Saturday, 16 January 2021

Calculations Show It'll Be Impossible to Control a Super-Intelligent AI


The idea of artificial intelligence overthrowing humankind has been talked about for many decades, and scientists have just delivered their verdict on whether we'd be able to control a high-level computer super-intelligence. The answer? Almost definitely not.

The catch is that controlling a super-intelligence far beyond human comprehension would require a simulation of that super-intelligence which we can analyse. But if we're unable to comprehend it, it's impossible to create such a simulation.

Rules such as 'cause no harm to humans' can't be set if we don't understand the kind of scenarios that an AI is going to come up with, suggest the authors of the new paper. Once a computer system is working on a level above the scope of our programmers, we can no longer set limits.

"A super-intelligence poses a fundamentally different problem than those typically studied under the banner of 'robot ethics'," write the researchers.

"This is because a superintelligence is multi-faceted, and therefore potentially capable of mobilising a diversity of resources in order to achieve objectives that are potentially incomprehensible to humans, let alone controllable."

Friday, 15 January 2021

Reading for today: Psalm 46 - God will help & strengthen us, but we need to Believe and call on Him

God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam

and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;

he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,

the desolations he has brought on the earth.

He makes wars cease

to the ends of the earth.

He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

he burns the shields with fire.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Read Psalm 46 at Bible Gateway

Thursday, 14 January 2021

What did a (mainframe) hard drive look like in 1991?


When the IBM 3390 Direct Access Storage Device (DASD) was rolled out in November 1989, it offered up to 22.7 Gigabytes of storage and allowed customers to store more data in a single DASD than ever before.

Boosts in key DASD performance areas -- such as a 40 percent improvement in data transfer rate and 15 percent in average latency -- provided users with a highly reliable, cost effective means of rapidly accessing vast amounts of data.

The 3390 represented three times the storage capacity per square foot of floor space over the IBM 3380K; five times over the 3380 Model E; and ten times over 3380 standard models. The new DASDs also delivered an 18 percent reduction in the cost of a megabyte of disk storage.

The 23Gb IBM 3390 DASD which the above HDA (Head/Disk Assembly) was installed in - listed at $250,000! By way of modern comparison, nowadays you can buy a 1000Gb (1Tb) Western Digital HDD Gold (Enterprise Class) Hard drive for ~£70! Isn't it incredible how things have changed...

EEVblog on YouTube

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

WhatsApp's updated privacy policy - still safe to use? Short answer: yes

WhatsApp has published a new FAQ page to its website outlining its stances on user privacy in response to widespread backlash over an upcoming privacy policy update. The core issue relates to WhatsApp’s data-sharing procedures with Facebook, with many users concerned an updated privacy policy going into effect on February 8th will mandate sharing of sensitive profile information with WhatsApp’s parent company.

That isn’t true — the update has nothing to do with consumer chats or profile data, and instead the change is designed to outline how businesses who use WhatsApp for customer service may store logs of its chats on Facebook servers. That’s something the company feels it is required to disclose in its privacy policy, which it’s now doing after previewing the upcoming changes to business chats back in October.

But a wave of misinformation on social media, not helped by Facebook’s abysmal track record on privacy and its reputation for obfuscating changes to its various terms of service agreements, has resulted in a full-blown WhatsApp backlash that has users fleeing to competitors like Signal and Telegram.

Monday, 11 January 2021

National Motorcycle Museum - Triumph Over Adversity Recovery Appeal Raffle 2021

National Motorcycle Museum Director James Hewing stated: “All the team here at the museum want to thank everyone who has given to our first Covid-19 raffle which ran from  July to Dec 2020. As promised, the funds raised are being used directly for the purpose of reopening the museum for a limited number of days”. To see the draw results of our first appeal click here.

Once Government restrictions allow, we plan to initially reopen the museum collection & shop every Saturday and Sunday and whilst the funds raised so far will allow us to reopen in a limited way, as of late November 2020 we had still only raised 33% of our original £500k re-opening target. Therefore are undertaking this further ‘Museum Triumph Over Adversity Recovery Appeal Raffle’ which is in addition to our normal winter raffle to win a new/old stock Triumph T140D Bonneville Special.

This further appeal has extra significance given the fact that the museum has recently received the devastating news that we have been turned down for a grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

In late 2020 we received an e-mail from the Heritage Lottery Fund (who are partly responsible for administering the scheme) that our application “did not meet the criteria for the programme, and the board has decided not to award a grant through the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage”. 

We cannot begin to describe what a blow this news was, and adds even more importance to this new appeal which gives the chance to win one of the three stunning Triumph motorcycles.

Very special thanks must go to our friends at Triumph Motorcycles for donating the brand new Triumph Trident as a first prize.

Click the link below to buy a ticket for a chance to win one of three fantastic Triumph bikes, and help to support the National Motorcycle Museum.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Deal of the day: Microsoft (Office) 365 Family - 6 users, 1 year subscription - under £50!


Office 365 is now Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 Family has everything you enjoy in Office 365 Home and much more. Every Office 365 user is automatically updated to Microsoft 365

12 months subscription - up to 6 users – each user can install on 1 PC or Mac, 1 tablet or iPad and 1 mobile phone (Windows, iOS, Android). Install code via email (requires Internet)

Premium, always updated, Office 365 apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and others

Cloud Storage: 6 TB total OneDrive (1 TB per person) with Premium Security, to collaborate on documents with others online and to secure your sensitive files in OneDrive Personal Vault. Skype: 60 minutes of calling per month for each user. Premium support via chat or phone from Microsoft experts and much more

Office for Mac is supported in the last three versions of macOS. When a new macOS version is released, it becomes the current version. Also runs on Mac with ARM-based chips via built in emulation mode

NB: This is for home / family use only. 

Must not be used in a business environment.

Top Deal: £49.99

Four steps to protect yourself from invoice fraud

As we start a new year, we wanted to share some tips to help protect your business from one of the most common types of fraud – invoice fraud.
It happens when criminals pose as suppliers, tradesmen or solicitors, and ask you to change the bank account details that you use to pay them.
In the first half of 2020, £45.6 million was lost to invoice and mandate scams. £29.4 million of that was lost by businesses.
Here’s how to spot an invoice fraud, and make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

1) Always confirm invoice account details directly with your supplier, using established contact details, BEFORE making any payment, even if you have paid them before. Avoid using the contact details in an email as you could end up speaking to a fraudster.

2) Establish at least two designated points of contact with all your regular suppliers. And do this over the phone. This will make it easy to check any change of bank account or payment arrangements directly with them.

3) Carefully scrutinise all invoices you receive. Look out for spelling errors or slight changes to email addresses.

4) Educate any employees responsible for processing supplier invoices about this type of invoice fraud.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

The world's biggest motorcycle company - that you've never heard of: BAJAJ

It may not have a direct footprint in Europe or North America but it hasn’t stopped Bajaj Auto from being named the world’s most valuable motorcycle manufacturer at a cool estimated $13.6bn (approx £10bn).

One of the largest conglomerates operating out of the world’s biggest motorcycle market of India, while Bajaj is beaten by Hero MotoCorp in terms of sales, when it comes to value it comes out on top both domestically and now internationally.

At $13.6bn Bajaj Auto generates both a lot of money and a lucrative shareholding having established itself as a major player in 70 different markets, predominantly in Asia where its lower displacement offerings sell in large numbers.

While we may not get Bajaj Auto over here in the UK directly, its influence is widespread as a result of its 47.97 per cent ownership of KTM AG which - between KTM, Husqvarna and now GASGAS - has seen a strong rise in global sales in recent years.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

The End of Analogue Phone Lines: 2025 - be advised!

Analogue Phone Service in the UK - It's switching off soon! In 2025, Openreach will be switching off their analogue phone service ("POTS"). If you still have an analogue phone plugged into a regular 'BT' socket on the wall, it will no longer work.  By June 2021 Openreach will already no longer install or accept new analogue line orders for lines at 120 exchanges around the UK, with that number increasing over time.

For some people, this will make no difference at all. Many of us only have a landline analogue phone service because we are 'forced to' in order to have DSL service - you have to have an analogue line before your ISP will provide broadband on that line.

According to Ofcom, only 5% of household do not have mobile phones however, that doesn't mean that every member of the other 95% have a mobile phone or that they don't still need their fixed line.

Those who do use their landline now, given the choice of saving a little line rental subscription in the future, might welcome this change. However, even with analogue phone service discontinued, it's unlikely you will actually see any reduction in line rental as the copper line still needs to be provided for broadband, and that's the costly part for Openreach - the actual phone service is a revenue generator.  If line rental is combined with your broadband ISP bill, you won't get a separate bill from BT.

Many people in the UK do not use a mobile phone either 'at all' or for most of their calls. Many don't have broadband or any other digital communication service. Even of those who do, there are many people who like the comfort of a phone line which continues to work even during a power cut or other emergency. Analogue phone lines are powered from the exchange which normally has battery or generator backups.  

There are many other devices still relying on analogue lines. Most of those will not be compatible with VoIP so will have to be replaced by pure IP solutions. Openreach are urging suppliers and service providers to upgrade their systems or test them on the new network provisions.

VoIP is the method of using IP networks - your Internet connection - to carry voice calls. It's what Skype, DrayTEL, WhatsApp and other such services use for voice calls and is also how most modern businesses' phones are now connected. Under Openreach's analogue switch-off plan, VoIP will be used to replace all analogue voice services.

Read more & be prepared:

Norton Motorcycles - on the way back to fighting trim


NORTON Motorcycles has endured its fair share of headlines over the past 12 months but from a bleak situation, the firm is now courting considerably more positive publicity as it heads into 2021 with a fresh outlook.

Indeed, the landscape could not be any more different; staff have been taken on, motorcycles are being readied for manufacture and the final pieces of the puzzle are beginning to fall into place.

Much of the news regarding Norton was - in the early days of the collapse - a torrent of negative energy, solely aimed at the previous administration. One of the biggest mountains John Russell (Interim CEO) and new owners TVS have to climb is turning that negative feeling into a positive outcome for existing and potential customers.

Read the full article here:

Monday, 4 January 2021

Bible In One Year - new app for 2021 is now available now!

Bible In One Year: Join us as we read the Bible each day. It’s a practice that we have been doing for over 30 years and we hope it will benefit your life as much as it has ours. 

New app for 2021 is now available! Introducing new editions, only available with the latest app release:

Classic - Nicky and Pippa take you through the whole Bible, with daily readings, thoughts and prayers.

Express - In a rush? The Express edition will take you just 10 minutes each day.

Youth - A remix of the Express edition — for those between the ages of 13–18.

If you ever want to test or swap edition, no worries. You can switch your edition at any time.

Free to download: 

Google Play or Apple App Store

Friday, 1 January 2021

Jean Michel Jarre - Welcome To The Other Side 2021

In partnership with @Ville de Paris, and under the patronage of @UNESCO, Electronic Music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre teams up with French VR start-up VRrOOm to take us into the New Year with a Live-stream trailblazing concert-spectacular set in the virtual environment of the planetary landmark, Notre-Dame de Paris.

Welcome to the Other Side” is a one-off exclusive, worldwide and open-to-all, free concert experience whose ambition, beyond celebrating the New Year in a futuristic and festive way, is to send a message of hope for 2021 and for the end of the dark times we are all going through this year: a digital and virtual invitation from Paris, the City of Light, vibrant metropole of the Arts & of Culture and home to the most famous cathedral in the world. Notre-Dame has a unique place in the collective imagination, it is a symbol of the strength and of World Heritage that binds us together.

This is truly fantastic! JMJ has been one of my music heroes since the early 80s. Grab a drink, tune in, turn it up & enjoy! Happy new year (again!). x

Reading for today: Welcome to 2021!


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: 
The old has gone, the new is here!

Read all of 2 Corinthians 5 at Bible Gateway