28 April 2020

Today's Reading: Just ordinary people?

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn: We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner - no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat - the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

27 April 2020

This post is purely for nerd fans of the Alien film franchise (that's me BTW!) M-41A ‘Aliens’ pulse rifle - a movie icon is born

So Corporal Hicks tells Ellen Ripley in Aliens (1986). In reality, of course, that weapon doesn’t exist yet, and this prop ‘rifle’ disguises a .45 tommy gun with parts from a SPAS-12 shotgun.

Director James Cameron personally designed the M-41A and much of the military equipment in ‘Aliens’. The job of realising this futuristic but realistic-looking military rifle was given to British armourer Simon Atherton.

Cameron chose a World War Two Thompson sub-machine gun as the basis for the rifle. The sleek MP5 sub-machine gun he originally wanted didn’t have an impressive enough muzzle flash. Added to the Thompson were parts of two shotguns, a heat-shield and pump grip from a SPAS-12. A custom housing made by a car body manufacturer was fitted over the top along with a few custom parts. The wonderfully dramatic ammunition counter was only fitted to a few guns. This is a heavy gun and so a number of lightweight solid ‘stunt’ guns were also made. This was no doubt a relief to the actors who had to carry it.

The Armchair Adventure Festival is now over - but catch the entire thing on YouTube - for a very limited time only!

The Armchair Adventure Festival is the first ever virtual adventure festival. From the 24th - 26th of April, we will be bringing the most inspiring and interesting adventure talks from around the world straight to your armchair. With talks from top adventurers, panel discussions and workshops on all kinds of adventurous topics and some of the most exciting adventure films out there, it will be an event to remember. 

The Armchair Adventure Festival is completely free. We recognise that at such a difficult time money can be tight so there is no fee to attend. All we ask is that, if you can, please make a voluntary donation to the NHS Charities Together fund to aid the fight against COVID-19.

The streams are still up for the next 48 hours so if you want to catch up on what you missed or just revisit that seriously adventurous weekend, click the buttons below: 

Be aware! Microsoft warns of "prolific" Trickbot malware exploiting COVID-19 crisis

Microsoft has warned that cyber criminals are taking advantage of the ongoing coronavirus crisis to trick users into downloading malware onto their devices.

In a statement on Twitter, Microsoft Security Intelligence said that hackers are posing as the “Usa Volunteer Organization” and the “Usa Humanitarian Group” and are sending out hundreds of emails offering free COVID-19 medical advice and testing.

Each email aims to install the Trickbot malware using “unique macro-laced” document attachments.

24 April 2020

Max Boyce Poem: When Just The Tide Went Out

Max Boyce has written a beautiful poem, in his own inimitable way, about these troubled times called ‘When Just The Tide Went Out’, (can be sung to the tune of 'Hymns and Arias')

Max has said: 'I haven’t had a reaction to anything like this since I wrote Hymns and Arias back in the early 70s.'

23 April 2020

Apple is secure? Think again: Apple Mail on iOS has two severe "zero-click" flaws

The Mail app on Apple’s flagship iOS operating system has been afflicted with two serious vulnerabilities that can allow a hacker to attack a device by sending emails that consume significant levels of memory.

Hackers have triggered two vulnerabilities in the Mail app, which have existed since iOS 6 was released in 2012, giving them the power to leak, modify or delete emails, according to findings by ZecOps. In addition, the flaws have been exploited in combination with another as-of-yet unidentified bug to gain full device access.

To initiate the attack, one would send an email message designed to cause a buffer overflow in the Mail app, which means the hacker can fill a block of memory beyond its capacity. These content of these emails, once sent, can then be deleted.

22 April 2020

Windows 10 version 2004 is coming! Wait, what? 2004?

It's early 2020, and Microsoft is about to release... Windows 10 version 2004? No, that's not a typo, and no, we have not passed through some weird time warp to the previous decade.

Microsoft's latest Windows 10 feature update follows the same YYMM naming syntax as its predecessors (versions 1809, 1903, 1909, and so on). Microsoft targeted version 2004 for general release in April 2020 (yy=20, mm=04), making the confusing name inevitable. And let's not even talk about the even more baffling version 2009 or 2010, which will arrive in the second half of 2020! Anyway, the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, version 2004, build 19041.207, is now available for Windows Insiders in the Release Preview ring.

That's all well & good, but what's in this new update? Glad you asked!

20 April 2020

NHS Charities Together: Supporting NHS staff and volunteers caring for Covid-19 patients


In response to the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, we are working with NHS England and our member NHS Charities on a nationally co-ordinated response.

To help, follow NHS and Government guidance about how to keep others and yourself safe.

Support your family and friends through your social messaging networks.

To support your local NHS hospital or charity, click here.

A national appeal is live now that acknowledges and supports NHS staff and volunteers caring for COVID-19 patients. It has been put together in liaison with NHS England and national bodies, our member NHS charities and national giving platforms.

Got Questions: why would God allow COVID-19?

Question: "Why would God allow COVID-19?". The whole world seems to be asking this question, a fact that actually gives the biggest part of the answer. 

So what is God’s purpose in allowing COVID-19? Without being too dogmatic, we know that, generally speaking, one of God’s purposes in trials is to get the world’s attention off themselves and onto Him, their Creator and Savior—which is the biggest part of the answer to the question at hand. “Why would God allow COVID-19?” Millions are suddenly asking that question right now, believers and non-believers alike, which means that God is on their minds. God desires for all people to earnestly seek Him and find Him, discovering that He is actually close to us (Jeremiah 29:13; Acts 17:26–28). God desires us to sense our own weakness and neediness so that we put our trust in Him (2 Corinthians 12:9). God desires people to fear Him with proper reverence and awe (Proverbs 9:10); to love Him more than their own lives (Matthew 10:37; John 12:25); and to show love and gratitude for the Savior by loving and helping fellow humans, especially the suffering (Romans 15:1; James 2:14–17). God desires to shift our focus and affection away from this temporary, troubled world to our eternal, heavenly home (Colossians 3:1–2; Hebrews 12:1–2).

Times of trouble are a prime motivation for us to store up treasures in heaven rather than cling to treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19–20; Colossians 3:1–3), and to be good stewards of those blessings God gives us in this life (Luke 16:11; Matthew 25:14–30). God wants us to trust Him absolutely, knowing that our times are in His hand (Psalm 31:15).

Ultimately, it is the poor and hurting who seek God, not the rich and comfortable. It is danger and calamity that turn men to their Savior, not health and wealth (see Mark 2:17). It is suffering that wakes us to our true need. C. S. Lewis put it this way: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” (The Problem of Pain, HarperCollins, 1996, p. 91).

Read this thought & prayer provoking article in full here:

What's the latest news regarding Norton Motorcycles?

The question of who is going to buy Norton appears to have been answered: TVS, a large-volume Indian motorcycle producer, has bought Norton in a £16m cash deal. Jobs have been secured and, TVS claims, the future of Norton is now secure.

In case you've missed any of SuperBike's coverage of the Norton debacle so far, we've rounded it all up here

Click here to sign the Change.org petition to call for a government investigation into Stuart Garner's conduct & dealings with regards Norton.

17 April 2020

16 April 2020

Business AntiVirus news: Symantec are dropping SEPC! Time to switch to BullGuard Small Office Security

Powerful, simple and reliable endpoint cybersecurity for small offices.

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Exclusively Simple: You have a business to run. Do you really want to get bogged down in cybersecurity management? Of course not. BullGuard Small Office Security couldn’t be simpler to use.

Protect All Your Devices: Lock down your workstations and laptops against malware and safeguard all your smartphones and other mobile devices when your team is out and about.

Simple Management from a Cloud Admin Portal: We want to help secure your business not entangle you in complexity. BullGuard Small Office Security enables centralised management of all computing devices from a beautifully simple portal.

Contact Donline to find out more about this great new product, which combines simplicity with security!

14 April 2020

Reading for today: the parable of the lost 10mm socket

“Or suppose Don has a lovely Bahco socket set and loses the 10mm socket. Doesn’t he light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until he finds it? And when Don finds it, he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my missing 10mm socket.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

09 April 2020

On Maundy Thursday, when we remember Jesus' Last Supper...

Food is something that unites. It’s something that is lovingly grown and nurtured for months before it arrives in our shops. It’s a social activity, a comfort, an essential, and a luxury.

And yet in UK households we waste 6.5 million tonnes of it every year, 4.5 million of which is edible. We’re not talking egg shells or chicken bones... We mean the last few bites from your plate that you couldn’t quite manage, or your bread crusts, or potato peelings – all stuff which could have been transformed into something delicious.

Those 4.5 million tonnes are enough to fill 38 million wheelie bins, or 90 Royal Albert Halls. It’s a lot, but we have the power to change this.

As a kid, I was told by my mum that wasting food is a sin, & I truly believe that still. We have God's great gift of good, nutritious food: and yet so much of it is thrown away. Please in these days of apparent shortages on the supermarket shelves - just buy what you need. And when you get it home, don't waste it. With so many people in the world who don't have enough food - it's an insult to them to waste our good food.

08 April 2020

Walk with Jesus using the Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross are an ancient form of Christian devotion, inviting us on a virtual pilgrimage in Jesus’ footsteps, recalling and reflecting on key moments on his journey to the cross.

Commonly, a series of 14 images will be arranged in numbered order along a path and the faithful travel from image to image, in order, stopping at each station to say the selected prayers and reflections. This will be done individually or in a procession most commonly during Lent, especially on Good Friday, in a spirit of reparation for the sufferings and insults that Jesus endured during his passion.

Experience the Stations of the Cross virtually: We may not be able to do the Stations of the Cross outside, but why not try this wonderful virtual version created by media ministry called, Busted Halo?

07 April 2020

Puh-leaze sheeple: 5G has nothing to do with coronavirus!

From the giant "bricks" of the 1980s to the more slimmed down and sophisticated smartphones we have now, mobile telephony has always generated health scares, and 5G is no different.

The focus of these concerns has always been the same electromagnetic waves that devices generate and receive in order to facilitate calls, SMS text messages and, latterly, connect to the internet. Over time, however, the finger of blame has pointed at different parts of the system. Whereas it was once the handsets themselves that were accused of being the source of various ailments most commonly cancer now it's the radio waves themselves that are thought to be the villain of the piece.

The emergence of 5G over the past few years, with devices capable of using this technology now hitting the shelves, has led to a resurgence of worries.

There is an unfortunate coincidence that China is one of the biggest suppliers of 5G hardware and also the original epicentre of the coronavirus - but the 'coincidence' is the only link between the two. Despite this, a number of conspiracy theories have spread online and we are already seeing considerable damage.

Wintershall - The Passion of Jesus - livestream on Facebook

Wintershall: The Passion of Jesus and One Good Friday story will be available online on Good Friday the 10th of April 2020 because we cannot perform live in Trafalgar Square.

We will livestream through our Facebook page at 12 and 3pm. You do not have to be a Facebook member to see it, it is open to everyone. It includes pre-recorded clips of rehearsals from our Passion Play 2020, clips and interviews from the other cities and towns taking part in the One Good Friday 2020 project.

We hope that we can all come together to share this story of hope, join us online for this extra special viewing of the Passion of Jesus.

We will return to Trafalgar Square on the 2nd of April 2021 and many of the One Good Friday locations have already agreed to perform on the same day in their towns and cities. After the livestream, the recording will be available on YouTube through our Passion page under Media Gallery.

06 April 2020

Norton Motorcycles: Chinese firm bought rights to 961 engine platform

Norton sold the rights to the 961 engine platform before the company went into administration, it has been revealed.

Chinese company Jinlang, who make scooters and 125cc machines, say they did the deal with Norton’s owner Stuart Garner at the end of 2019. Metro Bank called in the administrators on January 29 after a search for investors proved unsuccessful.

But Jinlang say the deal for the 961 engine platform, including all of the engine tooling, is not part of the administration process as the deal was already done.

There are photographs of the Jinlang Science and Technology Co LTD company director, Huacong Wu, signing a contract with Garner at the end of December.

Microsoft Edge Overtakes Mozilla Firefox

It was probably just a matter of time, but the thing so many people, including everyone at Microsoft, expected finally happened: Microsoft Edge surpassed Mozilla Firefox to become the world’s second most-used desktop browser.

Data provided by market analysis firm NetMarketShare reveals that the whole thing happened in March, when the adoption of the Chromium-powered Microsoft Edge improved to a level that allowed it to overtake Mozilla’s own browser.

So right now, Microsoft Edge is the second most-used desktop browser on the planet with a share of 7.59%, while Mozilla Firefox is now third with 7.19%.

As for who’s leading the pack, Google Chrome continues to be number one with a share of 68.50%.

02 April 2020

Zoom promises to improve its security and privacy

From Zoom: A Message to Our Users. APRIL 1, 2020 BY ERIC S. YUAN

For the past several weeks, supporting this influx of users has been a tremendous undertaking and our sole focus. We have strived to provide you with uninterrupted service and the same user-friendly experience that has made Zoom the video-conferencing platform of choice for enterprises around the world, while also ensuring platform safety, privacy, and security. However, we recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations. For that, I am deeply sorry, and I want to share what we are doing about it. READ MORE...

In other news: Elon Musk's SpaceX has banned its employees from using video conferencing app Zoom, citing concerns over the app’s ability to keep users secure.

Microsoft product name updates - important & confusing!

"Designed to help you achieve more with innovative Office apps, intelligent cloud services, and world-class security".

Effective 21st April 2020, the following products will be renamed by Microsoft:

Office 365 Business Essentials >>> Microsoft 365 Business Basic

Office 365 Business Premium >>> Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Microsoft 365 Business >>> Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Office 365 Business >>> Microsoft 365 Apps for Business

Office 365 ProPlus >>> Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise

First came Office 365 which was cloud enabled MS Office.
Then came Microsoft 365 - which was Office, Win10 & security.
Now they have merged the products and some of the names overlap!
Like we haven't got enough confusion in the world with COVID-19!
Thanks Microsoft - not!

01 April 2020

Sonos touch control functions you might not be aware of

Controlling your music is now easier than ever with the touch controls on the Sonos One, One SL, Move, Play:5, Playbase, Beam, and Amp. Swipe your finger to skip tracks forward or back, and tap to adjust the volume.

While this article covers touch and swipe controls on the Sonos One, One SL, Move, Play:5, Playbase, Beam, and Amp, you can still play, pause and skip tracks on other Sonos products by pressing the Play/Pause button.

Press once to start or stop streaming audio.
Press twice to skip to the next track (if applicable to the selected music source).
Press three times to skip to the previous track (if applicable to the selected music source).
Press and hold the Play/Pause button on a player to group it with the last active room.

Xerox drops its attempted hostile takeover of HP

Xerox said on Tuesday that it is ending its hostile bid to acquire printer-and-PC maker HP due to financial complications arising from the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"The current global health crisis and resulting macroeconomic and market turmoil caused by COVID-19 have created an environment that is not conducive to Xerox continuing to pursue an acquisition of HP Inc," the company said in a statement.

"Accordingly, we are withdrawing our tender offer to acquire HP and will no longer seek to nominate our slate of highly qualified candidates to HP’s Board of Directors."