29 July 2022

It's Friday! Time to let your hair (& troosers) down ;0)

I've just come down
From the Isle of Skye
I'm not very big and I'm awful shy
And the lassies shout when I go by
Donald, where's your troosers?

Let the wind blow high
Let the wind blow low
Through the streets, in my kilt I'll go
All the lassies say hello
Donald, where's your troosers?

Lyrics by Andy Stewart


27 July 2022

Why is church attendance / going to church important?

Simply put, the Bible tells us we need to attend church so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth. The early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). We should follow that example of devotion - and to the same things. Back then, they had no designated church building, but “every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46). Wherever the meeting takes place, believers thrive on fellowship with other believers and the teaching of God’s Word.

Church attendance is not just a “good suggestion”; it is God’s will for believers. Hebrews 10:25 says we should “not [be] giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Even in the early church, some were falling into the bad habit of not meeting with other believers. The author of Hebrews says that’s not the way to go. We need the encouragement that church attendance affords. And the approach of the end times should prompt us to be even more devoted to going to church.

Church is the place where believers can love one another (1 John 4:12), encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13), “spur” one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), instruct one another (Romans 15:14), honour one another (Romans 12:10), and be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32).

When a person trusts Jesus Christ for salvation, he or she is made a member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). For a church body to function properly, all of its “body parts” need to be present and working (1 Corinthians 12:14–20). It’s not enough to just attend a church; we should be involved in some type of ministry to others, using the spiritual gifts God has given us (Ephesians 4:11–13). A believer will never reach full spiritual maturity without having that outlet for his gifts, and we all need the assistance and encouragement of other believers (1 Corinthians 12:21–26).

For these reasons and more, church attendance, participation, and fellowship should be regular aspects of a believer’s life. Weekly church attendance is in no sense “required” for believers, but someone who belongs to Christ should have a desire to worship God, receive His Word, and fellowship with other believers.

Jesus is the Cornerstone of the Church (1 Peter 2:6), and we are “like living stones . . . being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). As the building materials of God’s “spiritual house,” we naturally have a connection with one another, and that connection is evident every time the Church “goes to church.”


25 July 2022

Google Chrome security update fixes 'high risk' flaws


Google has released security updates for Google Chrome browser (updated to 103.0.5060.134) for Windows, Mac and Linux, addressing vulnerabilities that could allow a remote attacker to take control of systems. 

There are 11 fixes in total, including five that are classed as high-severity. As a result, CISA has issued an alert encouraging IT administrators and regular users to install the updates as soon as possible to ensure their systems are not vulnerable to the flaws. 

Among the most severe vulnerabilities that are patched by the Google Chrome update is CVE-2022-2477, a vulnerability caused by a use-after-free flaw in Guest View, which could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on systems or crash them. 


24 July 2022

Sunday breakfast @ Mono Motorcycles, Funtingdon


After 8am Mass this morning: Kim, Jamie & I rode out to Mono Motorcycles in Funtingdon. Weather was sunny, warm with a touch of breeze. A great ride (with the family) and tasty breakfast when we got there - what's not to like? Thank you Lord for happy days!

Mono Motorcycles - what good people! Passionate about bikes and have a couple of beautiful rescue dogs in their family. They laid on a brilliant Custom & Classic Motorbikes show in Havant an the 12th June (photos here). That show went down so well - they've already booked the next one (details here). 

The breakfast bike meeting was well attended with something for everyone: British classics, a very special BMW R nineT, Harleys, lots of lovely Jap machines including a brace of tasty RD350s. Thanks for arranging this Dan & Katy - hope to see you again soon!


22 July 2022

The Google Pay app is becoming Google Wallet:

The Google Pay app is becoming Google Wallet. It has new features, a fresh design and new privacy settings for better control of how your data gets shared.

Our digital wallet gives you fast, secure access to payment cards, loyalty cards, tickets, boarding passes, car keys and more.

You can still pay anywhere that Google Pay is accepted online – just look for Google Pay checkout buttons or use auto-fill in Chrome and Android. And with a card saved in Wallet, you can also make contactless payments in-store anywhere that Google Pay is accepted.


20 July 2022

Michael Robotham’s The Suspect - on ITV from August 2022

The Suspect (novel by Michael Robotham) tells the story of Doctor Joe O'Loughlin, a clinical psychologist who is living with early onset Parkinson's. The production team for the series approached Parkinson’s UK for information and support on portraying the condition in the 5-part thriller

Parkinson's UK put them in touch with Drew Hallam, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2018 aged 35. Drew kindly volunteered his time to guide the team including Aidan Turner, who's also starred in Poldark and The Hobbit, to portray the condition accurately. 

Anyone can get Parkinson’s, young or old. Aidan’s character in The Suspect will raise awareness of the condition, and fight the common misconception that it only affects older people.


Fullers Shakespeare in the garden: The Taming of the Shrew

Experience Shakespeare as it was intended - informal, raucous and in a spacious pub garden with a drink in hand. Whether this will be your first, or thirty-first night of Shakespeare, you will not be disappointed.

A four-person performance by Open Bar Theatre - with a contemporary twist on one of the bards most mischievous tales.

The Taming of the Shrew: everyone wants Bianca but until her sister, the quick tempered Katherine, is married off, their father won't let anyone near her. Petruchio arrives in town announcing his need for a wife and he has one desire: that she be rich. Bianca's suitors smell an opportunity...they'll pay Petruchio to marry Katherine. And so follows a battle of wills for the ages.

Two performances:
22 July 2022 19:30 - 22:00
23 July 2022 19:30 - 22:00

London Road


19 July 2022

And the weather in Donline is: Scorchio!


According to my office thermometer: today it is 32.4C in Donline.

The data rack is currently running at 41.62C - with the front door off!

I'm beaten, gonna try to climb in the fridge: Scorchio!


Denmark bans Chromebooks and Google Workspace in schools over data transfer risks


Denmark is effectively banning Google’s services in schools, after officials in the municipality of Helsingør were last year ordered to carry out a risk assessment around the processing of personal data by Google.

In a verdict published last week, Denmark’s data protection agency, Datatilsynet, revealed that data processing involving students using Google’s cloud-based Workspace software suite — which includes Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar and Google Drive — “does not meet the requirements” of the European Union’s GDPR data privacy regulations.

Specifically, the authority found that the data processor agreement — or Google’s terms and conditions —  seemingly allow for data to be transferred to other countries for the purpose of providing support, even though the data is ordinarily stored in one of Google’s EU data centres.

Google’s Chromebook laptops, and by extension Google Workspace, are used in schools across Denmark. But Datatilsynet focused specifically on Helsingør for the risk assessment after the municipality reported a “breach of personal data security” back in 2020. While this latest ruling technically only applies to schools in Helsingør for now, Datatilsynet notes that many of the conclusions it has reached will “probably apply to other municipalities” that use Google Chromebooks and Workspace. It added that it expects these other municipalities “to take relevant steps” off the back of the decision it reached in Helsingør.

The ban is effective immediately, but Helsingør has until August 3 to delete user data.


Iran: where having a pet could soon land you in jail

The Iranian parliament could soon approve the Protection of the Public's Rights Against Animals bill, which would restrict pet ownership across the board.

Police there recently announced that walking dogs in parks was a crime. The ban was justified as a measure to "protect the safety of the public".

According to the proposed legislation, pet ownership would be subject to a permit issued by a special committee. There would also be a minimum fine of around $800 (790 euros; £670) for the "import, purchase and sale, transportation and keeping" of a range of animals, including common pets such as dogs, cats, turtles and rabbits.

"Debates around this bill started more than a decade ago, when a group of Iranian MPs tried to promote a law to confiscate all dogs and give them to zoos or leave them in deserts," Dr Payam Mohebi, the president of the Iran Veterinary Association and an opponent of the bill, told the BBC.

I'm struggling to get my head around some countries: Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China, and others. Do they not look at themselves in the mirror & realise: we're the baddies?


18 July 2022

Thousands of websites run buggy WordPress plugin that allows complete takeover

Traced as CVE-2021-24284, the vulnerability targets Kaswara Modern WPBakery Page Builder Addons and, if exploited, it would allow criminals to upload malicious JavaScript files and even completely take over an organization's website. All versions are susceptible, there's no patch, so now's a good time to remove this add-on.

Wordfence disclosed the flaw almost three months ago, and in a new advisory this week warned that criminals are increasing attacks — the WordPress security shop claims it blocked an average of 443,868 attack attempts per day on its customers' sites. 

Software developers never patched the bug, and the plugin is now closed, which means that all versions are susceptible to an attack. The bug hunters estimated between 4,000 and 8,000 websites still have the vulnerable plugin installed, and noted that while 1,599,852 unique sites were targeted, a majority of those weren't running the plugin.


16 July 2022

Park the hard stuff for a moment, rejoice in this: Oh Happy Day!


Oh happy day

Oh happy day

Oh happy happy day;

Oh happy day

When Jesus washed

Oh when he washed

When Jesus washed

He washed my sins away!

Oh happy day

Oh happy day

Oh happy day

Oh happy day

When Jesus washed

Oh when he washed

When Jesus washed

He washed my sins away!

Oh happy day

Oh happy day

He taught me how

He taught me

Taught me how to watch

He taught me how to watch

And fight and pray

Fight and pray

Yes, fight and pray

And he'll rejoice

And He'll, and He'll

Rejoice in things we say

And He'll rejoicein' things we say

Things we say

Yes, things we say

Oh happy day, oh happy day

Oh happy day, oh happy day

Oh happy day

Oh happy day

Oh happy day, Oh happy day

When Jesus washed

Oh when he washed

He washed my sins away

He taught me how

To watch, fight and pray

Fight and pray

Oh happy day, Oh happy day

When Jesus washed

Oh when he washed

He washed my sins away

We'll live rejoicing

Ev'ry day, ev'ry day

Oh happy day, Oh happy day

When Jesus washed

Oh when he washed

He washed my sins away

Video from: Sister Act 2

Songwriter: Edwin Hawkins


Reading for today: on the great Blessing of love, friendship & marriage

C.S. Lewis wrote: For a good wife contains so many persons in herself. What was H. not to me? She was my daughter and my mother, my pupil and my teacher, my subject and my sovereign; and always, holding all these in solution, my trusty comrade, friend, shipmate, fellow-soldier. My mistress; but at the same time all that any man friend (and I have good ones) has ever been to me. Perhaps more. If we had never fallen in love we should have none the less been always together, and created a scandal. That’s what I meant when I once praised her for her “masculine virtues.” But she soon put a stop to that by asking how I’d like to be praised for my feminine ones. It was a good riposte, dear. Yet there was something of the Amazon, something of Penthesileia and Camilla. And you, as well as I, were glad it should be there. You were glad I should recognize it.

Solomon calls his bride Sister. Could a woman be a complete wife unless, for a moment, in one particular mood, a man felt almost inclined to call her Brother? . . .

There is, hidden or flaunted, a sword between the sexes till an entire marriage reconciles them. It is arrogance in us to call frankness, fairness, and chivalry “masculine” when we see them in a woman; it is arrogance in them to describe a man’s sensitiveness or tact or tenderness as “feminine.” But also what poor, warped fragments of humanity most mere men and mere women must be to make the implications of that arrogance plausible. Marriage heals this. Jointly the two become fully human. “In the image of God created He them.” Thus, by a paradox, this carnival of sexuality leads us out beyond our sexes.

From A Grief Observed

By C.S. Lewis

13 July 2022

Hive to pull the plug on smart home gadgets by 2025

Home automation platform Hive plans to terminate key products in its line, including the Hive View cameras, HomeShield, and Leak products.

A Hive spokesperson told The Register: "At Hive, we've got big plans to make... homes greener, so we've made the tough decision to discontinue our smart security and leak detection products. As a smart tech brand in the middle of a climate crisis, we know the focus needs to change and will instead be developing smart home tech that'll help get us closer to achieving Net Zero."

Users, some of whom have invested four-figure sums in Hive products, are less than impressed.

The indoor and outdoor cameras and HomeShield will be supported until August 1, 2025. The Leak sensors will work as normal until September 1, 2023, after which leak notifications and water usage graphs will dry up.

Once that August date is reached, the cameras will no longer function. Video playback subscriptions will last for "a minimum of two years."

Older security products also face the axe, including the Sound Detection service for the Hub 360, which will be killed off at the end of this year. More up to date is the Boiler IQ trial, which is also on the chopping block. The explanation: "Hive has taken a business decision to not move forward with this product – and to focus on other areas of innovation instead."

"Smart" devices - great eh? Used to be that you bought a product & that was that. Nowadays, you buy the device, pay a subscription for services, & when the company abandons the product - you end up with a dodo. Not just gadgets though: how about Zero Motorcycles, Tesla & BMW cars. NB: these "upgrades" are to switch on an option that is already in the vehicle. If it can be switched on remotely, it can also be switched off remotely. Not so "smart" if you ask me...


12 July 2022

Wanna save energy? Stay away from Crypto!

Bitcoin Miners shut off rigs as Texas power grid nears breaking point: Nearly all industrial scale Bitcoin miners in Texas have shut off their machines as the companies brace for a heat wave that is expected to push the state’s power grid near its breaking point. 

There are over 1,000 megawatts worth of Bitcoin mining load that responded to ERCOTs (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) conservation request by turning off their machines to conserve energy for the grid.” Lee Bratcher, president of Texas Blockchain Association told Bloomberg in an email response. “This represents nearly all industrial scale Bitcoin mining load in Texas and allows for over 1% of total grid capacity to be pushed back onto the grid for retail and commercial use.” 

"over 1,000 megawatts" - sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Difficult for us mere mortals to work out how much power that is... In context: Sizewell B (nuclear power station on the UK Suffolk coast) can generate 1,198 megawatts (enough for 2.3 million homes). So the amount of power temporarily released by Crypto Miners in Texas is roughly the equivalent of one of the UKs largest nuclear power stations

Wanna cutback on energy usage / stop bankrolling Putin's aggression in Ukraine? JUST. DON'T. GO. THERE.


Come back old fashioned keys - all is forgiven!

Hackers have uncovered ways to unlock and start nearly all modern Honda-branded vehicles by wirelessly stealing codes from an owner's key fob. Dubbed "Rolling Pwn," the attack allows any individual to "eavesdrop" on a remote key fob from nearly 100 feet away and reuse them later to unlock or start a vehicle in the future without owner's knowledge.

Despite Honda's dispute that the technology in its key fobs "would not allow the vulnerability," The Drive has independently confirmed the validity of the attack with its own demonstration.

Older vehicles used static codes for keyless entry. These static codes are inherently vulnerable, as any individual can capture and replay them at will to lock and unlock a vehicle. Manufacturers later introduced rolling codes to improve vehicle security. Rolling codes work by using a Pseudorandom Number Generator (PRNG). When a lock or unlock button is pressed on a paired key fob, the fob sends a unique code wirelessly to the vehicle encapsulated within the message. The vehicle then checks the code sent to it against its internal database of valid PRNG-generated codes, and if the code is valid, the car grants the request to lock, unlock, or start the vehicle.

The database contains several allowed codes, as a key fob may not be in range of a vehicle when a button is pressed and may transmit a different code than what the vehicle is expecting to be next chronologically. This series of codes is also known as a "window," When a vehicle receives a newer code, it typically invalidates all previous codes to protect against replay attacks.

This attack works by eavesdropping on a paired keyfob and capturing several codes sent by the fob. The attacker can later replay a sequence of valid codes and re-sync the PRNG. This allows the attacker to re-use older codes that would normally be invalid, even months after the codes have been captured.


11 July 2022

NEWTON’S GOD – a new video from the John 10:10 Project

Sir Isaac Newton. The name is on every shortlist of “the greatest scientific minds in history.”  

By the age of 25, Newton had laid the foundations for his monumental discoveries of the laws of motion, principles of optics and light, and the invention of calculus

More than three centuries later his discoveries still influence our daily lives in countless ways. But Newton’s significance extends beyond the physical realm, for he viewed his work as an extension of his deep, abiding faith in the Creator of the universe

Celebrate this extraordinary life and the bond between science and faith in this memorable short video.


08 July 2022

About that film you bought: you don't own it anymore!

In a move that will undoubtedly draw severe criticism, movies from Studio Canal that customers have purchased on the PlayStation Store will be completely removed next month.

The legal notice is published on PlayStation's German and Austrian websites where it reads (translated):

As of August 31, 2022, due to our evolving licensing agreements with content providers, you will no longer be able to view your previously purchased Studio Canal content and it will be removed from your video library.
We greatly appreciate your continued support.
Thank you
PlayStation Store

In other words, customers will lose access to movies such as Apocalypse Now, Django, John Wick, La La Land, Saw and The Hunger Games that they purchased on the PlayStation Store. Not rented, but purchased.

Do you really own digital movies? The development reignites the debate around digital movie purchases and naturally lead consumers to wonder what comes next?

Will Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and others similarly remove customers' purchased movies when the tech giants lose interest in their movie storefronts?

So far, there are no indications that they will but Sony PlayStation's decision certainly serves as a grim example. In the US, customers have some protection through digital movie locker Movies Anywhere, but no such fallback option exists internationally.

07 July 2022

Support Ukraine directly - via UNITED24


UNITED24 was launched by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine - following Russia's invasion & war on Ukraine. Funds will be transferred to the official accounts of the National Bank of Ukraine and allocated by assigned ministries to cover the most pressing.

People from all over the world have united in their will to help Ukraine. We appreciate everyone's support! The UNITED24 goal is to increase donations to Ukraine and ensure the efficiency and transparency of their distribution. The Official platform protects you from delays, intermediaries, and fraud.

UNITED24 raises funds to be used in three directions:


06 July 2022

Why Britain’s new stamps are causing outrage and upset

In February 2022 Royal Mail introduced barcodes to stamps. These will include regular ‘everyday’ Definitive stamps – the ones with the profile of HM The Queen, as well as Christmas stamps.  

Each barcode is unique and an integral part of the stamp, so when using these new stamps you must keep the barcode attached otherwise they are invalid.

Stamps without a barcode can be used until 31 Jan 2023 and will continue to be sold until stocks are exhausted. Barcoded and non-barcoded stamps can be used together on one item if required. 

Royal Mail are encouraging customers to use up their non-barcoded stamps before 31 Jan 2023. Where this is not possible, non-barcoded stamps can exchanged using Royal Mail’s 'Swap Out' scheme. Please note, stamps cannot be exchanged in Post Office branches 

From The Guardian: Royal Mail’s stamps are finally entering the digital world, with printed codes that can be used to track letters or linked to videos. Collectors, traditionalists and royalists are not amused...


Life imitating art: humans evolving to be poorer and less well-educated

Britons are evolving to be less well-educated and poorer because smart rich people are having fewer children, a new study has suggested.

Researchers have found that natural selection is favouring people with lower earnings and poorer education, with the next generation likely to be one or two percentage points lower in educational attainment than today.

Evolution also appears to be favouring people with a high risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), major depressive disorders and coronary artery disease, as well as younger parents and people with more sexual partners. 

Oh,oh - this sounds like the plot of one of my favourite movies: Idiocracy - Private Joe Bauers, a decisively average American, is selected as a guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program but is forgotten, awakening to a future so incredibly moronic he's easily the most intelligent person alive. If you haven't seen this move: get a copy (link here). It's part comedy, part social commentary, and totally brilliant! 


More dogs in the neighbourhood often means less crime

If you want to find a safe neighborhood to live in, choose one where the residents trust each other - and have a lot of dogs to walk.

In a study conducted in Columbus, researchers found that neighborhoods with more dogs had lower rates of homicide, robbery and, to a lesser extent, aggravated assaults compared to areas with fewer dogs, at least when residents also had high levels of trust in each other.

The results suggest that people walking their dogs puts more "eyes on the street," which can discourage crime, said Nicolo Pinchak, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in sociology at The Ohio State University.

"People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods," Pinchak said. "They see when things are not right, and when there are suspect outsiders in the area. It can be a crime deterrent."


05 July 2022

What is the difference between cask and keg beer?

The range of beers has hugely expanded in recent years, ranging from our traditional real cask ales to the kegged modern craft beer. But what is the difference between cask and keg beer? Fuller's turned to award winning beer writer Ben McFarland for help... When the good folk at Fuller’s Brewery asked me to write about "The Difference Between Cask Ale and Keg Beer”, I did what any hard-hitting, sword-of-truth wielding newshound would do. I turned on the internet and typed ‘cask versus keg” into the Google contraption (other search engines are available)

Cask ale, also known as cask-conditioned beer or ‘real’ ale, is beer that undergoes secondary fermentation in the barrel. Brewers of cask ale don’t interfere with it, they don’t filter it and they don’t pasteurise it. All they do is put fresh live beer straight into the barrel where, still in unfinished form containing lots of lovely fruity residual yeast, it remains alive and kicking until it lands in your glass.

“Keg beers” had become a derogatory term for inferior ales served using cold conditioning, pressurised tanks, filtration and the use of extraneous carbon dioxide techniques that, ironically, had first been used to produce the lovely legendary lagers brewed in mainland Europe back in the late 19th century.


04 July 2022

Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) pledges to overturn UK Government’s petition "snub"

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is determined to overturn the Government’s snub of the bus lane petition.  Colin Brown describes the petition response as predictably blinkered.  Consequently, campaigning will continue to exceed 100,000 signatures in order to trigger a Parliamentary debate.

On 30th June, the Government published a response to the ‘Bikes in Bus Lanes’ petition.  MAG views the response as a snub which fails to address the substance of the petition.  Campaigners are seeking a change to current policy but the response merely repeats the existing Government position that the issue is “entirely a matter for each traffic authority to decide.”

The Government has failed to address the central issue of the petition.  That position is that there should be a default national policy to permit motorcycles in bus lanes.  The goal is to remove the patchwork of regulation put in place by local councils.