found that hackers could access the provider's Super Hub 2 router, allowing access to users' smart appliances.

Virgin Media said the risk was small but advised customers using default network and router passwords to update them immediately.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Reading for today: Psalm 8

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

The top 1000cc bikes for around £1000 - bag a bargain!

Thank exchange rates, the economy or spiralling R&D costs but new bikes are getting ever more expensive. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some jaw-dropping deals on the secondhand market.

These days, £1000 the sort of figure some people will pay for an iPhone that they’ll ditch in a couple of years. But for the same money you could get a bike that, within relatively recent memory, was somewhere near the top of the range. And unlike an outdated smartphone, they’ll still do much the same job as their brand-new equivalents.

We’ve checked out verifiable, recent sold prices for useable bikes to compile this list, focussing only on machines with long MOTs and no serious problems. At the sub £1000 level, you can expect them to be scruffy – with scrapes and maybe some cracked plastics – but you should be able to get a reliable, road-legal example of any of these bikes if you’re prepared to hunt them down.

Read more on what to buy:
Big bikes @ bargain prices:

Criminal gang says that they shut down Skype, says Steam is next

An online gang calling itself CyberTeam has claimed that it orchestrated an attack which saw Skype users in multiple countries around the globe unable to use the service for some hours earlier this week.

The popular video chat app suffered a serious outage from 7pm GMT on Monday, which prevented many users from successfully logging into the service.

The CyberTeam gang, which has the motto “We are Cyber Team. We do not forget. We do not forgive” – has previously engaged in website defacements, and has threatened to be “even more ‘aggressive'” than the notorious LizardSquad that infamously disrupted websites belonging to the likes of Activision, EA, and the UK’s National Crime Agency.

The CyberTeam group, which claims to be based in Portugal, has posted images on social media suggesting that the online gaming service Steam is its next target for a DDoS attack.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

"Personal" cooling solution. Certainly works for me!

Strewth, it's hot in England!
OK my readers in "sunnier" parts of the world might scoff, but it's hot for us!
I saw a "lifehack" that showed an electric fan blowing on a frozen bottle of water, thought I'd give it a go: little or no difference. Meh...
While thinking about that, I thought I'd try ice packs in my shorts - it works!
Just freeze the ice packs (of course!), pop them in the side pockets, and feel the relief!
You might experience condensation wetness on your pockets, but hey: I can live with that!

2000 years later, Christ's church is "still" here!

When the Sanhedrin heard Peter speaking, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 

But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 

Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 

Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! 

For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Read more at:

Before you repost "that" story: check that it is true first!

Sadly, these are so prevalent in this Internet age.
They are easily & readily spread through social media & email: like a wildfire!
PLEASE fact-check that story before you "copy it to all of your contacts".
This will save spreading potentially damaging, or dangerous messages.

These are the two fact checking website that I use & trust:
Use them, and stay safe out there people!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

South Korean hosting company pays $1m ransom to end eight-day outage

A South Korean web hosting company is forking out just over US$1 million to ransomware crooks after suffering more than eight days of nightmare.

Nayana first announced the attack on June 10, saying customer video files and its database had been encrypted, and promising to work to recover the data.

More than 150 servers were hit, hosting the sites of more than 3,400 mostly small business customers.

After a lengthy negotiation with the hackers, a demand for Bitcoin worth 5 billion won (nearly $4.4 million) was trimmed to around $1 million (397.6 Bitcoin), and the company paid up. The ransom was demanded in three instalments; so far, two have been made.

This dear readers is why you should backup your data!
Contact Donline if you need advice on protecting your data.

Deal of the day: High end 6" TomTom SatNav with WORLD maps, lifetime updates, traffic & speed cameras. Sim Card and Unlimited Data Included!

TomTom GO 6100 6 inch World Maps Sat Nav 
with Sim Card and Unlimited Data Included 

6-inch interactive touchscreen
Free lifetime World Maps
Free lifetime Speed Camera Alerts
Lifetime Live Traffic Updates
Sim Card & Unlimited Data Included

List price: £239.99 - save £40.01!

Connected cars - still connected after you've sold them! IOT gone wrong...

Charles Henderson loved his "awesome" convertible, particularly the fact that he could start, lock and unlock it remotely via his mobile phone.

It was one of the first connected cars that synchronise wirelessly with smartphones for entertainment and work purposes.

But after he sold the vehicle, he was astonished to discover that he could still control it using the associated smartphone app. "I could have found out where the car was, unlocked it remotely, started it and driven off with it," he tells the BBC.

Mr Henderson, from Austin, Texas, is global head of X-Force Red, IBM's offensive security group, so he knows a thing or two about security. He tests companies' defences, both physical and digital.

Original article:
Read more on Internet Of Things (IOT) issues: 

Monday, 19 June 2017

Keeping cool & safe during the hot weather

During a heatwave there are a few groups of people who are at higher risk of suffering from severe health effects. These include babies and very young children, older people, people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart conditions, diabetes, respiratory or renal problem, Parkinson’s or severe mental illness.

Click here to read more & stay safe in the heat! 

Elon Musk on how to get humanity to Mars

Last year, billionaire SpaceX founder and space-fan Elon Musk delivered an expansive, hour-long presentation, outlining his ambitious plan to get humanity to the Red Planet. Musk has recently published a research paper adapted from that presentation entitled "Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species".

The 15-page paper, published in the journal New Space, and available for free until early July, doesn't offer a great deal of new information that wasn't presented last year, but it certainly reads like a solid manifesto from a man who is very serious about colonizing our solar system.

"So how do we figure out how to take you to Mars and create a self-sustaining city," asks Musk, "a city that is not merely an outpost but which can become a planet in its own right, allowing us to become a truly multi-planetary species."

The paper is certainly a compelling read, covering in reasonable detail the engineering challenges in getting to Mars and the realistic costs per person. Musk also reiterates several exciting benchmarks in his timeline that will take us to Mars, with the first unmanned payloads being delivered to the Red Planet within the next two years.

Computing in schools - alarm bells over England's classes

Computing education in England's schools is going through a revolution, but there is evidence that too few pupils want to be part of it.

Figures from the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) show only a modest rise in students taking the new computer science GCSE.

The British Computing Society warns the number studying for a computing qualification could halve by 2020. The organisation - which is the professional body for the IT industry - says that would be a disaster for the economy.

The old ICT course, which was the main way school students learned about computing, is being scrapped, with the last GCSE entrants taking the exam next year. The subject, which was described by critics as teaching little more than how to use Microsoft Office, is being replaced by the more rigorous computer science GCSE.

But figures from Ofqual showing entries for the exam rising to 67,800 this year from 61,220 in 2016 have set alarm bells ringing. With 58,600 still taking the ICT exam, the overall number getting a GCSE computing qualification has fallen slightly.

The British Computing Society says that when ICT disappears, the computer science exam will fail to fill the gap.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Ghost bike caught on video near Paris

A bizarre video of a “ghost motorbike” cruising along a motorway outside Paris with no rider has sparked much confusion among freaked out motorists.

Footage showed the riderless motorbike driving in a straight line, a little too close to the central reservation on the A4 outside Paris.

One driver, who asked his friend to film the surreal scene, said: “On the video, we can clearly see the two-wheeled … without a biker. A ghost.”

But the mystery of the ghost rider may have been solved, with Le Parisien reporting that the motorbike was involved in a collision seconds before.

The rider, who was in his 20s, was knocked off his bike and injured his arm in the crash with another vehicle.

According to reports, the driver of the car picked up the rider and took him to try and find his bike, but there was no trace of it.

The driver then took the motorbike rider to hospital.

Stunt motorcyclist Jean-Pierre Goy, who has appeared in James Bond films, said riderless motorbikes can run for more than 600m, especially with cruise control.

“The pilot may have fallen, and in view of the motorcycle, with a very low centre of gravity, it was possible to continue its journey,” he said.

“I’ve seen motorcycles ride like this even longer, especially with the cruise control blocked.”

Friday, 16 June 2017

Fancy "going" in style? Motorcycle Funerals Ltd

In 2002 Rev. Paul Sinclair founded Motorcycle Funerals Limited, Britain's first motorcycle hearse service. Paul, who has served at funerals for 30 years, believes we should reflect people's lifestyles in their funerals. "No one places an Everton fan in a Liverpool strip when they die so why should a motorcycle enthusiast be last seen in an automobile?"

High winds, rain and snow? Protected behind clear glass the coffin will not blow off or be covered in road slime. Flowers and personal artefacts will not be damaged in the wind either.

Our unique fleet serves British Isles-wide from St. Ives to Dover, The Channel Isles to The Outer Hebrides and Swansea to Skegness. Wherever you are, don't worry, we'll get there.

Interesting IT fact: Uppercase and Lowercase

The terms upper case and lower case can be written as two consecutive words, connected with a hyphen (upper-case and lower-case), or as a single word (uppercase and lowercase). 

These terms originated from the common layouts of the shallow drawers called type cases used to hold the movable type for letterpress printing

Traditionally, the capital letters were stored in a separate shallow tray or "case" that was located above the case that held the small letters, and the name proved easy to remember since capital letters are taller.

The capital letters were in the Upper Case!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

EU mobile roaming charges scrapped from today!

A European Union (EU) law to abolish roaming charges for people using mobile phones abroad comes into force today.

The new rules mean that citizens travelling within the EU will be able to call, text and browse the internet on mobile devices at the same price they pay at home.

The European Commission said the end of roaming charges was one of the greatest successes of the EU.

Until now roaming, or connection, charges have been added to the cost of calls, texts and internet browsing when consumers from one EU country travelled to another and connected to a mobile network there.

In some cases, mobile users have faced bills of hundreds of pounds if, for example, they have downloaded a film.

France with your motorbike this summer from £99 return: Brittany Ferries

Glorious coastlines, lush countryside, quaint towns, magnificent sites, and wide open roads. France is the perfect place to explore on your bike this summer.

And, with our choice of routes and services from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth, getting there couldn't be easier.

Set sail before the summer rush and enjoy up to 8 days away from £99 return.

Simply ride aboard and cruise across in comfort and style, enjoying everything from fine dining, bars, entertainment and boutique shopping. All before you've even arrived.

In a hurry, or want to make even more of your trip? Choose our high-speed service and arrive in just 3 hours.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Microsoft warns of "destructive cyberattacks", issues new Windows patches, incl XP

Citing an "elevated risk for destructive cyberattacks" by government organisations or copycats, Microsoft today released an assortment of security updates designed to block attacks similar to those responsible for the devastating WannaCry/WannaCrypt ransomware outbreak last month.

Today's critical security updates are in addition to the normal Patch Tuesday releases, Microsoft said. They'll be delivered automatically through Windows Update to devices running supported versions, including Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and post-2008 Windows Server releases.

But in an unprecedented move, Microsoft announced that it was also making the patches available simultaneously for manual download and installation on unsupported versions, including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Both of those operating systems are still deployed by significant numbers of business customers years after their official support lifecycles ended.

Motorcycle Charity No2: Pikilily

I first read about Claire Elsdon and Pikilily in an article in Bike Magazine (June 2017, pages 36/37 - if you have it). This caught my attention: being a keen biker, and always trying to make a positive change in the world. 

Claire's charity reminds me of the aims of TwoWheels For Life, but on a smaller scale. I bumped into one of Claire's colleagues at Bikefest South on Sunday, who gave me a card.  Thought I'd better read some more - so i turned to their website.

Please take the time to read this, and if you feel moved, to support Claire's organisation. Help train ladies to maintain bikes in Tanzania, to improve road safety, and to repair motorcycle ambulances.

The rise and fall and rise of Lego

From its founding in 1932 until 1998, Lego had never posted a loss. By 2003 it was in big trouble. Sales were down 30% year-on-year and it was $800m in debt. An internal report revealed it hadn’t added anything of value to its portfolio for a decade.

Consultants hurried to Lego’s Danish HQ. They advised diversification. The brick had been around since the 1950s, they said, it was obsolete. Lego should look to Mattel, home to Fisher-Price, Barbie, Hot Wheels and Matchbox toys, a company whose portfolio was broad and varied. Lego took their advice: in doing so it almost went bust. It introduced jewellery for girls. There were Lego clothes. It opened theme parks that cost £125m to build and lost £25m in their first year. It built its own video games company from scratch, the largest installation of Silicon Graphics supercomputers in northern Europe, despite having no experience in the field. Lego’s toys still sold, particularly tie-ins, like their Star Wars and Harry Potter-themed kits. But only if there was a movie out that year. Otherwise they sat on shelves.

“We are on a burning platform,” Lego’s CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp told colleagues. “We’re running out of cash… [and] likely won’t survive”

In 2015, the still privately owned, family controlled Lego Group overtook Ferrari to become the world’s most powerful brand. It announced profits of £660m, making it the number one toy company in Europe and Asia, and number three in North America, where sales topped $1bn for the first time. 

Shop for Lego at
Read more about the Lego story at

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Daesh murder and maim Christians in Egypt, goes widely under-reported

20 May 2017. 29 Christians in Egypt died when terrorists attacked their bus. Forty-two others were seriously injured and the assassins got away. That story vanished in less than 48 hours.

Here’s what you probably never heard:  The Christian group of parents, grandparents, and children were travelling in two busses to pray at a monastery. Their vehicles were stopped by terrorists outside the town of Minya.  After the busses were surrounded by killers, passengers on one of the buses were forced to exit the bus one by one.  As each reached the door to face masked gunmen, they were asked, “Are you Muslim?” None of them were. Each was then given a chance to renounce Jesus Christ and convert to Islam.

As each passenger confessed Christ and refused to convert, he was dragged a few feet away to be killed by either a shot in the head or a slit throat.  One at a time, nineteen adults, and ten children were ordered to become Muslims or die.  One by one they were instantly murdered. The criminals then fired on the group in the second bus, injuring 42, before speeding away to safety.

Read more, pray for these dear souls, & contemplate:

Friday, 9 June 2017

BikeSafe - take your riding to the next level

BikeSafe is a Police led motorcyclist advisory, assessment and referral scheme. Workshops typically run throughout the spring and summer months, and through this website, you should be able to access and book a workshop close to you.

The aims of BikeSafe are to encourage those attending to then go onto take advantage of accredited post-test training and to encourage positive rider behaviour and attitudes.

Whilst advanced police riders are some of the safest on the roads, we are not in the business of delivering rider training to the public, hence BikeSafe is not a training scheme in itself. We do, however, through our BikeSafe workshops, provide detailed briefings on hazard awareness and how to make your motorcycling safer, followed up in most forces by an on-road assessed ride. Under the eagle-eye of an experienced BikeSafe assessor, you will receive detailed feedback on the strengths and weaknesses or your riding. We will provide honest feedback in our review, as we believe that provides the greatest benefit to the rider. The crucial next step after having had your BikeSafe assessment is to go on to undertake further training from the range of organisations that provide post-test training throughout the UK. Our workshops will provide you with details of how and where to find this.

Amazon Cloud Drive: new pricing model :0(

It looks like Amazon is killing off it's unlimited storage plan and replacing it with a 1TB plan for the same monthly cost.

USA Today reports: "Amazon had the best deal in online storage - unlimited backup for $59.99 - but now unlimited is out. It has been replaced with tiered pricing, the system used by Amazon's rivals. The new rate, announced to customers Wednesday night, is now $59.99 yearly for 1 terabyte of online backup, with each additional terabyte (TB) costing an additional $59.99 annually. Additionally, Amazon is introducing a lower-priced tier set at 100 GBs of storage for $11.99 yearly."

Reading for the day: The Narrow and Wide Gates, Jesus as The Way

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Read all of Matthew 7 at Bible Gateway

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Blast from the Past (for today) No2: Windows 95

Windows 95 release included a commercial featuring The Rolling Stones' 1981 single "Start Me Up" (a reference to the Start button). It was widely reported that Microsoft paid the Rolling Stones between US$8 and US$14 million for the use of the song in the Windows 95 advertising campaign. However, Microsoft said that this was just a rumor spread by the band to increase their market value, and the company actually paid a fraction of that amount. 

A 30-minute promotional video, labeled a "cyber sitcom", featuring Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry, was also released to showcase the features of Windows 95. 

The Windows 95 CD included various Easter Eggs: music videos of Edie Brickell's "Good Times" and Weezer's "Buddy Holly", a trailer for the film Rob Roy, and the computer game Hover!

And finally: here is Bill Gates featuring in a game of Doom(!) - while telling game developers of the benefits of programming for Win95.

Bargain of the day: You Don't Know Jack game bundle £7.49!

You Don't Know Jack (commonly abbreviated YDKJ), is a series of computer games developed by Jackbox Games (formerly known as Jellyvision Games) and Berkeley Systems, as well as the title of the first game in the series. YDKJ, framed as a game show "where high culture and pop culture collide", combines trivia with comedy. 

Back in the day I loved this game. Today, while looking for a Canon printer manual on CD, I found my old disk for YDKJ Volume 1 UK edition: which I loved! Sadly the CD won't install or play on modern systems (designed for Win95 or earlier!).

However, look what I've found: 
The Classic Pack includes:
You Don't Know Jack Vol. 1 XL
You Don't Know Jack Vol. 2
You Don't Know Jack Vol. 3
You Don't Know Jack Vol. 4 The Ride
You Don't Know Jack Vol. 6 The Lost Gold
You Don't Know Jack Television
You Don't Know Jack Movies
You Don't Know Jack Sports
You Don't Know Jack Headrush
You need Steam to install & run the games.

The only issue is that this appears to be the US edition, which isn't anywhere near as funny or relevant as the UK one. However it's a bargain - go treat yourself

Not sure? Well try this - a clever soul has ported the original UK game to run in a web browser! Not perfect but still a pretty good job - well done fella! 


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Why certain printers add secret tracking dots

They’re almost invisible but contain a hidden code – and now their presence on a leaked document has sparked speculation about their usefulness to FBI investigators.

These “microdots” are well known to security researchers and civil liberties campaigners. Many colour printers add them to documents without people ever knowing they’re there.

Read more at:

FSB membership: what's in it for my business?

FSB Business Essentials: Our most popular package is FSB Business Essentials which includes a whole range of benefits and products designed to make your business fly. From Tax Investigation Insurance to Business Banking, we’ve got you covered. The FSB lobbies government promoting the interests and defends the rights of the UK’s business owners.

Donline has been a FSB member for around 10 years. My business has benefited from legal advice, free business banking, networking opportunities, and more.