31 March 2020

Must be the 1st of April: ESA to (potentially) use astronaut weewee to build moon homes out of!

When developing materials for lunar construction, it is essential to minimise the weight of components that have to be brought in from Earth. All necessary ingredients for geopolymers could potentially be sourced on the lunar surface, which is why the material might be an efficient construction material for infrastructure on the moon. 

Finding a chemical admixture that can be easily obtained on the moon, which can increase the workability while utilizing less water, would be highly beneficial for utilizing lunar regolith geopolymers for lunar 3D printing. Urea can break hydrogen bonds, and therefore reduces the viscosities of many aqueous mixtures. Since urea is the second most abundant component in urine (after water), it is readily available anywhere there are humans. We have therefore explored the possibility of utilizing urea as a chemical admixture for lunar geopolymers. Addition of urea has been compared with polycarboxylate and naphthalene based superplasticizers, and with a control mixture without superplasticizer. When curing the sample containing urea at 80 °C, the initial setting time became longer. The samples containing urea or naphthalene-based superplasticizers could bear heavy weights shortly after mixing, while keeping an almost stable shape. Samples without superplasticizer or containing the polycarboxylate-based admixture were too stiff for mold-shaped formation after casting. Samples containing urea and naphthalene-based admixtures could be used to build up a structure without any noticeable deformation. Initial compressive strength of the samples with urea was higher than for the two other specimens containing superplasticizers, and it continued to rise even after 8 freeze-thaw cycles. Microstructural studies revealed that superplasticizers can influence the formation of additional air voids within the samples.

HouseParty counters hacking claims with $1 million bounty

The owner of Houseparty has set a $1 million (£810,750) bounty to anyone who provides evidence that the video chat and game app fell victim to a commercial smear campaign.

Over the past few days, Houseparty has been plagued by hacking accusations which could potentially threaten its success and credibility; it's seen a surge in use after more people across the globe are forced into social distancing or isolation to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. 

Numerous users have taken to Twitter to share screenshots claiming that downloading the app led to them being locked out of their Netflix, Spotify, and even bank account apps, some claiming that they had received a message saying that their Spotify account was being accessed by someone from a different country.

Epic Games denied the allegations: "We've found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromises of other unrelated accounts,"

G Suite Update: Less secure app turn-off suspended until further notice

Last December, we announced that we’d be turning off less secure app (LSA) access to G Suite accounts, and that you should migrate to OAuth authentication instead. The first phase of the LSA turn-down was scheduled for June 15, 2020. 

As many organizations deal with the impact of COVID-19 and are now focused on supporting a remote workforce, we want to minimize potential disruptions for customers unable to complete migrations in this timeframe.

As a result, we are suspending the LSA turn-off until further notice. All previously announced timeframes no longer apply.

30 March 2020

I fell over this on Amazon: ADVENTURE BIKE TV - check it out!

Adventure Bike TV is hosted by Graham Hoskins and made by Geek Media Ltd. The show features reviews of old and new adventure motorcycles, kit reviews, long distance trips, races and much more entertainment. 

Adventure bike TV also has a section called under the visor where famous adventure motorcyclists will take part in in-depth interviews, and we will also talk to those behind the scenes, those that make the adventure motorcycle market tick.

Watched a couple of episodes last night - looks pretty good: entertaining & informative. Dunno how they are into season 7 - I hadn't even heard of them until yesterday! Click here for the Season 7 Trailer. Enjoy!

Revised date for Don's Plummet for Parkinson's - now 22nd August 2020

We are sorry that Guildford Cathedral Abseil has been postponed until 22nd August 2020 - due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Everyone was looking forward to event day. We still are. We hope you are too!

We know not everyone will be able to make the new date. To help us understand who can still take part, please complete this quick survey. If you can’t make it, we will be in touch regarding your options.

Providing Government advice allows, we hope to see you on 22nd August. Thank you for your hard work and commitment - we appreciate all you do to support people with Parkinson’s.

Thank you for your patience during this uncertain time. 

Kind regards, Parkinson's UK

OK - looks like we might be back on for this event - God willing. I've been really looking forward to doing my plummet! Huge thanks to my sponsors - please bear with - we'll get there eventually!

27 March 2020

Sunday March 29 - remember: the clocks move forward an hour!

When do the clocks change in 2020?

On Sunday, March 29, we will move to British Summer Time (BST) – at 1am, to be precise. The clocks will move forward an hour.

We will then remain under BST until Sunday, October 25, when the clocks go back an hour and we return to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Remember the Americanised mantra: spring forward, fall back

Fancy a bespoke motorcycle suit or jacket? Brian is your man!

Once a fashion design hopeful, fresh from Exeter Technical College, BKS (Brian Keith Sansom) was started in a back bedroom in 1986 as a one man operation. The first motorcycle suit customers were police riders from the Devon and Cornwall and Dorset Constabularies. In 1988 a small workshop saw the first of 15 staff assemble and by 1993 the business outgrew its first premises and moved again. The business had continued to flourish gaining contracts with nearly 20 Police forces and so began the operation in New North Road, Exmouth. An old printing works that had been vacant for a few years went on to become the home of BKS to this day which has grown into a fully equipped factory unit and sales studio.

New protective clothing laws were introduced in 1994 (CE Approval) and BKS were the very first company on the Planet to meet these requirements! Brian Sansom helped Cambridge University Professor of Physiology, Dr. Roderick Woods, formulate the ‘Cambridge Standard’ for Motorcycle Clothing which has since gone on to become recognised as part of the European directive for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and replaced with EN 13595 (parts 1-4).
Credibility and reputation for BKS suits really started here.

For the next 10 years or so, a visit to W.H.Smith would often reveal a BKS suit on the front cover of many a bike magazine worn by editors and road test staff from MCN, Ride, Performance Bikes, Bike, Superbike, Fast Bikes and many more.
Royalty, top entertainers, famous actors as well as high profile racers, have all had our bespoke leathers made for them.
The big budget “Impossible Dream” Honda advert used BKS suits for the road race rider in 2005 and again in 2010…

Honda have taken my fave CB1000R, added a smattering of 1980s CB900F & come up with this!

Honda has pulled the virtual wraps off a new concept version of its CB1000R – the Honda CB-F Concept – which draws inspiration from its original early 1980s CB750F and CB900F sportsbikes for a more retro nostalgic finish.

Using the CB1000R as a familiar naked base, the concept version gives it a cosmetic overhaul influenced by the model’s long lineage, which began way back in the 60s with the CB750 superbike and helped consolidate Honda’s status as the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer.

However, it is the Honda CB900F that shares most of the CB-F concept’s design traits, a machine introduced in 1979, with today’s CB1000R’s sharp, handsome looks given a retro refresh with a silver and blue colour scheme.

Further nods to its heritage include a single ‘megaphone’ exhaust, a simpler seat design and a cleaner tail and headlight design, plus a restyling of the engine housing.

Under the skin, the CB-F Concept retains the more modern aspects of the CB1000R’s engineering with a familiar water-cooled, four-stroke in-line four cylinder 998cc engine, together with the inverted fork, single-sided swingarm and single shock.

This looks fab! I used to love the CB900F back in the day - especially in it's Bol d'Or variant. Love to see this make production, but isn't gonna happen anytime soon - what with COVID19 knocking society for six. Even if Honda did make it, you wouldn't be able to / allowed to ride it anywhere... Here's to the future & normality all round! Blessings & health readers!

26 March 2020

Become a Windows 10 master with these keyboard shortcuts.

Up skill yourself with these handy Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts courtesy of Panasonic TOUGHBOOK & Microsoft.

From clearing your desktop to finding the right emoji, this handy download will give you everything you need to become a true Windows 10 master!

Whetted your appetite? Find more shortcuts here & here!

25 March 2020

Won't somebody think of the pets?

Help Sipsmiths raise money to support those in need in the hospitality industry. Slàinte Mhaith!

Sipsmith are all about our people; we wouldn’t be who we are or where we are without our passionate team and community. So, at this time of unrest, we want to offer support to our friends in the hospitality industry who have been so instrumental to our sipping journey so far. We’ve joined forces with the incredible people at The Drinks Trust to make this happen: A community organisation for the drinks industry that of well-being support as well as financial assistance to individuals who are experiencing hard times.

We know that pubs and bars are the centre-point of many communities. So we wanted to give each one of you the power to support your bartender friends and local pub workers from the comfort of your sofa during these unprecedented times. Therefore, by way of thanks (whilst ensuring responsible drinking), anyone who pledges £20+ will be sent a unique code to order a complimentary case of 12 superbly sippable Light Sipsmith G&Ts in a can from our website, to sip with your family or housemates. Whilst we work hard to fundraise as much as possible, you can enjoy a bar quality G&T…without the bar.  

More about the Drinks Trust: Since 1886, The Drinks Trust (formerly The Wine & Spirit Trades Benevolent) has provided care and support to the people who form the UK drinks industry workforce, both past and present. The Drinks Trust is managed by drinks-industry professionals, funded by drinks-industry partners and supported by thousands of drinks-industry fundraisers, volunteers and contributors. The Trust provides individuals with services across vocational, well-being, financial and practical support. These services are intended to assist with and improve the circumstances of those who receive them, to help its community thrive, to upskill, to broaden their knowledge, to network and learn from one another.

MOT update: New rules on MOT testing for light vehicles - courtesy of Haslemere Motorcycles

Due to the unfolding COVID-19 situation, cars and vans and motorcycles due their MOT from 30 March 2020 will have their MOT extended by 6 months.

This will continue until confirmed otherwise.

This will allow vehicle owners to continue to be able to get to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home or do essential shopping.

Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition and drivers can be prosecuted if they drive an unsafe vehicle.

24 March 2020

Archbishop of Canterbury backs worldwide call for Christians to say the Lord’s Prayer on Weds 25th March

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has given his backing to a call from the Pope for Christians across the world to join in saying the Lord’s Prayer as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis has invited Christian leaders and congregations worldwide to pray the Lord’s Prayer simultaneously at noon Rome time (11am UK) on Wednesday 25th March, on the Feast of the Annunciation. The Church of England is encouraging everyone to share a photo or video using #LordsPrayer.

Archbishop Justin said: “When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray he taught them the words that we know as the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father. This prayer gives us words to pray even when we don’t know how or what to pray.

“I will be joining with Pope Francis and with Christians all round the world to pray the Lord’s Prayer at 11:00am London time (12:00 Rome) tomorrow, commending the world into God’s merciful care at this difficult time.”

Things to do during Coronavirus isolation: give your motorbike a proper clean

As many of us find ourselves isolated and at a loose end in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, what better time is there to give your motorbike a proper clean?

While scrubbing your bike isn’t normally about hygiene, given the current situation it wouldn’t hurt to give the touch surfaces (bars, control buttons, filler cap) and even your bike’s keys a proper antiseptic wipe down.

But more generally, here’s MCN’s guide to getting your motorcycle gleaming and making sure it survives another riding season in the best shape possible.

Whether you love or loathe this task, if you want your bike to shine all summer or survive the grime and salt of winter unscathed, then you need to give it more than just a quick shakedown at the local jet wash.

23 March 2020

Dai Woolridge on COVID-19

By Dai Woolridge: "From This past week I have had symptoms and so Cath and I have been self isolating. Between sleeping, it’s been a good opportunity to reflect on the sheer magnitude of what’s happening and I wanted to share my spoken word response to COVID 19, with you.

May it bring a small source of comfort and in the midst of this CRISIS, may it help remind you who Christ-IS"

20 March 2020

Netflix to reduce EU bandwidth by 25% to ease network strain

Netflix is cutting back on the bandwidth it takes to stream videos to members in the European Union after a European Commission member voiced concerns over network strain.

"Following the discussions between Commissioner Thierry Breton and Reed Hastings — and given the extraordinary challenges raised by the coronavirus — Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days," a Netflix spokesperson told Protocol. "We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members."

Netflix has long used its own caching appliances to deliver content close to the edge; with its latest tweak, the company now seems to address concerns that the last mile is being overloaded with streams while people need to hunker down at home.

Microsoft teases new Windows 10 User Interface in video celebrating 1 billion users

Microsoft's Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay, has today shared a video celebrating one billion users on Windows 10 that gives us an interesting look into what Microsoft is thinking about when it comes to UI design on Windows 10. Panos Panay recently took charge of the Windows user experience, and in this video, we see a number of new user interface designs that may hint at where Microsoft is taking the Windows 10 UI in the future.

The video opens with a brief history of Windows' boot screens, dating back as far as Windows 1.01. From there, it cycles through all the different Start button designs, before showing us what Windows 10 looked like when it first launched. The video then begins transforming those Windows 10 intefaces with more modern design, simplifying things like the System Tray, and showcasing a number of new app designs including a new File Explorer, Photos app, and Calculator.

Justin Welby to lead first virtual Church of England service following coronavirus changes

The first virtual service since the Church of England announced the suspension of public worship over coronavirus is to be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

The service will be broadcast nationwide on 39 local BBC radio stations at 9am on Sunday, as well as online via the Church of England home page and streamed from the Archbishop's Facebook page.

It was recorded live in the crypt chapel at Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop's official residence in London, and includes hymns sung by St Martin's Voices, one of the choirs of St Martin-in-the-Fields. 

The national broadcast is taking place after the Church of England updated its guidance on the coronavirus this week, telling churches to suspend public services for the timebeing. 

19 March 2020

Don't be an April Fool! World Backup day is coming: 31st March

World Backup Day is a day for people to learn about the increasing role of data in our lives and the importance of regular backups. This independent initiative to raise awareness about backups and data preservation started out - like most good things on the internet - on reddit by a couple of concerned users. Let’s make this happen!

WHAT IS BACKUP? 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.

Remote work, especially in IT, could become a permanent trend

Many of us chuckled over the now famous video of the BBC interview with a professor whose children wandered into his remote office a couple of years back. Expect scenes like this to become more commonplace with experts saying remote work may continue long after the need to stay at home subsides.

According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 29% of workers have the ability to work from home on an average day. That number fell to 20.6% for wage and salaried workers. These figures will undoubtedly rise in the weeks and months ahead.

A shortage of workers prompted many employers to offer the option to work remotely part time or a couple of days a week and this has long been a desirable perk to attract workers. Now, it may become the norm, especially in IT, which has the experience and the wherewithal to continue working remotely.

17 March 2020

Reading for today: for peace in these troubled times

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Read all of Psalm 23 Read at Bible Gateway

16 March 2020

COVID-19 is accelerating remote (home) working - leveraging cloud & VPN technologies

With the COVID-19 outbreak pushing many companies to keep workers at home, admins are finding themselves having to deal with a crunch of traffic on VPNs and network appliances suddenly overwhelmed with remote connections. The Register

Microsoft has been significantly expanding capacity in key regions with the recent announcements regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. We are monitoring the situation and our services very closely to ensure that our services are available for our customers. Microsoft

Google's G Suite service, which includes Gmails, Google Docs, Hangouts and more, surpassed two billion monthly active users at the end of last year, according to its general manager. IT Pro

Donline is currently working with several small / medium business clients - helping them to implement remote working using Cloud services (from Microsoft & Google) & DrayTek VPN. Seek advice about enabling remote working for your office staff - contact Donline.

Reading for today: turn to Jesus & be saved!

...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

12 March 2020

Sonos backpedals on bricking its traded-in tech

Sonos have recently been offering a “recycling” scheme for its old speakers - where customers would “trade” for a 30% discount. In short, Sonos’ “trade” process required customers to place their device in “recycle mode” to receive a 30% trade-in discount. While “recycle mode” sounded good, it was more like a self-destruct mode as it turned your once glorious speaker into an unusable brick.

That policy drew the ire of many Sonos faithful, as it was a waste of good tech that Sonos could refurbish and resell or the user could donate to a friend. Not to mention it unnecessarily added more work for e-waste recycling centers.

After plenty of blowback from fans, Sonos quietly walked back its policy of placing devices in “recycle mode” by deleting the option from the app and replacing it with a prompt to call customer service to receive the 30% discount.

11 March 2020

Backup and protect your important data with a Synology NAS

Malicious software that uses encryption to hold your data for ransom has been on the rise over the last few years. Not only is it making its way into high profile businesses, but it’s also managed to weave its way into schools and hospitals. Synology provides many award-winning tools to help you combat ransomware. 

Synology offers a range of tools to help you combat against ransomware and ensure your data is backed up securely: Take a closer look at Synology Active Backup suite, and see where it fits in Synology's Backup and Disaster Recovery app offering.
Active Backup
Centralises backup tasks for: Windows endpoints, Office 365 and G Suite to Synology NAS – and lets you manage from one simple console. Fast and reliable recovery delivered to keep running services and files instantly available.
Hyper Backup
Lets you enjoy a full range of multi-version backup destinations from local shared folders, expansion units, and external hard drives, to network shared folders, rsync server, and public cloud services.
Contact Donline to find out how Synology Network Attached Storage can be a great tool to help protect your critical data - on premise, device & in the cloud.

09 March 2020

What is E10 fuel and is it safe for your bike?

The Government has announced that it wants to adopt E10 petrol – with 10% ethanol content – as the standard grade on UK forecourts in 2021 but it’s a move that could impact huge swathes of the motorcycling community.

Announcing a new consultation on plans to replace the current normal ‘premium unleaded’ with a higher-ethanol E10 formulation, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The next 15 years will be absolutely crucial for slashing emissions from our roads, as we all start to feel the benefits of the transition to a zero-emission future.

“But before electric cars become the norm, we want to take advantage of reduced CO2 emissions today. This small switch to petrol containing bioethanol at 10% will help drivers across country reduce the environmental impact of every journey. Overall this could equate to about 350,000 cars being taken off our roads entirely.”

It’s clear from his words, and from the consultation document itself, that the Government’s focus is purely on cars, with little or no thought to the impact that such a change will have on motorcyclists.

04 March 2020

The top Windows 10 run commands you should be aware of

In the right hands, the Windows 10 run command can be a powerful tool. With a simple keyboard shortcut and a few keystrokes, you can reach your destination deep in the operating system's labyrinth of configuration screens before other users can click their mouse on the right icon. The key is learning, knowing, and remembering common run commands.

This how-to tutorial lists 12 common Windows 10 run commands that everyone should know and be able to use when required.

Another tip while we're here: press Windows Key & R to invoke the Run command!

03 March 2020

Apple Agrees to Pay Up to $500 Million to Settle Class Action Lawsuit Over 'Secretly Throttling' Older iPhones

Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a long-running class action lawsuit in the United States that accused the company of "secretly throttling" older iPhone models, as reported by Reuters.

Each affected iPhone user in the class would receive $25, according to the preliminary settlement, reviewed by MacRumors. The amount could increase or decrease slightly depending on legal fees and the aggregate value of approved claims, with Apple's total payout to fall between $310 million and $500 million.

The class includes all former or current U.S. owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE running iOS 10.2.1 or later (for the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE) or iOS 11.2 or later (for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus), and who ran these iOS versions before December 21, 2017.

Windows 10 Start Menu may lose its Live Tiles according to new report

Live Tiles used to be one of the distinctive features of Windows Phone, but Microsoft bringing them to Windows 8 and later Windows 10 didn’t really have the same kind of impact. The Windows 10 Start Menu still allows users to customize it with Live Tiles that can display useful pieces of information such as recent emails or calendar appointments, but Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10X OS won’t support Live Tiles at all.

Microsoft accidentally shipped last year a Windows 10 preview build that came with a redesigned Start Menu with no Live Tiles. We haven’t seen this new UI in recent Windows 10 preview builds since then, but Live Tiles may be on the chopping block if we believe a new report from Windows Latest.

02 March 2020

Life on Mars’ Matthew Graham: There’s ‘another journey for Sam Tyler to go on’

This May, it will have been ten years since the story that began with BBC sci-fi police procedural Life on Mars in 2006 ended with sequel Ashes to Ashes, which said goodbye to Gene Hunt, Alex Drake, and the whole team.

Den Of Geek caught up with Graham to look back at both shows a decade after the Ashes to Ashes finale. Below, he tells us about Life on Mars ending much sooner than originally planned, why Gene Hunt is a joke that isn’t funny anymore, and his hopes to revive John Simm’s character Sam Tyler for another fantastical, comic and dark journey that has something serious to say about our times.

Advanced motorcycle training

Considering taking an advanced riding course but worried about what’s involved? Don’t be concerned, it could be the best thing you have ever done and turn you into a safer, swifter motorcyclist all while potentially saving money on your insurance, too.

When most riders hear the term ‘advanced riding course’ they tend to be put off slightly. Sometimes it’s because advanced riding sounds a bit intimidating and something that only the very best riders have the skills to complete. For others is because they want to believe they’re already an advanced rider and can’t be taught anything new. However in reality this is far from the true in both cases. So if you have only relatively recently passed your full test or have been riding for decades, enrolling on an advanced riding course is actually a very good thing to do indeed.

Advanced riding isn’t all about increasing your corner speed, learning super-human overtaking skills or pushing your tyres to the limit, it is focused on making you a safer, more confident rider who is able to identify hazards on the road and react accordingly before they develop into a potentially harmful situation. So rather than thinking of it as advanced riding, think of it as the next progression in your motorcycle riding skills journey.

I have done IAM training (sadly didn't finish the training) & BikeSafe (which I loved). It's a great idea to get professional training to improve your skills & get rid of those bad habits that we all develop.