30 November 2021

Use voice typing to talk instead of type on your PC

With voice typing, you can enter text on your PC by speaking. 

Voice typing uses online speech recognition, which is powered by Azure Speech services.

How to start voice typing - using Windows 11:

To use voice typing, you'll need to be connected to the internet, have a working microphone, and have your cursor in a text box.

Once you turn on voice typing, it will start listening automatically. Wait for the "Listening..." alert before you start speaking.

To turn on voice typing

Press Windows logo key + H on a hardware keyboard

Press the microphone key next to the Spacebar on the touch keyboard

To stop voice typing

Say a voice typing command like "Stop listening"

Press the microphone button on the voice typing menu

Note: Press Windows logo key + Alt + H to navigate through the voice typing menu with your keyboard. 


26 November 2021

Huge fines and a ban on default passwords in new UK law

The government has introduced new legislation to protect smart devices in people's homes from being hacked.

Recent research from consumer watchdog Which? suggested homes filled with smart devices could be exposed to more than 12,000 attacks in a single week.

Default passwords for internet-connected devices will be banned, and firms which do not comply will face huge fines.

One expert said that it was an important "first step".

Cyber-criminals are increasingly targeting products from phones and smart TVs, to home speakers and internet-connected dishwashers. Hackers who can access one vulnerable device can then go on to access entire home networks and steal personal data.

In 2017, for example, hackers stole data from a US casino via an internet-connected fish tank. There have also been reports of people accessing home webcams and speaking to family members.

And poor security on a home wi-fi router could have been behind the uploading of illegal child abuse images from a home network that led to police accusing an innocent couple of the crime.


25 November 2021

Europe must ban Bitcoin mining to hit the 1.5C Paris climate goal


Faced with a sharp rise in energy consumption, Swedish authorities are calling on the European Union to ban "energy intensive" crypto mining.

Erik Thedéen, director of the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, and Björn Risinger, director of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, said cryptocurrency's rising energy usage is threatening Sweden's ability to meet its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Between April and August this year, the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining in the Nordic country rose "several hundred per cent," and now consumes the equivalent electricity of 200,000 households, Thedéen and Risinger said.

In an open letter, the directors of Sweden's top financial and environmental regulators called for an EU-wide ban on "proof of work" cryptocurrency mining, for Sweden to "halt the establishment" of new crypto mining operations and for companies that trade and invest in crypto assets to be prohibited from describing their business activities as environmentally sustainable.

The growth of crypto mining brings with it an opportunity cost, Thedéen and Risinger said, as Sweden's renewable energy is diverted away from industrial, transport and domestic uses, and into Bitcoin and other tokens.

"It is currently possible to drive a mid-size electric car 1.8 million kilometres using the same energy it takes to mine one single Bitcoin,” they said.

“This is the equivalent of forty-four laps around the globe. 900 bitcoins are mined every day. This is not a reasonable use of our renewable energy".


24 November 2021

Global chip shortage: Everything you need to know

Nearly every digital electronic device today is powered by semiconductors, which contain silicon and are critical for creating integrated circuits, also referred to as microchips. Cars use ICs for things like digital displays, entertainment systems and more complex features like assisted parking.

Semiconductor chips are also used in everyday appliances; they enable advances in computing, communications and applications used by nearly every industry.

Previously, computers were made of tubes and dials, which were not only fragile but required a lot of electricity. Tubes were eventually replaced by semiconductor chips, which are faster, cheaper and more efficient.

What is the global chip shortage? Since anything that needs to compute or process information contains a chip, they are extremely important in our lives. And because demand for ICs is greater than the supply, there is a global shortage of them. Read more HERE.


2022 Suzuki Katana first look - & it looks fab!


News has broken of an updated 2022 Suzuki Katana, a radical retro-inspired sportbike that harkens back to the original 1982 model. The new model receives revisions to its engine platform, electronic rider aids suite, and aesthetic details among other things.

The heart of the modern-day Katana is a 999cc inline-four engine, which is an evolution of the legendary GSX-R1000 K5 powerplant. For 2022, it follows the updates made to the new GSX-S1000, meaning it gets new intake and exhaust camshafts, valve springs, a 4-into-2-into-1 exhaust system, and airbox for improved efficiency. The bonus is a claimed 2 hp increase with broader midrange power delivery. For reference, the last Katana we ran on the in-house Cycle World dyno produced 139.6 hp at 10,100 rpm and 76.3 pound-feet of torque at 9,200 rpm.

What a fantastic looking bike! That's another one to watch out for @ MCL Birmingham next month - gonna be a busy show!


Motorcycle Anti-Tampering: NMC rejects ‘poorly defined’ proposals

The National Motorcyclists Council has today officially responded to the Government’s consultation on 'The Future of Transport Regulatory Review – Modernising Vehicle Standards', rejecting the proposals for anti-tampering as set out in the consultation document.(here).

This consultation has already proved to be highly controversial, generating wide attention in the motorcycle world and the media, given how the wording in the consultation can be and has been interpreted by the wider public. It is worded in such a way that suggests that all types of modifications of motorcycles will be outlawed. It also goes further by proposing to outlaw the marketing, promotion and sale of ‘tampering services or products’. This appears to be an extraordinary and socially repressive approach to perceived problems which are currently not well defined in the consultation.


23 November 2021

New Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello breaks cover at the Eicma bike show, Milan


Moto Guzzi have released more details on the V100 Mandello, which signifies a huge step forward for the brand. Best known for their low-tech retro machines of late, the new V100 is the most technologically advanced Guzzi so far.

At the heart of the Mandello is a new 1042cc twin, which is Guzzi’s first water cooled unit and brings with it some very new (and some not so new) tech. 

What a stunner! Now I'm even more excited about our visit to the MCL Birmingham bike show - roll on December!


22 November 2021

Reading for today: God's will or ours?

The Teacher explains our power to choose: ‘There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.’

19 November 2021

Windows 10 v21H2 (November 2021 update) is now available for download & install


Windows continues to play an important role in people’s lives as they continue to work, learn and have fun in hybrid and remote environments. Our goal is to provide new features and functionality via a fast and reliable update experience to help keep people and organizations protected and productive. Version 21H2 will continue the recent feature update trend of being delivered in an optimized way using servicing technology. Today I will share details on scope, how we plan to service the release and next steps.

Windows 10, version 21H2 will have a scoped set of features focused on productivity and security, prioritized to meet our customers’ needs based on feedback. New features focused on productivity, management and security include:

* Adding WPA3 H2E standards support for enhanced Wi-Fi security

* Windows Hello for Business introduces a new deployment method called cloud trust to support simplified passwordless deployments and achieve a deploy-to-run state within a few minutes

* GPU compute support in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Azure IoT Edge for Linux on Windows (EFLOW) deployments for machine learning and other compute intensive workflows


Introducing 'Good news', this year's Spoken-Truth Christmas film (Part 1)

For this Christmas, Dai Woolridge has put together a two-part film re-telling the nativity story from the shepherds’ perspective, with a difference!

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that some of the very first people in history to witness the arrival of the Messiah were a bunch of ‘rough around the edges’ shepherds. These shepherds had an encounter that turned out to be life-changing:

‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’ (Luke 2.10–11, NIV)

This year’s ‘Spoken Truthfilm is a twenty-first-century twist on a first-century story.

Jesus is good news for everybody and those who reach out to him get to be part of his family. May we be inspired by the shepherds in Luke 2.17–18, who didn't just know this good news of Christmas, they couldn’t help share about him with everybody.

Bless and love, Dai


16 November 2021

High severity BIOS flaws affect numerous Intel processors

Intel has disclosed two high-severity vulnerabilities that affect a wide range of Intel processor families, allowing threat actors and malware to gain higher privilege levels on the device.

The flaws were discovered by SentinelOne and are tracked as CVE-2021-0157 and CVE-2021-0158, and both have a CVSS v3 score of 8.2 (high).

The former concerns the insufficient control flow management in the BIOS firmware for some Intel processors, while the latter relies on the improper input validation on the same component.

These vulnerabilities could lead to escalation of privilege on the machine, but only if the attacker had physical access to vulnerable devices.

The affected products, according to Intel's advisory, are the following:

Intel® Xeon® Processor E Family

Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 v6 Family

Intel® Xeon® Processor W Family

3rd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors

11th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors

10th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors

7th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors

Intel® Core™ X-series Processors

Intel® Celeron® Processor N Series

Intel® Pentium® Silver Processor Series

Intel hasn't shared many technical details around these two flaws, but they advise users to patch the vulnerabilities by applying the available BIOS updates.

This is particularly problematic because motherboard vendors do not release BIOS updates often and don't support their products with security updates for long.


09 November 2021

Aaaay! For Sale: Fonzie’s Original Motorcycle From “Happy Days”

There are few screen-used motorcycles more famous than the Triumph TR5 Trophy owned by Fonzie in the long running television series Happy Days, and now for the first time in over a decade it’s coming up for sale.

Fonzie’s Triumph is instantly recognizable to many viewers of the series thanks to its distinctive customizations and the fact that it was a central character and plot point to many episodes

Fonzie would have been considerably less memorable without his black leather jacket, his “greaser” hairstyle, and his motorcycle.


Huawei sells x86 server business as it chases self-sufficiency

In yet another shift away from its traditional hardware business, Huawei has sold its x86 server unit to a state-owned Chinese firm.

China company registration data confirms that the sale to Henan Information Industry Investment Co. Ltd., owned by the Henan provincial government, concluded on November 5. The size of the transaction has not been disclosed.

Huawei's server business, like its once high-flying handset division, has been hit badly by US sanctions, which prevent it from obtaining the Intel chips that power 90% of the world's servers.

Update from The Register (12 Nov 2021): US President Joe Biden has signed The Secure Equipment Act yesterday, legislation that prevents US regulators from even considering the issuance of new telecom equipment licenses for companies deemed security threats - which means the likes of China's Huawei and ZTE .


05 November 2021

Save 20% on PCs & Laptops at Stone Refurb


Our early Black Friday offer is here, and you can save 20% off any Laptop or Desktop, just by entering the discount code below to your shopping basket.

Like all our offers, stock is limited and when they are gone, they are gone!

All these items come with free delivery and a minimum six-months warranty for your peace of mind.

Use Code: BF21


04 November 2021

Have you tried Audible yet?


Audible is a membership service that gives customers access to the world's largest selection of audiobooks, as well as podcasts, exclusive originals and more. Download the free Audible app to start listening on your iOS or Android device. You can also listen on any Alexa-enabled device, compatible Fire tablets, Kindle, Sonos devices and more.

An Audible trial offers a great way to try audiobooks and make the most of every moment. With an Audible trial, a you will receive:

One free audiobook of your choice - to keep, even if you cancel. Prime customers receive two audiobooks in their trial.

The ability to choose from an incredible selection of audiobooks including best sellers, new releases, sci-fi, romances, mysteries, classics and more.

Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts and select audiobooks.

After 30 days, you will receive 1 book each month and continue to have unlimited access to the Plus Catalogue for just £7.99/month (renews automatically). Cancel easily anytime.


Nearly 50% of all UK energy suppliers have now gone bust in the current energy crisis!


This week 4 more energy providers collapsed, taking the number of failed companies to 22. That’s almost half of all UK energy suppliers.

Zebra Power, Omni Energy, MA Energy and Ampoweruk were all relatively small, but the total number of UK households whose providers have stopped trading is now well over 2m.

And it's not just customers of failed suppliers that are affected. Everyone in the UK is facing higher bills from a surge in wholesale gas and electricity prices.

However you’re in good hands with UW - especially during the current energy crisis!

We understand why recent media coverage of the UK energy market has many people worried. But we’d like to reassure all our customers that we’re continuing to operate as normal and are protected from the pricing volatility many other providers are currently experiencing.

It’s been well-documented that wholesale energy prices - the cost suppliers pay to buy energy - have risen to record levels in recent weeks. This has been compounded by the Government’s price cap - the upper limit at which energy suppliers can charge customers on variable tariffs - which has meant a number of UK suppliers are no longer able to operate sustainably. In fact, some have stopped trading altogether.

However, UW is well-positioned to weather this storm and this means that as a UW customer, your service will continue. 


03 November 2021

Celebrate Fuller's 176th birthday on Tuesday 16 November - with 3 drinks for £1.76 each!

Since 2018, the Fuller's Get Together has been a wonderful celebration of the role each of our pubs play at the heart of their communities for over 100 years. We missed our big 175th birthday last year, so we'd like to invite you to your favourite Fuller's pub to celebrate all the special occasions that have been missed over the past 18 months.

We're counting down to our 176th anniversary. Join us for the Fuller's Get Together on Tuesday 16th November and enjoy 3 drinks for just £1.76 each.

To take part in the celebrations, simply fill out the form and you'll receive an email with a voucher code which you'll be able to use in any Fuller's managed pub to redeem your 3 drinks on the day.

If you're already a friend of Fuller's, there's no need for you to sign up again. We'll send you your voucher a few days before the Get Together, so keep an eye on your inbox.

We missed out last year and can't wait to celebrate again on Tuesday 16 November. Read our blog to find out more about how to get involved in 2021.


Windows 10 version 21H2 will launch later this month

Microsoft has announced that the next Windows 10 feature update, officially known as the November 2021 Update, will begin rolling out this month and that the final build is available now for testing in the Windows Insider Release Preview channel and via ISOs.

Even though Windows 11 is now out, Microsoft isn't abandoning Windows 10. The November 2021 Update is based on the same "Vibranium" platform release that the May 2020, October 2020, and May 2021 updates were based on. This means the update will only take a few minutes to install, and will be no more than a few hundred megabytes in size.

Here's what's new with the Windows 10 November 2021 Update:

* Adding WPA3 H2E standards support for enhanced Wi-Fi security

* Windows Hello for Business supports simplified passwordless deployment models for achieving a deploy-to-run state within a few minutes

* GPU compute support in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Azure IoT Edge for Linux on Windows (EFLOW) deployments for machine learning and other compute intensive workflows


01 November 2021

HP Envy 6020e / Envy 6420e printers - both with a 6 month InstantInk trial!


A great option for home printing: sensibly priced high quality devices, with a 6 month trial of HP Instantink & warranty extension!

HP Envy 6020e: All In One - Scan, Copy & Print.

HP Envy 6420e: as above but with an integrated sheet feeder.

BEST FOR BUSY FAMILIES – Print documents, borderless photos, homework and creative projects

KEY FEATURES – Print, copy and scan in colour, plus auto 2-sided printing and mobile and wireless printing

ONE ADDITIONAL YEAR WARRANTY COVERAGE WITH HP+ ENROLLMENT – Just signup and activate HP+ to receive 1 additional year of HP warranty coverage on your HP Printer, 2 Years Total

6 MONTHS OF INSTANT INK INCLUDED– Print up to 700 pages a month free when you enrol in Instant Ink. Ink is delivered automatically before you run out at no extra cost. Credit card required; change or cancel anytime

ACTIVATE HP+ AND INSTANT INK AT PRINTER SETUP – Once HP+ is activated, your printer must be connected to the internet and requires Original HP Ink Cartridges to operate for the life of the printer

HP SMART APP – Print, scan and copy from your phone—from anywhere

EASY SETUP – Get started fast with easy printer setup that guides you step by step

www.amazon.co.uk - 6020e

www.amazon.co.uk - 6420e

DfT officials reassure on proposed "Anti-Tampering" legislation

Department for Transport officials have reassured representatives of the NMC, including the BMF’s Anna Zee, that motorcyclists have nothing to fear from the recent anti-tampering consultation.

The original wording of the consultation – a maze of legal language – implied that any modification of a machine could be outlawed, and classed as ‘tampering,’ although the spirit of the wording was aimed at items which increase noise or emissions, such as aftermarket exhausts without a catalyser.

Anna Zee said: “We were invited to a meeting with DfT officials on 27th October to discuss this section of the consultation. They were quick to admit this could have been worded better; it is NOT intended to prevent customisation of bikes or the fitting of aftermarket products which do the same job, or better, as the original equipment. It IS intended to apply to anything which affects emissions, the computerised systems which are installed and such devices as the dongles advertised for increasing the speed on e.g. e-scooters.”

She added that any legislation is likely to be retrospective, so if a bike was fitted with a catalyst when new, but a replacement exhaust doesn’t have one, this would count as tampering. “The DfT has agreed to send us details of where they think there are gaps in existing legislation,” she said, “and that they will further consult with us in the process of drafting the future legislation, which is unlikely to come into effect until 2024.”

So, we can all rest easy for the time being – fitting a hugger, different seat or topbox, or building a custom bike – won’t count as tampering, so long as it remains true to the emissions limits which were in place when the bike was new.

Some areas of the proposed legislation still need to be clarified, such as possible exemptions for competition and off-road bikes, plus classic machines. The NMC argues that modifications to classic bikes can improve running without increasing performance.