Friday, 18 January 2019

Amazon's Hit Car Show (or something like that!)

The Grand Tour: Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are back for another season of adventure and idiocy, travelling the world to drive everything from hypercars and Italian classics to RVs and American muscle. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to rampage around the globe with your most entertaining friends, don't ask these three. They find each other very annoying.

I still prefer Top Gear, but top marks for a very funny ad!

The ‘world’s most beautiful data center’ is a supercomputer housed in a Barcelona Church

From the outside, Torre Girona Chapel at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona looks like any one of the thousands of old churches that can be found throughout Spain, with a large cross mounted on the roof and a rose window perched above the entrance. Step through the chapel doors, however, and you won’t find any religious iconography or a congregation in prayer. Instead, you’ll find the 25th most powerful supercomputer in the world: the MareNostrum 4.

Heralded as the “most beautiful data center in the world,” the MareNostrum supercomputer came online in 2005, but was originally hosted in a different building at the university. Meaning “our sea” in Latin, the original MareNostrum was capable of performing 42.35 teraflops—42.35 trillion operations per second—making it one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe at the time.

Yet the MareNostrum rightly became known for its aesthetics as much as its computing power. According to Gemma Maspoch, head of communications for Barcelona Supercomputing Center, which oversees the MareNostrum facility, the decision to place the computer in a giant glass box inside a chapel was ultimately for practical reasons.

“We were in need of hundreds of square meters without columns and the capacity to support 44.5 tons of weight,” Maspoch told me in an email. “At the time there was not much available space at the university and the only room that satisfied our requirements was the Torre Girona chapel. We did not doubt it for a moment and we installed a supercomputer in it. ” 

Some Android GPS apps are just showing ads on top of Google Maps!

A security researcher with antivirus maker ESET has discovered a collection of 19 Android apps that pose as GPS applications but which don't do anything but show ads on top of the legitimate Google Maps service.

"They attract potential users with fake screenshots stolen from legitimate Navigation apps," said Lukas Stefanko, the ESET researcher who found them, who pointed out the 19 apps have been downloaded more than 50 million times.

The apps "pretend to be full featured navigation apps, but all they can do is to create useless layer between User and Google Maps app," the researcher said.

Stefanko says that the apps don't have any actual "navigation technology" and they only "misuse Google Maps."

Google is raising prices for G Suite (Google Apps). What does this mean for you?

The more than 4 million organizations using Google's G Suite productivity tools will see a price increase for the first time, Google announced in a recent blog post.

How much more will your business have to pay after Google's G Suite price increase? G Suite Basic edition will increase from $5 to $6 per user/month. G Suite Business Edition will increase from $10 to $12 per user/month at that time. Pricing for G Suite Enterprise Edition customers will remain at $25 per user/month.

For current G Suite Basic or Business Edition customers on the Flexible Plan, the new prices will go into effect on April 2. For those on the Annual Plan, the new prices will go into effect the first time their plan renews on or after April 2. The changes will not impact current contracts or renewals before that date, Google said in the post.

Enough of the bad news, how about a free 14 day trial & 20% off your 1st year's subscription to G Suite? Contact Donline for a discount code!

Isle of Wight: Is this the end for the Ryde Queen?

Restoration plans literally fall through after Isle of Wight paddle steamer collapses. The team leading the project, led by restoration enthusiast Lisa Turner, hoped to save the Ryde Queen and see her sail again.

Following an appraisal by National Historic Ships UK, which confirmed the vessel could be salvaged, Lisa agreed to purchase the vessel raised £5,000 for further survey and removal costs.

Currently languishing at Island Harbour, Newport, the Ryde Queen was due to be broken into eight sections and taken away, hopefully to be rebuilt.

However, it was revealed on the Friends of PS Ryde Facebook page that the vessel had deteriorated badly over the winter and could not be removed. Read the full statement here.

Such a sad ending for this historic ship, one that Kim's family once owned. Read Kim's memories & thoughts here, with more photos for the Ryde Queen (from May 2016).

Thursday, 17 January 2019

The sun is out, it's a beautiful day! 1st ride of the year, including Loomies

What a lovely day! Seemed a shame to waste it stuck in the office.
Soooo, out comes Holly, tyre pressures checked & off for the 1st ride of the year: 30+ miles A32, Loomies, Petersfield, Horndean, etc. Glorious! 
Not far, but enough to blow out the cobwebs.

While we are on the subject of biker cafes: looking for the best biker cafe near you? Use the Devitt Insurance handy UK biker cafe guide to find it! Covering the whole of Britain from Scotland to Wales, South West to the South East, it’s time to get planning your next ride out.

I've seen everything now: Honda Goldwing recovery vehicle - towing a car!

The tow bike operates under a special order granted by the Department for Transport after satisfying stringent road testing by the Vehicle Certification Agency and plays a significant role in rapid road clearance. 

The PR5 was on hand to capture the demonstration - lamentably the PA was actually this inaudible even to bystanders, but you can hear the clarity of sound from the mechanics of the demonstration.

I think the Honda Goldwing if an incredible bike & have had a soft spot for them since the '80s. I had an opportunity to ride the new model last year, which I loved, but it's pots of dough: so probably not... Also as it's a bit of a beast, it wouldn't make a great everyday bike - but for serious two up touring it'd be fantastic! 

These videos (1 & 2) show just how much power there is in that magnificent 1800cc flat-six engine. No-one wants to break down, but:

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The 2019 Open Doors World Watch List - the persecuted church

Open Doors are today officially launching the 2019 Open Doors World Watch List (our annual ranking of the top 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution) in Parliament. Thank you to everyone who has spoken out for our persecuted church family and invited their MP to the event over the last few months - your actions really do make a difference for our brothers and sisters. Pray that their courage and their witness will inspire MPs to act to bring about change for the persecuted church.

This video shows the cost that some Christians pay for their faith, and the top five countries where their faith costs the most. When you pray, give thanks to God that for most of us - our faith is protected in freedom, and remember our brothers & sisters in Christ who suffer for their faith.

You can keep up to date with stories, prayer points and ways to support your persecuted family on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

15 Martin Luther King Jr. quotes that will challenge you to take action

In the midst of his work to combat institutional racism within the United States, Martin Luther King Jr. relied heavily on principles taught in Scripture.

The wisdom and insights King gained as he helped lead the civil rights movement apply to us today, for injustice still exists among us in many forms and in many places.

Jesus once said, “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). King clearly hungered and thirsted for justice in the course of his efforts. His words can help us to embrace the same desire. Here are some of his most inspiring and challenging quotes.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

BMW showcases autonomous R1200GS at CES - no rider needed for this motorbike!

BMW made riders obsolete during a demonstration of its autonomous R1200GS motorcycle at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The self-driving bike starts, turns, accelerates, slows and stops all on its own and is a remarkable thing to see. You can check the bike out in action in this video from BMW Motorrad.

The intention isn’t to get rid of riders, however, but to show the features and technology that BMW is developing in safety and rider assistance. In recent years these advances have included tech that allows motorcycles and cars to communicate with one another and head-up display devices for helmets, in addition to refinements to traction control systems, ABS, and dynamic suspension.

Fraud scam: change of bank account details on email or invoices

Fraudsters no longer need access to your bank accounts in order to steal money. By hacking into your email, scammers can intercept invoices, changing the payment details of individuals and businesses.

They then troll and monitor your email account for an opportunity to intercept an invoice. For example, when you are purchasing goods and awaiting an invoice on email, or if your business is sending an invoice by email.

The scammers intercept an email, change the bank details on the invoice and send it on for payment. In many cases, they use spoofing to make the email address seem credible and trustworthy. Spoofing changes a letter or domain in the email address to make it appear legitimate.

The recipient pays the invoice thinking it comes from a legitimate source, when in fact the money is paid into the scammer’s account.

How to stay safe: Password Rules.
Stop & Think: Take Five To Stop Fraud.

Microsoft To-Do app gains pinnable lists on Windows 10 Mobile and PC

The Windows 10 Microsoft To-Do app received an update this morning that added a feature many have been wanting since the app first launched, pinnable lists.

Any To-Do list can now be pinned to the Start Menu or Start Screen on any Windows 10 device or Windows 10 Mobile Windows phone by right-clicking or performing a long press on the list name from the main app menu and selecting Pin to Start.

The pins themselves are surprisingly detailed and show the list’s title (including emoticon if used) and the list items in the same order as they appear within the app.

Monday, 14 January 2019

The 2019 New Bike Guide - by Bennetts BikeSocial

As we fly into 2019 and yet another bumper year of new machinery to ogle in the dealerships, at shows and on certain motorcycling websites, here’s your guide to the new wallet-twitching metal available in the new year, in alphabetical order by manufacturer including prices where known.

Friday, 11 January 2019

When a cheap smartphone costs more than you thought: pre-installed malware calling premium rate numbers!

A weather app that comes preinstalled on Alcatel smartphones contained malware that surreptitiously subscribed device owners to premium phone numbers behind their backs.

The app, named "Weather Forecast-World Weather Accurate Radar" was developed by TCL Corporation, a Chinese electronics company that among other things owns the Alcatel, BlackBerry, and Palm brands.

The app is one of the default apps that TCL installs on Alcatel smartphones, but it was also made available on the Play Store for all Android users --where it had been downloaded and installed more than ten million times.

But at one point last year, both the app included on some Alcatel devices and the one that was available on the Play Store were compromised with malware. How the malware was added to the app is unclear. TCL has not responded to phone calls requesting comment made by ZDNet this week.

According to Upstream, most of the behavior they've seen originated only from two types of smartphones, Pixi 4 and A3 Max models. However, the company doesn't have a worldwide view into infected devices, and many more could still be infected, especially users who downloaded the app from the Play Store.

All in all, the company says it detected and blocked over 27 million transaction attempts across seven markets, which would have created losses of around $1.5 million to phone owners if they hadn't been blocked.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

AI can solve CAPTCHA tests in under 0.05 seconds

Artificial intelligence could spell the end for one of the most widely used website security systems. A new algorithm, based on deep learning methods, is the most effective solver of CAPTCHA security and authentication systems to date. CAPTCHA is an acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart", a type of challenge–response test used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human.

Text-based CAPTCHAs use a jumble of letters and numbers, alongside other security features such as occluding lines, to distinguish between humans and malicious automated computer programmes. The system relies on people finding it easier to decipher the characters than machines.

Developed by computer scientists at Lancaster University in the UK as well as Northwest University and Peking University in China, the new algorithm delivers significantly higher accuracy than previous CAPTCHA attack systems, and is able to successfully crack versions where previous attacks failed. It is also highly efficient, able to pass a test within 0.05 seconds on a desktop PC.

Well that's impressive - it usually takes me about 10 seconds to work out what a CAPTCHA is trying to tell me!

Windows 10 v1903 to reserve 7GB of disk space for updates - not so good if you only start with 32Gb!

Microsoft has announced an important change regarding Windows 10 and reserved storage yesterday. Starting with the next Windows 10 update, which Microsoft explicitly named “1903” in the blog post (this is a first, to our knowledge), the desktop OS will now reserve disk space for OS updates, apps, temporary files, and caches. For the most part, this is about helping users to install system updates without having first to free up space on their PCs.

“Reserved storage will be introduced automatically on devices that come with version 1903 pre-installed or those where 1903 was clean installed,” wrote Jesse Rajwan, Program Manager at Microsoft. When reserved storage is enabled, it should take around 7GB of disk space, though Microsoft noted that the amount of storage will vary over time depending on optional features and installed languages that users choose.

I have supported a number of clients (one just this week) who have bought low cost "laptops" (such as this one - honestly DO NOT BUY ONE!) - which come with only 32Gb of onboard storage. Essentially, these devices have run out of storage - before you have even taken them out of the box! Then Microsoft want to take another ~7Gb. It's not gonna happen! 

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Christian Motorcyclists' Association

Taking the Christian Gospel to the UK Motorcycling Community

As Christians motorcyclists we are passionate about sharing the Gospel in every area of the motorcycling community.

As motorcyclists there is nothing more exciting than riding a motorcycle, but as Christians we have discovered that there is nothing as fulfilling as knowing Jesus personally.

I had the pleasure of meeting up with these lovely peeps at The Carole Nash Classic Bike Guide Winter Classic Bike Show - last weekend. I went up with great mate Jeff, the show was HUGE, we had no idea just how big & interesting it was going to be - so a fab trip all round. Highlight was meeting up with the CMA & chatting with them on their stand. Think Street Pastors - but for Bikers! Really impressed - I'm looking to sign Kim & me up. Have a look at their website & find out how Biking & Belief can be two sides of the same coin.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Stranger Things series 3 is coming!

1985 will never be the same...

Stranger Things returns for a third season: 4th July 2019 on Netflix.
It's a long time to wait: but watch the teaser trailer now!

Reading for today: C.S. Lewis - on coming to faith

Sometime in the spring (Trinity Sunday was May 22 that year, 1929) C.S. Lewis came to believe in God, though not yet in Christ:

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him of whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words compelle intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation. (Surprised by Joy, Chapter 14)

Friday, 4 January 2019

Still running Windows 7? About 1 year till Microsoft cans it...

Every Windows product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported.

Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to update, upgrade or make other changes to your software. 

Windows 7, service pack 1 - End Of Support: 14th January 2020

Not sure what to do next? Contact Donline.

TV licence email scam: More than 5,000 complaints in three months

A TV licence email scam has led to more than 5,000 complaints over the past three months.

Cyber crime monitor Action Fraud said fake TV licence emails regarding payment issues had been sent out to try to collect bank details.

The number of reports has increased in each of the past three months, with 1,805 complaints in December alone.

Action Fraud told the BBC the scam was "particularly nasty as it looks so convincing".

The emails use headlines such as "correct your licensing information" and "your TV licence expires today" in an attempt to convince people to click on the link in the email.

Action Fraud said it received 5,057 complaints about such emails between 1 October and the end of December.

Here is a typical example (one that I received myself). Look out for poor spelling or grammar, dodgy sender addresses, dodgy URLs, etc. 

Synology - upgrade DSM, SRM, and VS960HD for a critical vulnerability

The following issues may allow attackers to fully compromise any network-connected DiskStation, Synology routers, or VS960HD without authentication. 

We strongly advise that you upgrade your system to DSM 6.2.1-23824 Update 4, SRM 1.2-7742 Update 5, or Visual Station 2.3.3-1646 to resolve this vulnerability.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Apple's profits are down. So why is that?...

Tim Cook to investors: people bought fewer new iPhones because they repaired their old ones - Apple finally says that repair hurts its bottom line.

Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a letter to investors alerting them that the company would miss its revenue targets in part because Apple didn’t sell as many iPhones as it expected. The lengthy letter cites, specifically, that people are buying fewer iPhones because they are repairing their old ones.

Apple has long fought efforts that would make iPhones easier to repair: It has lobbied against right to repair efforts in several states, doesn’t sell iPhone replacement parts, sued an independent repair professional in Norway, worked with Amazon to get iPhone and MacBook refurbishers kicked off Amazon Marketplace, and has deals with electronics recyclers that require them to shred iPhones and MacBooks (as opposed to allowing them to be refurbished.) The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, has seized iPhone replacement parts from prominent right to repair activists in the United States.

59, 60... 60 years (almost) of the 59 Club!

With its impending 60th anniversary, the 59 Club, started by biking vicar, the Rev. Bill Shergold, is one of the oldest motorcycle clubs in the world. 

This film touches on the past & present from the 60's to the present. With roots in the ton-up boys, we meet two of the club leaders, Dick & Gal who joined in the Rocker period, but took on the running of the club nearly 50 years ago. 

We also meet the new chairman, the Rev. Sergiy Diduk, as they prepare for this historic period in the club's unbroken timeline. The club has always been about the fellowship of two wheels & wearing the iconic badge to show that your taste in life is particular.

Denmead in the news 2nd Jan 2019 - fortunately no-one was hurt.

More than 50 firefighters have been tackling a large blaze at a car repair and furniture workshop in Hampshire.

One eyewitness described seeing "a huge explosion" and a "fire ball at least 50 to 60ft high" coming from the building in Denmead, near Waterlooville.

Emergency services were called to Sheepwash Lane shortly after 16:00 GMT.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue said everyone had been accounted for. Two men were treated for minor burns and left in the care of the ambulance service.

The blaze, which involved gas cylinders, was brought under control by 18:00. A cylinder valve was later found in a nearby field.

A spokesman said the service received lots of calls and large plumes of black smoke were visible from surrounding areas. Yup - we could see a huge plume of black smoke from our house. Thank God that no-one was hurt.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year, welcome to 2019!

I pray that 2019 is a good year for us all: full of love, peace, health & happiness.

This is what the Lord says - he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Read all of Isaiah 43 at Bible Gateway