30 December 2017

Motorcycling ATGATT: All The Gear, All The Time!

Highways England launches a new clothing range inspired by young motorcycle and scooter riders. For top tips on how to ride more safely, visit the THINK! motorcycling page

Young riders represent 15% of motorcyclists but make up more than 38% of motorcycle rider casualties. Highways England has launched ‘Distressed’, a campaign highlighting the true cost of not dressing appropriately for the ride.

While you can never know exactly what another driver might do, there are actions you can take to help keep you safe. Have a look at our top tips and advice around wearing the right gear; filtering safely and using roundabouts and junctions.

Wear the right gear: the physical and emotional cost of not wearing the right motorcycle gear can be far greater than the financial cost. Fall off your bike and tarmac will shred through your standard jeans in seconds. Wearing the right gear is just as important to your safety as servicing your motorcycle and knowing how to ride it. Dress for the crash, not the ride.

29 December 2017

Top 10 Signs You May Not Be Reading Your Bible Enough

10) The preacher announces the sermon is from Genesis... and you check the Table of Contents.

9) You think Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob may have had a few hit songs during the ’60s.

8) You open to the Gospel of Luke and a WWII Savings Bond falls out.

Read the rest (my favourite was number 4!) here:

John McAfee says his Twitter account was hacked

John McAfee has said his Twitter account was hacked and used to promote lesser-known crypto-currencies. 

In recent times, he has come to be seen by some as a crypto-currency guru.

The cyber-security pioneer has rebuffed suggestions that the alleged incident undermined his own credentials saying: "I have no control over Twitter's security".

Twitter declined to comment but highlighted its security advice guide.

As always, Donline's advice re crypto-currencies is simple:

Apple apologises for slowing down older iPhones

Apple has apologised after facing criticism for admitting it deliberately slows down some ageing iPhone models.

The company now says it will replace batteries for less and will issue software in 2018 so customers can monitor their phone's battery health.

Some customers had long suspected the company slowed older iPhones to encourage customers to upgrade. Apple admitted slowing some phones with ageing batteries but said it was to "prolong the life" of the devices.

In a statement posted on its website, the firm said it would reduce the price of an out-of-warranty battery replacement from $79 to $29 in the US for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later. In the UK the prices will drop from £79 to £25.

28 December 2017

A seasonal horror story: fake snow made from Asbestos!

Asbestos was once marketed as artificial snow and sprinkled on trees and wreaths and ornaments. Although those products have not been produced for many years, the oldest decorations that were passed down from one generation to the next, may still have small amounts of asbestos.

The most famous asbestos snow scene was used during the filming of “The Wizard of Oz,” the 1939 classic with Judy Garland that became the most watched film in history. There is a scene in the movie where snow, made from asbestos, falls on Dorothy and her friends, awakening them from a spell cast by the Wicked Witch of the West.

25 December 2017

Happy Christmas from Donline!

Wishing you and your loved ones peace, health, happiness and prosperity;
over this Christmas, the New Year, and throughout 2018.

With blessings,

Don, Kim & Calli Tocher

23 December 2017

Bitcoin slump sees trades suspended on certain exchanges

Bitcoin plunged on Friday, extending a fall that saw the crypto-currency lose almost a third of its value from a record of nearly $20,000 (£15,000).

The crypto-currency's price dipped below $11,000 on Friday, according to the Coindesk exchange website, before recovering to above $13,000.

Amid the swings, three Bitcoin-related exchanges suspended certain trades.

Bitcoin has had a blistering trip over the past 12 months. Its price at the start of the year was about $1,000.

It has skyrocketed since - more than doubling in value since November - drawing interest from major firms as well as private investors.

But since Sunday Bitcoin has been on a losing streak, falling back to where it was at the start of December.

Analysts said investors should be prepared for such rapid changes, which have characterised the asset from its start.

Or perhaps people have just started to wake up to the fact that this pseudo-currency it totally worthless?

21 December 2017

More Windows Keyboard shortcuts than you can shake a stick at!

Turning multiple mouse clicks into a simple press of a key or two may not seem like a lot, but if you are an avid user of keyboard shortcuts you've likely noticed just how helpful they can be. 

Although memorizing which shortcuts do which functions can be a little daunting at first, it's important to remember not everyone needs to know every shortcut

Learning and using the ones that are most important to you is a great way to enhance your Windows 10 experience.

Suzuki SV650X: "cafe racer-inspired V-twin" for under £6k

NEXT year looks to be a lean one for new models from Suzuki but if there’re one thing the firm still seems to know how to do, it’s value.

The price of the SV650X, which Suzuki describes as ‘cafe racer-inspired’, has just been announced at £5,999.

The only real new offering in Suzuki’s line-up for 2018, it’s an SV650 given a ‘neo retro’ make-over with a bikini fairing, tinted screen, ribbed seat and clip-on bars.

It also gets a new pre-load adjustable fork, as does the base-model SV650 for 2018.

It's £300 more expensive than the base SV but still way under typical café racer prices, such as £8,800 for Triumph’s Street Cup and £9,395 for Ducati’s Scrambler Café Racer.  

Even by budget middleweight standards it’s still competitive, with Kawasaki’s Z650 and Yamaha’s MT-07 both costing £6,199.

The SV650X makes a claimed 76hp from its 645cc V-twin, compared to the MT-07’s 74.8hp and the Z650’s 68hp.

20 December 2017

Apple "It Just Works". It never did, and certainly doesn't now!

Apple: "It just works"

This is the phrase that Steve Jobs trotted out year after year to describe products or services that he was unveiling. The phrase expressed what Apple was all about -- selling technology that solved problems with a minimum of fuss and effort on the part of the owner.

Well, Steve is now long gone, and so it the ethos of "it just works."

2017 was a petty bad year for Apple software quality. Just over the past few weeks we seen both macOS and iOS hit by several high profile bugs. And what's worse is that the fixes that Apple pushed out -- in a rushed manner -- themselves caused problems.

A serious -- and very stupid -- root bug was uncovered in macOS
The patch that Apple pushed out for the root bug broke file sharing for some
Updating macOS to 10.13.1 after installing the root patch rolled back the root bug patch
iOS 11 was hit by a date bug that caused devices to crash when an app generated a notification, forcing Apple to prematurely release iOS 11.2
iOS 11.2 contained a HomeKit bug that broke remote access for shared users

And this is just a selection of the bugs that users have had to contend with over the past few weeks. And it's not just been limited to the past few weeks. I've written at length about how it feels like the quality of software coming out of Apple has deteriorated significantly in recent years.

Support for early versions of Windows 10 has ended

Windows 10 was designed as a service, whereby feature updates are required a couple times a year. For most consumers, both quality and feature updates are delivered automatically according to their Windows Update settings. 

Support for early versions of Windows 10 recently ended and PCs running these versions no longer receive security updates.

If you are unsure how this affects you & your PC: contact Donline.

19 December 2017

9 Unstoppable Technology Trends That May Define Our World In 2018

We have never lived in a time of faster technological innovation. Developments like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchains and robotisation are changing the way we live and work. Here we look at the top nine tech mega-trends that may define 2018 and beyond.

1: The increasing datafication of our lives
2: The Internet of Things (IoT) and how everyday devices are becoming more ‘smart’
3: Exponential growth in computing power is fueling massive tech advances
4: The incredible rise of artificial intelligence (AI)
5: The unstoppable freight train that is automation
6: 3D printing opens up amazing opportunities for manufacturers (and others)
7: We’re interacting with technology in very different ways
8: Blockchains: An invention that could change our world
9: Platforms are the way forward for businesses

18 December 2017

Christmas reflection: on the importance of Jesus' birth

Observe the contrast between the real and the apparent importance of the Birth of Christ. To human sense, the event which took place at Bethlehem may well have seemed at the time commonplace enough. An Infant was born under circumstances of hardship; in a wayside stable. To those who did not look closely into the circumstances, it might have occurred that a like event had often happened before, and would often be repeated. Everybody did not hear the song of the Angels, or mark the bearing of the Virgin-Mother and of her saintly spouse. The Kingdom of God had entered into his history, but certainly "not with observation." Nay, more, even among the worshippers of Christ the full meaning of His Birth, as opening a new era in the history of the human race, was not at once practically appreciated.

So it has been ever since; so it is at this hour. Real importance is one thing, apparent importance another. The events which move the world are not always those which men think most noteworthy. The men who most deeply influence their fellows are not those of whom everybody is talking. The currents of thoughts and feeling which will shape the future are not those which are welcomed by the organs and interpreters of current opinion. When Christ appeared, the Palace of the Caesar seemed to be more likely to govern the destinies of mankind than the Manger of Bethlehem. No, brethren, depend on it, the apparent is not always, or even generally, the real. 

H.P. Liddon, "Born of a Virgin" (sermon)

UK bank regulator compares buying Bitcoin to gambling

The head of one of Britain's leading financial regulators has warned people to be ready to "lose all their money" if they invest in Bitcoin.

Andrew Bailey, head of the Financial Conduct Authority, told the BBC that neither central banks nor the government stood behind the "currency" and therefore it was not a secure investment.

Buying Bitcoin, he said, was similar to gambling - and had the same level of risk.

"It's not a currency, it's actually not regulated in its Bitcoin form," Mr Bailey told me in an interview for Newsnight.

"It's a very volatile commodity in terms of its pricing.

"If you look at what has happened this year, I would caution people.

"We know relatively little about what informs the price of Bitcoin.

"It's an odd commodity as well, as the supply is fixed.

"If you want to invest in Bitcoin be prepared to lose your money - that would be my serious warning."

16 December 2017

Classic Moby is back: "Like a motherless child"

Moby has released a new single and video for like a motherless child, from his forthcoming album everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.  Featuring LA-based soulstress Raquel Rodriguez, like a motherless child is a re-work of the well-known spiritual, with its origins in the slavery of the american south.

The track describes the void left when one feels separated from a parent, higher power or similar guiding force. Over the years this powerful song has been reinterpreted by the likes of odetta, lena horne, mahalia jackson and van morrison.

15 December 2017

Updating the Sagrada Familia: Why a World-Famous Church Needs a Micro Data Center solution

We often talk about the need for data centers to scale and be flexible in order to meet business needs and, even though Sagrada Familia is not what we would traditionally think of in “business” terms, the 135 year old church is no exception when it comes to technology requirements.

Sagrada Familia is the most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona, Spain and it needed a reliable infrastructure to better manage and control its unique needs. Such as the church’s security, along with significant construction operations.

And to keep up with the call for being “on” 24/7, the church also realized it needed more capacity to match demand and enable new digital ticketing, validation and baffle gate systems for visitors.

Kim & I love Barcelona! With our dear friends Tracy & Brian, we were privileged to visit the Sagrada Familia in May this year. It is truly the most beautiful of Churches & a wonderful work by the renowned artist Antoni Gaudí. It was a truly moving experience to be there and witness the beauty of this Church & the faith & love of the artist: all to the Glory of God. Here are our photos

Read more here: www.schneider-electric.com

A fantastic audio/visual treat: The Foo Fighters - Walk

This is a great video to a fantastic song!

The video is based on the movie Falling Down starring Michael Douglas - which is one of my favorite films. See if you can spot all of the homage in the vid. Great fun!

Please sir, can I have some more? Certainly!

Internet traffic to major tech firms (briefly) rerouted to Russia.

Internet traffic for some of the world’s largest tech firms was briefly rerouted to Russia earlier this week in what appeared to be a Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) attack.

OpenDNS-owned Internet monitoring service BGPmon reported the incident on Tuesday. BGPmon noticed that 80 IP prefixes for organizations such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, NTT Communications, Twitch and Riot Games had been announced by a Russian Autonomous System (AS).

It happened twice on Tuesday and each time it only lasted for roughly three minutes. The first event took place between 04:43 and 04:46 UTC, and the second between 07:07 and 07:10 UTC.

Despite being short-lived, BGPmon said the incidents were significant, including due to the fact that the announcements were picked up by several peers and some large ISPs, such as Hurricane Electric and Zayo in the U.S., Telstra in Australia, and NORDUnet, which is a joint project of several Nordic countries.

Meanwhile, in other news...

Russia a 'risk' to undersea cables, defence chief warns. The UK's most senior military officer has warned of a new threat posed by Russia to communications and internet cables that run under the sea.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the chief of the defence staff, said Britain and Nato needed to prioritise protecting the lines of communication. He said it would be an "immediately and potentially catastrophic" hit to the economy if they were cut or disrupted.

The cables criss-cross the seabed, connecting up countries and continents.

14 December 2017

Hmmm, do techies own Bitcoin?

At the moment (PM 14 Dec 2017) in this poll: over 75% of Slashdot readers do not own Bitcoin. If the techies don't want techie do$h, well that says a lot! 
It's gonna crash big time, guys!

13 December 2017

Blue Origin: Crew Capsule 2.0 First Flight

Crew Capsule 2.0 features large windows, measuring 2.4 feet wide, 3.6 feet tall.

New Shepard flew again for the seventh time today from Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site. Known as Mission 7 (M7), the mission featured the next-generation booster and the first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0. Watch the mission highlights here. Gradatim Ferociter!

Update: Mannequin Skywalker’s ride to space onboard Crew Capsule 2.0 - Footage taken from onboard cameras. Beautiful, amazing video of the trip from launch to space to landing! I wonder how much a ride will cost? More than I can afford, I'm pretty sure :0(.

12 December 2017

Child of Hope slum Christmas Party 2017

Living in such extreme poverty, children of the Namatala slum don't know what it is to receive gifts and have a slap-up meal and fun at Christmas... but with your help, the children at our school can!

We lay on a wonderful meal - probably the only day of the year they get real meat – for all the children at our slum school, plus a parent for each child. There's fizzy pop, sweets, clothes, shoes and presents, too!

Just £4 (more if you like) will help us give everyone a Christmas to remember! 
Thank you!

Two-wheeler mode in Google Maps comes to India first

...Another India-first feature is the new “two-wheeler mode” in Google Maps. India is the largest two-wheeler market in the world, and the millions of motorcycle and scooter riders have different navigation needs than drivers of automobiles. Two-wheeler mode in Maps shows trip routes that use “shortcuts” not accessible to cars and trucks. 

It also provides customized traffic and arrival time estimations. And since so many Indians rely on local landmarks for navigation, two-wheeler mode will show major landmarks on the route so that riders can plan their trip before starting, and don’t have to keep checking the phone on the go.

Two-wheeler mode is launching in India on the 5th Dec 2017, to be followed by more countries in the coming months.

George Whitefield on the True Way of Keeping Christmas

My dear brethren, with a few words of exhortation, [I beseech] you to think of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Did Jesus come into the world to save us from death, and shall we spend no part of our time in conversing about our dear Jesus; shall we pay no regard to the birth of him, who came to redeem us from the worst of slavery, from that of sin, and the devil; and shall this Jesus not only be born on our account, but likewise die in our stead, and yet shall we be unmindful of him? Shall we spend our time in those things which are offensive to him? Shall we not rather do all we can to promote his glory, and act according to his command?

O my dear brethren, be found in the ways of God; let us not disturb our dear Redeemer by any irregular proceedings; and let me beseech you to strive to love, fear, honor and obey him, more than ever you have done yet; let not the devil engross your time, and that dear Savior who came into the world on your accounts, have so little.

O be not so ungrateful to him who has been so kind to you! What could the Lord Jesus Christ have done for you more than he has? Then do not abuse his mercy, but let your time be spent in thinking and talking of the love of Jesus, who was incarnate for us, who was born of a woman, and made under the law, to redeem us from the wrath to come.

18th century evangelist and preacher George Whitefield

11 December 2017

Former Facebook exec says social media is ripping apart society

Another former Facebook executive has spoken out about the harm the social network is doing to civil society around the world. Chamath Palihapitiya, who joined Facebook in 2007 and became its vice president for user growth, said he feels “tremendous guilt” about the company he helped make. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, before recommending people take a “hard break” from social media.

Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem - this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.

HP laptops found to have hidden keylogger

Hidden software that can record every letter typed on a computer keyboard has been discovered pre-installed on hundreds of HP laptop models.

Security researcher Michael Myng found the keylogging code in software drivers preinstalled on HP laptops to make the keyboard work.

HP said more than 460 models of laptop were affected by the "potential security vulnerability". It has issued a software patch for its customers to remove the keylogger.

The issue affects laptops in the EliteBook, ProBook, Pavilion and Envy ranges, among others. HP has issued a full list of affected devices, dating back to 2012.

"Tens of millions" exposed to hackers by banking app security flaw

Exploits in HSBC, Natwest, and Co-op apps would allow hackers to steal user credentials
Researchers have discovered and patched a critical flaw in some of the most popular mobile banking apps that could potentially leave tens of millions of customers vulnerable to hackers.

A scan of more than 400 iOS and Android mobile apps revealed that products offered by HSBC, Natwest, Co-op, and other leading banks were able to be manipulated into exposing a user's sensitive data.

The study, conducted by the University of Birmingham, found that any hackers connected to the same network as the mobile app, like public WiFi or a corporate network, could perform a so-called 'man in the middle' attack and redirect communications between the provider and customer in order to steal credentials.

As always: make sure you are up to date on patches and updates to reduce vulnerabilities.

08 December 2017

Another compo win: a bottle of Laurent Perrier Champagne! Thanks Virgin Wines!!!

Don’t forget to show us yours! If you’ve got one of our special Wine Advent Calendars at home, we want to see it! By showing us yours, you could win a bottle of Laurent Perrier!

What an great way to end the week! 
Cheers Virgin Wines!

Two Wheels For Life: A Tale of Two Villages

On a recent, sunlit Thursday morning, Maria Gonzalez, board member of Two Wheels for Life, stood beneath a tough old tree and looked at the insides of Lesotho. What she saw was a landscape that is unlike any other, anywhere.

Visitors sometimes draw comparisons. It’s a bit like the Yorkshire moors, say the British ones. Very much like Wyoming, say the well-travelled Americans. Very much like the highlands of Aragon, or of Almeria, say the Spanish ones.As they climb higher, as the truck struggles more, as the roads give up and the goats take over, the truth dawns. There’s nowhere quite like this.

Not like this in a number of ways. ‘Stunning’ is a popular word these days. You hear or see it everywhere, from cookery shows to travel brochures. Of course the scenery of Lesotho is stunning. But even more stunning is the experience of the people who live in it.

Find out about life and death in Lesotho:

06 December 2017

As Tybalt would say: Bitcoin, I hate the word. It could co$t the Earth...

Bitcoin wasn't intended to be an investment instrument. Its creators envisioned it as a replacement for money itself - a decentralized, secure, anonymous method for transferring value between people. 

But what they might not have accounted for is how much of an energy suck the computer network behind bitcoin could one day become. Simply put, bitcoin is slowing the effort to achieve a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. What's more, this is just the beginning. Given its rapidly growing climate footprint, bitcoin is a malignant development, and it's getting worse. Digital financial transactions come with a real-world price: The tremendous growth of cryptocurrencies has created an exponential demand for computing power. As bitcoin grows, the math problems computers must solve to make more bitcoin (a process called "mining") get more and more difficult - a wrinkle designed to control the currency's supply. 

Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the U.S. for one day. And miners are constantly installing more and faster computers. Already, the aggregate computing power of the bitcoin network is nearly 100,000 times larger than the world's 500 fastest supercomputers combined. The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge -- an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year.

Germany Preparing Law for Backdoors in Any Type of Modern Device

German authorities are preparing a law that will force device manufacturers to include backdoors within their products that law enforcement agencies could use at their discretion for legal investigations. 
The law would target all modern devices, such as cars, phones, computers, IoT products, and more.

Officials are expected to submit their proposed law for debate this week, according to local news outlet RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND).

A really lousy idea: if backdoors (or flaws) are present within IT systems, the bad guys WILL find and exploit them. It's gonna happen...

Google vs Amazon feud grows

Three months ago, YouTube pulled its programming from Amazon’s Echo Show device — the first skirmish in what is apparently an ongoing war. Shortly after, Amazon stopped selling the Nest E Thermostat, Nest’s Camera IQ, and the Nest Secure alarm system. Two weeks ago, Amazon got YouTube back on the Echo Show by simply directing users to the web version, a workaround that left a lot to be desired. But even that version won’t be available after today.

In a statement this afternoon, a YouTube spokesperson announced that the company was withdrawing support for its service on both the Echo Show and, more importantly, Amazon’s Fire TV:

“​We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other's products and services. But Amazon doesn't carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn't make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest's latest products. Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

Another great reason to avoid CryptoCurrencies: CryptoKitties!

A new craze for virtual kittens(!) is slowing down trade in one of the largest crypto-currencies.

CryptoKitties lets players buy and breed "crypto-pets" on Ethereum's underlying blockchain network.

The game's developers told the Bloomberg news agency that CryptoKitties was a "key step" to making blockchains more accessible.

But its popularity has underscored one of the technology's biggest downsides: its lack of scalability.