31 March 2018

Schuberth's top helmets: C3Pro vs C4. My considered opinion & decision...

Background: I have used Schuberth motorcycle helmets (lids!) for many years, starting with a C2, then C3 World Edition (original model - not Pro or Basic), and have recently treated myself to a C4 Gloss White & Advanced Comms. I am also a bit of a Schuberth evangelist, having converted my wife (Kim) & a good friend (Brian) to C3 Basic helmets, and mentioning them several times in my Blog. We have two bikes mine is a Honda Crosstourer VFR1200X Highlander (touring screen), and my wife a Honda MSX125 Grom (naked). The below comments are with reference to my experiences on the Crosstourer.

C3: I've been very happy with my C3 which I used with Scala Rider Q1 TeamSet comms for 3-4 years. This helmet is really quiet (my wife & friend are also amazed at the quietness of these lids). I always used to ride with music from my smartphone playing through the Q1 - which was always clear, at pretty much any speed. I have taken many phone calls using this setup which were always clear - in fact I have often said to the caller "I'm on the bike at the mo, I'll call you when I get back to the office", to which the caller would often express amazement "You're on the bike?" - one really couldn't tell - the audio was so clear & wind noise so low, what wind noise there was: generally of a low frequency nature. I always have both vents open.

C4: While I really love the design of this helmet & integrated comms - it has a number of serious issues. The PinLock failed - easy fix. The big issue is wind noise. I find this a bit of a show stopper. Intrusive above 40mph. At 70mph it is really loud. At motorway speeds often I can't tell what song is playing! Phone calls received at motorway speeds are unintelligible - on one, we had to abandon the call as neither of us could understand what the other was saying! With the C4 the noise is of a higher frequency nature. I have tried opening / closing the vents, and while this does help, it doesn't solve the issue.

NB, Motolegends had this to say: "Firstly, noise. Schuberth haven’t announced a decibel rating for the C4. If it had been quieter than the C3 Pro’s 82 decibels, they would have made a song and dance about it. The fact that they haven’t tells us that the C4 is no quieter and, in all probability, it is somewhat noisier. And clever and high-tech as the C4’s comms. system is, in terms of pure functionality, the C3 Pro’s still has some benefits.

Resolution: My lovely C4 went back to Schuberth in Germany - who changed out some internal padding & supplied a new PinLock insert. Better, but still noisy and unacceptable. Sadly it had to go back to Infinity for credit - thanks for your help with this Trevor & the crew @ Southampton! I tried a Shoei Neotec 2 - which was a really nice piece of kit, but in the end decided to buy a Schuberth C3 Pro - Echo Orange, with SC10U SRC Bluetooth Comms system (same as Kim uses). This is fab, like my C3 world, just better! I'm a happy (Easter?) bunny once more!

30 March 2018

Churches Together in Denmead: Walk of Witness

Several members of our three churches came together in a joint act of worship and witness in Denmead today. 

It was a beautiful time together: singing hymns, praying, Bible readings. We started at Denmead Baptist Church, and ended at All Saints Church

The day was wet & cold, but we had a selection of lovely soups waiting at All Saints to warm us up once more!

29 March 2018

The revolution is coming, and it's electric!

The Bike Show: Like it or not, electricity as a motive force is here to stay and is only going to get better and more essential as the petrol engine is increasingly banned from cities. Having said that, it's not all doom and gloom as these two machines demonstrate.

28 March 2018

To quote Cliff Richard: "why should the devil have all the good music?" Pop & rock songs about faith in God

There are plenty of examples of mainstream artists turning their faith into great pop & rock songs - from Stormzy's Blinded By Your Grace ("Oh my God, what a God I serve") to Bob Marley's One Love ("Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right"), and of course Cliff Richard's Why should the devil have all the good music ("Cause Jesus is the Rock and He rolled my blues away").

So here are five other great songs you might not realise had a theological theme. Enjoy!

Foxconn announces purchase of Belkin, Linksys and Wemo

For years, Taiwan-based Foxconn has been best-known for manufacturing Apple products, but it also builds countless other consumer electronics. Today, one of the company's subsidiaries (Foxconn Interconnect Technology) announced it is purchasing US-based Belkin for $866 million in cash. Belkin owns a number of major brands, including Linksys and Wemo.

The buyout would make Foxconn a major player in consumer electronics, instead of just a contract manufacturing company. Belkin primarily sells phone/tablet accessories, but also manufactures networking equipment like routers and Wi-Fi range extenders. The company also sells a range of smart home products under the Wemo brand.

27 March 2018

Cracking device of the day: HP X2 Convertible Laptop!

Intel Atom x5-Z8350 1.92 GHz Turbo Processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Windows 10

All the essentials and four different modes at an affordable price. Go beyond laptop and tablet with stand and tent modes. With a thin and light design and unique magnetic hinge you can pick the perfect mode to work, watch, play and go.

Main Features
Go beyond laptop and tablet with stand and tent modes
Do great things confidently with the familiar feel of Windows-only better
With a thin and light design and unique magnetic hinge you can pick the perfect mode to work, watch, play and go

26 March 2018

Windows 10 Spring Creators Update - coming to a PC near you soon!

At some point next month, Microsoft will start to push out the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update.

When the OS upgrade is released proper, we'll be on the scene with the full details. In the meantime, here's your need to know:

* Microsoft reckons the operating system will take, on average, 30 minutes to install, which is much shorter than usual.
* The OS will feature a thing called Timeline, which presents a summary of what you've been up to over the past 30 days, with on-screen links to apps and documents.
* You can share files with physically nearby devices using a wireless feature called Nearby Share.
* Shell and other bits and pieces of the desktop will look nicer. You may be forced to use Edge, though, but at least you can mute the browser's tabs.
* The Photos app in Windows 10 will be updated to use the High Efficiency Image File Format, a change that promises to improve the quality and compression of pictures.

Exactly when this update – codenamed Redstone 4, aka version 1803 – will land, and what's actually in it, is anyone's guess right now as Microsoft is being coy about the final change log. The software is largely expected to roll out from April 10, that being the month's Patch Tuesday.

We love our dogs. Please be aware of Alabama Rot

About 60% of cases of Alabama rot, which has killed more than 100 dogs in the UK, occur in the first three months of the year, researchers have found.

New research by London's Royal Veterinary College is under way to try and discover more about the risk factors and spread of the disease.

The cause of the disease, which first occurred in the UK in 2012, is still unknown.

However, researchers have found there are more cases in autumn and winter.

All confirmed cases of Alabama Rot are detailed in the map on this pageIt is suspected the disease spreads from muddy and wooded areas - general advice is to wash any mud off your dog as soon as possible after a walk.

Don't be an April fool: backup your files on 31st March - it's World Backup Day!


A backup is a second copy of all your important files — for example, your family photos, home videos, documents and emails.

Instead of storing it all in one place (like your computer), you keep another copy of everything somewhere safe.

What do I need - to do a Backup?
1) Something to backup to: a quality hard drive.
2) Instructions: contact Donline.

25 March 2018

Planet Gemini Review: A Tiny Computer With Big Ideas

Gemini is an ultra-thin clamshell mobile device with fully integrated tactile QWERTY keyboard, that fits in your pocket. Designed for Android, it also features a dual boot Linux option. Gemini is fully equipped with 4G, WiFi & Bluetooth enabling both data communications and mobile phone calls.

Review by MrMobile [Michael Fisher]: Normally when I review a product, the question I’m trying to answer is whether it’s worth the asking price. But the Planet Gemini PDA was crowdfunded, willed into existence by almost 6,000 people pooling over $2 million on Indiegogo so that Planet Computers could build a modern version of the classic Psion PDA.

Well, mine is now on order - ETA hopefully May 2018. I've just gone for the WiFi model, not 4G version. Unlike most new bits of tech, I truly can't wait to receive this & hope that it lives up to my expectations... I'll let you know - in a couple of months!

What is Passion Week / Holy Week?

Passion Week (also known as Holy Week) is the time from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). Also included within Passion Week are Holy MondayHoly TuesdaySpy WednesdayMaundy ThursdayGood Friday, and Holy Saturday. Passion Week is so named because of the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of His people. Passion Week is described in Matthew chapters 21-27; Mark chapters 11-15; Luke chapters 19-23; and John chapters 12-19. Passion Week begins with the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday on the back of a colt as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9.

It is referred to as Passion Week because in that time, Jesus Christ truly revealed His passion for us in the suffering He willingly went through on our behalf. What should our attitude be during Passion Week? We should be passionate in our worship of Jesus and in our proclamation of His Gospel! As He suffered for us, so should we be willing to suffer for the cause of following Him and proclaiming the message of His death and resurrection.

23 March 2018

British Summer Time: 01:00hrs Sunday 25th March. Clocks go forward one hour!

This weekend sees us observing the ancient ritual of changing the clocks, so we're delving into the history books to see how telling the time has changed over time.

560 BC - The Ancient Greeks invent the sundial. It's about time. 
0 AD - Think putting the clocks forward is confusing? Try changing your entire calendar system. 
330 - The hour glass is invented. Easy to put back an hour. Tricky to time a 100m sprint. 
1629 - Invention of the cuckoo clock. Sales of rooster clocks plummet. 
1868 - The Swiss create the first wrist watch. No more lugging a grandfather clock around. 
1990 - Stop. Hammer time. 
2018 - You spend fifty nine minutes trying to change your car clock from 8am to 9am, only for it to do it by itself and still be wrong.
3027 - The digital watches are in charge now. You have to count your own steps.

Remember to adjust your clocks forward one hour!

With thanks to the lovely people at: Innocent Drinks

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.

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.

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.

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.

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"!

18 March 2018

The Story of God and Guinness: how the faith of Arthur Guinness inspired the vision for his famous beer.

Picture a young man sitting in a large cathedral in Ireland with his wife and small children. He lives around the time of our founding fathers and is a rising entrepreneur in Dublin. His name is Arthur Guinness, and he is a brewer, and it is hard to exaggerate just how important beer was to the people of Guinness’ day.

Guinness lived at a time when no one understood micro-organisms and how disease is spread. They routinely drank from the same waters in which they dumped their garbage and their sewage. Unknowingly, they polluted the rivers and lakes around their cities. People died as a result, and this made nearly everyone in Guinness’ day avoid water entirely. Instead, they drank alcoholic beverages.

To help heal their tortured society, some turned to brewing beer. It was lower in alcohol, it was safe—the process of brewing and the alcohol that resulted killed the germs that made water dangerous—and it was nutritious in ways scientists are only now beginning to understand. Monks brewed it, evangelicals brewed it and aspiring young entrepreneurs like Guinness brewed it. And they were respected and honored for their good works.

Read this great article in full (and be inspired) here:

17 March 2018

'Mini Beast from the East' brings snow and ice to parts of UK

I survived the blizzard of 2018. Not sure this chap will though.

UPDATE (AM 18/03/18): Does this count as surviving?

16 March 2018

Calli wishes everyone a great weekend!

It's been a long week, glad it's Friday. Almost Beer O'Clock!
Calli & I are off down the pub soon.
Have a great weekend everyone, stay safe, enjoy!

The Jesus Bible Infographic: there is no "BC"!

Filled with 66 book introductions, over 1,000 articles, and seven compelling essays on the grand narrative of Scripture that guide readers to treasure Jesus and encourage them to faithfully follow Jesus as they participate in his story, The Jesus Bible (Zondervan, 2017) helps readers follow the thread of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. It stresses that the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem isn’t the beginning of the story of Jesus. The entire Bible points to him.

MCN: Kawasaki's supercharged SX appeal

Despite what its name might suggest, the H2 SX is neither a supercharged H2 with added panniers and screen, nor the best-selling Z1000SX with the H2’s 197bhp engine wedged in. No, the H2 SX is much, much more than that.

So, for example, although the H2 SX’s tubular trellis frame is similar to that of the H2, its engine is mounted two inches further forward; its head stock is shallower and its wheelbase is extended (by 25mm) for added stability. There’s more: the frame tubing is thicker, plus the sub-frame has been strengthened to take a pillion plus luggage. 

Read more here: www.motorcyclenews.com

15 March 2018

Reading for today: New life & Salvation through Jesus Christ

...then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

Read all of Acts 4 at Bible Gateway

14 March 2018

Google bans crypto-currency adverts - about time too!

Google has moved to ban crypto-currency advertising from its platforms.

The move will affect promotional campaigns for initial coin offerings, Bitcoin exchanges, digital wallets to store the assets and trading advice.

A notice said the policy would be introduced in June but did not give an explanation why.

The BBC understands that Google decided to act because it felt there was a lack of appropriate consumer protections for highly speculative and complex trades.

Stephen Hawking & Monty Python: The Galaxy Song

World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.
He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said.
The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.

The Galaxy Song was originally written for the 1983 film “Monty Python – The Meaning of Life”. It had been re-recorded with the lyrics sung by Professor Stephen Hawking.
Written by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, "The Galaxy Song" is an intricate and informative lecture on the enormity of the Universe fashioned into a bewitching and, above all, highly amusing pop song. 

13 March 2018

Microsoft is killing off its Outlook web app. Time to download the iOS and Android apps!

Microsoft has decided to switch off its Outlook Web Apps (OWA) for iPhone, iPad and Android, instead pushing users to download and install the standalone Outlook app, which it said it has turned into an "award-winning app".

The company's OWAs effectively functioned as a halfway-house between the browser-based Outlook experience and the fully fledged Outlook app, offering functions that can only be provided by a native app such as contact syncing and push notifications.

Microsoft explained it's decided to discontinue the apps as of April, removing them from the App Store and Google Play. It will notify existing users of the expiry via in-app messages, advising them to instead install the standalone Outlook app for their platform.

Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, Google Home and more: The BBC puts 7 speakers to the test

For the last four weeks, Mark Savage (a BBC Music reporter) has been living in an Orwellian nightmare: "One in which I have to watch every word I say because "they" are always listening. And by "they", I mean Alexa, Siri and Google.

It seemed like a good idea - get seven smart speakers and test them in a real house to see how they affected our listening habits and daily routine.

At times, they've been pretty helpful. If we're running low on biscuits, one of us can bark, "Hey Siri, add Hob Nobs to the shopping list" and a reminder appears on our phones.

During Storm Emma, Google kept me up-to-date on train cancellations, while our kids amused themselves for hours by asking Alexa what noise a cat makes."

I have a Sonos One - with Alexa. The Alexa functionality works well, and certainly better than / more useful than, say Cortana (which is just a gimmick). The killer app is Sonos as a speaker - love it & will be gradually adding more Sonos devices. Really high quality audio, with great control from the Android app, PC app, and voice. Loads of music streaming services available too. Honestly: get one!