31 May 2023

Understanding the scale of modern slavery

Modern slavery is hidden in plain sight and is deeply intertwined with life in every corner of the world.

Each day, people are tricked, coerced, or forced into exploitative situations that they cannot refuse or leave. Each day, we buy the products or use the services they have been forced to make or offer without realising the hidden human cost.

An estimated 50 million people were living in modern slavery on any given day in 2021, an increase of 10 million people since 2016.

Walk Free’s flagship report, the Global Slavery Index (GSI) provides national estimates of modern slavery for 160 countries. Our estimates draw on thousands of interviews with survivors collected through nationally representative household surveys across 75 countries and our assessment of national-level vulnerability.

With the exception of contributions from external authors, the Global Slavery Index is produced by Walk Free. We are solely responsible for the contents of this report. 

Between the years 1500-1900 more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims of the evil transatlantic slave trade. Right now there are an estimated 50 million people were living in modern slavery. Be aware of this evil, pray for it's end & where possible buy Fairtrade.


Lawyer in trouble after using ChatGPT & not checking the details!

A lawyer is in trouble after admitting he used ChatGPT to help write court filings that cited six non-existent cases invented by the artificial intelligence tool.

Lawyer Steven Schwartz of the firm Levidow, Levidow, & Oberman "greatly regrets having utilized generative artificial intelligence to supplement the legal research performed herein and will never do so in the future without absolute verification of its authenticity," Schwartz wrote in an affidavit on May 24 regarding the bogus citations previously submitted in US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Schwartz wrote that "the use of generative artificial intelligence has evolved within law firms" and that he "consulted the artificial intelligence website ChatGPT in order to supplement the legal research performed."

The "citations and opinions in question were provided by ChatGPT which also provided its legal source and assured the reliability of its content," he wrote. Schwartz admitted that he "relied on the legal opinions provided to him by a source that has revealed itself to be unreliable," and stated that it is his fault for not confirming the sources provided by ChatGPT.

Schwartz didn't previously consider the possibility that an artificial intelligence tool like ChatGPT could provide false information, even though AI chatbot mistakes have been extensively reported by non-artificial intelligence such as the human journalists employed by reputable news organizations. The lawyer's affidavit said he had "never utilized ChatGPT as a source for conducting legal research prior to this occurrence and therefore was unaware of the possibility that its content could be false."

Generative AI is a curiosity. Folks come unstuck when they take it's word as Gospel!


Artificial intelligence - what could possibly go wrong?...

Artificial intelligence could lead to the extinction of humanity, experts - including the heads of OpenAI and Google Deepmind - have warned.

Dozens have supported a statement published on the webpage of the Centre for AI Safety.

"Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war" it reads. But others say the fears are overblown.

Sam Altman, chief executive of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, Demis Hassabis, chief executive of Google DeepMind and Dario Amodei of Anthropic have all supported the statement.

The Centre for AI Safety website suggests a number of possible disaster scenarios:

* AIs could be weaponised - for example, drug-discovery tools could be used to build chemical weapons

* AI-generated misinformation could destabilise society and "undermine collective decision-making"

* The power of AI could become increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, enabling "regimes to enforce narrow values through pervasive surveillance and oppressive censorship"

* Enfeeblement, where humans become dependent on AI "similar to the scenario portrayed in the film Wall-E"


26 May 2023

Suzuki motorcycle plant shut down by cyber attack


The Indian manufacturing plant responsible for manufacturing Suzuki motorcycles has been forced to shut down following a cyber attack.

Since May 10, production of bikes and scooters at Suzuki Motorcycle's Indian plant has reportedly been temporarily suspended with the loss of an estimated 20,000 vehicles.

In addition, Suzuki Motorcycle has postponed its annual supplier conference, which was due to start this week.

Although Suzuki has acknowledged that it is suffering a cybersecurity "incident," it has not shared details of the nature of what has occurred while it continues to investigate.


23 May 2023

IT - buy cheap & live to regret it...


Potentially millions of Android TVs and phones come with malware preinstalled. The bane of low-cost Android devices is showing no signs of going away.

Overall, Android devices have earned a decidedly mixed reputation for security. While the OS itself and Google's Pixels have stood up over the years against software exploits, the never-ending flow of malicious apps in Google Play and vulnerable devices from some third-party manufacturers have tarnished its image.

On Thursday, that image was further tarnished after two reports said that multiple lines of Android devices came with preinstalled malware that couldn’t be removed without users taking heroic measures.

The first report came from security firm Trend Micro. Researchers following up on a presentation delivered at the Black Hat security conference in Singapore reported that as many as 8.9 million phones comprising as many as 50 different brands were infected with malware. First documented by researchers from security firm Sophos, Guerrilla, as they named the malware, was found in 15 malicious apps that Google allowed into its Play market.

Guerrilla opens a backdoor that causes infected devices to regularly communicate with a remote command-and-control server to check if there are any new malicious updates for them to install. These malicious updates collect data about the users that the threat actor, which Trend Micro calls the Lemon Group, can sell to advertisers. Guerrilla then surreptitiously installs aggressive ad platforms that can deplete battery reserves and degrade the user experience.

The moral of this story is: do not buy cheap tech devices from brands you've never heard off before! Household brands are fine, such as: Sony, LG, Samsung (other brands are available 😉). If you buy cheap & unbranded tech - you're inviting the thieves to move in with you! Remember - these devices sit on your home and/or work network with access to any data flowing through that network. If these devices are used to log in to your email, bank, etc - they will have access to your credentials... It just isn't worth the risk to save a few quid!


22 May 2023

A reading for today God the builder, or architect

I find I must borrow yet another parable from George MacDonald. Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.

19 May 2023

There are 2 types of people in the world: those who have lost data & those who will loose data!


WHAT IS BACKUP? A backup is a second copy of all your important files - for example, your family photos, home videos, documents and emails. Instead of storing it all in one place (like your computer), you keep another copy of everything somewhere safe.

Why should I bother to back up my data?

Hardware can break, get coffee spilt in it, lost, stolen, hacker attack, malware, ransomware, etc…

Hardware can easily be replaced. Recreating your data is NOT easy, and is likely to be impossible!

It is estimated that 70-80% of businesses that suffer a serious data loss, fail within 18 months.


Most people backup their files in one of two ways: to a quality external drive, and/or somewhere on the Internet (Backblaze).

Do you need a hand with getting backup sorted for your important data? Contact Donline

Do not wait until it's too late to backup!

Meanwhile in other newsSanDisk Extreme SSDs keep abruptly failing.


ITV drama about the Post Office scandal started filming this week

Nick Wallis reports: The long-awaited ITV drama about the Post Office scandal started filming this week. The cast is being announced tomorrow. I won't break the embargo, but I will tell you the actor playing Alan Bates, founder of the Justice For Subpostmasters' Alliance is a household name. It should guarantee the series is watched by a large number of people. It is currently slated to be screened early next year.

ITV commissions Post Office scandal drama, People vs. Post Office, written by Gwyneth Hughes and produced by ITV Studios, Patrick Spence, and Little Gem

One of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British legal history, affecting dozens of innocent sub-postmasters and postmistresses, wrongly accused of theft, fraud and false accounting due to a defective IT system, will be brought to the screen by Patrick Spence, ITV Studios and co-produced by Little Gem. 

The 4 x 60’ drama, entitled People vs. Post Office, will be written by acclaimed screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes (Honour, Vanity Fair, Dark Angel) and executive produced by Patrick Spence (Adult Material, Marvellous), ITV Studios, Gwyneth Hughes, and Natasha Bondy and Ben Gale (Surviving the Virus, This is our Family) on behalf of Little Gem.

Many of the wronged workers who were prosecuted, some of whom were imprisoned for crimes they never committed, are already working with the producers to document how their lives were irreparably ruined by the scandal.


17 May 2023

When Wikipedia goes horribly wrong: user creates over 200 phoney articles!

Posing as a scholar, a Chinese woman spent years writing alternative accounts of medieval Russian history on Chinese Wikipedia, conjuring imaginary states, battles, and aristocrats in one of the largest hoaxes on the open-source platform.

The scam was exposed last month by Chinese novelist Yifan, who was researching for a book when he came upon an article on the Kashin silver mine. 

Discovered by Russian peasants in 1344, the Wikipedia entry goes, the mine engaged more than 40,000 slaves and freedmen, providing a remarkable source of wealth for the Russian principality of Tver in the 14th and 15th centuries as well as subsequent regimes. The geological composition of the soil, the structure of the mine, and even the refining process were fleshed out in detail in the entry.

Yifan thought he’d found interesting material for a novel. Little did he know he’d stumbled upon an entire fictitious world constructed by a user known as Zhemao. It was one of 206 articles she has written on Chinese Wikipedia since 2019, weaving facts into fiction in an elaborate scheme that went uncaught for years and tested the limits of crowdsourced platforms’ ability to verify information and fend off bad actors. Read more...


16 May 2023

Google will delete accounts, including Gmail & Photos, that haven’t logged on in 2 years

In 2020, Google said it would remove content stored in an inactive account (but not the account itself) to preserve storage space. Google is now updating its inactivity policy so that old, unused accounts will be deleted starting later this year.

“If a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years,” Google will delete that personal account and its contents. In addition to the email address becoming inaccessible, Gmail messages, Calendar events, Drive, Docs, and other Workspace files, as well as Google Photos backups, will be removed.

At the moment, Google is not planning to delete accounts with YouTube videos. (That would be tricky as some old abandoned clips might have historical relevance.)

Google will start deleting inactive accounts in December 2023 (at the earliest) and take a “phased approach,” starting with “accounts that were created and never used again.” The company says it is “going to roll this out slowly and carefully.”

Before deleting an account, we will send multiple notifications over the months leading up to deletion, to both the account email address and the recovery email (if one has been provided).


13 May 2023

Christian Aid Week: 14-20 May 2023

Your gifts this Christian Aid Week could help farmers in Malawi plant better seeds, secure a fairer price for the crops, and build happier futures for their children.

Food, fuel, fertiliser and school fees have doubled in price in the last 12 months. And hard-working farmers are seeing their harvests fail as the climate crisis brings increasingly erratic weather.

The impact of the recent Cyclone Freddy in Malawi has been devastating. Floods have washed away crops, over 500,000 people have been displaced and hundreds have lost their lives.

Christian Aid Week is at its most powerful when a disaster happens. Through you, we will be there long after the flood waters recede, helping families build back. Your gifts this May will continue to support the pigeon pea project and other vital work around the world. 

Your gifts this Christian Aid Week could help farmers in Malawi plant better seeds, secure a fairer price for the crops, and build happier futures for their children.

Give, act and pray this Christian Aid Week.

We won’t stop until everyone has the chance to live a full life, free from poverty. We are united in hope that, with your help, more young people will be able to transform their lives. Please give this Christian Aid Week and help more families have a brighter future.

All Saints Church, Denmead - a FREE COFFEE MORNING with CAKES is being held in the church hall 10am-12noon on Sat. 20th May. There will be an opportunity for you to donate to Christian Aid that morning if you wish to.


12 May 2023

Yamaha donates 16 bikes to Riders for Health :0)


Yamaha has announced a donation of 16 motorcycles to Riders for Health as the partnership between the two enters its second year. The partnership between Yamaha and Riders for Health began in 2022, and saw Yamaha raise enough money for Riders for Health to allow it to purchase 16 Yamaha AG100 motorcycles as part of its efforts to refresh its motorcycle fleet in its programme in The Gambia

Yamaha has now announced that it will also donate 16 AG100s to Riders for Health for its The Gambia programme, as “the replacement of their ageing AG100 fleet remains their [Riders for Health] most urgent goal,” Yamaha said.

In addition to the donation of motorcycles, Yamaha will be continuing with fundraising efforts in 2023. Prize draws and auctions will take place, organised by Two Wheels for Life, where items will include guest passes to MXGP and WorldSBK events, and memorabilia from Yamaha’s racing efforts in those championships. More details on the prize draws and auctions are available on the Yamaha Motor for Riders website.

2022 saw Riders for Health as a title partner on the Yamaha Tenere World Raid Team, and this is something which will also continue in 2023, while the charity will also “be on tour with Yamaha,” the Iwata marque says in a press release, during Yamaha’s Tenere 40th anniversary celebrations at various ‘Tenere Spirit’ events around Europe, which begins in June. The calendar for the Tenere 40th anniversary is yet to be released, but will be posted to the Yamaha website “soon,” Yamaha says.


11 May 2023

HP disables customers’ printers if they use ink cartridges from cheaper rivals


Hewlett-Packard, or HP, has sparked fury after issuing a recent “firmware” update which blocks customers from using cheaper, non-HP ink cartridges in its printers. 

Customers’ devices were remotely updated in line with new terms which mean their printers will not work unless they are fitted with approved ink cartridges. 

It prevents customers from using any cartridges other than those fitted with an HP chip, which are often more expensive. If the customer tries to use a non-HP ink cartridge, the printer will refuse to print. 

HP printers used to display a warning when a “third-party” ink cartridge was inserted, but now printers will simply refuse to print altogether.


05 May 2023

Now for something to be troubled about: AI :0(

A man widely seen as the godfather of artificial intelligence (AI) has quit his job, warning about the growing dangers from developments in the field. Geoffrey Hinton, 75, announced his resignation from Google in a statement to the New York Times, saying he now regretted his work.

He told the BBC some of the dangers of AI chatbots were "quite scary". "Right now, they're not more intelligent than us, as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be."

Dr Hinton also accepted that his age had played into his decision to leave the tech giant, telling the BBC: "I'm 75, so it's time to retire."

Dr Hinton's pioneering research on neural networks and deep learning has paved the way for current AI systems like ChatGPT. In artificial intelligence, neural networks are systems that are similar to the human brain in the way they learn and process information. They enable AIs to learn from experience, as a person would. This is called deep learning.

The British-Canadian cognitive psychologist and computer scientist told the BBC that chatbots could soon overtake the level of information that a human brain holds. "Right now, what we're seeing is things like GPT-4 eclipses a person in the amount of general knowledge it has and it eclipses them by a long way. In terms of reasoning, it's not as good, but it does already do simple reasoning," he said. "And given the rate of progress, we expect things to get better quite fast. So we need to worry about that."


Reading for today: do not let your hearts be troubled

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.

03 May 2023

Brough Superior nets owner incredible profit at auction


The biggest story of the recent Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale weekend was a 1931 Brough Superior SS100, which has been owned by the same person since April 1973, when it was bought for £150. It sold for a monumental £281,750 including premium – that’s some retirement investment fund!

The vendor, who has not been named, said: “I was all too aware of the SS100’s notoriety, especially as I worked as an aircraft engineer for Vickers at the Brooklands race circuit where, in 1939, an SS100 took the all-time record of 124.51mph.”


No more feature updates for Windows 10 – version 22H2 is final

Windows 10 is reaching the end of the road, with the current release – version 22H2 – confirmed as the final one, and support for the platform is scheduled to end on October 14, 2025.

Microsoft disclosed in an update to its client roadmap that there will be no further feature updates for Windows 10, and so the current version, 22H2, will be the final build of this version of Windows.

The ultimate end of the Windows 10 lifecycle has been known about for a couple of years, when the Redmond outfit updated its product lifecycle pages to show that Windows 10 Home and Pro, as well as the Enterprise and Education editions, will all be retired on 14 October 2025 .

But it wasn’t clear until now how long before the final cut-off deadline Microsoft would continue to deliver updates to the platform, which was first released in 29 July 2015.

The good news is that all Windows 10 editions will remain in support with monthly security update releases through that date, while long-term servicing channel (LTSC) releases will continue to receive updates beyond that date based on their specific lifecycles.

However, Microsoft has made it clear that it would like users to “transition to Windows 11 now as there won't be any additional Windows 10 feature updates.”

Meanwhile in other news: Microsoft will be dropping it's own label peripherals, and switch branding to it's Surface range.


02 May 2023

Calli: new collar & new haircut!


Our Calli is looking & smelling wonderful today after being for her usual trip to Sammy's Perfect Pets :0).

Her once lovely collar was looking a bit washed out & tired. We bought it a few years ago from the excellent Mary Puppins Pet Pantry in Emsworth

Last month I bought a new one from SNOWY & ME - beautifully handmade locally to order. It even arrived with a bag of treats which Calli really appreciated! What fantastic & very speedy service - highly recommended!