Friday, 30 July 2021

IBM's AI can predict how Parkinson's disease may progress in individuals

In the past, we’ve seen doctors use AI software to detect brain tumors, kidney illness and various cancers. Now, researchers from IBM and Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) say they’ve developed a program that can predict how the symptoms of a Parkinson’s disease patient will progress in terms of both timing and severity. In The Lancet Digital Health journal, they claim the software could transform how doctors help patients manage their symptoms by allowing them to better predict how the disease will progress.

“Our aim is to use AI to help with patient management and clinical trial design. These goals are important because, despite Parkinson’s prevalence, patients experience a unique variety of motor and non-motor symptoms,” IBM said.

The breakthrough wouldn’t have been possible without the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, a study the Michael J. Fox Foundation sponsored. IBM describes the dataset, which includes information on more than 1,400 individuals, as the “largest and most robust volume of longitudinal Parkinson’s patient data to date” and says it allowed its AI model to map out complex symptom and progression patterns.

It’s estimated Parkinson’s disease affects more than 6 million people globally, and there’s currently no known cure for it. IBM Research and MJFF plan to continue work on the AI model. In the future, they hope to make it better at providing more granular characterizations of the various stages of the disease.

www.engadget.com


Thursday, 29 July 2021

It's annual System Administrator Appreciation Day today: 30th July 2021 - remember who's got your back!

Happy SysAdmin Day! Your network is secure, your computer is up and running, and your printer is jam-free. Why? Because you’ve got an awesome SysAdmin (or maybe a whole IT department) keeping your business up and running. So say IT loud; say IT proud…

Wait… what exactly is SysAdmin Day? Oh, it’s only the single greatest 24 hours on the planet… and pretty much the most important holiday of the year. It’s also the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the heroic men and women who, come rain or shine, prevent disasters, keep IT secure and put out tech fires left and right.

How could you Bless me on SysAdmin day? If you are a Donline client, I would like to invite you to go to this link & offer honest feedback on my services. If you have previously submitted feedback - I thank you.

www.sysadminday.com


Caveat emptor: 'We lost our life savings in a cryptocurrency scam'. DONT GO THERE!

Joseph (not his real name) had run his own business for years and had built up a tidy sum in savings for retirement.

He planned to use the money to buy a mortgage-free bungalow for him and and his wife to live out the rest of their days.

In a bid to top-up those savings he was drawn into investing online - a move into cryptocurrency trading that left him at the mercy of suspected fraudsters and drained his life savings... handing over more & more money, eventually losing more than £250,000...

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.

www.bbc.co.uk


The UK is running on empty when it comes to electric vehicle charging points

The UK needs to increase the number of charging points across the country tenfold if it is to support an electric vehicle (EV) economy starting with the ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

As it stands, access to EV charging points is a "postcode lottery" with London streets ahead of every other part of the UK.

So says the "Electric Vehicle Charging Market Report" from the Competition and Market's Authority (CMA), which found that there are 80 public charging points per 100,000 people in London compared to just 20 per 100,000 in Yorkshire and Humber.

All told, there are around 25,000 public charging points up and down the UK today but the CMA reckons that figure will need to swell to between 280,000 and 480,000 as motorists switch to EV.

www.theregister.com


Thursday, 22 July 2021

StinkyInk - save up to 50% on ink & toner with the Mega Sale!

 

StinkyInk love to rock the boat. Which is why they are setting sale!

Stinkyink supply toner and ink cartridges for every make and model of printer (and the multi-function machines) – that’s over 4200 products!

We're going all out, by offering up to 50% off our vast variety of products! Come aboard any time, before midnight Wednesday 28th July. I'm "shore" you won't want to miss it!

The sale is live right now with no discount code needed! Pop on over and order now at Stinkyink

www.stinkyinkshop.co.uk


Reading for today: Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah

Kevin Wailes, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

www.biblegateway.com


Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Oh dear, how sad: Bitcoin is going down the toilet. Don't say I didn't warn ya!

 

What goes up must come down, but when it comes to cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin in particular, wild up and down swings feel like normal occurrences (it was just a short while ago when Bitcoin and Ethereum fueled a cryptocurrency explosion to a $2 trillion valuation). And that is what Bitcoin investors are hoping is occurring right now—just a normal downward swing, as the digital currency comes crashing below the $30,000 mark for the first time in a month.

At the time of this writing, Bitcoin is trading at $29,694.34. That's down from around $31,000 yesterday, and less than half of where Bitcoin peaked at in April of this year, when it topped $60,000. Will it go back up? Probably, but for Bitcoin investors, there are definitely reasons to be cautious, outside of the normal volatility associated with cryptocurrencies.

OK, I tend to pick on Bitcoin a lot, other cryptocurrencies are also available. They all suck: bad for the planet, bad for our souls. Steer clear of them all...

www.hothardware.com


Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Malaysian police destroy 1,069 bitcoin mining rigs with a steamroller. It's a start...

 

Call it a crypto crackdown - literally. Malaysian authorities seized 1,069 bitcoin mining rigs, laid them out in a parking lot at police headquarters, and used a steamroller to crush them, as part of a joint operation between law enforcement in the city of Miri and electric utility Sarawak Energy.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Hakemal Hawari told CNBC the crackdown came after miners allegedly stole $2 million worth of electricity siphoned from Sarawak Energy power lines. 

A video of the event posted last week by local Sarawak news outlet Dayak Daily has since gone viral on social media.  

Acting on a tip, authorities on the island of Borneo confiscated the rigs in six separate raids between February and April. In total, police destroyed about $1.26 million of mining equipment. 

www.cnbc.com


Monday, 19 July 2021

Don rides the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S

 

KTM had arranged a day of demonstration rides of their KTM 1290 Super Adventure S - from Loomies cafe - on Saturday 17th July.

I rode out to Loomies on Ariel, on a hot late morning, glad that I was wearing my mesh jacket, which once moving - does a great job of keeping me cool, letting the cooling breeze through. Loomies was packed - always the case on a sunny day, but particularly due to the fact that KTM had taken over a good chunk of the parking area!

For our 12.15pm timeslot, I was one of  about seven pre-booked test riders. We were introduced to the bike: KTM 1290 Super Adventure S & told about its abilities & impressive electronics package that included Adaptive Cruise Control and Semi-active Suspension.

We spent around an hour in the saddle & covered 30+ miles, in speeds from stuck in traffic (it was a very busy Saturday!) to motorway speeds. The route was roughly Loomies, Bramdean, Winchester, Twyford, Bishops Waltham, back to Loomies.

So what was the bike like? I was hoping that I'd like it. We miss Holly my Crosstourer, & her ability to endlessly tour two up, with all the luggage. As much as I love Ariel my wonderful CB1000R+: two up (pillion) isn't great, and just forget luggage! It really would be fab to have a bike to tour on as well as Ariel the CB. Sadly although this bike is significantly more powerful then the Honda Crosstourer (134bhp for the Honda, 160bhp for the KTM), and there is a whole load of good stuff on the KTM, It wasn't a bike that would work for me. My notes:

PRO:
Brilliant electronics package
Fantastic easy to read TFT display
Easy to adjust windscreen
Great suspension, comfy ride
Weight is kept low using two low fuel tanks
Keyless start & fuel cap
Easy to access phone / glasses cubby

CONS:
Pronounced vibrations above 4k RPM (engine redlines @ 10k RPM)
Mirrors are blurry due to the vibes
Lots of buttons & functions to learn
Electronics: too much / what happens when they fail


The vibes come from the powerful V Twin engine, and I just couldn't face days in the saddle having my fillings shaken out. Also, electronics, modes & gizmos, etc - don't do anything for me on a motorbike. I want to be & feel engaged. Much of the electronics nowadays makes me feel that the rider ends up as a passenger. Also, what happens when they break... 

Alternative view: here is a great video review of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S by the good people at Knox. They put it though it's paces on & off road & genuinely seem to like it. Maybe it's just me then...


Piaggio MP3 - 3 wheel scooter. In a word "Nah"

 

I've recently had the "pleasure" of a couple of rides on a mate's Piaggio MP3 Scooter (3 wheels - 2 at the front). Well, that was an experience! 

Over the years, I've ridden most things: scooters, sport bikes, adventure, motocross, tourers, cruisers, etc. Usually (as you might have noticed) I enjoy most things two wheeled. This is the first bike that I've ever ridden where I was pleased to get off & hand it back!

Apart from the fact the engine cut out two or three times in one relatively short journey, the whole feel of this "bike" could be summed up as "vague". Sometimes in a corner, I felt the leaning front end suspension system doing it's thing - which actually was pretty cool. Most other times it just felt loose! Almost like there was a broken linkage, or a flat tyre on one side. Glad I was riding it in warm dry weather - wouldn't have been fun in wet / windy conditions! 

I thought that I'd try getting some heat into the tyres to see if that improved matters - using the good old controlled front end weave manoeuvre. Aaagh - that was scary - thought the bike was going to throw me off!

OK this bike was a "well used example" and that might account for some of my experience, but based on my experience, I honestly couldn't recommend one. While on the subject of 3 wheeled contraptions: I never got round to riding the Yamaha Nikken - most peeps who have ridden one loved it. But almost no-one bought one... I'll stick to two wheels I think!


Thursday, 15 July 2021

The return of Clippy?


Microsoft is threatening to bring back its annoying / loveable Clippy character. The software giant claims it will replace the paperclip emoji in Microsoft Office with Clippy if their tweet gets 20,000 likes. 

The tweet has already hugely surpassed that number (130k+), so it seems Clippy could be about to return as a more innocent emoji - but Microsoft is being coy about what might happen next.

Born in Office 97, Clippy originally appeared as an assistant to offer help and tips for using Microsoft Office. You either loved or hated its Groucho eyebrows and persistence, and Microsoft eventually killed off Clippy in Office XP in 2001.

www.theverge.com


Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Emission free bikes to play key role in new Government plan

Motorcycles and scooters are set to play a key role in the freshly announced Government Transport Decarbonisation Plan, following years of behind the scenes campaigning from the Motorcycle Industry Association.

The Department for Transport announced the radical new plan earlier today, which pledges to end the sale of all new, non-zero emission road vehicles by 2040 at the latest, as well as phasing out the sale of all new non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles in that timeframe.

Whether than will mean a greater expanse of electrification, or further investment in synthetic fuels, MCIA chief executive Tony Campbell welcomes the plan and said: "The government has today laid down a long overdue marker, signalling not the end but the start of our next chapter."

www.motorcyclenews.com


Microsoft puts PCs in the cloud with Windows 365

Microsoft is putting Windows in the cloud. Windows 365 is a new service that will let businesses access Cloud PCs from anywhere, streaming a version of Windows 10 or Windows 11 in a web browser. While virtualization and remote access to PCs has existed for more than a decade, Microsoft is betting on Windows 365 to offer Cloud PCs to businesses just as they shift toward a mix of office and remote work.

Windows 365 will work on any modern web browser or through Microsoft’s Remote Desktop app, allowing users to access their Cloud PC from a variety of devices. “Windows 365 provides an instant-on boot experience,” according to Wangui McKelvey, a general manager for Microsoft 365. This instant access lets workers stream their Windows session with all of their same apps, tools, data, and settings across Macs, iPads, Linux machines, and Android devices. “You can pick up right where you left off, because the state of your Cloud PC remains the same, even when you switch devices,” explains McKelvey.

www.theverge.com


Sunday, 11 July 2021

Today's Reading: On the present moment, and our plans for the future


Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. 
Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” 
It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. 
The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.

I remember being taught (many years ago) to set personal short, medium & long term plans, and keep checking progress, to stay on target. A waste of time, & poor idea.
I love life, and by the Grace of God accept & am grateful for whatever comes my way. 

Take your plans easy, don't overstress yourself. 
Try to discern God's will, base your plans around that. 
Commit your plans to the Lord. Pray they are His will: if they are you will succeed! 
Always be flexible!


Friday, 9 July 2021

LiveWire One: Electric bike drops the Harley badge and the price

LiveWire, the freshly spun-off electric motorbike brand from Harley-Davidson, have unveiled their first model called the LiveWire One.

The bike is instantly recognisable from the Harley-Davidson version launched in 2019 but now comes in black or white without the famous Bar and Shield badge.

That means you get the same 104bhp, 146-mile claimed range, six-axis IMU controlled electronics, one-hour fast charge time and haptic ‘heartbeat’ vibration at ‘idle’.

The biggest change will be felt by your wallet though as the price looks to be drastically reduced compared to the H-D version of the bike. UK prices haven’t been announced as the One won’t make it to non-American markets until 2022 but the US price is just $21,999.

If you convert that price to GBP and then take off the UK EV grant of £1500 you end up with a projected price of just under £14,500. That’s getting on for half the £28,750 of the Harley-Davidson version.

www.motorcyclenews.com


Thursday, 8 July 2021

Microsoft rolls out emergency patch for critical PrintNightmare flaw

Microsoft has deployed a patch for a vulnerability so critical that even older, unsupported versions of Windows are receiving it. On Tuesday, the company rolled out a fix for the PrintNightmare flaw, (a serious security hole in the Windows Print spooler service) a problem that could allow an attacker to take over a compromised computer to install software, modify data and create new user accounts. Microsoft clearly considered the flaw so severe that it released the patch out of band this week rather than wait until next week's July Patch Tuesday.

Accessible through Windows Update, the patch is available for most versions of Windows for clients and servers, including Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, as well as Server 2004, 2008 and 2019.

The only versions without an available patch are Windows 10 Version 1607, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 (Server Core installation), Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2016 (Server Core installation). Microsoft said that these versions will be updated shortly after July 6.

Individual users should check Windows Update to download and install the patch, while organizations should deploy the update through their patch management system.

www.techrepublic.com


Saturday, 3 July 2021

What are the most famous/important questions in the Bible?

There are many, many questions in the Bible. It is difficult to give a precise number because ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek did not use punctuation—we can’t just pull out the Dead Sea Scrolls and count the question marks! 

Often, it is difficult to know if a sentence is truly intended to be a question. But Bible scholars estimate that there are approximately 3,300 questions in the Bible.

This list of questions in the Bible is definitely not complete. It is simply a survey of some of the most famous and important questions in the Bible.

www.gotquestions.org


Friday, 2 July 2021

European Commission drops insurance green card requirement for UK motorists

The European Commission has scrapped the requirement for UK riders (including Northern Ireland) to carry an insurance green card within the EU.

Under the previous guidance all motorists wishing to travel into the EU needed to obtain a green card from their insurance provider to prove they were insured. This was of particular concern for those Northern Ireland who regularly cross the border into the Republic of Ireland.

"This is excellent news. We have long campaigned for the UK to be part of the Green Card Free Circulation Zone so we warmly welcome the decision by the European Commission," said Huw Evans, Director General at the Association of British Insurers.

"The Commission has taken a pragmatic approach on the matter.  UK drivers will no longer need to apply for a green card through their insurer which will help reduce bureaucracy for drivers and road hauliers travelling between the UK and EU."

www.motorcyclenews.com


Calli has been to Pam again. If you look carefully, you might be able to spot a subtle difference LOL!

 

Just look at the above picture of Calli - before & after visiting Pam's puppy parlour. What an improvement! Dear dawgie must have felt that she was walking round in Summer with a jumper on! Calli is so much happier & full of joy, thanks Pam!



Windows BSOD goes from Blue to Black!

 

Microsoft is changing its famous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) to black in Windows 11. The software giant started testing its new design changes in a Windows 11 preview earlier this week, but the Black Screen of Death isn’t fully enabled yet. The Verge understands Microsoft will be switching to a Black Screen of Death for Windows 11, matching the new black logon and shutdown screens.

It’s the first major change to the BSOD since Microsoft added a sad face to the screen in Windows 8 in 2012, and QR codes in 2016. Microsoft first introduced the BSOD in Windows 3.0, offering a way for IT professionals and support personnel to diagnose hardware and memory faults. A BSOD is Windows’ own kernel error or bug check, and it usually includes a dump of data that can help system administrators analyze what system fault caused the blue screen.

www.theverge.com


Thursday, 1 July 2021

One billion dollars lost by over-60s through online fraud in 2020, says FBI

According to a newly-published report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the elderly are more at risk from falling victim to online fraud and internet scammers than ever before.

In the IC3’s Elder Fraud Report, the FBI detailed that approximately 28% of all fraud losses are sustained by victims who are over 60 years old – with losses totalling approaching US $1 billion.

Worryingly, that figure represents a rise of around $300 million compared to losses reported by seniors in 2019.

According to the FBI, while the average loss per victim was US $9,175, some 1,921 victims aged sixty and above lost more than US $100,000 to online scammers.

Figures released in the report show that not only were the over-60s most likely to become victims of all the age brackets surveyed, but also their total losses were the greatest.

Fraud poses a major threat to the UK. It’s a crime that the finance industry is committed to tackling, but it’s also one that requires the combined efforts of every sector, both public and private, to overcome. TAKE FIVE TO STOP FRAUD!

www.hotforsecurity.bitdefender.com


UK arm of international charity The Salvation Army hit by ransomware attack

Criminals infected The Salvation Army in the UK with ransomware and siphoned the organisation's data, The Register has learned.

A Salvation Army spokesperson confirmed the evangelical Christian church and charity was compromised, and said it alerted regulators in the UK. She told us: “We are investigating an IT incident affecting a number of our corporate IT systems. We have informed the Charity Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office, are also in dialogue with our key partners and staff and are working to notify any other relevant third parties... We can also confirm that our services for the vulnerable people who depend on us are not impacted and continue as normal.”

Sally Army staff and volunteers should keep a close eye on bank statements for mysterious transactions, and for correspondence suggesting new accounts have been opened with financial service providers. Ransomware gangs typically resell stolen information to other criminals for further exploitation.

www.theregister.com


Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Time to queue one of my favourites: Rik Mayall & Noble England

This is a brilliant football song recorded by Rik Mayall in 2010.
The Young Ones and Bottom star, who died in 2014, recorded Noble England before the 2010 World Cup.
I hope you enjoy this song & video as much as I do. 
Thanks Rik, and COME ON ENGLAND!


Windows 11 - is coming soon!

On June 24, 2021, Microsoft unveiled its newest operating system, Windows 11 - almost six years after Windows 10 debuted. The company's latest OS will offer several updates and new features including a simpler design intended to increase productivity, ease of use and creativity; ways to connect to people faster; better PC gaming experiences; faster ways to get information you need; an all-new Microsoft Store; and a more open ecosystem unlocking new opportunities for developers and creators.

What’s the difference between Windows 10 and Windows 11? Windows 11 has all the power and security of Windows 10 with a redesigned and refreshed look. It also comes with new tools, sounds and apps. Every detail has been considered. All of it comes together to bring you a refreshing experience on your PC. Click here to read The Register's take of Microsoft's latest version of it's desktop operating system.

NB: Windows 10 Home and Pro follows the Modern Lifecycle Policy. This applies to the following editions: Home, Pro, Pro Education, Pro for Workstations. The retirement date for Windows 10 is 14th October 2025.

www.techrepublic.com


Sunday, 27 June 2021

Don's Plummet for Parkinson's - done at last! What an experience, & supporting a very worthy cause

What an absolutely incredible afternoon we all had in Portsmouth on Saturday. Lovely weather, warm with light winds, turning sunny as the day went on. Perfect for abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower!

I was pleased to have a support team (Tracy & Bri, Kim, Rosie, Harry, Jamie, Megan, Benji, & Katy - South Central Regional Fundraiser for Parkinson's UK) there to egg me on! 

This abseil event was superbly organised by Extreme Horizons, the equipment (harnesses, ropes, shackles, etc) we used were first rate & in superb condition. Training & guidance was excellent. Safety was paramount!

While we were at the bottom of the Spinnaker Tower, looking up it looked a long way (100 metres / 330 feet) to the top. The Spinnaker Tower is apparently the second highest abseil in the UK - the Shard is #1. However, when our group of 6 trainee abseilers arrived at the top - the ground looked very far away!!! People looked like dots! At that point - the enormity of what we were about to do finally sunk in!

Please do take ~15mins to watch the video. At this point in the event - I had to take a leap of faith (or step at least). It's an incredible thing to truly put your life in the hands of another... While descending from the top - I started with a few inches at a time. As the abseil progressed and I got more confident: I did bigger progressions. It's a "weird" thing to feel the bounce in the rope!

As it had just been painted, we had to wear silly plastic overshoes - to avoid getting shoe marks down the tower. By the time we reached terra-firma - the overshoes had been thoroughly shredded!

Massive thanks to Zurich Community Trust for allowing us to piggyback onto their fundraising event (I was originally booked to abseil Guildford Cathedral in May 2020 - but due to COVID - this got delayed several times, then cancelled!). Huge thanks also to Parkinson's UK - for this fantastic & fun opportunity, to support their very worthy cause.

Thank you to all of the very kind folks who have sponsored & encouraged me so far. If you would still like to donate - it's not too late! Here is the JustGiving link - which finally closes for donations on 7th July 2021. After that date, please use this link.


Friday, 25 June 2021

Do you have a WD My Book Live? Disconnect it from your network / the Internet now!

Storage drive maker Western Digital is telling owners of its WD My Book Live device to disconnect it from the internet after reports that some have had their data erased by malicious software.

According to an advisory issued by the firm, malicious attackers are compromising the devices – commonly used to back up data such as home movies, photographs, and important documents – resulting in their entire contents being wiped in some cases.

Western Digital has determined that some My Book Live devices are being compromised by malicious software. In some cases, this compromise has led to a factory reset that appears to erase all data on the device.

The first indication that most victims will see is an “invalid password” message when they attempt to log into their device.

In a thread on Western Digital’s support forum, many My Book Live owners have described how all of their data has disappeared.

www.tripwire.com


Reading for today: pass on the baton of faith (Psalm 78)


My people, hear my teaching;

listen to the words of my mouth.

I will open my mouth with a parable;

I will utter hidden things, things from of old -

things we have heard and known,

things our ancestors have told us.

We will not hide them from their descendants;

we will tell the next generation

the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,

his power, and the wonders he has done.

He decreed statutes for Jacob

and established the law in Israel,

which he commanded our ancestors

to teach their children,

so the next generation would know them,

even the children yet to be born,

and they in turn would tell their children.

Then they would put their trust in God

and would not forget his deeds

but would keep his commands.

They would not be like their ancestors -

a stubborn and rebellious generation,

whose hearts were not loyal to God,

whose spirits were not faithful to him.

www.biblegateway.com


Friday, 18 June 2021

Watch Tony Bou treat a 500-pound Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L - like a trials bike

 


Toni Bou is not a normal human being. He's historically unparalleled as a trials rider, undefeated in the last 28 indoor and outdoor FIM Trial World Championships.

Trials riding, for the uninitiated, is a highly technical form of competition in which riders work their way across difficult to impossible-looking terrain without letting their feet touch the ground. These are the guys you see hopping off a tiny stone and somehow ending up on top of a bus, or leaping from the top of one pole to another on the back wheel, or riding up a tree and then rolling back down.

It's magical stuff to watch, relying on a degree of skill, balance, co-ordination and courage that's utterly alien to most road riders. And it's all possible thanks to extremely specialized trials bikes: tiny things, with no seats and just a couple of liters of fuel. These 250-300cc single-cylinder machines are the mountain goats of the motorcycle world, weighing just 145 lb (66 kg) in competition trim and able to go just about anywhere in the right hands.

Honda's Africa Twin, on the other hand, is a vastly different beast. It runs a 1,100cc v-twin engine, it has rather a lot of seat and weighs in at a meaty 498 lb (226 kg) in standard trim. Terrific, I'm led to believe, for cross-country on-road/off-road touring, but not exactly ideal for trials riding.

I've spent a couple of days riding the previous incarnation of this bike (Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L) in 2016 at the fantastic Honda Adventure Centre, Wales. Sadly my skills in dirt are somewhere between non existent & beginner (LOL!), but I had a lot of fun, was physically challenged, learned lots & improved my meagre dirt skills no end. The Honda Africa Twin is a great bike, & very capable in skilled hands. In this video, Tony Bou is running the newer - bigger engined, more power, greater weight version: CRF1100L & riding it like a master! Enjoy!

www.newatlas.com


Thursday, 17 June 2021

Do a small thing (give): and change someone's life - for good!

Breaking the cycle of poverty: Our work is making a lasting change to generations of children. The support they receive at the centre means they can go on to sit the compulsory primary school exams and access education. Hundreds of children like Ebo gain opportunities they would never have received growing up on the streets!

This means that we can break the cycle of poverty and prevent future generations from growing up on the streets. Together we can prevent children growing up on the streets.

£20 could support outreach staff to find hidden mothers and children, like Lumisu and Ebo, who need our support.

£40 could buy a training kit for two young street-connected women in Accra, with everything they need to learn a skill such as hairdressing or tailoring.

All images belong to Chance for Childhood

www.chanceforchildhood.org


Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Windows 11 leak reveals new UI, Start menu, and more

 

Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 11 operating system (24th June 2021?) has leaked online today. After screenshots were first published at Chinese site Baidu, the entire Windows 11 OS has appeared online, complete with a new user interface, Start menu, and lots more.

The new Windows 11 user interface and Start menu look very similar to what was originally found in Windows 10X. Microsoft had been simplifying Windows for dual-screen devices, before cancelling this project in favour of Windows 11. Visually, the biggest changes you’ll notice can be found along the taskbar. Microsoft has centred the app icons here, cleaned up the tray area, and included a new Start button and menu.

COMMENT: Windows 11: Meet the new OS, same as the old OS

www.theverge.com


Monday, 14 June 2021

Brilliant pre-birthday braaap to the New Forest - Sunday 13th June

 

Great ride yesterday! Met up with a schoolmate of mine - Ricky & 3 of his pals - at BP/Londis Botley. Then rode out through Southampton - past the cruise terminal, A31, A337 to the New Forest. A truly wonderful day for it: stunning weather, lots of horses & donkeys everywhere we went. Felt very blessed to be alive!


Today was my birthday. Yes before you ask: 21... Kim & I spent it with our dear friends Tracy & Bri in Gunwharf Quays, dejeuner at one of my favourite eateries: Cafe Rouge. Try the BEEF BOURGUIGNON BURGER - to die for!


Reading for today: building up our spiritual muscles - the practice of faith

 

Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off’, you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.

The first step is to recognise the fact that your moods change. The next is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?

By C.S. Lewis

From Mere Christianity


Thursday, 10 June 2021

Final revised date & location for my Plummet for Parkinson's - now 26th June 2021! Sponsor link now fixed!

 

As we all know - COVID19 has messed up life generally. One way that it has directly affected me is the date & location for my Plummet for Parkinson's

The new date & location has now been confirmed: 

2pm - 26th June 2021
Spinnaker Tower
Gunwharf Quays
Portsmouth
PO1 3TT

I'm raising funds to support Parkinson's research. My darling wife Kim works for Parkinson's UK - helping to support people diagnosed with this neurological condition. Also one of our dear friends has Parkinson's. Please sponsor my Parkinson's Plummet - and raise funds to help develop new treatments, faster.

Together we'll find a cure.


Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Ready for some fab summer music? Try this: the ultimate party album! The B-52's Time Capsule: Greatest Hits

Taken in one concentrated best-of dose, it becomes evident what a coup the B-52's pulled off when they turned their own concentrated craziness into genuine hits. This is some of the weirdest stuff ever to make the charts, much less be loved by the masses.

It's all here though--the mad surf guitar of Ricky Wilson (and later Keith Strickland), the banshee wails of Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson, and, of course, the, um, well, let's say vocalizing of freaky Fred Schneider. 

"Party out of Bounds" with a "Rock Lobster" on "Planet Claire," or "Roam" over to the "Love Shack" in "Private Idaho." Whatever you do in the B-52's universe will at least be good, clean, perverse fun. Contains two new songs.

I saw the B-52's play Brixton Academy aeons ago - they were truly brilliant: still one of the most fun bands that I've ever seen live! Till then, I'd never been to an indoor gig where the whole audience was dancing! Need a pick-me-up? Try this!

www.amazon.co.uk


Firefox 89: Can this redesign stem browser's decline?

 

Mozilla has released Firefox 89, proclaiming it a "fresh new Firefox," though it comes amid a relentless decline in market share.

Firefox matters more than most web browsers, because it uses its own browser engine, called Quantum, and its own JavaScript engine, called SpiderMonkey. By contrast, most other browsers, including Chrome and Chromium, Edge, Brave, Opera, and Vivaldi use the Google-sponsored Blink engine, while Apple's Safari uses WebKit (from which Blink was forked). The existence of multiple independent implementations is important for web standards, helping to prevent a single vendor from pushing through changes without consensus, and ensuring that the standards are coherent.

A glance at a statistics site like W3Counter is telling. In April 2008, Microsoft enjoyed a 63 per cent market share with Internet Explorer, and with Firefox performing strongly behind it at 29.3 per cent. By April 2010, IE was down to 48.6 per cent, Firefox up to 32.7 per cent, and Google's newer Chrome was starting to make an impact, at 8.3 per cent.

In April 2012, the three were almost on a par, though Chrome (26.8 per cent) had overtaken Firefox (25 per cent). Today, Chrome is at 65.3 per cent, Safari second at 16.7 per cent, IE and Edge has 5.7 per cent, and Firefox has just 4.1 per cent share. 

Despite numerous updates, Mozilla's browser has declined from 6.1 per cent share a year ago. Statcounter tells a similar story, reporting a 3.59 per cent share for Firefox, down from 4.21 per cent a year ago.

www.theregister.com


Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Turkish autonomous drone attacked soldiers in Libya - all on its own

 

A new UN report explains that a drone attacked (and possibly killed) soldiers all on its own. It's thought to be the first recorded case of an autonomous drone attack.

The incident occurred in March 2020 in Libya, a country that was in the midst of a civil war. Turkey, a key combatant in the war, deployed the STM Kargu-2 drone, according to the UN Security Council's Panel of Experts on Libya report. The drone, which the report refers to as a "lethal autonomous weapon," then found and attacked Libya's Haftar Armed Forces.

Logistics convoys and retreating forces were "hunted down and remotely engaged by lethal autonomous weapons systems such as the STM Kargu-2," the report reads. "The lethal autonomous weapons systems were programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect, a true 'fire, forget and find' capability."

The creator of the Kargu drone, STM, says the device "can be effectively used against static or moving targets through its indigenous and real-time image processing capabilities and machine learning algorithms embedded on the platform."

Smart people like Elon Musk have been warning about this sort of thing for ages. How long till we end up with "The future of technology"? Not good...

www.cnet.com