24 December 2023

Merry Christmas from Donline!


Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

Read all of Luke 2 at Bible Gateway

Wishing you and your loved ones health, peace, happiness and prosperity;
over this Christmas, the New Year and throughout the year to come.

With blessings,

Don,  Kim & Calli x

18 December 2023

The Chosen: Season 4 Official Trailer

"Come to me, you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." That was the theme of Season 3. Jesus said this to a crowd of thousands before also saying it to Simon while they stood on water. Season 4? Jesus is weary and heavy-laden, and He needs rest.

We're getting closer and closer to Jerusalem, to what we know is coming. Jesus is getting increasingly frustrated, and yes, sad. Not because he's getting closer to death, but because of the reasons He must die. From his faith's religious leaders, to the holy city of Jerusalem, to his own friends and followers, people are not understanding his mission. To that end, He must allow painful things, and even set in motion certain confusing or bittersweet events, to accelerate the outcomes that will lead to Holy Week

Season 4 marks the midpoint of the most famous and influential story in human history. It will be painful, and it will be joyous. It will be bittersweet. But by all measures, Season 4 will also be our best. - Dallas Jenkins, Creator of The Chosen


15 December 2023

Calli's getting ready for Christmas!


Dear Calli went to Sammy's Perfect Pets earlier this week - for a pre Christmas wash n brush up. 

She looks & smells fab, & is ready for the celebrations to begin!


14 December 2023

Silent night: the agony of global Christianity goes unheard in the West

November brought vast “Free Palestine” marches to the streets of Britain and the world. Those who protested were not put off by unabashed demands for Israel’s elimination or that organisers included Muhammad Kathem Sawalha — whose history as a senior Hamas commander has, interestingly, proved no bar to gaining British citizenship. Neither has weeks of coverage of bombed-out Gazan homes softened the views of Israel’s supporters who see it as a necessary price to demolish the nest of pitiless terrorism.

Such demonstrations show that we have, rightly, not forgotten the Palestinian people — displaced and rendered stateless for decades — nor the plight of Jews worldwide, attacked, abused and threatened, forced to post security guards outside every school and synagogue.

But other conflicts and injustices, as or more terrible, command far less attention. Gaza is sometimes called an “open-air concentration camp”. Whatever we think of that, there are more than a million Muslims detained in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang, subjected to forced labour, re-education, the removal of their children, and mandatory sterilisation. In the most systematic act of ethnic cleansing in recent history, the birth rate in Uyghur- majority regions collapsed by more than 60 per cent in only three years.

But there is no BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement targeting China. Chinese students are not asked to defend their government’s conduct. Muslims do not march for their Chinese brethren, Labour councillors do not resign over Britain’s China policy and the new Foreign Secretary’s history of opening doors for Beijing suggests his conscience is unstirred. You can add to this list of the butchered, displaced and discriminated- against Kurds, Syrians, Yemenis, Sahrawis, Indians and Rohingya.

But one religious minority subjected to some of the worst treatment, with 360 million facing persecution, receives even less attention in the West. With one in seven of its adherents endangered, Christianity is one of the most oppressed religions in the world.

While Middle Eastern Jews have a homeland to flee to, carved out from the former Ottoman Empire, the place intended to be the Christian Arab homeland, the Republic of Lebanon, is now a failed state, dominated by Islamist groups such as Hezbollah. Since 2012, Christians have shrunk from 40 per cent to 32 per cent of Lebanon’s population, with many fleeing for the West.

The other enclave of Christians in the Middle East, Armenia, faces continual hostility from its more powerful neighbour Azerbaijan, which recently struck a devastating blow in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabkh, displacing thousands of Armenian Christians.

Christians have been forced to flee historic homelands in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and the Holy Land itself. From making up 13 per cent of the region’s population in the early twentieth century, they now comprise only 5 per cent.

The world is poorer for the displacement from their homelands of those with Syriac, Coptic and Chaldean cultures —indigenous peoples whose presence long preceded Arab conquest of their lands — to an uncertain life seeking refuge in the secular West. This is a civilizational loss.

Yet in the face of this global agony, the West this Christmas stands silent. Where are the sanctions, weapons and cultural solidarity for the millions of Christians facing existential threat? The war against Christianity is furiously waged by Marxist atheists in China, by Hindu nationalists in India, and even, piquantly, by Jewish bigots in Israel. READ MORE...


11 December 2023

John 10:10 video: The Greatest Gift!

The story of Christ’s birth begins long before Matthew and Luke’s beloved accounts of shepherds, a stable, and a star that shined over Bethlehem

In the first chapter of John’s gospel, we learn that Jesus was with God and the Holy Spirit before the creation of the universe. Then, more than 2000 years ago, He came to Earth as a babe in a manger - fully God and fully man. The centrepiece of the Lord’s eternal plan to save all of humanity from the consequences of sin.


04 December 2023

Mr Bates vs The Post Office - coming soon to ITV


Nick Wallis says: The first trailer for the drama has been shown on ITV, and can be seen here on YouTube. I've been lucky enough to watch all four episodes and whilst I am a little biased, I can honestly say it is a stunning drama which will hopefully bring the Post Office Horizon scandal to a completely new (and vast) audience.

I was out at dinner last night, sitting next to two people who had never heard of the story. It was great to be able to show them the trailer. The star power of Toby Jones immediately piqued their interest and they wanted to know more.

I'll let you know as soon as the TX dates are confirmed.


01 December 2023

Child of Hope Nativity 2023, and a fundraiser for Christmas

Here is Child of Hope's 2023 fun nativity video; enjoy! 
There are seven days in all:

As the holiday season approaches, we're reaching out to share an opportunity to make a meaningful impact this Christmas. Your generosity can bring joy to hundreds of Ugandan families in the Namatala and Karomoja slums.

In these communities, poverty is more than a word; it's a daily reality, especially in the remote area of Karomoja. Families face desperate situations, struggling against hunger and malnutrition.

Yet, in the face of these challenges, your kindness can be a beacon of hope. Last year, your support enabled us to provide food parcels and host a fantastic party, leaving an incredible impact. This year, with your help, we hope to repeat this gesture. Could you assist us in making a difference?

Your donation, regardless of size, will ensure that our pupils and their families experience the taste of happiness this Christmas. To contribute via JustGiving, please click here. For those who prefer PayPal, cheque, or online banking, please click through to our website here.

Additionally, your support doesn't end with a donation. Sharing our appeal with your network helps us reach more hearts and make this Christmas special for everyone! Any amount exceeding our target will provide food for needy children throughout the year. 

Thank you for your ongoing support. Let's join together to make this Christmas a season of hope and happiness for those who need it most.


30 November 2023

And now for something completely different: a mountain bike that thinks its a motorbike, or is it the other way round?


Mike & I went to Motorcycle Live last week & had a brilliant time - there was lots of great stuff to grab the attention ;0). 

One of the two bikes that I rode on the day was a mad thing called a MECR-X. A tiny light electric motorbike that rode like a mountain bike - without the pedals. I totally loved it! As you might have noticed, I have a thing about motorcycles LOL! Also I enjoy cycling: my Specialized RockHopper Pro (which I've had for 15+ years) is a brilliant mountain bike. The MECR-X is somewhere in-between. Really light & stumpy, fast handling & accelerating. You might have seen bikes like this in the news recently, for all the wrong reasons...

They were demonstrating the MECR-X & other bikes in the electric test ride zone - and gauging feedback. After my ride (so much fun!) I had a chat with the peeps on the stand. Target price was £2500-£3000 - I said I be happy to have one! However, after thinking about this a while, I have to temper that comment... What we have here is something from a Chinese company that no-one has heard off, with little or no dealer network, spares, after sales, etc. Now, Sur-Ron is a player in a similar space - that has been around for a few years. Their bikes are £4500-£5500. However: for that sort of price you can (more or less) get a proper bike like a Honda CRF300L with a real support network & known longevity...

Hmmm: lots of fun to be had here, but still not convinced that small electric motorcycles are ready for primetime, yet...


Santa is preparing to lower this down the grandson's chimney!


Introducing the OFFICIAL Alex Marquez Replica Wooden Balance Bike!

Speedy Adventure: Designed to ignite your child's sense of adventure, this balance bike makes them feel like they're racing with its Alex Marquez-inspired design.
Eco-Friendly Construction: Crafted from sustainably sourced birch plywood, this bike is both speedy and environmentally conscious.
Comfortable Control: Soft rubber grips and real pneumatic tires ensure that little hands and feet can maintain comfortable and confident control at all times, enhancing the overall riding experience.
Official Alex Marquez Design: Authentically designed with Alex Marquez colours and branding for an exciting riding experience.
Child-Safe Paint: Painted with child-safe water-based paints, ensuring a safe playtime experience.
Lightweight: Weighing just 5kg, it's easy for little ones to handle and control.
Designed in the UK: Created in the UK by Kiddimoto, a trusted name in quality children's ride-on products.
Age Suitability:
Suitable for ages 18 months to 5 years.
Technical Specifications:
Material: Sustainably sourced birch plywood
Weight: 5kg
Tire Type: Pneumatic tires for a smooth ride

Honestly this thing is stunning! I met Simon - the MD of KiddiMoto - @ last year's MCL. Really liked the products but Kim said that as our grandson Oliver was only about two months old at the time - perhaps I should leave the purchase till he was a bit older ;0). I called Simon a few days ago, struck up a deal for a bike, helmet, bell & gloves. The kit arrived promptly, assembled easily & looks fantastic! Grandson is going to have a great Christmas & good few years play out of this thing! Highly recommended if you have a nipper in the family who could do with some wheels!  Proverbs 22:6.


27 November 2023

Advent is starting soon!


Advent with the Church of England. We invite you to mark the Advent season with us and Join The Song! As you make your preparations for Advent and Christmas, we have the following resources available:

Follow The Star App: Daily Advent reflections will be available in the Follow the Star app from 1 December and run until 24 December. The reflections include a Bible reading, short reflection, activity suggestion and prayer. Audio of the reflections is also included in the app. Learn more and download the app.

Follow The Star Advent Calendar: With beautiful illustrations and 24 stickers, you can now order these for children in your family or church. You can order each individually, or in packs of 10. Click here to order yours.

Online Advent calendar: Join The Song and find daily reflections for all ages, as well as audio versions so you can take a moment to reflect, even on the move. Follow along this December.

Christmas reflections booklets, prayer cards and more: This year's Christmas reflections by Richard Carter can be ordered in standard or large print, as well as prayer cards promoting the free digital versions. Find out more.

A Church Near You: Churches around the country are holding services and events to mark Advent and Christmas. Find a service or event local to you.

Alexa: Listen to the Advent and Christmas reflections by telling Alexa to, "Ask the Church of England for today's Follow the Star reflection."

DailyHope: Listen to the day's Advent reflection by calling the DailyHope phone line on 0800 804 8044


23 November 2023

Reading (and video) for today: Dwell on these things

While under house arrest in 62 AD, the apostle Paul wrote a letter to a church in the Roman colony of Philippi. He was no stranger to adversity. Yet, instead of collapsing under the weight of difficult circumstances, Paul discovered supernatural peace and joy. His inspired words (recorded in Philippians 4: 4-13) come alive in this unforgettable devotional video. It is  a message that has never been more relevant.

Philippians 4:4-13 - Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.


Commercial Flights Are Experiencing 'Unthinkable' GPS Attacks and Nobody Knows What to Do

Commercial air crews are reporting something “unthinkable” in the skies above the Middle East: novel “spoofing” attacks have caused navigation systems to fail in dozens of incidents since September. 

In late September, multiple commercial flights near Iran went astray after navigation systems went blind. The planes first received spoofed GPS signals, meaning signals designed to fool planes’ systems into thinking they are flying miles away from their real location. One of the aircraft almost flew into Iranian airspace without permission. Since then, air crews discussing the problem online have said it’s only gotten worse, and experts are racing to establish who is behind it.

OPSGROUP, an international group of pilots and flight technicians, sounded the alarm about the incidents in September and began to collect data to share with its members and the public. According to OPSGROUP, multiple commercial aircraft in the Middle Eastern region have lost the ability to navigate after receiving spoofed navigation signals for months. And it’s not just GPS - fallback navigation systems are also corrupted, resulting in total failure.

According to OPSGROUP, the activity is centered in three regions: Baghdad, Cairo, and Tel Aviv. The group has tracked more than 50 incidents in the last five weeks, the group said in a November update, and identified three new and distinct kinds of navigation spoofing incidents, with two arising since the initial reports in September. 

While GPS spoofing is not new, the specific vector of these new attacks was previously “unthinkable,” according to OPSGROUP, which described them as exposing a “fundamental flaw in avionics design.” The spoofing corrupts the Inertial Reference System, a piece of equipment often described as the “brain” of an aircraft that uses gyroscopes, accelerometers, and other tech to help planes navigate. 


21 November 2023

Reading for today: what God wants from us

 For it is not so much of our time and so much of our attention that God demands; it is not even all our time and all our attention; it is ourselves. For each of us the Baptist's words are true: “He must increase and I decrease.” He will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that He will accept a deliberate compromise. For He has, in the last resort, nothing to give us but Himself; and He can give that only insofar as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls. Let us make up our minds to it; there will be nothing “of our own” left over to live on, no “ordinary” life. 

I do not mean that each of us will necessarily be called to be a martyr or even an ascetic. That’s as may be. For some (nobody knows which) the Christian life will include much leisure, many occupations we naturally like. But these will be received from God’s hands. In a perfect Christian they would be as much part of his “religion,” his “service,” as his hardest duties, and his feasts would be as Christian as his fasts. What cannot be admitted - what must exist only as an undefeated but daily resisted enemy - is the idea of something that is “our own,” some area in which we are to be “out of school,” on which God has no claim.

For He claims all, because He is love and must bless. He cannot bless us unless He has us. When we try to keep within us an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death. Therefore, in love, He claims all. There’s no bargaining with Him.

From The Weight of Glory

19 November 2023

Poem of a dog - by Calli

I'm the one who's always waiting for you.

Your motorcycle has a special sound that I have imprinted on my senses, I can recognize it in a thousand.

Your steps have a magic bell.

Your voice is music to my ears.

If I see your joy, it makes me happy!.

Your scent is the best.

Your presence moves my senses.

Your waking up wakes me up

I contemplate you sleeping and for me you are my daddy, I am happy watching your sleep.

Your look is a ray of light.

Your hands upon me, hold the lightness of peace and the sublime display of infinite love.

When you leave, I feel a huge void in my heart.

I keep waiting for you again and again.

I am the one who will wait for you all your life today, tomorrow and forever:

I am your dog.

Nicked from a friend

15 November 2023

Boston Dynamics teaches robo-dog to recognise speech, respond using ChatGPT

Robot-maker Boston Dynamics has taught one of its "Spot" robo-dogs to talk, by using ChatGPT.

As explained last week in a blog post, Boston Dynamics (BD) folks observed with considerable interest the advent of foundation models (FMs) and their use powering chatbots like ChatGPT. The firm therefore became interested in developing a demo of Spot using FMs to make decisions in real time.

"Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT are basically very big, very capable autocomplete algorithms; they take in a stream of text and predict the next bit of text," the post states. "We were inspired by the apparent ability of LLMs to roleplay, replicate culture and nuance, form plans, and maintain coherence over time, as well as by recently released Visual Question Answering (VQA) models that can caption images and answer simple questions about them."

A robot tour guide was chosen as good test case. "The robot could walk around, look at objects in the environment, use a VQA or captioning model to describe them, and then elaborate on those descriptions using an LLM," the droid-maker's post states. "Additionally, the LLM could answer questions from the tour audience, and plan what actions the robot should take next. In this way, the LLM can be thought of as an improv actor – we provide a broad strokes script and the LLM fills in the blanks on the fly."

Over The Air software update to Rivian cars - goes wrong & kills internal screens!

On Monday, Rivian released an incremental software update 2023.42, which bricked the infotainment system in R1Ses and R1Ts. The company is frantically working on a fix, but it might not be an OTA

Update: The company has acknowledged the issue with affected customers but a fix will have to wait until Nov 15th

Rivian’s vice president of software engineering, Wassim Bensaid, took to Reddit to update users on the situation.

Hi All,

We made an error with the 2023.42 OTA update – a fat finger where the wrong build with the wrong security certificates was sent out. We cancelled the campaign and we will restart it with the proper software that went through the different campaigns of beta testing.

Service will be contacting impacted customers and will go through the resolution options. That may require physical repair in some cases.

This is on us – we messed up. Thanks for your support and your patience as we go through this.

* Update 1 (11/13, 10:45 PM PT): The issue impacts the infotainment system. In most cases, the rest of the vehicle systems are still operational. A vehicle reset or sleep cycle will not solve the issue. We are validating the best options to address the issue for the impacted vehicles. Our customer support team is prioritizing support for our customers related to this issue. Thank you.

That’s the last update we had over 10 hours after Rivian customer vehicles were fed the bad software update. Rivian’s PR team hasn’t replied to requests for comment.

The vehicles are drivable, but software and displays go black. It appears that the 2023.42 software update hangs at 90% on the vehicle screen or 50% on the app screen, and then the vehicle screens black out. All systems appear to still work except for the displays.


14 November 2023

Warning issued to WhatsApp users over account takeover scam


Action Fraud has received many reports relating to a scam that steals access to a WhatsApp user's account.

The scam begins when a criminal gets access to another WhatsApp account which has you listed as a contact.

The criminal, posing as your friend or someone that’s a member of a WhatsApp group you’re in, will then send you seemingly normal messages to try and start a conversation with you.

However, around the same time you will receive a text message from WhatsApp with a six-digit code. This is because the criminal has been trying to login to WhatsApp using your mobile number.

The criminal will claim that they sent you their code by accident and ask you to help them by sending it to them. Once the criminal has this code, they can login to your WhatsApp account and lock you out.

The criminal will then use the same tactic with your WhatsApp contacts in an effort to steal more accounts and use them to perpetrate fraud.

What you need to do: Set up two-step verification to give an extra layer of protection to your account: Tap Settings > Account >Two-step verification > Enable.

THINK. CALL. If a family member or friend makes an unusual request on WhatsApp, always call (phone) the person to confirm their identity.

Never share your account’s activation code (that’s the 6 digit code you receive via SMS)

You can report spam messages or block a sender within WhatsApp. Press and hold on the message bubble, select ‘Report’ and then follow the instructions.

Every report matters: If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud or 0300 123 2040


The Great British Switch Off - how will it affect me? A useful update from electronics retailer: LiGo

Update: Feb 2023 - We (LiGo) are hearing more and more from contacts within the industry that the date of the switch might be pushed back to 2026. We will of course update this blog as and when any new information becomes available and keep you abreast of any official announcements.

You may have heard that BT are switching off the old landline network in 2025. Obviously, that's a big change to the telecoms industry. The old copper network in place right now has been in use for over a century now. From 2025, though, all phones will go through broadband lines. This means that "landlines" as we know them will now be serviced by VoIP, or "voice over internet protocol"- in other words, your phone calls will go through the internet.

Will I need to buy a new phone? Naturally, you might be asking yourself: do I need to buy a new phone? Will I be able to keep my current landline phone in 2025? Do I need a phone which is already VoIP-compatible?

Don't panic! Your existing landline phone will still work after the switchover, the only difference will be that your phone connects to your broadband router via an adapter. While the change in infrastructure is a huge undertaking, most end users won't have to do much. In fact, the official guidance from Ofcom is that your phone provider should supply you with an adapter. The four main phone providers- BT, Virgin, Sky, and TalkTalk- have all said they will do so, and you can find links to their statements on the switchover process at the end of this article. These four companies provide 85% of the UK's landline service. If you are in the remaining 15%, we recommend contacting your provider to find out if they will be supplying customers with adapters too.

Will I need an internet connection to make phone calls? Yes. Once the PTSN network has been switched off it will no longer be possible to make phone calls via landline without an internet connection. If you don't have broadband access at home, your phone line provider can put you on a basic, line-only broadband connection, which will cost about the same as your existing line rental.

The only circumstances where you may need to do a bit more setup is if you have other services which are plugged into the PSTN line, such as security systems, fax machines, or telecare. In some cases these will be able to work on the new line with some additional setup. However, there may be systems which need to be replaced outright. Again, your phone provider should be in touch before the switchover to tell you what steps you need to take. However, it's probably for the best if you contact them in advance so you have plenty of time to make any necessary changes.

Will I still have the same phone number? Yes. While the technology behind the phone lines is changing, there's no need for everyone's phone number to change. Most users already have the option of porting their number over when they switch from an analogue line to VoIP. When the 2025 switchover happens, any numbers which haven't already been ported will be ported automatically.


Panasonic UK shop - 12% discount code!


Panasonic is a great company. Over the years there is nothing that I've bought / used by them that isn't of superb quality. Well designed, high quality manufacturing, reliable, long service life & excellent customer support when required. For example their DECT phones are simply the best, and their breadmakers are legendary!

Donline is now pleased to offer a 12% discount code for their official UK online store! Click HERE to redeem, or enter "Don Tocher" at the checkout - after clicking the "BEEN REFERRED BY A FRIEND?" button. Enjoy!


13 November 2023

Reading for today: what makes something "good"?

It has sometimes been asked whether God commands certain things because they are right, or whether certain things are right because God commands them... I emphatically embrace the first alternative. The second might lead to the abominable conclusion... that charity is good only because God arbitrarily commanded it - that He might equally well have commanded us to hate Him and one another and that hatred would then have been right. 

I believe, on the contrary, that “they err who think that of the will of God to do this or that there is no reason besides His will.” God’s will is determined by His wisdom which always perceives, and His goodness which always embraces, the intrinsically good. 

But when we have said that God commands things only because they are good, we must add that one of the things intrinsically good is that rational creatures should freely surrender themselves to their Creator in obedience. The content of our obedience - the thing we are commanded to do - will always be something intrinsically good, something we ought to do even if (by an impossible supposition) God had not commanded it. But in addition to the content, the mere obeying is also intrinsically good, for, in obeying, a rational creature consciously enacts its creaturely role, reverses the act by which we fell, treads Adam’s dance backward, and returns.

By C.S.Lewis

From The Problem of Pain

08 November 2023

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03 November 2023

A Western Digital 3.5" Hard Disk Drive - with the lid off!

I've often been asked what the inside of a Hard Disk Drive looks like.

It's a bit like a record player! No groves though - the media is magnetic.

Here is a 30 second spin up of an old Western Digital WD2500AAJS 250GB SATA 3.5"drive - with the lid off.


This was done just before the drive was destroyed & recycled.


27 October 2023

PIRG petitions Microsoft to extend the life of Windows 10

The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has delivered a petition to Microsoft calling on the company to rethink the impending abandonment of Windows 10 in the face of millions of PCs potentially being rendered eligible for landfill overnight.

There are now less than two years until Microsoft is due to cut support for Windows 10, and at current estimates, 400 million PCs can't make the jump to Windows 11.

The petition, addressed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, criticizes its plans and states that customers expect their devices to last rather than be rendered obsolete by an arbitrary decision. PIRG warns that tipping that much hardware into landfills is somewhat at odds with the company's stance on the environment.

The petition reads: "All software reaches a point at which it's no longer supported, but when the consequences to our environment are this large we shouldn't accept it."


The Poppy Appeal 2023 - please support our Armed Forces Community

 Every poppy shows you care about the lives of our Armed Forces Community.

As we pay tribute to those who have served and sacrificed during Remembrance this year, we hope you will show your support to all our amazing Poppy Appeal collectors in your local communities. Without our partners, volunteers and without you, we wouldn't be able to continue supporting serving and ex- serving men and women, and their families.

The 2023 Poppy Appeal campaign has now launched. Poppy Appeal collectors will be distributing poppies across the United Kingdom so please do look out for them and get your poppy from sellers in your local community. 

In 2023 the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal will focus on how your poppy shows you care and helps the RBL continue its vital work supporting the Armed Forces community.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae


25 October 2023

Look closer to spot and report signs of exploitation

Across the country, young people are being manipulated, sexually abused, forced to launder money and deal drugs. Exploitation isn't obvious. But it happens everywhere. And you can stop it.

Get to know the signs of child exploitation and how to report it through our award-winning #LookCloser campaign with the British Transport Police and National County Lines Coordination Centre. Together we can protect children from this abuse.

Join us and pledge to #LookCloser to protect young people from exploitation. 

By getting to know the signs and how to report your concerns if worried, we can keep more children safe from abuse.


20 October 2023

Indian authorities raid fake tech support rings after tipoff from Amazon and Microsoft

Acting on information from Microsoft and Amazon, India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has raided alleged fake tech support operators and other tech-related crims across the country.

The Bureau shared news of a Thursday operation that saw it conduct 76 searches in relation to five cases.

The Bureau stated its effort "was conducted in collaboration with national and international agencies, alongside private sector giants," and described two of its targets as international tech support fraud scams that "impersonated a global IT major and a multinational corporation with an online technology-driven trading platform."

The alleged scammers operated call centers in five regions of India and "systematically preyed on foreign nationals, masquerading as technical support representatives" for at least five years.

The scammers sent users pop-up messages that appeared to come from multinational companies and advised of PC problems – with a toll-free number at which assistance could be had.

Victims who called the fakers had their PCs taken over, and were charged hundreds of dollars for a "fix".


18 October 2023

MI5 head warns of 'epic scale' of Chinese espionage

More than 20,000 people in the UK have now been approached covertly online by Chinese spies, the head of MI5 said. It comes amid a new warning to tens of thousands of British businesses of the risk of having their innovation stolen.

Ken McCallum was speaking to the BBC at an unprecedented public appearance of the security chiefs of the Five Eyes alliance in California.

The heads of US, UK, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand security agencies appeared together. They did so for the first time to warn of commercial secrets being obtained by China.

Stanford University in California was chosen as the venue for the first public meeting because it lies in the heart of Silicon Valley. In both public statements and a closed session with entrepreneurs and investors, security chiefs warned that cutting-edge research is being stolen.

"We have seen a sustained campaign on a pretty epic scale," Mr McCallum told the BBC in an interview during the event.

We all know that China is spying on us & we need to be careful. However people still buy smart speakers, mobile phones, computers, connected cars & motorbikes (etc) designed & manufactured in China! Decades ago, we were concerned about "reds under the bed". Nowadays (unbelievably) we actually pay for the spying devices & place them ourselves in our homes & businesses!


12 October 2023

inty CloudFest partner conference - Bristol


One of my most important suppliers: inty - had their partner conference at Aerospace Bristol this week. I've partnered with them for over 6 years: primarily the go to company for Microsoft licensing & support, as well as other key software vendors.

What a great opportunity to learn & network in an amazing location - sat underneath Concorde G-BOAF! As a nipper I grew up in West London - it's highly likely that this beautiful bird flew over my head! Astounding to think that the technological marvel Concorde - was developed & flown in the 1960s. Hey, we can't do this stuff NOW!

We had speakers from inty themselves, Microsoft, Acronis, Exclaimer, Barracuda, GoTo & others. An important opportunity to keep up on technologies & new products.

Many thanks to inty for an invaluable day of learning & fun - good job!


09 October 2023

Not even the ghost of obsolescence can coerce users onto Windows 11


Windows 10 may be just over a year away from the axe, but its successor, Windows 11, appears to be as unpopular as ever.

The end of Windows 10 support is getting closer. Unless the company blinks, October 14, 2025, will be the end of the line for the Home and Pro editions of the operating system, yet users seem reluctant to move on to Windows 11.

There was a marked reluctance by users to move from Windows 7, back in the day, but some of the reasons for hesitancy this time are different.

The move to Windows 10 usually required the purchase of new hardware. It tended to be unavoidable – 7 could run on far lower-spec devices than later versions. The move from Windows 10 to Windows 11 will also require new hardware, but for different reasons.

Infamously, Microsoft axed support for a raft of hardware with Windows 11, including older Intel CPUs, on security grounds. The result was that hardware that will run Windows 10 perfectly well will not accept the new operating system. And this is not due to performance problems (who remembers trying to run Vista on XP hardware?) but rather because of Microsoft's edict.

The result? A collective shrug from PC users. Windows 10 does the job. Why upgrade?


Bees: extraordinary engineers!

For more than 20 centuries, mathematicians, artists and engineers have marveled at the structure of the honeybee hive. Comprised of thousands of perfect hexagonal cells, every inch of a honeycomb wall is a masterpiece of design. Now, recent discoveries have cast even greater light on the bee’s architectural abilities with stunning new evidence of purpose, foresight and cognitive decision-making by insects with brains smaller than a sesame seed.


01 October 2023

The Great Greek Rescue - A Dogumentary

Sue Deeth from Healing Paws Animal Rescue has been rescuing dogs in Zakinthos Greece since 2011. Through her network of friends in the UK, Holland and Germany, she has managed to find over 2,000 dogs forever homes. Sue continues to rescue animals and bring them to her home in the mountains.

In September 2021 - Sue posted a video of her and her families struggles, running a rescue (nonprofit charity) on facebook. The Greek Companion Animal Legislation, 'Project Argos' was voted in September 15th 2021. The ever changing legislation puts her rescue at risk of being shut down.

The video prompted a response from the films Director, Maeve to fly out to Zakinthos with fellow producer Conor and show how Healing Paws Animal Rescue changes the outcomes and lives of strays in Greece.

The family run charity hopes to become one of the first fully licensed rescue and rehabilitation centres in Zakinthos but needs the funding and support to make that happen. This is their story.

People often ask Kim & me what breed is Calli, and where did we get her from? Calli is a "Bitzer", from Zakynthos, Greece and was rescued by Sue & her team while still very young. Please consider supporting Healing Paws Animal Rescue If you are considering bringing a furry friend into your home & family, PLEASE consider rehoming / adoptingThank you!