30 March 2022

Ukraine: How to get involved on 3 April (Passion Sunday)


Here are four ways you can get involved on on 3 April (Passion Sunday)

1. Pray. Read our Prayer for Passion Sunday in your church service on 3 April. You can also find more prayer resources by scrolling down the web page.

2. Organise. Organise a 15 minute act of witness with your church or local community at 2pm. This could involve a short introduction, 2-3 prayers read out, wearing blue and yellow, lighting candles, holding a moment of silence, or holding up blue and yellow hearts as an act of solidarity during the time of prayer and a closing statement calling for an end to the conflict and for peace.

3. Share. Share this post on social media to encourage others to get involved. Photographs of your acts of witness can be shared too with the hashtag #WePrayForUkraine.

4. Join. Visit our Facebook page throughout the afternoon of the 3 April to see updates from the Embassy of Ukraine.


HP buys Poly, the company formerly known as Plantronics

Plantronics' (now Poly's) long independent streak is coming to an end. HP is acquiring Poly in an all-cash deal worth $3.3 billion including debt. HP said the purchase would bolster its "hybrid work" offerings, such as headsets and videoconferencing hardware. The computing giant didn't say if Poly would still operate as a distinct brand or retain its CEO (we've asked HP for comment), but the deal is expected to close by the end of 2022.

Don't expect this to lead to HP-branded consumer headphones or earbuds. When Plantronics rebranded as Poly, the company was already transitioning from personal audio to work-oriented products like meeting room speakers and videoconferencing cameras. Only a handful of items (such as the Voyager headphone range) are designed with home use at least partly in mind. As it stands, HP already targets everyday users with its gaming-focused HyperX brand.


28 March 2022

Kim's update: Time to Run - 50 miles in 50 days - for Parkinson's UK


Saturday 26th March 2022: Day 26 - 39 miles done! 

Yay! I've reached day 26 out of the 50 day event (till 19 April) and I've completed 39 miles. 

I achieved my first run over 4 miles this week but did ache a bit that night. My ankle is much better, still a bit bruised but I'm able to run much better. The weather has been great this week and the moon and stars beautiful.

Thank you so much everyone for your continued support x 


Thank you for visiting my fundraising page! I’m taking part in Time to Run from 1 March for Parkinson’s UK. I’ll be running 50 miles in 50 days to celebrate my Parkinson’s hero Brian and to raise vital funds. 

My close friend Brian was diagnosed 12 years ago in his early 50s and despite being in frequent pain he never grumbles or complains. Brian and his wife Tracy have been dear friends for over 25 years and have been there for me and my family through many trials and tribulations.  I am running to show them my support and to help raise vital funds for research. 

Together we can celebrate all the incredible people out there who are helping to transform Parkinson’s which also includes our volunteers who do a fantastic job supporting people and running local groups and activities.  

Please help by sponsoring me whatever you can. All the money raised will directly fund the Parkinson's UK Virtual Biotech, the drug discovery and development arm of Parkinson's UK. This will help us fast track the most promising scientific discoveries and treatments for Parkinson's.

Thank you very much. I am so grateful for all your support and will try my best!


Calli has been to Pam for her Spring haircut today!


Dear Calli really needed a trim!
When she gets really fluffy, Calli slows down & acts like a much older dog.
After her (big) trim - she is once more like a pup - full of the joys of life!
Good job Pam - as always!

Kaspersky, China Telecom, China Mobile named 'threats to US national security'


The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has labelled Kaspersky, China Mobile, and China Telecom as threats to national security.

The three companies join Huawei, ZTE, Chinese radio-comms vendor Hytera, and Chinese video surveillance systems vendors Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company and Dahua Technology Company.

Kaspersky is the first non-Chinese company to be added to the FCC's list, but the agency did not tie its decision to Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine.

The companies were named under the USA's Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 – a law that "prohibits the use of certain federal funds to obtain communications equipment or services from a company that poses a national security risk to US communications networks."


25 March 2022

Google helps develop AI-driven lab machine to diagnose Parkinson's

A robotic system armed with AI-powered cameras can grow and image skin cells from test tubes to diagnose Parkinson's disease with minimal human help, according to researchers from Google and the New York Stem Cell Foundation.

Parkinson's disease is estimated to affect 2 to 3 percent of the population over the age of 65. Nerve cells located deep within the basal ganglia region of the brain slowly die over time, impacting motion. Patients find it difficult to control their movements; their limbs may shake or feel stiff. Scientists aren't sure what causes the disease, and it is currently incurable.

"Traditional drug discovery isn't working very well, particularly for complex diseases like Parkinson's," NYSCF's CEO Susan Solomon explained in a statement. "The robotic technology NYSCF has built allows us to generate vast amounts of data from large populations of patients, and discover new signatures of disease as an entirely new basis for discovering drugs that actually work."

The non-profit research institute developed a robotic system capable of performing lab experiments in a controlled environment. Known as the Global Stem Cell Array, the robotic system is made up of a series of machines with robotic arms capable of manipulating test tube samples for cell culture.


UK police arrest 7 people in connection with Lapsus$ hacks


Police in the United Kingdom have arrested seven people over suspected connections to the Lapsus$ hacking group, which has in recent weeks targeted tech giants including Samsung, Nvidia, Microsoft and Okta.

In a statement given to TechCrunch, Detective Inspector Michael O’Sullivan from the City of London Police said: “The City of London Police has been conducting an investigation with its partners into members of a hacking group. Seven people between the ages of 16 and 21 have been arrested in connection with this investigation and have all been released under investigation. Our enquiries remain ongoing.”

News of the arrests comes just hours after a Bloomberg report revealed a teenager based in Oxford, U.K. is suspected of being the mastermind of the now-prolific Lapsus$ hacking group. Four researchers investigating the gang’s recent hacks said they believed the 16-year-old, who uses the online moniker “White” or “Breachbase,” was a leading figure in Lapsus$, and Bloomberg was able to track down the suspected hacker after his personal information was leaked online by rival hackers.


24 March 2022

Yamaha: power steering on a motorbike?

You might think that power steering has no place on a motorcycle but Yamaha has announced that this year’s works racers in the All-Japan Motocross Championship will be equipped with a prototype electric power steering setup.

The decision to race the system is intended to accelerate the R&D process on the idea, which is eventually intended to be used on a variety of machines and might well be appearing on road-going bikes in the not-too-distant future. Yamaha describes the EPS system as ‘a new rider aid contributing to improve motorcycle stability and agility.’

The whole lot is compact, with the only visible components being the control computer – a simple, small unit – and the servo actuator that’s attached ahead of the headstock. There’s still a direct connection between the bars and forks, so the ultimate control resides with the rider.

As well as assisting the bike’s steering – something that mainly happens at low speeds when riders are likely to use bigger steering movements – the EPS operates as an active steering damper at high speed. Because it can tell the difference between inputs at the bars and external influences on the steering, it can assist the former while counteracting the latter.


21 March 2022

Reading for today: Exodus 22 - do not extort profit from the poor

Exodus 22:25-27: “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest. If you take your neighbour's cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, because that cloak is the only covering your neighbour has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.


With price increases on everything from fuel to food making it increasingly tough for households to make ends meet, unlicensed lenders are stepping in, offering loans to the desperate at astronomical interest rates.

"It's just endless," one victim told the BBC. Small loans from the local money lender to repair the car or afford Christmas were a fact of life for her family - but "it just spirals"


Donline sponsors (again!) the Wickham Charity Beer Festival ;0) 8th & 9th April 2022

24th Wickham Charity Beer Festival. Friday 8th and Saturday 9th April 2022

Thanks to all of you who attended our October Charity Beer Festival and to our Sponsors and Suppliers. Due to your generosity we raised close to £5,000 for local charities including the Rainbow Centre and Bishop’s Waltham Men’s Shed as well as the local Scout Group and the Wickham Community Centre. This means that since we started, back in 2008, we have, with your help, raised around £140,000 for both local and national charities. This excludes the additional income for charity made by the Wickham Community Centre and by Meon Valley Lions Club. 

Our next event is a two day event on the evening of Friday 8th April for Blues and Beer from 19:00 to 23:00 and Saturday 9th April starting with the morning session from 11:00 to 16:00 followed by the evening session from 18:00 to 23:00; we look forward to seeing you all there. 

Mike, Gary and the Wickham Beer Festival Team

Festival Info
Friday Evening Session 19:00 to 23:00
Saturday Afternoon Session – 11:00 to 16:00
Saturday Evening Session – 18:00 to 23:00

Wickham Charity Beer Festivals are very popular, so to avoid disappointment it is advisable to buy your tickets in advance. We are now using TicketSource for our event ticket sales.

Beer List
Wickham Beer Festival is famous for its wide range of local ales and ciders from local and further afield. Just take a look. To view the ales by brewery follow the link below (subject to change)

Venue Address:
Wickham Community Centre
Mill Lane
PO17 5AL


17 March 2022

Meet the Author - Nick Wallis: The Great Post Office Scandal (Farncombe, Surrey) Friday 18th March @ 7.30pm - some tickets still available!


In 2017, the tail end of the biggest miscarriage in British legal history struck at the core of Farncombe, devastating the life of our ex Sub-Postmaster Chirag Sidhpura and his family. 

Chirag was accused of stealing £57,000 on account of the faulty Horizon IT system, just as Post Office Directors were gearing up to fight 555 ex-Sub-Postmasters at the High Court. 

These were innocent men and women who had faced a similar fate to Chirag; some were convicted, bankrupted, imprisoned; others lost homes, marriages, their sanity or their lives.

This extraordinary saga has been followed by award-winning journalist, Nick Wallis (Panorama, Private Eye), culminating in his newly published ‘The Great Post Office Scandal’ in which Chirag features. 

The fight for justice goes on as Farncombe’s ex-Sub-Postmaster and thousands of others refuse to be defeated by force’s which are powerful, state-funded and have gone to almost any lengths to avoid exposure...’

10% of ‘The Great Post Office Scandal’ proceeds go to a charitable fund to help affected Sub-Postmasters’.

Event Details

When? Friday 18th March 2022, 7:30pm - 9:30pm

Where? St John's Church, Farncombe, GU7 3EJ

Click HERE to book tickets


16 March 2022

Amazon has knowingly tricked people into signing up for Prime for years


Amazon has knowingly tricked its users into signing up for its premium Prime subscription offering, documents shared with Business Insider reveal.

The documents revealed that the company has been concerned that its user interface on Amazon.com has led customers to feel pressured into signing up for Prime, since at least 2017.

These specific design decisions, which are commonly referred to as “dark patterns,” intentionally push users into acting unintentionally through misleading captions or imagery.

If a user clicks on the “Get FREE Two-Day Delivery with Prime” tab at check out, there is no additional confirmation steps and the shopper is automatically signed up to the 30-day free Prime trial, which after 30 days will incur a cost.

In order to cancel the subscription they unintentionally signed up for, users have to navigate through a number of pages to end the subscription.


15 March 2022

Use Kaspersky software? Time for a rethink - read this...

The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) warned organizations against using Kaspersky antivirus software over fears it could be exploited for cyber-espionage or launching cyberattacks amid Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

While the office is not explicitly banning the use of Kaspersky software, the security agency is urging German organizations to replace products made by the Moscow-headquartered firm with alternative software from non-Russian vendors, warning that Russia’s military and intelligence activities in Ukraine, along with its threats against Europe, NATO, and Germany, means there is “a considerable risk of a successful IT attack.”

“A Russian IT manufacturer can carry out offensive operations itself, be forced to attack target systems against its will, or be spied on without its knowledge as a victim of a cyber operation, or be misused as a tool for attacks against its own customers,” the BSI said in a statement, explaining that antivirus software such as Kaspersky’s have deep system access and must maintain a permanent, encrypted and non-verifiable connection to the manufacturer’s servers. “Companies and authorities with special security interests and operators of critical infrastructures are particularly at risk,” the statement adds.


14 March 2022

ATGATT: Safety expert urges retailers to meet the latest riding kit standards

A leading motorcycle kit safety expert says he would support heavier involvement from Trading Standards to stamp out sellers peddling substandard products at biking shows and other events.

Paul Varnsverry is the Technical Director at PVA-PPE Group, who work in partnership with brands to ensure their riding products meet the latest safety certification, and believes more needs to be done to protect customers purchasing biking gear at shows and festivals.

"These products are an unknown quantity," Varnsverry told MCN. "To filter out any vendors who may be selling non-conforming products, I certainly think it would be advisable for show organisers to invite Trading Standards along to an event."

ATGATT: All The Gear, All The Time! The physical and emotional cost of not wearing the right motorcycle gear can be far greater than the financial cost. Fall off your bike and tarmac will shred through your standard jeans in seconds. Wearing the right gear is just as important to your safety as servicing your motorcycle and knowing how to ride it. Dress for the crash, not the ride.


Putin’s prewar moves against U.S. tech giants laid groundwork for crackdown on free expression

Russian agents came to the home of Google’s top executive in Moscow to deliver a frightening ultimatum last September: take down an app that had drawn the ire of Russian President Vladimir Putin within 24 hours or be taken to prison.

Google quickly moved the woman to a hotel where she checked in under an assumed name and might be protected by the presence of other guests and hotel security, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The same agents - believed by company officials to be from Russia’s FSB, a successor to the KGB intelligence service - then showed up at her room to tell her the clock was still ticking...


11 March 2022

Russia mulls legalizing software piracy as it’s cut off from Western tech


Following the Russian war against Ukraine, and with sanctions against Russia starting to bite, the Kremlin is mulling ways to keep businesses and the government running. The latest is a creative twist on state asset seizures, only instead of the government taking over an oil refinery, for example, Russia is considering legalizing software piracy.

Russian law already allows for the government to authorize - “without consent of the patent holder”—the use of any intellectual property “in case of emergency related to ensuring the defense and security of the state.” The government hasn’t taken that step yet, but it may soon, according to a report from Russian business newspaper Kommersant, spotted and translated by Kyle Mitchell, an attorney who specializes in technology law. It's yet another sign of a Cyber Curtain that's increasingly separating Russia from the West.


Two beers a day damages human brains as much as 10 years of aging


A large study of more than 36,000 high-quality MRI brain scans has found that drinking four units of alcohol a day – two beers, or two glasses of wine – causes structural damage and brain volume loss equivalent to 10 years of aging.

The science on alcohol consumption can be confusing and overwhelming. A quick scroll through our coverage over the years will tell you it directly causes cancer, but also reduces inflammation and helps to flush toxins out of the brain. It stunts growth in developing brains by nearly 50 percent, it permanently damages your DNA and is confidently linked with early-onset dementia, but on the other hand, red wine contains antioxidant compounds that are good for your heart, and can even help protect you from bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.

A man went to see his doctor for a check-up. The doc said I need you to give up wine, beer, motorcycles, & rock n' roll. The man said: wow doc, will that make me live to a ripe old age? The doctor said, nope, but it'll sure feel like that!


09 March 2022

Major Tim Peake: astronaut & motorcyclist!


Every one of us has a sense of adventure. A curiosity for the unchartered, an experience you’re yet to discover.

It’s what encourages us to climb that tree as kids (and potentially bear the scars), it’s the ambition to travel further and wider, whether it’s hiking in the Himalayas or simply going to a different pub on a Friday night. 

It’s also what entices many to discover transport can be relished on two wheels, as well as four… after all, there is literally an entire segment dedicated to ‘Adventure’ motorcycles.

In short, adventure comes in myriad forms depending on how you sense it out. For the most part, each adventure is available to every one of us on this Earth, even if we invariably experience it in different ways. Then again, (very) few can say their adventures have taken them beyond Earth and into the vast expanse that is outer space.

Even fewer can say they’ve taken a stroll in space itself and only one of these has done so looking back home at the United Kingdom - and the entire planet - in its entirety. Indeed, Major Tim Peake is an out-of-this-world explorer - quite literally - having become the first British person to visit the International Space Station and conduct a spacewalk during a six month mission in 2015-2016. Read more...


08 March 2022

How an 8-character password could be cracked in less than an hour


Security experts keep advising us to create strong and complex passwords to protect our online accounts and data from savvy cybercriminals. And “complex” typically means using lowercase and uppercase characters, numbers and even special symbols. But complexity by itself can still open your password to cracking if it doesn’t contain enough characters, according to research by security firm Hive Systems.

As described in a recent report, Hive found that an 8-character complex password could be cracked in just 39 minutes if the attacker were to take advantage of the latest graphics processing technology. A seven-character complex password could be cracked in 31 seconds, while one with six or fewer characters could be cracked instantly. Shorter passwords with only one or two character types, such as only numbers or lowercase letters, or only numbers and letters, would take just minutes to crack.

On the plus side, even simpler passwords with a greater number of characters are less vulnerable to cracking in a short amount of time, according to Hive’s research. An 18-character password with just numbers would require three weeks to crack, but one with the same number of characters using lowercase letters would take 2 million years to crack. This piece of data shows why passphrases, which use a long string of real but random words, can be more secure than a complex but short password.


New landlines must work during an emergency

Digital phone lines do not work in a power cut and if mobile signals are poor as well, people are left cut off from the outside world

Many people are anxious about the impact of switching landline telephone services to a fully digital network. The existing Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) will be withdrawn by 2025 and all phone calls carried over the internet.

This process is entirely industry-led since decisions on migrating customers are made by operating companies like BT and Virgin Media. They argue that the aging PSTN is becoming harder and more expensive to maintain, whereas digital services offer improved call quality.

This is all well and good but, unlike the existing landlines, an internet-based network requires a modem connection and a mains electricity supply. This means digital phone lines will not work in a power cut and if mobile signals are poor as well, people will be cut off from the outside world, a serious matter for those who are housebound or vulnerable.

The two recent severe winter storms caused widespread power cuts, some lasting for more than a week. People on digital networks found they could not keep in touch with friends and family or call the emergency services. Back-up battery packs do not last long enough – usually just one hour – and alarm systems are being affected as well, requiring yet more expense to make them digitally compatible.

The law requires providers to ensure uninterrupted access to emergency services at all times, including during a power cut. Ministers have said they are working with Ofcom to “ensure that consumers and sectors are protected and prepared” for the switch. They need to work a bit harder in that case.


07 March 2022

BrewDog - get's the Calli seal of approval!


Since 2007 BrewDog has been on a mission to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as they are. From the Headliner series, which includes bold, uncompromising pack leaders like the flagship Punk IPA, to the Amplified range (beer, but turned up to 11), BrewDog brews beer that blows people’s minds and has kick-started a revolution.

Sign up to BrewDog using this link & get £5 off your first order!


Safety Recall of Fitbit Ionic Smartwatches

Fitbit have announced a voluntary recall of Fitbit Ionic smartwatches, which the company introduced in 2017 and stopped producing in 2020. The battery in the Ionic smartwatch can overheat, posing a burn hazard.

The health and safety of Fitbit users is our highest priority. We are taking this action out of an abundance of caution for our users. We will offer a refund to Fitbit Ionic customers.

This recall is specific to Fitbit Ionic devices. It does not impact any other Fitbit smartwatches or trackers.

If you own a Fitbit Ionic, please stop using your device.

For information on how to receive a refund, visit our refund center. You can also receive access to a special discount on select Fitbit devices, bands, and services, if available in your region, for a limited time.

Additional details regarding this recall are provided in the FAQ below. If you have any questions not answered below, you can call customer service. Click here to find your local phone number.


02 March 2022

From craft beer to Molotov cocktails: Ukrainian brewery joins war effort


A Ukrainian craft beer brewery has converted its bottling facilities to a petrol bomb factory, making Molotov cocktails that can be thrown at Russian tanks.

The Pravda Brewery in the western city of Lviv is using bottles of a beer it already makes called Putin Huilo, which translates roughly as "Putin the d----head".

It first started making the beer in 2014 as a protest against Russia's annexation of Crimea.

On Sunday, in what is perhaps the ultimate act of guerrilla marketing, the brewery said it was using the same bottles to make stashes of Molotov cocktails for Ukrainian self-defence militias.

"Right now, nobody is drinking much beer anyway because of the war, so we decided to use the bottles to make Molotovs instead," said Juri Zastavniy, the manager of Pravda.


More smiles per mile: the Honda Grom MSX125

Honda has a genuine bargain on its hands with the fun and affordable 2022 Honda Grom ABS. It may be positioned as an entry-level streetbike, but the Grom performs well in the hands of more experienced motorcyclists and is a worthy addition to the garage for those seeking a compact bike that works well for getting around town.

In this video review, we get loose on it to find out if Big Red’s little guy lives up to its name - a “grom” is a wide-eyed and adventurous newbie surfer, so come hang ten.


01 March 2022

Ukraine: The Salvation Army is already there and helping

The Salvation Army has programmes and personnel in Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Romania, Moldova and other European countries who were able to offer practical assistance as soon as the violence escalated.

Some rushed to the border of Ukraine to hand out urgent provisions, while others made arrangements to offer support to Ukraine’s people seeking shelter in their country.

In particular, The Salvation’s Army’s response includes:

  • Romania has formed an emergency team, filled the car with essential items and travelled to the border to offer support.
  • Moldova will provide free assistance to Ukraine’s displaced people, including temporary accommodation, hot meals and drinks, access to Wi-Fi and other necessary items.
  • Poland is preparing relief parcels for Ukrainian people coming into the country.
  • Slovakia is preparing to offer accommodation, food and drink, and emotional support.
  • The Czech Republic is already home to some 200,000 Ukrainians and anticipates many more of them will seek help from family and friends already in the country. The Salvation Army in Czech Republic has available capacity in residential centres, so they stand ready to provide support.

The Salvation Army in Ukraine reports that officers are sleeping in shelters alongside the communities they serve, but doing their best to offer hope and support.

If you would like to make a donation towards The Salvation’s Army’s work in Ukraine, it would be gratefully received.


Tech news related to Putin's invasion of Ukraine


SecurityWeek: Twitter will put warnings on tweets sharing links to Russian state-affiliated media, the platform said Monday, as Kremlin-tied outlets are accused of spreading misinformation on Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Pressure is on social media giants to squelch misleading or false information about the attack, which has drawn fierce international condemnation.

Kremlin-run media outlets RT and Sputnik have both faced accusations of using false narratives in an effort to argue in favour of war.


Microsoft: Several hours before the launch of missiles or movement of tanks on February 24, Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) detected a new round of offensive and destructive cyberattacks directed against Ukraine’s digital infrastructure. We immediately advised the Ukrainian government about the situation, including our identification of the use of a new malware package (which we denominated FoxBlade), and provided technical advice on steps to prevent the malware’s success. (Within three hours of this discovery, signatures to detect this new exploit had been written and added to our Defender anti-malware service, helping to defend against this new threat.) In recent days, we have provided threat intelligence and defensive suggestions to Ukrainian officials regarding attacks on a range of targets, including Ukrainian military institutions and manufacturers and several other Ukrainian government agencies. This work is ongoing.


Reuters: Germany's Enercon on Monday said a "massive disruption" of satellite connections in Europe was affecting the operations of 5,800 wind turbines in central Europe.

It said the satellite connections stopped working on Thursday, knocking out remote monitoring and control of the wind turbines, which have a total capacity of 11 gigawatt (GW).

"The exact cause of the disruption is not yet known. The communication services failed almost simultaneously with the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine," Enercon said in a statement.

In other news, BBC reports: European gas prices have risen after the approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany was halted because of Russia's actions in Ukraine.