26 February 2021

Still using Internet Explorer 11? Really? Another reason to move to a modern Web Browser...


Last year, Google announced that Google Workspace will officially stop supporting Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) on March 15, 2021. 

To avoid any possible disruptions in service, such as degraded performance or security vulnerabilities, please be sure to switch to a different browser before that date.

Donline says: use this one!


Aagh, bike won't start, what do I do? Bump start...

So, your battery is flat and you haven’t got time to charge it. Time to get physical. Here are the most common bump start questions answered and a handy how-to guide;

When should I bump start a motorcycle? It’s only worth bumping a bike if: 

You’ve checked the basics. Bump starting can be horrendously hard work that you really don’t want to do unnecessarily. So, check the obvious: Is the kill switch on? Is the sidestand down? Is it in gear? Do you need to pull the clutch in (Triumph and Suzuki owners we’re looking at you)?

You’ve applied some logic. Bump starting will only work if it’s the battery that’s struggling – you’re replacing electric power with leg power. If the bike started fine yesterday but appears stone dead today it’s probably not the battery. If the lights are blazing but the engine doesn’t turn at all, it’s probably not the battery. If you were fiddling with your sat-nav connections last night and the bike is dead today, did you reconnect the battery? It’s worth spending one minute calmly considering if a flat battery is the most likely culprit before slogging up and down the road like a pillock.

There’s some life in the battery. If you’re got a glow from the lights and all warning lights in the clocks come on, a bump start will probably work. If the battery is completely dead, it probably won’t. 

You’re not riding a scooter or Honda DCT-equipped bike. You can’t bump an auto gearbox.

 Click HERE to find out how to bump start a motorbike.


25 February 2021

Toshiba Unveils World's First FC-MAMR Hard Disk Drive: 18 TB, Helium Filled

Toshiba this week announced the industry's first hard drive featuring flux-control microwave-assisted magnetic recording (FC-MAMR) technology. The new MG09-series HDDs are designed primarily for nearline and enterprise applications, they offer an 18 TB capacity along with an ultra-low idle power consumption. 

The Toshiba MG09-series 3.5-inch 18 TB HDD are based on the company's 3rd generation nine-platter helium sealed platform that features 18 heads with a microwave-emitting component which changes magnetic coercivity of the platters before writing data. The HD disks are made by Showa Denko K.K. (SDK), a long-time partner of Toshiba. Each aluminium platter is about 0.635 mm thick, it features an areal density of around 1.5 Tb/inch2 and can store up to 2 TB of data.


24 February 2021

M1 Apple Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear


Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore).

Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that ‌M1‌ Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, ‌M1‌ Macs are said to be consuming as much as 10 to 13 percent of the maximum warrantable total bytes written (TBW) value of its SSD.

Flash memory on solid-state drives, such as those used in Macs, can only be written to a certain number of times before they become unstable. Software ensures that load is spread evenly across the drive's memory cells, but there is a point when the drive has been written to so many times that it can no longer reliably hold data. So while SSD wear is normal, expected behaviour, drives should not be exhausting their ability to hold data as quickly as some ‌M1‌ Macs seem to be.

One user showed that their ‌M1‌ Mac had already consumed one percent of its SSD after just two months, while another ‌M1‌ Mac with a 2TB SSD had already consumed three percent. The total data units written for these machines is running into many terabytes, when they would normally be expected to be considerably lower.


22 February 2021

Revealed today! The Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 - their 1st adventure bike

The Pan America™ 1250 is Harley-Davidson's first Adventure Touring motorcycle. Powered by the all-new Revolution® Max 1250 engine, and equipped to exceed your expectations, Pan America™ is a two-wheel multi-tool built to endure, designed to explore, and engineered for the timeless pursuit of adventure.

A category first, Adaptive Ride Height is a factory-installed option that unlocks confidence you can feel by lowering seat height when stopped, and maintaining a constant, optimum suspension sag at speed by adjusting preload while continuously sensing weight inputs.

The next chapter in a century plus of legendary V-Twins is here. Revolution™ Max is a liquid cooled powertrain full of ample torque, and a surging powerband delivered with tuning that maximizes rider control.

A focus on weight reduction has cut mass wherever possible while retaining all-terrain toughness. Combine that with optional Adaptive Ride Height, Pan America is a rider's dream package of control and confidence in any scenario.

Pan America 1250 models are equipped with the latest technology you'd expect for the category: six-axis IMU, customisable ride modes, Bluetooth connectivity and moving map navigation features in a 6.8" (173 mm) touchscreen display.


LOLnovo - 121k Euros for an Android tablet? Lenovo are having a laugh!


The device, which Lenovo boasts via its web shop is "priced right" for the "the ultimate on-the-go creativity tablet," has nonetheless sold out. 

This might show the seemingly insatiable appetite for all things PC in these coronavirus-ravaged times, when people in lockdown are working, studying and playing from the confines of the family home. 

Or, and this may be hard to believe, it could be a bug.


New malware found on 30,000 Macs has security pros stumped

A previously undetected piece of malware found on almost 30,000 Macs worldwide is generating intrigue in security circles, and security researchers are still trying to understand precisely what it does and what purpose its self-destruct capability serves.

Once an hour, infected Macs check a control server to see if there are any new commands the malware should run or binaries to execute. So far, however, researchers have yet to observe delivery of any payload on any of the infected 30,000 machines, leaving the malware’s ultimate goal unknown. The lack of a final payload suggests that the malware may spring into action once an unknown condition is met.

Also curious, the malware comes with a mechanism to completely remove itself, a capability that’s typically reserved for high-stealth operations. So far, though, there are no signs the self-destruct feature has been used, raising the question of why the mechanism exists.


18 February 2021

Looking for something to spend that spare £59k on? How about a Bimota Tesi H2 Carbon?


Bimota’s supercharged Tesi H2 is receiving the Henry Ford treatment, with a blacked-out 'Carbon' edition arriving on UK shores in March. 

Beneath the new livery lies the same hub-steering Italian first launched to the public in late 2020, with the new model making up part of the limited global production run of 250 units first announced during the bike’s global reveal.

Costing £59,000 OTR in either colour scheme, the Kawasaki Ninja H2-powered machines feature a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty. What’s more, Bimota UK say routine service work can be carried out by Kawasaki dealerships without invalidating it.


17 February 2021

Another side effect of COVID: lots of laptops being sold to enable working from home

The one-device-per-person trend caused by the pandemic fuelled a boom in notebook sales across Britain in Q4 that resulted in a near year-on-year doubling of shipment growth.

According to sales data from IDC, almost 4 million PCs were sold in the three months ended 31 December, a jump of 58.5 per cent. Desktops accounted for 439,000 of these, down 33 per cent, and laptops jumped by 90.8 per cent to 3.554 million units.

Liam Hall, senior research analyst at IDC, told The Register: commercial notebooks grew well and even higher growth was reported in the consumer segment. Consumer desktops sales were up on the back of demand from gamers but less interest from corporate customers was evident.

The above is born out by availability (limited / poor) & pricing (strong upward trend) - affecting decent quality laptops, webcams, etc. This started as soon as COVID lockdown #1 was mooted & working from home kicked off.

In other news: Chromebooks outsold Macs worldwide in 2020, cutting into Windows market share


Unique flat EV chassis maker REE to open large facility in the UK


New Atlas has written about Israeli company REE Automotive and its remarkable super-flat modular EV chassis several times before. The company has a drastically disruptive offer for automakers; we'll build you a skateboard electric vehicle chassis full of batteries, as well as your entire electric drivetrain, with more or less whatever characteristics you want in the motors, brakes, suspension, transmission and steering, using tier one suppliers. All you have to do is build the rest of the vehicle on top of it, however you like.

Not only that, the entire drivetrain is fully electronically controlled, and built into "REEcorner" modules that bolt on and off behind the wheels. Maintenance is a breeze, fleet owners can simply swap out faulty units for fresh ones. And the vehicles in question, which could range from tiny delivery pods through passenger cars, vans, 4WDs and all the way up to large electric trucks, can be driven equally well by humans, remote control units or autonomous systems. The platform doesn't care; it's everything-by-wire, the REEcorner units will accept electronic inputs from anywhere you like.

REE has announced it's investing US$92 million over three years in a "new state-of-the-art Engineering Center of Excellence" in the UK, where up to 200 employees will work to "accelerate our validation, verification and testing as well as product homologation," says REE co-founder and CEO Daniel Barel in a press release.


15 February 2021

It's time to go back to school: BikeSocial’s Motorcycling Home School!

Sit still, be quiet and pay attention. And you at the back, stop playing with your phone! Welcome to the best school in the world; Bennetts BikeSocial Motorcycling Home School - and let’s start with some good news; there is no such thing as detention, and you will enjoy the homework!

Since schools have been closed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all become familiar with the term ‘home schooling’ and we’re not letting motorcycling be forgotten. So, with one lesson per day over the coming weeks, we’ve teamed up with Honda and their Engine Room website to bring the basics of motorcycling to life with a short, entertaining and easy to understand explanation of a motorbike, it’s components and how both outside influences and rider adjustments can affect the balance, control, grip and stability of the bike.

Journalist and former racer, Adam ‘Chad’ Child, is our teacher and explains the nuances of aerodynamics, traction control, rake and trail as well as what a CBT is, the effect of a pillion on weight distribution and how tyres work among other subject matters. The intention is Chad’s own 6-year old son can understand these basic motorcycle lessons and therefore we encourage a new generation to get involved with the most incredible form of transport.

This is a really brilliant series of videos. Lots of opportunities to learn new stuff, or refresh your memory. If only school was as interesting as this when we were younger!


In preparation: Lent, Holy Week and Easter. Following Jesus' journey through suffering and death to new life


Lent and Easter are an important part of the Christian calendar.

The season of Lent lasts for forty days (not including Sundays). It is a time when Christians reflect and prepare for the celebrations of Easter. Some people fast, eat frugally or give up treats following the example of Jesus, who fasted for forty days in the wilderness.

People also give to charity, set aside time to study the bible and meet with other Christians to reflect on Jesus' life and prepare for the events of Holy Week and Easter. 


11 February 2021

Motorcycle Live (Birmingham NEC) dates now confirmed as 4-12 December 2021 - fingers crossed!

The UK’s biggest motorcycle show, Motorcycle Live in association with Bikesure Insurance, plans to be back better than ever in 2021, with dates now confirmed as 4-12 December,  at the NEC, Birmingham.

To have the date confirmed in the midst of such uncertainty, underlines the show’s commitment to returning to not only a physical show, but one where the halls of the NEC are brimming with entertainment, interaction, manufacturers, retailers and motorcycles of all shapes, ages, engine types and sizes.

The halls will house regular interactive features and displays along with brand new entertainment to give a full and fantastic day out to visitors.

With the pandemic having cast a cloud over the UK for so long, organisers are keen to give two wheel fans something to look forward to, whilst ensuring the event is safe for all.

By bringing together the very best of the industry under one roof, where people can interact face-to-face and see, touch, feel and hear, in person, rather than just digitally, will give a welcomed return to ‘social’. And whilst biking brings many mental health benefits, meeting your friends and family, and sharing your passion will no doubt be a much-needed boost for many.

“We’re excited to welcome visitors back to The NEC, for what is already shaping up to be a fantastic show.  To be able to offer something to look forward to will see us end the year on a high – where once again two wheel fans can be together to soak up the first major show in the UK for two years.  The 2021 event promises a real treat – something everyone deserves.” said Finlay McAllan, Managing Director of Motorcycle Live. Tickets will go on sale later in the year.


Another example of how not to do IT - asking for trouble!

The Florida water treatment facility whose computer system experienced a potentially hazardous computer breach last week used an unsupported version of Windows with no firewall and shared the same TeamViewer password among its employees, government officials have reported.

The computer intrusion happened last Friday in Oldsmar, a Florida city of about 15,000 that’s roughly 15 miles northwest of Tampa. After gaining remote access to a computer that controlled equipment inside the Oldsmar water treatment plant, the unknown intruder increased the amount of sodium hydroxide - a caustic chemical better known as lye - by a factor of 100. The tampering could have caused severe sickness or death had it not been for safeguards the city has in place.

According to an advisory from the state of Massachusetts, employees with the Oldsmar facility used a computer running Windows 7 to remotely access plant controls known as a SCADA - short for “supervisory control and data acquisition” - system. What’s more, the computer had no firewall installed and used a password that was shared among employees for remotely logging into city systems with the TeamViewer application.


10 February 2021

Bitcoin - just say no! Greed that is costing the planet!

Bitcoin’s price isn’t the only thing surging lately - the amount of electricity it consumes is also on the rise.

The cryptocurrency has for years alarmed experts due to the sheer level of energy required by so-called miners, which release new coins into circulation.

Bitcoin has a carbon footprint comparable to that of New Zealand, producing 36.95 megatons of CO2 annually, according to Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, an online tool created by data scientist Alex de Vries. It consumes as much power as Chile - around 77.78 TWh - according to Digonomist’s estimates.

Or to look at it from another angle: each Bitcoin transaction uses around 657.39 kWh of electricity, the equivalent of 59 days of electricity for an average British household, new figures have shown

08 February 2021

Reading for today: God is Love


All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that ‘God is love’. But they seem not to notice that the words ‘God is love’ have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love.

Of course, what these people mean when they say that God is love is often something quite different: they really mean ‘Love is God’. They really mean that our feelings of love, however and wherever they arise, and whatever results they produce, are to be treated with great respect. Perhaps they are: but that is something quite different from what Christians mean by the statement ‘God is love’. They believe that the living, dynamic activity of love has been going on in God forever and has created everything else.

And that, by the way, is perhaps the most important difference between Christianity and all other religions: that in Christianity God is not a static thing - not even a person - but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.

By C.S. Lewis 

From Mere Christianity

05 February 2021

Spot the difference photo - Calli has been to Pam!


Dear Calli has been for her beauty treatment at Pam's place once more - and again - what a difference!

Apart from the obvious lovely haircut, she is like a different dawg! When she is (over)due for a "wash & trim" (about every 10 weeks), she acts like an old dog - walks slowly, lacking in energy. However, once she has her trim, the difference is incredible - like a young pup once more: literally smiles & full of life!

The thing that sticks in the back of my mind, is that had she not been rescued from Zakynthos - she would have never been given a haircut or bath, had treats or toys, and chances are that she wouldn't even still be alive. Thank God for Sue Deeth & Holbrook Rescue - for the goodness they bring to precious creatures like Calli, and the joy they bring into our lives x.

Big data: Study suggests even a moderate gambling habit is linked to increased mortality and other bad stuff

Banking data from 6.5 million individuals over six years is providing evidence that even moderate gambling can be associated with financial distress, negative lifestyles, and an increased likelihood of death.

Research published in Nature Human Behaviour showed gambling is found alongside higher rates of future unemployment and physical disability and, at the highest levels, with substantially increased mortality.

The study is one of the first to document gambling in the United Kingdom with large-scale objective data.


Google just booted The Great Suspender off the Chrome Web Store for being malware


People love to joke about Google Chrome eating a lot of RAM, but there’s definitely some truth to it, especially if you’re a tab hoarder.

I have plenty of RAM in my PC so that’s not a problem for me, but for those of you running Chrome with 8GB or less of RAM installed, you may run out of memory for other programs.

Fortunately, there are a few solutions to this problem. You could close some tabs, but that means you won’t be able to easily pick up where you left off. 

Alternatively, you can use an extension like The Great Suspender to suspend tabs, freeing up some memory. If you’re one of many who loved The Great Suspender extension, then we have bad news: it’s probably malware.


04 February 2021

Highways England’s smart motorways rollout 'entirely wrong' and drivers don’t know how to use them

Highways England’s rollout of smart motorways was “entirely wrong” and drivers still don’t know how to use them, the Transport Secretary has said.

Grant Shapps said he was surprised to learn the Government-owned company in charge of the rollout failed to have the technology in place to spot stranded motorists in live lanes.

Mr Shapps also suggested motorists had no idea what to do if they broke down in live lanes as they simply "sprung up" without a major information campaign.

Appearing in front of MPs on the transport committee on Wednesday, the cabinet minister said he had ordered the scrapping of dynamic hard shoulders, where they could be switched to “live lanes” if traffic grew heavy, describing them as "insane" and adding to motorists' confusion.

Mr Shapps comments are the most damning indictment yet on the smart motorway rollout by a serving Government minister, and comes after The Telegraph has revealed how people are dying after failing to reach “emergency refuge areas” and being stranded in the inside live lane before being hit by other vehicles.


03 February 2021

New high-tech Norton factory heads for March completion


Norton’s high-tech new headquarters is nearing completion and should be fully functional by the end of March.

Over 50 high quality, new jobs have already been created and more are expected to follow as the business activity grows providing a welcome boost to the local economy.

The site in Solar Park, Solihull is the most advanced facility that Norton has ever had after a multi-million pound investment from Norton’s Indian parent company, TVS Motor Company. It will be the most advanced manufacturing facility in the 122-year-old motorcycle brand’s history.

The premises will be the central hub for all of Norton operations, providing a permanent base for all staff. The new headquarters will be home to design, engineering, purchasing, sales, marketing, and support teams as well as the skilled production team that is resuming the manufacture of motorcycles. Some of the specialist tooling and equipment previously used by Norton has been carried over from the Donington premises to the new site in Solihull.


02 February 2021

Synology to enforce use of validated disks in its NAS. And guess what? Only its own disks exceed 4TB

Synology has introduced its first-ever list of validated disks and won’t allow other devices into its enterprise-class NAS devices. And in a colossal coincidence, half of the disks allowed into its devices – and the only ones larger than 4TB – are Synology’s very own HAT 5300 disks that it launched last week.

Seeing as privately held Synology is thought to have annual revenue of around US$350m, rather less than the kind of cash required to get into the hard disk business, The Register inquired if it had really started making drives or found some other way into the industry.

The Taiwanese network-attached-storage vendor told us the drives are Synology-branded Toshiba kit, though it has written its own drive firmware and that the code delivers sequential read performance 23 per cent beyond comparable drives. Synology told us its branded disks will also be more reliable because they have undergone extensive testing in the company’s own NAS arrays.

Slightly worrying - but this only applies to Synology's enterprise-class NAS devices - their "Big Iron". So the "smaller stuff" for Personal & Home User, IT Enthusiast, Small and Midsize Business - you can still use WD or Seagate branded approved Hard Drives. Phew!