Thursday, 19 November 2020

Watch the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor - as you've never seen it before! Set to full screen & prepare to be mesmerised!

Here is an EXCLUSIVE production showcasing the United States Air Force F-22 Raptor like you’ve never seen before. Get ready to strap in for the ride of a lifetime. 

The F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team performs precision aerial maneuvers at airshows across the world to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the world's premier 5th generation fighter aircraft. The team also performs with the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation to showcase modern day fighter jets flying in formation with World War II, Korean, and Vietnam era aircraft.

The team is stationed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia. In March 2007, the team participated in its debut air show at Tyndall Air Force Base. Since then, the team has performed more than 250 demonstrations across the world.

Living Advent Calendar tells Nativity story

AMATEUR writers and actors from across the Havant area have come together to create a Living Advent Calendar. It tells the Nativity story through video, as a way to prepare for Christmas in Covid times.

The story of Jesus’s birth will be told through 26 separate dramatic monologues, each portraying a different character in the Nativity story. Every morning during Advent, a new video will be unveiled on Youtube. Those following the story can simply click on a new clip daily – the virtual equivalent of an Advent calendar, but with real people behind each window.

Some of the two or three-minute videos were recorded ahead of November’s lockdown at St Francis Church, Leigh Park. The remaining videos will be recorded once lockdown restrictions are lifted in December.

Among the characters featured are Mary, Joseph, the angel Gabriel, shepherds and Magi. But the writers have also written scripts for characters who are rarely portrayed, such as Mary’s mother, a Roman official announcing the census, and Herod’s servant.

The first video will be available on Advent Sunday – November 29 – and they will then be unveiled each day until Christmas Eve.

The project has been co-ordinated by the ecumenical Havant Passion Play group, which presented outdoor performances telling the story of Jesus in the summers of 2015, 2017 and 2019. Those performing in this new production come from churches of all denominations across Havant, Waterlooville, Emsworth, Bedhampton, Petersfield, Rowlands Castle and Leigh Park.

The Living Advent Calendar videos will be on their Youtube channel and on their website, as well as on Facebook.

Some people never learn - behold the poopie password top ten


It's that time of year again -- when we see whether or not password security has improved over the past 12 months. Going back to 2015, the worst passwords still commonly used included "123456" and "password." Fast forward five years, and these examples are still very much alive. 

After analyzing 275,699,516 passwords leaked during 2020 data breaches, NordPass and partners found that the most common passwords are incredibly easy to guess -- and it could take less than a second or two for attackers to break into accounts using these credentials. Only 44% of those recorded were considered "unique."

On Wednesday, the password manager solutions provider published its annual report on the state of password security, finding that the most popular options were "123456," "123456789," "picture1," "password," and "12345678."

OK 1-9 are obviously terrible passwords, but what is #10: "senha"? It is a Portuguese word which means, yes you guessed it: "password"!

Armchair Adventure Festival - all-live virtual adventure festival! 27th-29th November 2020


The Armchair Adventure Festival is the world’s first all-live virtual adventure festival!

In April 2020 we screened three days of talks, live Q&A’s and films from some of the world’s most adventurous people and now we’re coming back for a winter edition! 

We’ll be going live once more from the 27th-29th November with a whole host of adventurous guests. 

The festival is completely free to attend but if you would like to you can make a voluntary donation to our chosen charity for the event which is COCO – an international children’s charity.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Calli at Sandy Point - Hayling Island

Kim & I have taken a week off work. We can't go away sadly (what with COVID), but went for a some blustery walks (socially distanced of course!) on the seaside near to where we live. The above piccie is Calli on the sea defences at Sandy Point - Hayling Island. She loves going to the beach - a true mini adventure for our pup!

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

British built BSA motorcycles coming soon?

BSA looks set to make a comeback thanks to Mahindra owner who is reviving the brand and planning to begin building bikes in the UK next year!

Chairman of the Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra is reported to be the main backer of the project and is planning to build a range of electric bikes in the UK. Production is set to begin in the middle of 2021 and the location of the plant is being rumoured to be near to the original Small Heath site in Birmingham. There are plans afoot to begin building a research facility located in Banbury to develop the electric bikes which should be ready within the year.

The move to revive the brand has got the seal of approval from the UK government, who have provided BSA with a £4.6m grant to help put the wheels in motion. The money was provided to assist with the development and construction of the bikes, something that is hoped to bring with it at least 255 jobs.

Speaking to the Guardian, Mr Mahindra said: “The UK was the leader in bikes right from the start, provenance is something that we really want to retain.”

While the firm is going to start off building some electric machines, Mahindra plans for the company to also begin building traditional petrol power bikes in the near future also. While specifics around any of the models are as yet unknown, the Guardian reports that the machines will be priced between £5,000 and £10,000.

What's wrong with motorcycling nowadays & how to fix it...

PowerDrift says: The Honda H'ness CB350, has reached five Honda Big Wing dealerships in India, and bookings are open. The Rs 1.85 lakh (starting price, ex-showroom) motorcycle is unabashedly aimed at the Royal Enfield 350s, whose hegemony in its class has, so far, proven impossible to challenge or upset.

Firstly, I didn't understand the name: why H'ness? Shumi on this excellent video puts it in context. The CB350 H'ness is going up against Royal Enfield in it's home market: India. So we have Royal vs Highness - geddit? :0)

Secondly: what's the problem with the motorcycle market as a whole? Back in the olden days when I was a lad - lots of young guys & gals wanted the freedom of a bike - your own exciting & affordable motorised transport. Nowadays most younglings don't want a bike and seem to go straight to cars.

Also, in motorcycles, the name of the game is: bigger, more powerful, more expensive. Each time there is a revision to a model: take Triumph (Tiger, Bonneville) or Honda (Africa Twin) as examples - we have the manufacturers raising the game. Great if you are of a certain age / experience, not so good if you are young and/or cash strapped.

The problem is that if people don't join the motorcycling fraternity at a younger age, they are less likely to join as they get older. Look at Harley-Davidson at the moment with their  plummeting market share (watch this brilliant explanation by FortNine).

Now look to India at what Royal Enfield & Honda are doing. Great looking, affordable, fun machines. If manufacturers offered these models in the West (including the UK) I confidently predict they would be snapped up. Somehow (& sadly) I can't see it happening. The manufacturers must think: why devalue the brands? They would rather sell a diminishing few at top dollar, than loads at a slim margin... That said, I do hope the CB350 H'ness will be made available in the UK, and a new generation of bikers could be welcomed to our ranks!

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Reading for today: On how we can make space for God's word in our daily lives


The voice of God indeed daily calls to us; calls to the world to abandon sins and seek the Kingdom of God wholeheartedly. 

O that we may all hear the call of the Father and, sometime, at last be converted to the Lord.

In silence and in meditation on the eternal truths, I hear the voice of God which excites our hearts to greater love.

By C.S. Lewis

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II 

Compiled in Words to Live By

Monday, 9 November 2020

Government crackdown on number plate cloning by lawless criminal gangs


Doubling of cases reported to DVLA prompts surveillance commissioner to introduce certification system for businesses selling number plates. Criminal gangs are exploiting a lawless “wild west” trade in number plates to clone vehicles and evade detection by police cameras, a surveillance tsar has warned, as the Home Office prepares a crackdown on the practice.

Tony Porter, the surveillance camera commissioner, said the growing abuse of number plates meant innocent people were increasingly being wrongly accused of crimes and road traffic offences committed by criminals who had cloned their vehicle registrations.

He has prepared a report for Home Office ministers that will introduce a certification system for businesses selling number plates and increase fines for those found guilty of cloning them.

Mr Porter, a former police chief and counter-terrorism officer, said there were up to 40,000 outlets selling plates with many flagrantly disregarding laws that bar them from issuing new numbers unless they have proof of the car ownership through registration documents.

Friday, 6 November 2020

Across the world, Covid-19 has brought much sadness to many people. #PrayerfortheNation


‘On the brink of this second lockdown we might understandably feel helpless, anxious and vulnerable.’ says the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, ‘… we do what we can to halt the spread of this virus – but we can still feel powerless. Is there anything else we can do? Really do?  Yes. Yes there is. We can pray. Prayer is my first response when I feel out of my depth, when I need help, when I am worried, when I am concerned for those I love... Prayer changes things.'

Thy Kingdom Come invite you to join us over the next 4 weeks of #PrayerfortheNation

Every day we will pause and pray at 6pm for those impacted by the pandemic. You can set an alarm, light a candle or use a light on your mobile phone as a prompt to pray, or you may even hear a church or cathedral bell ring as a reminder.

Follow us on social media for daily prayers, and you can find an easy to use, printable prayer booklet here, to help you as you pray over the next 4 weeks. You can also explore the Church of England’s website for further resources.

Click here to watch the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, inviting you to join #PrayerfortheNation.

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Do you need HOPE in your life?


The HOPE Gospel Magazine is an excellent means of sharing the Word of God. Since the launch in March 2020 over 110,000 copies have been distributed. They contain the entire Gospel of John and many extracts from the Psalms and are presented in an attractive easy to read A4 magazine format with many photos of scenes from around the country.

If you would like to receive a free copy of this wonderful introduction to Jesus's Good Newsplease follow this link.

Stay safe while using online banking

Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Stop and think. It could protect you and your money.

Avoid using a search engine to access your online bank account. Instead create a link to your bank's homepage into the address bar of your browser.

Never click on a link in an email that takes you to a log in page.

Never tell anyone your credentials, passwords or verification codes - not even your bank!

If somebody calls you and asks you to download something on to your device and then asks you to log in to your account, stop! It’s a scam!

Remember, neither your Bank nor the Police will ask you to move your money to another account to keep it safe.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Denmead Act of Remembrance: Sunday 8th November 2020

This year we are unable to gather for a physical Act of Remembrance on the village green on Remembrance Sunday.  

Instead, at 10.45am on Sunday 8th November 2020 we will share a virtual Act of Remembrance. Click on the this link to join in from home.

Support The Royal British Legion by buying your poppies and poppy items online, at the Poppy Shop, this Poppy Appeal.

Monday, 2 November 2020

Covid-19 and motorbikes: Travel restrictions return to England

With Boris Johnson confirming a return to nationwide ‘lockdown’ from Thursday, November 5, the government has told people they must not travel unless it’s an essential journey. To that effect, recreational motorcycling is on pause for at least the next four weeks.

That doesn’t mean you can’t ride your motorcycle at all – you can still use a bike for essential journeys, such as going for food and medicine or visiting someone in your support bubble, but you can’t head out for a ride with some mates. The government guidance has also said you may make a short journey for exercise, however at the time of writing they have not said how far you may travel other than saying you should stay within your local area.

UPDATE (19/11/20): update from Andrew Dalton’s blog as to whether we can ride our motorbikes during lockdown: In a nutshell, our view is that riding a motorbike is “open air recreation” and you can do it in a “public outdoor place”. This includes a “highway.” If Parliament had intended anything else it would have stated that. However, to be clear, if you go out with 10 of your mates for example, you are in breaking the law.

Saturday, 31 October 2020

What’s happening at Motorcycle Live 2020? Join in Online: during the week of 21-29 November 2020

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year’s Motorcycle Live will be different with fans set to indulge in a virtual experience for the week November 21-29.

Hosted on the Motorcycle Live website, through email campaigns and supported by the industry, fans will be able to witness the unveiling of new bikes, enter competitions and take part in Q&A sessions with some of the UK’s biggest motorcycle stars, including former World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty and fans will even get a chance to win a private chat with Foggy himself courtesy of Bikesure. 

As fans won’t be able to roam the NEC in Birmingham, Motorcycle Live Online will have a themed day, everyday for the week: 

21st – Launch Day and New Metal (although this theme will be running through the whole show)

22nd – New Metal (although this theme will be running through the whole show)

23rd – Sports/Naked

24th – Future Day

25th – Adventure/Off-road Day

26th – New Riders

27th – Classic/Retro/Custom

28th – BSB Day

29th – TT Day

Don Rides the fantastic Honda GoldWing Tour - part II


So, I had the fantastic Honda GoldWing Tour (with DCT & airbag) for 48 hours - Weds, Thurs & Fri. "What travels & adventures did you get up to then Don", I hear you ask. Actually not so much! For the three days that I had the bike it tipped down with rain!  I had a great but very wet & windy ride down on Weds. Nothing at all on Thursday - owing to non stop rain & pressure of work. On Friday, for half of the return journey to Doble Motorcycles in Coulsden the skies threw with rain! When I got to Guildford it started to dry up - then the rest of the journey was dry. My route was Waterlooville, A3 to Tolworth, Stoneleigh, Ewell, Banstead, Chipstead, Coulsden.

I'd have loved to have spent much of my 48 hour loan - in the saddle of this lovely bike but the weather truly wasn't conducive to truly having fun on a 383Kg (yes you did read that right) bike. Such a shame. God willing lets see if we can revisit this experience in Spring or Summer next year? When I wasn't worrying about the downpour or the state of the roads - the ride was sublime: smooth but powerful ability to cruise. This would be a wonderful bike to tour on - for rider & pillion. Kim didn't get to go for a ride on the Wing, but she had a go in the rear seat & found it very comfortable. Calli liked it too!

The Wing is a truly impressive machine: 1800cc flat 6 engine, 7 speed DCT gearbox, 4 speaker sound system, SatNav, cruise control, heated grips, heated rider & pillion seats (pillion seat is independently adjustable), perspex air dams offering wonderful wind & rain protection, electrically adjustable windscreen, keyless start, start / stop technology, great luggage capacity, & amazing fuel economy for such a big beast (best part of 50MPG).

The finish is typically top drawer Honda - paint was beautiful in "pearl hawkseye blue". You could imagine the pride of ownership that comes with such an amazing motorcycle. However as I observed in Sept 2018, you'd struggle if this was your only bike - it is very big(!), not sure it's the right tool for scratching round the back lanes on a weekend... 

I handed the wonderful Wing back to Paul @ Doble & collected my amazing Ariel from Robin in the service dept. I have to say, I love my CB1000R+ - what an incredible, life affirming bike! It rained for ~1/2 the journey back but because she is so short, light, fast & dynamic - I didn't really notice it! I had to give her a good scrub (Praise the Lord for MuckOff!) before tucking her away in the garage.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Bobby Ball 1944-2020 RIP. Rock on Bobby


Bobby Ball, one half of the comedy double act Cannon and Ball, has died at the age of 76, his manager has confirmed.

His death comes after the actor and comedian tested positive for Covid-19.

Ball was one half of the comedy duo alongside his long-time friend and colleague Tommy Cannon.

He also starred in several sitcoms including Not Going Out, Last of the Summer Wine, Benidorm and Heartbeat.

YouTube: Legendary comic, Bobby Ball, comes 'Together' with staff at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, to unite everyone together in reaction to the Covid-19 situation.

Thanks Bobby for bring joy to our lives, there'll be tears of laughter in Heaven.

Thursday, 29 October 2020

In these difficult days - everyone needs Good News


The Bible is a collection of 66 different books and letters, written over a period of approximately 1500 years up to about 100 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is divided into two major parts, called the Old Testament (the first 39 books) and the New Testament (the last 27 books). 

The Bible is a book primarily about God’s revelation of himself to mankind and his relationship with people.  It is not just a book of history, but its accounts of God’s dealings with individuals and nations are as relevant to the modern world as they have been to every age since they were written.

The Bible has stood the test of time, the greatest test of all literature.  It was completed nearly 2,000 years ago, yet is now read more than any other book and by people of widely varying cultures.

Although the Bible is the World's best selling book - there is no need for you to buy a copy. Request a FREE Bible: if  you would like a free Bible for yourself or someone you know, please fill out the form on this link.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Ariel my CB1000R is in for a service @ Doble - look what I have for a 24 hour loan!

Ariel: my lovely CB1000R+ is in Doble Motorcycles for a somewhat overcooked 600 mile service. While arranging the service I asked the nice chaps if I could have a 48 hour loan of the 2020 GoldWing - they agreed - so I have her from Weds to Fri this week!

When I woke up this morning, it was raining cats & dogs in Denmead! I thought this is going to be a very wet day's riding! Doble are in Coulsden (near Croydon) so a fair old trek in the rain... However, as it happens (thanks Lord!) the ride up was pretty much bone dry. Ariel is a fantastic bike - wonderfully quick, nimble & satisfying to ride, especially on fast, twisty A roads. This morning I didn't notice the buffeting (she's a naked bike - so no wind protection) that has plagued me on motorway journeys in the past. Perhaps that's just an issue on particularly blustery days? I went up the A3 to Tolworth, then East to Ewell, Banstead, Coulsden - a fab ride!

After a good chat with Robin, Steve & Paul at Doble, we swapped bikes & I headed back home - the scenic route: via Reigate, Dorking, Horsham, Petworth, Goodwood, Chichester, Denmead. Great roads, but terrible weather! Varied between fine skies, absolutely throwing it down, howling wind, roads were very wet & loads of slushy leaves - so not ideal conditions for playing with this wonderful & very powerful machine - ho hum. Fortunately my Rukka gear kept me dry & warm. What also helped was the the GoldWing's excellent weather protection including an electrically adjustable windscreen and toasty heated grips & seats!

I have previously spent an hour or so in the seat of a big wing - loved it then, still love it now! Deffo one for my fantasy garage. More of my thoughts & findings on this remarkable bike to follow over the next couple of days. TTFN!

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Ooo, look! Zoom now has end-to-end encryption at last!


Zoom’s end-to-end encryption (E2EE) has arrived, letting both free and paid users secure their meetings so that only participants, not Zoom or anyone else, can access their content. 

Zoom says E2EE is supported across its Mac, PC, iOS, and Android apps, as well as Zoom Rooms, but not its web client or third-party clients that use the Zoom SDK.

E2EE has launched in technical preview, which means Zoom is asking for feedback on the feature for 30 days. However, the company says that E2EE will continue to be available after this period. Instructions on how to enable it can be found in Zoom’s help centre.

Once E2EE is enabled, you can check Zoom is using the more secure kind of encryption using the green shield at the top left of a meeting window. The shield will show a padlock rather than a checkmark if the meeting is encrypted end-to-end.

Allow me to introduce a friend: James Leeper - Executive, Career Management & Change (Life & Spiritual) Coach.

JAMES LEEPER BA (Hons): I am an Executive, Career Management & Change (Life & Spiritual) Coach. I offer 1-to-1 Coaching for those aspiring to lead a ‘Full Life' successfully when encountering job, or life transition. I am a Unitive™ trained coach and an Accredited Practitioner with PRISM Brain Mapping

I coach people who are encountering change. I delight in supporting individuals encountering change in challenging environments. I work with people who have ambitions, who want time-out to download, review and re-energise; those who are facing anxious or are in turbulent times; those who would like to have a steadying, helping hand. I accompany people in setting out to find their direction, in obtaining and maintaining fulfilling work that is right for them - “no panic buying!”

There are so many possible situations that can be a cause of concern, very likely with fear or uncertainty and trepidation or even possibly with a sense of despondency and despair when we are meeting change head on. What situation, change or transition are you encountering? These are just some I know people can experience: -

• Working from home and isolation is sapping or impairing your focus.

• Undergoing job loss.

• Wanting to, yet, finding it a real difficulty to change jobs.

• Struggling to move on in life.

• The CV is not working.

• Failing to get any interviews.

• Making a hash of interviews.

• Your manager is the “demon from the devil’s side”.

• Being impacted by events from outside work.

• Wanting to perform better to meet your aspirations and ambitions.

• A new role through promotion or secondment.

• Seeking a return to work after having had time out for a break.

• Being in a family supportive role with loneliness and despair creeping in.

• After a period of illness, need help in rebuilding confidence in finding the right job for you.

People value me as a calm and caring person with sensitivity, underpinned by my own set of values founded upon and around “Generosity of Heart”. I empathise with the difficulties people face and how it can impact upon performance and self-worth. This allows me to engage as a trusted companion on their journey; to motivate and navigate them in their desire to manage and develop in their life.

My own change journey started when I became a self-employed Consultant after working within Specialty Insurance in the Lloyd’s of London Insurance Market for 20 years. I hired a Sales Coach and a Personal Coach so that I could learn, develop and grow. My Personal coach, Charles Bentley, inspired me to become a coach because he saw and believed in my skill as Coach. 

When I was a seconded Non-Exec Director/Charity Trustee of SCOPE, this introduced me into the emerging world of Diversity and Inclusion. My own functional dyslexia, along with a family member coping with mental wellbeing means that my whole life experience enables me to journey with others to explore the ‘Undiscovered Country’, to step beyond seemingly daunting change frontiers and be true to ourselves and the world around us.

I am married (40 years) to a lovely wife and we have 4 grown up children and one grandchild. We live in a small cottage in Cumbria in the beauty of the surrounding Howgills. We have a young and very exuberant “Blue” Great Dane”, who occasionally likes to be my personal assistant in “recycling” my recycling! We share our garden with Red Squirrels and a variety of extraordinary wildlife, that all adds to the wellbeing and spiritual side of my coaching for you.

Give me a call on 03330 064219 (standard rate) or send an e-mail - and let’s arrange a video call. We can discuss what’s going on in your life? and let’s get you moving on.

Reading for today: Hold fast to the truth, but quid est veritas?

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy, Chapter 4

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Gospel of John, Chapter 8 - What is Truth?

Disposing of rechargeable batteries or appliances with fixed batteries? Please recycle safely!


Small fires like the above are surprisingly common at recycling centres. Somewhere in the UK there is one every day, on average.

As a result the industry has become good at extinguishing them, but they would rather not deal with them at all, particularly as recycling centres are full of combustible materials.

The problem is that however attentive staff might be to the threat of fire, they can't control what people put in their recycling bins.

The Environmental Services Association (ESA), which represents waste firms like Biffa, Veolia and Suez, says too many batteries are going into either recycling bins or black rubbish bags, where they are easily damaged by sorting equipment and start to burn - so-called "zombie" batteries.

The ESA has launched a campaign called Take Charge which encourages people to dispose of batteries properly.

"Unfortunately, the majority of batteries thrown away in the UK at the moment are not put in the proper recycling bins. Fires caused by carelessly discarded zombie batteries endanger lives, cause millions of pounds of damage and disrupt waste services," says Jacob Hayler, executive director of ESA.

Friday, 23 October 2020

What’s new in the Windows 10 October 2020 Update


The Windows 10 October 2020 Update has started to become available to customers as a free update.

This year has continued to bring about change for many of us. Change in how we connect to one another, how we work, how we learn, even how we have fun. And that change is starting to feel more permanent, especially with kids going back to school adapting to remote learning and connection with their teachers and classmates or workplaces shifting to hybrid environments. Throughout all of this, the PC has become the essential device to keep us connected across our lives; it’s become our office, our classroom, even our playground. As we all adapt, live and learn through this together, one constant that remains is our commitment to you, our customers. We know you are counting on us, on Windows to stay connected to what matters.

As part of this commitment, we’re pleased to share the features and improvements coming with the Windows 10 October 2020 Update, many of which are requested features from you to help make your experience on Windows even better.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Former Google CEO Calls Social Networks "Amplifiers for Idiots"

Former Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt said the “excesses” of social media are likely to result in greater regulation of internet platforms in the coming years.

Schmidt, who left the board of Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. in 2019 but is still one of its largest shareholders, said the antitrust lawsuit the U.S. government filed against the company on Tuesday was misplaced, but that more regulation may be in order for social networks in general.

The context of social networks serving as amplifiers for idiots and crazy people is not what we intended,” Schmidt said at a virtual conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. “Unless the industry gets its act together in a really clever way, there will be regulation.”

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Honda have just released the new look MSX125 Grom Mk3. Dunno that this is an improvement...


Since 2013, our MSX Grom (Mini Street X-Treme) has been transport of choice for a whole new generation of young riders around the world. It’s easy to see why; individual looks, compact dimensions and full-sized motorcycle-specification, suspension and brakes. Add a peppy 125cc engine, and it’s the perfect partner for busy urban life. And now, there’s a new MSX Grom on the block, with extra power, an extra gear, and even more style.

Well you learn something new every day: MSX stands for Mini Street X-Treme! I had no idea what MSX stood for! Dunno if we like the new design - looks like someone has machine-gunned it! However the Grom now has 5 (count 'em!) gears, how very modern-ish! Think we'll stick with Grommit.

Looks like a motorcycle tour of France will become even more appealing soon!

Compared to the UK’s motorway network, much of the French autoroute network already put the UK’s aged motorway network to shame. Break stops every ten kilometres or so, open-air picnic-stops and a relatively high level of facilities – although to access some of these you will need to be riding on a toll road.

Now though, the APRR (Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône) is making motorway motorcycle touring across the channel a much more pleasurable affair with the inclusion of motorcycle-specific – and in some cases motorcycle only-facilities.

 Le Repaire des Motards (Motorcycle Corners) will provide travellers with some essential maintenance equipment, chain lube, tyre repair kits, cleaning kit, straps and even rain kit! On top of that, riders can also take advantage of free helmet storage while taking a break.

Some areas are even getting what APRR is calling a ‘bikers relay’ which is reported to offer free coffee to riders and even an area for wet and weary travellers to dry out their riding kit!

Véronique Tallon, Customer Director of the APRR said: “We are boosting our service offers free of charge or at the price charged outside the motorway, with a network proportionate to the needs of our customers. Here, with motorcycle professionals, we provide a complete response awaited by bikers. Our goal: to facilitate and safely accompany their trips, to provide maximum pleasure!”

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Poppy Appeal 2020 - please support those who serve

Every poppy makes a difference to the lives of our Armed Forces community.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, we are working hard with our members, staff, volunteers and partners to create a range of ways for people to get involved in this year's Poppy Appeal. From buying a poppy in your local supermarket or making an online donation, to doing your own fundraising with family and friends. 

Like so many things this year, the Appeal has had to adapt to the threat of Covid-19. We're calling on the public to support us like never before, because every poppy counts.

Buy a Poppy: support The Royal British Legion by buying your poppies and poppy items online, at the Poppy Shop, this Poppy Appeal.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Reading for today: come into the light

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 

This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

MC Garage Video: The Motorcycle Kill-Switch Mystery (safe or not?)

What’s the right way to shut off your bike—with the key, or with the kill switch first? And is there any harm in doing it one way or the other? 

While you may think this is a silly question (we certainly did at first), it turns out there are loads of people concerned about this very topic

So whether you’ve never considered the subject or you think about it every time you shut off your bike, we’ll get to the bottom of things in this video from the MC Garage.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Calli has been for a (long overdue) wash & brush up - look!


Owing to various things, Kim & I missed Calli's last haircut slot with Pam - so our darling pup had turned into a proper shaggy dog story! 

However the revised date arrived today & Pam worked her magic on our dear dawg - what an improvement! 

Well done Pam - as always x

The Social Dilemma - a brilliant new film that explores the threats posed by social media

We tweet, we like, and we share - but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media? As digital platforms increasingly become a lifeline to stay connected, Silicon Valley insiders reveal how social media is reprogramming civilization by exposing what’s hiding on the other side of your screen.

The world has long recognized the positive applications of social media, from its role in empowering protesters to speak out against oppression during the Arab Spring uprisings almost a decade ago, to serving an instrumental role in fighting for equity and justice today. And in 2020, during an astonishing global pandemic, social media has become our lifeline to stay in touch with loved ones, as well as proving to be an asset for mobilizing civil rights protests. However, the system that connects us also invisibly controls us. The collective lack of understanding about how these platforms actually operate has led to hidden and often harmful consequences to society—consequences that are becoming more and more evident over time, and consequences that, the subjects in The Social Dilemma suggest, are an existential threat to humanity.

The Social Dilemma is a powerful exploration of the disproportionate impact that a relatively small number of engineers in Silicon Valley have over the way we think, act, and live our lives. The film deftly tackles an underlying cause of our viral conspiracy theories, teenage mental health issues, rampant misinformation and political polarization, and makes these issues visceral, understandable, and urgent. Through a unique combination of documentary investigation and entertaining narrative drama, award-winning filmmakers Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Ice, Chasing Coral) and Larissa Rhodes (Chasing Coral) have once again exposed the invisible in a manner that is both enlightening and harrowing as they disrupt the disrupters by unveiling the hidden machinations behind everyone’s favorite social media and search platforms. 

The film features compelling interviews with high-profile tech whistleblowers and innovation leaders including Tristan Harris of the Center for Humane Technology; the co-inventor of the Facebook “Like” button, Justin Rosenstein; Tim Kendall, former President of Pinterest and former Director of Monetization at Facebook; Cathy O’Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction; Rashida Richardson, Director of Policy at the AI Now Institute, and many others. Demonstrating how social media affects consumers on a personal level, these fascinating insider insights are seamlessly woven into a captivating narrative, including Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men), that illuminates the very real consequences these seemingly innocent technologies can have on our everyday lives.

LibreOffice rains on OpenOffice's 20th anniversary parade, tells rival project to 'do the right thing' and die!


To mark the 20th anniversary of Apache OpenOffice, the project's main rival, LibreOffice, published a letter asking OpenOffice to tell its users to switch.

Many people, the letter says, are unaware of LibreOffice because the OpenOffice brand is still so strong, despite the lack of significant updates over the past six years. To remedy the situation, LibreOffice is asking its competitor for an endorsement.

"Make them aware that there’s a much more modern, up-to-date, professionally supported suite, based on OpenOffice, with many extra features that people need," says the letter, penned by the board of The Document Foundation (TDF), steward of LibreOffice. "We appeal to Apache OpenOffice to do the right thing."...

Rowans Hospice: Moon & Stars Memories Walk


This October, the Rowans Hospice Charity are excited to bring together their two biggest fundraising events, Moonlit Memories Walk and the Starlit Walk, to create the ‘Moon & Stars Memories Walk’. 

This FREE to enter virtual walk takes place on Saturday 24 October from 5.30pm. You can choose to walk 1.5, 3, 6 or 9 miles. Sign up with your household or support bubble (up to 6 people) and follow a local route that you are already familiar with. Alternatively, you can do the virtual walk on a treadmill, laps around your garden, or your local area from your doorstep.

Once signed up try to collect as much sponsorship as you can by setting up a JustGiving page or using a sponsorship form. Those who raise more than £50 will receive a medal.

To support you, adults will be able to collect a Moonlit Memories t shirt and children are encouraged to wear fancy dress to impress and we will have a candle and sweets available. 

The Moon & Stars Memories Walk is your chance to walk in-memory of your loved ones. You will be able to light a candle during your walk for them and also wear a bib on your T-shirt which you can personalise as you wish. For children they will be able to decorate and dedicate a memory star. 

On the night of the walk you can then join in a mass virtual Zumba warm up and enjoy the entertainment. Just before we all set off, there will be a moment of reflection to remember a loved one. 

For further details and to book your FREE place have a look at:

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Slashdot Poll: will techies be buying the new Apple iPhone 12? Spoiler: NO!


I'm not very keen on Apple kit - overpriced & difficult to support.

Virtually none of the techies that I know, use or recommend Apple kit.

Hmmm, what is the moral of this story...

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Microsoft Office 2010 is now End Of Life and out of support!


What does end of support mean? Office 2010, like almost all Microsoft products, has a support lifecycle during which we provide bug fixes and security fixes. This lifecycle lasts for a certain number of years from the date of the product's initial release. For Office 2010, the support lifecycle is 10 years. The end of this lifecycle is known as the product's end of support. 

Office 2010 hit end of support on 13th October 2020.

Microsoft will no longer provide the following:

Technical support for issues

Bug fixes for issues that are discovered

Security fixes for vulnerabilities that are discovered

Because of the changes listed above, we strongly recommend that you upgrade as soon as possible.

Are you still using Office 2010? Urgently Contact Donline for advice in planning upgrades and migration to an up to date productivity suite.

Basic IT training: have you tried turning it off and on again?


OK, it's a bit of a cliché - but true nonetheless: switching an IT device off, waiting a while, then switching it back on - often solves a myriad of problems!

What counts as an IT device? Traditionally a desktop PC, but nowadays it could be a laptop, phone, tablet, smart TV, Router, printer, etc.

Why does this work? IT devices are complex things - a combination of hardware & software, often from many different vendors. Sometimes these devices have been running for days, weeks, even months without a reboot. Occasionally things go wrong. The easiest way to clear an error condition is to power that device off cleanly (not via the power switch - unless it can't be avoided). For a Windows 10 system: Start Button, Power, Shut Down.

A clean shut down will tidily close any software (applications, operating system). 

Then wait (say 30 seconds) & a cold boot (switching the system on - from a powered off condition) will allow the operating system & any applications to load up cleanly once more. This should clear most simple errors.

Hibernation & power save modes can cause issues - often a user doesn't realise that their device hasn't been rebooted in many days. Again: turn it off, turn it on again is your friend! More IT hilarity like this from: Roy, Moss & Jen: The IT Crowd - from Amazon!

If you get stuck, and need IT support: contact Donline.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

A little bit of Heaven on Earth: Miserere mei, Deus (Allegri) by the Tenebrae Choir


Wikipedia: Miserere (full title: Miserere mei, Deus, Latin for "Have mercy on me, O God") is a setting of Psalm 51 by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri. It was composed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, probably during the 1630s, for the exclusive use of the Sistine Chapel during the Tenebrae services of Holy Week, and its mystique was increased by unwritten performance traditions and ornamentation. It is written for two choirs, of five and four voices respectively, singing alternately and joining to sing the ending in 9-part polyphony.

Composed around 1638, Miserere was the last and most famous of twelve falsobordone settings used at the Sistine Chapel since 1514. At some point, it became forbidden to transcribe the music and it was allowed to be performed only at those particular services at the Sistine Chapel, thus adding to the mystery surrounding it.

Three authorized copies of the work were distributed prior to 1770: to the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I; to the King of Portugal, John V; and to Padre (Giovanni Battista) Martini. None of them succeeded in capturing, however, the beauty of the Miserere as performed annually in the Sistine Chapel. According to the popular story (backed by family letters), fourteen-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was visiting Rome when he first heard the piece during the Wednesday service. Later that day, he wrote it down entirely from memory, returning to the Chapel that Friday to make minor corrections. Less than three months after hearing the song and transcribing it, Mozart had gained fame for the work and was summoned to Rome by Pope Clement XIV, who showered praise on him for his feat of musical genius and awarded him the Chivalric Order of the Golden Spur on July 4, 1770. Some time during his travels, he met the British historian Charles Burney, who obtained the piece from him and took it to London, where it was published in 1771. The work was also transcribed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1831 and Franz Liszt, and various other 18th and 19th century sources survive. Since the lifting of the ban, Allegri's Miserere has become one of the most popular a cappella choral works now performed.

Gregorio Allegri's Miserere mei, Deus

Performed by the Tenebrae Choirconducted by Nigel Short

Filmed at St Bartholomew the Great, London