Sunday, 9 December 2018

Reading for today: Imitate the Shepherds

We must not cease to wonder at the great marvels of our God. It would be very difficult to draw a line between holy wonder and real worship; for when the soul is overwhelmed with the majesty of God's glory, though it may not express itself in song, or even utter its voice with bowed head in humble prayer, yet it silently adores.

Our incarnate God is to be worshipped as "the Wonderful." That God should consider his fallen creature, man, and instead of sweeping him away with the besom of destruction, should himself undertake to be man's Redeemer, and to pay his ransom price, is, indeed marvellous! But to each believer redemption is most marvellous as he views it in relation to himself. It is a miracle of grace indeed, that Jesus should forsake the thrones and royalties above, to suffer ignominiously below for you. 

Let your soul lose itself in wonder, for wonder is in this way a very practical emotion. Holy wonder will lead you to grateful worship and heartfelt thanksgiving. It will cause within you godly watchfulness; you will be afraid to sin against such a love as this. 

Feeling the presence of the mighty God in the gift of his dear Son, you will put off your shoes from off your feet, because the place whereon you stand is holy ground. You will be moved at the same time to glorious hope. If Jesus has done such marvellous things on your behalf, you will feel that heaven itself is not too great for your expectation. Who can be astonished at anything, when he has once been astonished at the manger and the cross? What is there wonderful left after one has seen the Saviour?

Dear reader, it may be that from the quietness and solitariness of your life, you are scarcely able to imitate the shepherds of Bethlehem, who told what they had seen and heard, but you can, at least, fill up the circle of the worshippers before the throne, by wondering at what God has done. 

Today's reading is taken from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotional.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Take the Bible Gateway Christmas Quiz

How well do you know all the facts about the birth of Jesus? Have fun taking this brief quiz to find out. Encourage your family, friends, and social media followers to try their hand at it, too.

Once you’ve finished, sign up for Bible Gateway free email Christmas devotionals and begin receiving them in your inbox.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

7 Advent practices that will make your December better

When December rolls around I feel more than a twinge of panic. There’s so much to do. Somehow it all gets away from me and I spend the month playing catch-up. Decorations to unpack, presents to buy, cookies to bake, parties to attend. I’d like to say that I’m reveling in the wonder of the season, but mostly I’m trying to keep all my plates spinning.

The irony is that, traditionally, December was not a season of festivities but fasting; not running but reflecting; not parties but preparation. The season of Advent—those four weeks that precede Christmas day - were set aside by Christians to prepare our hearts and minds for the joyful season to come...

Bet still & read more here: 

When To Say No To Riding. Six clues to judge when it’s best to not ride

The world is a big place, vast enough that no one can cover all of it in a lifetime. It is easy to be thirsty, to want to ride every inch of it when we are travelling. But sometimes it’s best to leave those miles unridden. Everyone has different thresholds for when it’s too hot, too cold, or too wet to ride. The same goes for state of mind, your health, and your level of conditioning. When do these variables form enough of a distraction to merit leaving the bike in the garage? When does exposure to riding conditions make the risk greater than the reward? Here’s where we might draw the line.

Nasty Weather
Extreme Heat
Chill Factor
State of Mind
High Risk
Low Reward

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Calli & some of her toys. It's Christmas soon. What could go wrong?

Dad, get these teds off me!
It's worse than that, there are more on the way!

STOP THE PRESS: Blockchain - "the answer to everything" - turns out to be pants.

Though Blockchain has been touted as the answer to everything, a study of 43 solutions advanced in the international development sector has found exactly no evidence of success.

Three practitioners including erstwhile blockchain enthusiast John Burg, a Fellow at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), looked at instances of the distributed crypto ledger being used in a wide range of situations by NGOs, contractors and agencies. But they drew a complete blank.

"We found a proliferation of press releases, white papers, and persuasively written articles," Burg et al wrote on Thursday. "However, we found no documentation or evidence of the results blockchain was purported to have achieved in these claims. We also did not find lessons learned or practical insights, as are available for other technologies in development."

Blockchain vendors were keen to puff the merits of the technology, but when the three asked for proof of success in the field, it all went very quiet.

Microsoft's Edge browser to be replaced with one one based on Chromium?...

Microsoft's Edge web browser has seen little success since its debut on Windows 10 back in 2015. Built from the ground up with a new rendering engine known as EdgeHTML, Microsoft Edge was designed to be fast, lightweight, and secure, but launched with a plethora of issues which resulted in users rejecting it early on. Edge has since struggled to gain any traction, thanks to its continued instability and lack of mindshare, from users and web developers.

Because of this, I'm told that Microsoft is throwing in the towel with EdgeHTML and is instead building a new web browser powered by Chromium, a rendering engine first popularized by Google's Chrome browser. Codenamed Anaheim, this new web browser for Windows 10 will replace Edge as the default browser on the platform, according to my sources who wish to remain anonymous. It's unknown at this time if Anaheim will use the Edge brand or a new brand, or if the user interface between Edge and Anaheim is different. One thing is for sure, however; EdgeHTML in Windows 10's default browser is dead.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Back from our hols, a great cruise to the Canaries. One of the highlights: Madeira by URAL sidecar outfit!!!

So: we FINALLY managed to get away on hols: tools downed - just having a fab old time. OK, we did get away  for 4 days in June: Devon & Cornwall. but I find that 4 days off work a year, somehow just isn't enough. I dunno, call me greedy...

A great holiday shared with our dear pals Brian & Tracy. We went on the Marella (Thomson / Tui) Dream on their 7/8 day Canarian Flavours cruise. We had a great time, went to great destinations, met some lovely people, lots of great food and drink.

What I want to share with you is the fantastic Ural sidecar tour of Funchal, MadeiraIf you find yourself in Madeira - contact Madeira Sidecar Tours - they are superb. Sadly the weather was a bit inclement - ranging between generally damp & light rain, but as I said to Filipe - our very able pilot - we are British & used to the odd bit of rain(!). 

Bri took the bathtub, I took the pillion seat. Very comfy for both of us! The URAL is agricultural, old fashioned, clunky, slow & under powered. Surely that makes it rubbish, I hear you ask? Not at all - I totally loved it! We averaged 15-20 odd MPH, never above 25mph. I have never had so much fun at such slow speeds! It was stable on slippery, inclined steep roads (up & down). It's got a huge boot & spare wheel!

I love the idea of taking Calli on my bike, but can't work out a safe way to take a 10-11 Kg beloved pooch. Sidecar: problem solved!

Only problem: URALs are (somehow) over £15k new!!! For that much, you can have the choice of pretty much any modern bike... Now, if I can find a pre EFI model for £3k on eBay, then that might work. But, where to put it? Aah, those first world problems...

What a great experience, the URAL is so unlike a normal bike - if you get a chance, try it - an absolute hoot! Now, back to modern bikes, but still with three wheels... Look what I have a trial set up on: the new Yamaha Niken! It is apparently a crazy, brilliant thing! Review to follow later this month...

Have a account? Your info may or may not have been stolen!

According to a customer update on Dell’s website, the computer company was hit with a hack earlier this month, and they’re being pretty darn vague about it.

Here’s what we know. On 9 November, the company noticed some “unauthorised” activity on its network, which was intended to steal customer information. Dell says that it quickly intervened and shut the hack down, likely before anything was breached. Then, out of “an abundance of caution,” (Dell’s words, not mine,) the company reset everyone’s passwords. Dell also hired a digital forensics team, and has launched an official investigation into the matter.

Dell does clarify that this potential breach could only have accessed names, email addresses and hashed passwords. Credit card information is stored separately and would not have been accessible, even if Dell hadn’t caught the breach when it did.

At the moment, the company is staying silent over how many accounts, if any, have been affected. In a press release from Wednesday, a Dell spokesperson announced that “though it is possible some of this information was removed from Dell’s network, our investigations found no conclusive evidence that any was extracted.” In short, your data might have been stolen, but also, your data might not have been stolen. Thanks, Dell.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

We're in December: so it's time for Child of Hope's new Christmas videos!

It’s that time of year again - the Child of Hope Christmas Party is fast approaching! 

The children have been working hard to bring you a Christmas extravaganza this year - a hilarious nativity video each day for 11 days, starting on Dec 1.

Every year we aim to bring a little Christmas joy to the whole community surrounding Child of Hope, including our students and their siblings, parents, invited guests and community leaders - after all, it would be unfair to keep all the fun to ourselves!

Could you donate to help us put on the party? It would help to provide food, drink, a present for the children and a fantastic party for around 1,300 people who live in one of the poorest places on Earth. This will be the best meal they have all year for some of them it may be the first proper meal they have had since the last Christmas party. We can only do this thanks to your generosity, so a huge Thank you for any amount you are able to donate.

If you would like to donate to the party, please click HERE for our JustGiving page.

The new Christmas film from Spoken-Truth: Mess

Mess. It’s just one word. One syllable that brings to mind a whole load of images….messy ones! And at Christmas time, this one messy syllable word seems to shift into top gear! I think of the post-Christmas dinner-plate pile-up, or the decor of celebration wrappers between the sofas (Malteaser ones!)

It’s fair to say there was a fair bit of mess at the very first Christmas too. As Mary and Joseph trekked down to Bethlehem for a census, there was no room for them to stay. So the young couple welcomed Jesus into the world, with a bunch of animals as his roommates (some scholars claim it was almost as bad as living with students).

But Jesus didn’t just enter the mess of a downstairs room with a feeding trough, he entered the mess of our world too. It was a message that has been posted in versus throughout scripture, one will come to fix up the mess.

The Christmas story is about the one who was born in the Mess. You see ‘Mess’ is only central to the Christmas story when it’s an abbreviation. When it’s followed up with 3 letters i.a.h. - it changes everything.