31 January 2023

Donline is 17 years old today!


The 1st February 2006 was day one for Donline Computer Consultancy - here we are today on my business' 17th anniversary! Over those years I've amassed 732 clients, posted 2378 Blog articles, placed 3215 purchase orders, & raised 4715 invoices πŸ‘. 

It's such a great Blessing to have so many wonderful clients. Apart from the work (very much appreciated!), we have forged some great relationships & friendships along the way. So a huge thank you to all those who have travelled this journey with me. Good Lord willing: here's to many more years!


"Why I Believe Printers Were Sent From Hell To Make Us Miserable"

True story πŸ˜‚

Me: [print] 

Printer: You're low on ink 

Me: What? I just bought ink 

Printer: You're low on magenta 

Me: I want to print in black 

Printer: You need magenta 

Me: What? I just need black & black is full 

Printer: magennnnta!

Me: [buys and installs £15 magenta cartridge] 

Me: [print] 

Printer: So, about your cyan... 

Which is more expensive: Printer Ink or Vintage Champagne?


How to outsmart an AI security system system: hide in a cardboard box!

Former Pentagon policy analyst Paul Scharre has recalled the story in his upcoming book Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial IntelligenceIn the book, which will be released on February 28, Scharre recounts how the U.S. Army was testing AI monitoring systems and decided to use the Marines to help build the algorithms that the security cameras would use. They then attempted to put the AI system to the test and see if the squad of Marines could find new ways to avoid detection and evade the cameras.

To train the AI, the security cameras, which were developed by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Squad X program, required data in the form of a squad of Marines spending six days walking around in front of them.

After six days spent training the algorithm, the Marines decided to put the AI security cameras to the test.

“If any Marines could get all the way in and touch this robot without being detected, they would win. I wanted to see, game on, what would happen,” DARPA deputy director Phil Root tells Scharre in the book.

Within a single day, the Marines had worked out the best way to sneak around an AI monitoring system and avoid detection by the cameras. Root says: “Eight Marines — not a single one got detected.”

Meanwhile in other AI news: AI camera operator repeatedly confuses bald head for soccer ball during live stream πŸ˜‚


23 January 2023

Even worse than Bitcoin? OneCoin - courtesy of Ruja Ignatova!


CNN: Ruja Ignatova strode onto the stage in a flowing burgundy ball gown adorned with black sparkles. Beams of light flashed, fireballs erupted and Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” blared through the speakers. “Looks like a girl, but she’s a flame. So bright, she can burn your eyes – better look the other way,” the song crooned as a beaming Ignatova thanked the cheering crowd at London’s Wembley Arena.

That was in June 2016, when cryptocurrency was an emerging buzzword and investors were scrambling to cash in. Ignatova called herself the “Cryptoqueen” and touted her company, OneCoin, as a lucrative rival to Bitcoin in the growing cryptocurrency market.

“In two years, nobody will speak about Bitcoin anymore,” she said, as investors applauded and whistled. Sixteen months later, Ignatova boarded a plane in Sofia, Bulgaria, and vanished. She hasn’t been seen since.

Authorities say OneCoin was a pyramid scheme that defrauded people out of more than $4 billion as Ignatova convinced investors in the US and around the globe to throw fistfuls of cash at her company. Federal prosecutors describe OneCoin as one of the largest international fraud schemes ever perpetrated.

Read more: 

Reading for today: on the importance of Creeds - maps to God

I remember once when I had been giving a talk to the R.A.F., an old, hard-bitten officer got up and said, ‘I’ve no use for all that stuff. But, mind you, I’m a religious man too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt Him: out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s just why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal!’

Now in a sense I quite agreed with that man. I think he had probably had a real experience of God in the desert. And when he turned from that experience to the Christian creeds, I think he really was turning from something real to something less real. In the same way, if a man has once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. 

But here comes the point. The map is admittedly only coloured paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.

Your local pub needs your support

It's been a challenging few years for pubs. The current cost of living crisis will result in real and serious irreversible damage to our much-loved pubs and brewers without ongoing support from Government.

By signing this petition, you are asking Government to reinstate the lower rate of VAT for food and beverages sold in pubs with a view to making this permanent, and lower business rates for pubs equitable to other similar businesses.

It's hard to overstate the importance of pubs and brewing to the UK. Culturally, economically and socially they play a significant role in our lives.

The last two years has reminded all of us what we miss when our social lives are restricted, and for many, the pub is at the heart of that.

SIGN THE NEW PETITION FOR PUBS AND BREWERIES. It's been a challenging few years for pubs. They need help and support yet are one of our most overtaxed industries which puts them under more pressure. By signing this petition, you are asking Government for an overall reduction in Beer Duty as part of wider duty reform and to lower Business Rates & VAT for pubs.


18 January 2023

Honda Fireblade SP - CBR1000RR-R - IMHO the most beautiful bike available at this moment


BORN TO RACE - be in no doubt! The CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is built for the track. This is where it belongs. It starts in the same pit lane as the standard Fireblade, but full Γ–hlins Smart Electronic Control (S-EC) suspension, Brembo master cylinder, brake lever, front and rear calipers and standard-fit quick shifter set it apart. Armed with class-leading 160kW peak power, the semi-cam gear engine has been upgraded with low- to mid-range acceleration boost and refined HSTC traction management. And while it is fully road legal, with lights, indicators and Smart Key, the Fireblade SP defines the ultimate racing motorcycle. One ready to overload adrenaline through every turn.

I love the Fireblade SP: such a beautiful machine, so well engineered & very capable. In my collection of motorcycle models - it's my second favourite, the #1 being my own CB1000R! Unfortunately every time I've sat on one (real one not a model!), it feels like I'm sat on Kim's Grom! Gonna have to take a 2023 model out for a spin this year. I can feel the cramp coming on already - oh how we suffer for our art LOL!


When a deal seems too good to be true: No, you can’t get a 16TB SSD for a hundred bucks

If you’ve searched for external Solid State Drive / SSDs on Amazon or ebay recently, you may have noticed something weird: mixed in with the 1TB and 2TB drives from brands like Samsung and SanDisk are a bunch of listings for 16TB SSDs, mostly around $100, and with surprisingly high user ratings. Every single one is a scam.

Josh Hendrickson - Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek - bought one of the “16TB SSDs” and tore it down to reveal a generic 64GB microSD card on a USB 2.0 card reader. Adrian Kingsley-Huges, writing for ZDNet in May 2022, found the exact same thing. Different packaging and different case colors, but the same trick.


Where do Christians risk everything to follow Christ?

You can now explore the Open Doors World Watch List 2023, which launched this morning. You'll be able to see the countries where Christians risk everything for following Christ - and explore where persecution has worsened, and where it has got better. My hope is that the World Watch List will equip you to pray for our persecuted family, support them and speak out on their behalf. Thank you so much.

The World Watch List is Open Doors’ annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. Explore the country profiles to find information, stories and prayers for each of the countries, along with ways that you can stand with your persecuted church family in prayer and action.


16 January 2023

Epson ReadyPrint - printer ink subscription

What is ReadyPrint Flex? ReadyPrint Flex is a flexible printing plan that delivers ink. You can print a set amount of pages per month for a small monthly fee. You don’t have to worry about running out of ink; just print according to your plan. It’s flexible if you want to print more than your plan - simply pay for additional pages or switch temporarily to a higher plan. When you register, it activates the technology inside the printer that enables it to intelligently monitor the ink levels. You can be sure that more ink will be delivered to you before you run out.

What is ReadyPrint EcoTank? ReadyPrint EcoTank is a low-cost, flexible plan for printing lots. Simply pay an upfront cost to receive an EcoTank printer which is provided for your use for the duration of your plan. Plans start at £4.99 for 150 pages a month. You don’t have to worry about running out of ink; just print according to your plan. It’s flexible if you want to print more than your plan - simply pay for extra pages. You will receive ink bottles in the post to refill the ink tank. It also comes with an extended warranty.

What is ReadyPrint Go? ReadyPrint Go is the pay-as-you-go printing plan that delivers ink. You can enjoy the flexibility of printing whatever you like with no scheduled payments. Like our other plans, you don’t have to worry about running out of ink. ReadyPrint Go monitors the ink levels and notifies you when the ink gets low. You’re always in control so you have the option to pause sending a new cartridge. This means you’ll only pay for more ink when you want it.


13 January 2023

Royal Mail hit by Russia-linked ransomware attack


Severe disruption to Royal Mail's overseas deliveries has been caused by ransomware linked to Russian criminals, the BBC has been told.

The cyber-attack has affected the computer systems Royal Mail uses to despatch deliveries abroad. Royal Mail has been warning customers since Wednesday of disruption due to a "cyber-incident". Its latest advice is for people not to try to send international letters and parcels until the issue is resolved.

Ransomware is malicious computer software that encrypts data and locks up systems. The ransomware used in the attack is "Lockbit", according to a source close to the investigation. Computer security firms say the software has been developed and used by criminal gangs with links to Russia.


11 January 2023

Royal Mail - severe 'cyber-incident' hits overseas post


Royal Mail says it is unable to send letters and parcels overseas following a "cyber-incident". The delivery firm is telling customers to stop sending items overseas while it tries to resolve the issue. Royal Mail said there were also minor delays to post coming into the UK, but domestic deliveries are unaffected.

It apologised and said its teams were "working around the clock to resolve this disruption" and would update customers when it had more information.

Royal Mail is understood to be calling it a "cyber-incident" rather than a cyber attack because it does not know what has caused the problem. Its computerised systems for sending letters and parcels abroad had been "severely disrupted", it said. "We immediately launched an investigation into the [cyber] incident and we are working with external experts,"

The National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of the UK's cyber intelligence agency GCHQ, is involved in trying to work out what has happened, alongside the National Crime Agency.


09 January 2023

A new year, a new groomer for Calli!


Dear Pam has been wonderfully looking after our beloved Calli since we rescued her in January 2015, but Pam has decided to retire this year - so we needed to find a new groomer for our girl.

We'd been aware of Sammy's Perfect Pets in the heart of our village, so this morning we dropped Calli off to Laura and Sammy for a full groom & teeth cleaning.

Laura and Sammy are friendly and very kind with dogs. They made Calli welcome & settled her in nicely. They've worked wonders on our pup - we are very happy with the results - as is Calli! She was in great need of a haircut (which slows her down a lot!) but now is back to hopping around like a young 'un!

Well done Sammy's perfect pets - see you again in March!


Bad news for thousands of crypto investors: They don’t own their accounts


More than half a million people who deposited money with collapsed crypto lender Celsius Network have been dealt a major blow to their hopes of recovering their funds, with the judge in the company’s bankruptcy case ruling that the money belongs to Celsius and not to the depositors.

The judge, Martin Glenn, found that Celsius’s terms of use - the lengthy contracts that many websites publish but few consumers read - meant “the cryptocurrency assets became Celsius’s property.”

BTW - in case you were wondering what the image is at the top of this article - read this & also this - for great justice!


Why should we study the Old Testament?


There are many reasons to study the Old Testament. For one, the Old Testament lays the foundation for the teachings and events found in the New Testament. The Bible is a progressive revelation. If you skip the first half of any good book and try to finish it, you will have a hard time understanding the characters, the plot, and the ending. In the same way, the New Testament is only completely understood when we see its foundation of the events, characters, laws, sacrificial system, covenants, and promises of the Old Testament.

If we only had the New Testament, we would come to the Gospels and not know why the Jews were looking for a Messiah (a Savior King). We would not understand why this Messiah was coming (see Isaiah 53), and we would not have been able to identify Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah through the many detailed prophecies that were given concerning Him [e.g., His birth place (Micah 5:2), His manner of death (Psalm 22, especially verses 1, 7–8, 14–18; 69:21), His resurrection (Psalm 16:10), and many more details of His ministry (Isaiah 9:2; 52:13)].

05 January 2023

Facebook's parent: Meta - gets over $400 million in GDPR fines

As of Wednesday 4th Jan, Meta has once again been hit with a major GDPR violation, earning itself more than $400 million in fines for its latest data privacy misstep. The EU’s Ireland-based Data Protection Commission levied two sets of fines after ruling that EU-based users have been illegally forced to accept personalized, targeted ads from both Facebook and Instagram.

This GDPR ruling is one of the most severe since GDPR was first instituted in 2018, but it’s certainly not Meta’s first expensive run-in with the regulation. In this report, we’ll share what we know about Meta’s latest violation, and we’ll dive a little deeper into Meta’s troubled past with GDPR.