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.


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.

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.


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.


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!


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


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


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!

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

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.

02 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!


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.


01 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...


Intel reiterates chip supply shortages could last several years

Intel Corp's CEO said on Monday it could take several years for a global shortage of semiconductors to be resolved, a problem that has shuttered some auto production lines and is also being felt in other areas, including consumer electronics.

Pat Gelsinger told a virtual session of the Computex trade show in Taipei that the work-and-study-from-home trend during the COVID-19 pandemic had led to a "cycle of explosive growth in semiconductors" that has placed huge strain on global supply chains.

"But while the industry has taken steps to address near term constraints it could still take a couple of years for the ecosystem to address shortages of foundry capacity, substrates and components."

Gelsinger had told The Washington Post in an interview in mid-April the shortage was going to take "a couple of years" to abate, and that it planned to start producing chips within six to nine months to address shortages at U.S. car plants.