19 April 2023

My how times change LOL!


ME: the internet used to come in through the phone. It made a terrible noise, like robots screaming

GRANDSON: hush grandpa take your pills 


The beauty of Creation, and God's Love of us

Throughout the Scriptures we discover a beautiful connection between the inspired Word of God and the glorious wonders of His creation. Everyday, God reveals glimpses of His attributes through the things He has made and the spiritual truths He has proclaimed.  Perhaps no single passage in the Bible demonstrates this bond more effectively than Psalm 23This visually stunning short video showcases the Lord’s everlasting love, protection and devotion in an unforgettable way.


18 April 2023

New smart motorway plans scrapped

The UK Government has announced it is to scrap plans to build more smart motorways over cost and safety concerns. “All drivers deserve to have confidence in the roads they use to get around the country,” Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak said. “That’s why last year I pledged to stop the building of all new smart motorways, and today I’m making good on that promise.”

Around 10% of the UK motorway network is made up of smart motorways, carriageways that deploy various methods to manage the flow of traffic, such as allowing motorists to use the hard shoulder as an extra lane and variable speed limits.

However, the lack of a hard shoulder has led to fatal collisions, with motoring agencies, including the RAC, actively campaigning for their use to be reassessed.

RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “This is a watershed announcement and a victory for everyone who has campaigned against these motorways that, by their design, put drivers in more danger should they be unlucky enough to break down on one. 

“Our research shows all lane running smart motorways are deeply unpopular with drivers, so we’re pleased the Government has finally arrived at the same conclusion. It’s now vitally important that plans are made for making the hundreds of existing miles of these types of motorway as safe as possible.

“The possibility of converting all lane running stretches to the ‘dynamic hard shoulder’ configuration, where the hard shoulder is open and closed depending on the levels of traffic, could be one option the Government considers.”

Between 2015 and 2019, 36 people died on UK smart motorways where there is no hard shoulder or the hard shoulder can be converted to an extra lane, according to figures from National Highways, which operates England’s motorways and A-roads.


Mobile phone emergency message released ahead of UK test on 23rd April 2023

Further details have been released about the alert that will be sent to smartphones across the UK, to test a new public warning system. A message with a siren at 15:00 BST on 23 April 2023 will say "in a real emergency, follow the instructions in the alert to keep yourself and others safe". It will give a sound and vibration for 10 seconds even for phones on silent. Phone users will have to acknowledge the alert before they can continue using their devices.

The alert system will be used to warn of extreme weather events, such as flash floods or wildfires. It could also be used during terror incidents or civil defence emergencies if the UK was under attack. It is being sent to 4G and 5G mobile phones.

The full message will read: "This is a test of Emergency Alerts, a new UK government service that will warn you if there's a life-threatening emergency nearby. In a real emergency, follow the instructions in the alert to keep yourself and others safe. Visit gov.uk/alerts for more information. This is a test. You do not need to take any action."


17 April 2023

Reading for today: the way of Salvation


If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Read all of Romans 10 Read at Bible Gateway

Update now: emergency fix for zero-day Google Chrome vulnerability

Google on Friday released an emergency update for Chrome to address a zero-day security flaw. The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2023-2033, can be exploited by a malicious webpage to run arbitrary code in the browser. Thus, surfing to a bad website with a vulnerable browser could lead to your device being hijacked. Exploit code for this hole is said to be circulating, and may well be in use already by miscreants.

This high-severity type-confusion bug is present in at least Chrome for desktop versions prior to 112.0.5615.121. Google released that version on April 14 for Windows, Mac, and Linux to close the security hole, which lies in the V8 JavaScript engine.

The new version should be installed as soon as possible, either automatically or manually.


14 April 2023

Plug before you play: Campaign urges people to protect their hearing on the move

The UK’s only tinnitus-specific charity is calling on more riders to get into the habit of using ear plugs to prevent permanent damage. Tinnitus UK say continuous exposure to noise of over 80 decibels risks damage. For context, that 80dB threshold is deemed safe in a work environment by the Heath & Safety Executive, while at anything over 85dB an employer should provide ear defenders.

“We’re just trying to remind people to use hearing protection in the same way that you put your helmet on,” Nic Wray of Tinnitus UK told MCN. “Because of the combination of bike noise, road noise, and wind noise, the sound levels will get up to a dangerous level very quickly.

“You might get away with it once or for a short part of a day, but if you’re out on your bike regularly, that damage can build up and it can’t be undone. You can lose some of your hearing and that can affect all aspects of your life.”

According to Tinnitus UK data, the combination of engine noise, road noise and wind turbulence are generally around 85-95dB at speeds up to 35mph, climbing to 110-116dB at 65mph. At these upper levels, hearing damage can occur in less than one minute.

Wray continued: “Our concern is people being left with tinnitus, which we know can have a massive impact. It can affect concentration, it can affect enjoyment of activities, it can affect your social life, and it can affect mood. Many people report anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or thoughts of self-harm. It’s not a trivial thing.

“We’re not wanting people to stop doing what they enjoy… We just want people to do it safely and by using hearing protection, which is readily available.”

Erm, yes: I have constant, quite loud tinnitus, which is not great! This is due mainly to listening to Rock music too loud (often through headphones) & motorcycle wind noise. Apart from various disposable sets of plugs, I now own a couple of sets of reusable earplugs: Senner MotoPro silicone plugs & a custom set by Mercury & really need to use them EVERY ride. I need to consider them as PPE - just like putting on my gloves or helmet. I was told a while ago that the damage caused by tinnitus cannot be undone, the trick is to stop it getting worse...


13 April 2023

Why a CAN injection attack could lead to the loss of your vehicle

Automotive security experts say they have uncovered a method of car theft relying on direct access to the vehicle's system bus via a smart headlamp's wiring.

It all started when a Toyota RAV4 belonging to one of the tech gurus suffered suspicious damage to the front wing and headlight housing, and was eventually successfully stolen. Some sleuthing and reverse engineering revealed how the motor was finally nicked.

Ken Tindell, CTO of Canis Automotive Labs, said the evidence pointed to thieves' successful execution of a so-called CAN injection.

A Controller Area Network (CAN) bus is present in nearly all modern cars, and is used by microcontrollers and other devices to talk to each other within the vehicle and carry out the work they are supposed to do.

In a CAN injection attack, thieves access the network, and introduce bogus messages as if it were from the car's smart key receiver. These messages effectively cause the security system to unlock the vehicle and disable the engine immobilizer, allowing it to be stolen. To gain this network access, the crooks can, for instance, break open a headlamp and use its connection to the bus to send messages. From that point, they can simply manipulate other devices to steal the vehicle.


12 April 2023

Keeping devices and software up to date

Modern devices run a huge amount of software. This includes operating systems such as: Windows, Android, MacOS and iOS - and the applications we install to do just about everything, from word processing, to photo retouching and sound recording.

To prevent known vulnerabilities from being exploited, all of this software must be kept up to date. This means installing patches released by the software developers to close security holes found in their products. Hence the name 'patching'.

This guidance will help you understand the security risks posed by out of date devices, and advise you on how best to secure devices against the latest cyber security threats. READ MORE...


11 April 2023

Terrifying study shows how fast AI can crack your passwords


Along with the positive aspects of the new generative AI services come new risks. One that’s surfaced is an advanced approach to cracking passwords called PassGAN. Using the latest AI, it was able to compromise 51% of passwords in under one minute with 71% of passwords cracked in less than a day. 

Last month, Microsoft brought attention to the security concerns that will come with the quick advancement of AI by announcing its new Security Copilot suite that will help security researchers protect against malicious use of modern technology.

Now Home Security Heroes has published a study showing how scary powerful the latest generative AI is at cracking passwords. The company used the new password cracker PassGAN (password generative adversarial network) to process a list of over 15,000,000 credentials from the Rockyou dataset and the results were wild:

51% of all common passwords were cracked in less than one minute, 65% in less than an hour, 71% in less than a day, and 81% in less than a month.

To stay safe: stick with at least 12 characters with a mix of upper, and lowercase letters plus numbers. Never reuse passwords - a unique one per service / account. Need help securing your accounts? Contact Donline.

Western Digital confirms breach, affects My Cloud and SanDisk users

Western Digital, a big brand in digital storage, says it has suffered a "network security incident" - potentially ransomware - which resulted in a breach and some system disruptions in its business operations.

The company identified the incident on March 26 and said an unnamed third party unlawfully accessed several computer systems to steal data. The investigation is ongoing and Western Digital has yet to learn how much was taken. 

Since the incident, Western Digital's consumer cloud and backup service My Cloud has experienced outages, preventing customers from accessing their files. My Cloud Home, My Cloud Home Duo, My Cloud OS5, SanDisk ibi, and SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger all experienced service interruptions. 

UPDATE from techcrunch 14 April 2023: The hackers who breached data storage giant Western Digital claim to have stolen around 10 terabytes of data from the company, including reams of customer information. The extortionists are pushing the company to negotiate a ransom - of a “minimum 8 figures” - in exchange for not publishing the stolen data. READ MORE...


Another reason that smart devices suck: short product life! More tech kit in landfill...

In a very quiet reveal, Google says it has stopped updating third-party Lenovo, JBL, and LG Smart Displays. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time for this form factor, but it’s still surprising.

The Google support article on how to “Make Duo calls on your speakers & Smart Display” recently added this “Important” notice:

Important: Google no longer provides software updates for these third-party Smart Displays: Lenovo Smart Display (7″, 8″ & 10″), JBL Link View and LG Xboom AI ThinQ WK9 Smart Display. This could impact the quality of video calls and meetings.

Google first announced Assistant Smart Displays in January of 2018 at CES. The LG ThinQ WK9, Lenovo Smart Display 8/10, and JBL Link View went on sale later that year. The last third-party Smart Display was a 7-inch model from Lenovo in late 2019. 

Meanwhile, in other news: Owners of Dropcam security cameras and Nest Secure systems have been given an unwelcome deadline from Google: their smart home products will be shut off April 8 next year.


(Sobering) Reading for today: on Love

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket of coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

Reading for Today: On happiness by C.S.Lewis

What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods” - could set up on their own as if they had created themselves - be their own masters - invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God.

Out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history: money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery - the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

08 April 2023

Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Happy Easter!

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 

Easter Blessings to all - may God be with you always! 
Happy Easter!!!

Read all of Luke 24 at: www.biblegateway.com

06 April 2023

Good Friday reading: Isaiah speaks of the Suffering Servant


He was despised and rejected by mankind,
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Read all of Isaiah 53 at Bible Gateway

Must watch TV: The Chosen - a wonderful drama based on the life of Jesus

The Chosen is a groundbreaking historical drama based on the life of Jesus, seen through the eyes of those who knew him. Set against the backdrop of Jewish oppression in first-century Israel, the seven-season show shares an authentic and intimate look at Jesus’ revolutionary life and teachings.

The global phenomenon has garnered over 500 million episode views worldwide, and over 110 million people have watched at least one episode. It’s available on major streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Peacock while all seasons remain free in The Chosen mobile and TV apps. Viewer support through tax-deductible donations fund production and have helped make The Chosen the largest fan-supported entertainment project of all time. 

- The first-ever multi-season show about Jesus​

- Completely free to watch all seasons

- Episodes have been watched over 450 million times

- Season 1 was the #1 highest crowd-funded entertainment project of all-time, raising $10 million from over 19,000 people

- Over $50 million in production costs funded for Seasons 2 and 3 via the disruptive fan-supported model

- Translated into 50 languages and counting

- The Chosen app consistently ranks in the top 50 entertainment apps on iOS and Android

- The #5 searched show across the Roku platform in 2021

- Apps available on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, and more

- "Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers" debuted at #1 in the U.S. box office in 2021


Ofcom have Amazon (AWS) and Microsoft in their sights...

At the halfway point of its probe into UK cloud services, Ofcom is proposing to refer the market to the Competition and Markets Authority for further investigation.

Our market study has provisionally identified features and practices that make it more difficult for customers to switch and use multiple cloud suppliers. We are particularly concerned about the practices of Amazon and Microsoft because of their market position.

Cloud computing has become critical for many businesses across the economy – including telecoms companies, broadcasters and public sector organisations – and has transformed the way they deliver services on which we all rely every day. It uses data centres around the world to provide remote access to services such as software, storage and networking.

In October, we launched a study under the Enterprise Act 2002 into cloud infrastructure services in the UK, to assess how well this market is working. We have examined the strength of competition and any features that might limit innovation and growth in this sector by making it difficult for other cloud providers to enter the market or smaller companies to expand.


04 April 2023

Easter songs & videos courtesy of Graham Kendrick

Wikipedia: Graham Kendrick (born 2 August 1950) is an English Christian singer, songwriter and worship leader. He is the son of Baptist pastor M. D. Kendrick and grew up in Laindon, Essex, and Putney. He now lives in Tunbridge Wells and is a member of Christ Church, Tunbridge Wells. He was a member of Ichthus Christian Fellowship. Together with Roger Forster, Gerald Coates and Lynn Green, he was a founder of March for Jesus. Kendrick is founder of the British Organist Association march for Jesus and promotes traditional organist values across the UK.

SONGS THAT HELP THE CHURCH TO SING - Graham's songs include Shine Jesus Shine, Knowing You, The Servant King, God of the Poor and new song The Cross Has Spoken.

Click on the below links to enjoy some of the best contemporary Christian praise music - at this special time of the year: Lent Easter.

YouTube / Spotify

03 April 2023

Why is new TeamViewer icon black?


Donline is pleased to offer a remote IT support service based around the excellent TeamViewer remote control application.

TeamViewer is the fast, simple and friendly solution for remote access over the Internet.

Instant remote control of computers over the Internet, even through firewalls.

No installation required, just use it - fast and secure.

Click here to download the Donline / Teamviewer Quick Support Module

TeamViewer allows a fast secure connection to your PC or Server where Donline can support, diagnose and repair most software based issues - without a site visit!

A great application, but for some reason TeamViewer have significantly changed the icon colour. Used to be bright blue, then became two shades of dark blue, now black. So be aware: if you have TeamViewer on your system - the icon colour may have changed & you'll have to play hunt the shortcut!


The Department for Transport publishes an article on potholes, guess what happened the day before!

From: DoT. Published: 31 March 2023 - People up and down the country will benefit from smoother journeys, reduced congestion, and faster broadband rollout as the government clamps down on utility companies for leaving potholes behind after carrying out street works.

From 1 April 2023, new regulations will come into force for a performance-based inspection regime to ensure utility companies resurface roads to the best possible standard after street works, potentially preventing thousands of potholes from developing in the future.

The move comes as the government is investing over £5.5 billion by 2025 in highways maintenance and could help motorists save money on expensive repairs by protecting their vehicles from damage to tyres or suspension. It will also ensure cyclists and motorbike riders can drive more safely and with greater peace of mind.

The day before this article was published(!) I was up in Surrey visiting clients - driving Kim's Mini. As I was leaving my 1st client, we chatted about how bad the road surfaces were in the area (Ockham). Within 10 minutes I'd hit a massive pothole which caused a ~2.5" rip in the tyre! Fortunately the tyres on the car are of the "Run Flat" variety, so I managed to carefully drive back to Denmead Tyres @ 50MPH & have the tyre replaced @ £132. A claim has been logged with Surrey CC for this, now we wait...