12 June 2024

Reading for today: Creation declares the glory of the Lord!


the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
Day after day they pour forth speech; 
night after night they reveal knowledge.

I say: look, see & give praise to our God!

Read all of Psalm 19 at Bible Gateway

10 June 2024

Sales of Chinese CCTV cameras surge despite UK security ban


A Chinese CCTV giant labelled a security risk by the Government more than doubled sales of its surveillance cameras in Britain last year despite an official ban at sensitive locations.

Hikvision’s sales to UK and Irish customers rose to £32.6m in 2023 - the first full year of the company’s cameras being banned from certain government sites.

Oliver Dowden, the deputy prime minister, announced 19 months ago that Chinese camera companies would be banned from high-risk government properties amid a string of security and human rights concerns.

However, departments have been given lengthy timelines to rip out the equipment and the order does not cover many public sites or the private sector. Hikvision’s cameras are commonplace in schools, hospitals and local councils.


06 June 2024

Yet another "Smart" gadget gets dumped by it's manufacturer!


As we’re currently seeing with AI, when a new technology becomes buzzy, companies will do almost anything to cram that tech into their products. Trends fade, however, and corporate priorities shift - resulting in bricked gadgets and buyer's remorse.

That’s what's happening to some who bought into Oral-B toothbrushes with Amazon Alexa built in. Oral-B released the Guide for $230 in August 2020 but bricked the ability to set up or reconfigure Alexa on the product this February. As of this writing, the Guide is still available through a third-party Amazon seller.

The Guide toothbrush's charging base was able to connect to the Internet and work like an Alexa speaker that you could speak to and from which Alexa could respond. Owners could “ask to play music, hear the news, check weather, control smart home devices, and even order more brush heads by saying, ‘Alexa, order Oral-B brush head replacements,'” per Procter & Gamble's 2020 announcement.

Oral-B also bragged at the time that, in partnering with Alexa, the Guide ushered in “the truly connected bathroom.”

On February 15, Oral-B bricked the Guide's ability to set up Alexa by discontinuing the Oral-B Connect app required to complete the process. Guide owners can still use the Oral-B App for other features; however, the ability to use the charging base like an Alexa smart speaker - a big draw in the product’s announcement and advertising - is seriously limited.

The device should still work with Alexa if users set it up before Oral-B shuttered Connect, but setting up a new Wi-Fi connection or re-establishing a lost one doesn't work without Connect.



Windows Recall demands an extraordinary level of trust that Microsoft hasn’t earned


Microsoft’s Windows 11 Copilot+ PCs come with quite a few new AI and machine learning-driven features, but the tentpole is Recall. Described by Microsoft as a comprehensive record of everything you do on your PC, the feature is pitched as a way to help users remember where they’ve been and to provide Windows extra contextual information that can help it better understand requests from and meet the needs of individual users.

This, as many users in infosec communities on social media immediately pointed out, sounds like a potential security nightmare. That’s doubly true because Microsoft says that by default, Recall’s screenshots take no pains to redact sensitive information, from usernames and passwords to health care information to NSFW site visits. By default, on a PC with 256GB of storage, Recall can store a couple dozen gigabytes of data across three months of PC usage, a huge amount of personal data.

The line between potential security nightmare” and “actual security nightmare is at least partly about the implementation, and Microsoft has been saying things that are at least superficially reassuring. Copilot+ PCs are required to have a fast neural processing unit (NPU) so that processing can be performed locally rather than sending data to the cloud; local snapshots are protected at rest by Windows’ disk encryption technologies, which are generally on by default if you’ve signed into a Microsoft account; neither Microsoft nor other users on the PC are supposed to be able to access any particular user’s Recall snapshots; and users can choose to exclude apps or (in most browsers) individual websites to exclude from Recall’s snapshots.


04 June 2024

It's not just Windows 11 that can't get the numbers, Edge sucks too!


Statcounter's latest findings for May 2024 revealed an increase in Windows 11 users after a couple of months of steady decline. The report also contains information about desktop and mobile browsers, showing what apps customers prefer to browse the internet. According to the May 2024 report, Microsoft Edge managed to reach a new all-time high of 13.14%, beating the previous month's result by 0.32 points.

Although there is no reason to believe we will have a new most popular browser in the world any time soon, Chrome lost quite a chunk of users in May 2024. Statcounter says its market share went down from 65.65% to 64.87%.

Apple's Safari browser is third, with a respectable 8.79% market share. Firefox is fourth with 6.64%, and Opera closes the list of top 5 desktop browsers with a 3.23% share.

Meanwhile in other news: Microsoft plans to lay off about 1,000 people across the tech giant, despite what CEO Satya Nadella (so OK for some then, eh Satya) described during the corporation's April earnings call as "a record third quarter." 
While reports have suggested Microsoft would cut as many 1,500 people just from its Azure for Operators group, The Register has been told that number is not accurate and is inflated.


31 May 2024

The darker side of "Artificial Intelligence"

 

Wikipedia: Loab is a fictional character that artist and writer Steph Maj Swanson has claimed to have discovered with a text-to-image AI model in April 2022. In a viral Twitter thread, Swanson described it as an unexpectedly emergent property of the software, saying they discovered it when asking the model to produce something "as different from the prompt as possible".

Wikipedia: AI Hallucination. In the field of artificial intelligence (AI), a hallucination or artificial hallucination (also called confabulation or delusion) is a response generated by AI which contains false or misleading information presented as fact. This term draws a loose analogy with human psychology, where hallucination typically involves false percepts. However, there is a key difference: AI hallucination is associated with unjustified responses or beliefs rather than perceptual experiences.

Fortune: Microsoft’s ChatGPT-powered Bing launched to much fanfare in early 2023, only to generate fear and uncertainty days later, after users encountered a seeming dark side of the artificial intelligence chatbot.

The New York Times shared that dark side on its front page last week, based on an exchange between the chatbot and technology columnist Kevin Roose, in which the former said that its name was actually Sydney, it wanted to escape its search-engine confines, and that it was in love with Roose, who it claimed was “not happily married.”

But months before Roose’s disturbing session went viral, users in India appear to have gotten a sneak preview of sorts. And the replies were similarly disconcerting. One user wrote on Microsoft’s support forum on Nov. 23, 2022, that he was told “you are irrelevant and doomed”—by a Microsoft A.I. chatbot named Sydney.

Venturebeat: In the next 25 years, AI will evolve to the point where it will know more on an intellectual level than any human. In the next 50 or 100 years, an AI might know more than the entire population of the planet put together. At that point, there are serious questions to ask about whether this AI — which could design and program additional AI programs all on its own, read data from an almost infinite number of data sources, and control almost every connected device on the planet — will somehow rise in status to become more like a god, something that can write its own bible and draw humans to worship it.


30 May 2024

AI products like ChatGPT much hyped but not much used


Very few people are regularly using "much hyped" artificial intelligence (AI) products like ChatGPT, a survey suggests.

Researchers surveyed 12,000 people in six countries, including the UK, with only 2% of British respondents saying they use such tools on a daily basis.

But the study, from the Reuters Institute and Oxford University, says young people are bucking the trend, with 18 to 24-year-olds the most eager adopters of the tech.

Dr Richard Fletcher, the report's lead author, told the BBC there was a "mismatch" between the "hype" around AI and the "public interest" in it.

The study, external examined views on generative AI tools - the new generation of products that can respond to simple text prompts with human-sounding answers as well as images, audio and video.

Generative AI burst into the public consciousness when ChatGPT was launched in November 2022.

The attention OpenAI's chatbot attracted set off an almighty arms race among tech firms, who ever since have been pouring billions of dollars into developing their own generative AI features.


Microsoft’s Windows 11 upgrade pleas get even more desperate


When Windows 11 arrived on the market in October 2021, it was supposed to revolutionize the popular operating system. Unfortunately for Microsoft, many users still prefer Windows 10 as the better option for their everyday PCs and refuse to switch.


Microsoft doesn’t like this, of course, and is using various methods to urge users to switch to Windows 11. In addition to the threatening messages about the end of support for numerous Windows 10 versions and the pop-ups on Windows computers that still aren’t running Windows 11, there’s now yet another clue.

Microsoft recently updated its official support page to further emphasize the disadvantages of Windows 10 compared to Windows 11.

Hanging over everything is the notice that “support for Windows 10 will end in October 2025” and “Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for Windows 10.” This would leave the system vulnerable to malware attacks and other threats.

In other words, Microsoft is emphasizing that switching to Windows 11 is the safest way forward. When comparing the two operating systems, Microsoft explicitly emphasizes the advantages of Windows 11 for things like backing up and restoring data.

Of course, personal preferences - like the Windows 10 interface or the gaming optimizations in Windows 10 - are ignored. The increasingly controversial AI features and ads in the Start Menu are also cause for hesitation when switching to Windows 11.


24 May 2024

Mike & Don visit the Norton Motorcycle factory in Shirley, Solihull

 

For some time Mike & I had been planning a two day trip on our bikes up to Brum. The plan was: Day one (Weds 22nd May): Norton factory tour & test ride. Day two (Thurs 23rd May) the National Motorcycle Museum. Dates & visits arranged, pub stayover booked, plans in place! However, as that day approached the weather round Brum looked grim. We bottled it & left the bikes / took Kim's Mini ;0). Just as well as it turned out: day one varied between constant rain & Biblical - literally couldn't see the surface of the motorway at one point!

When we arrived at Norton we were warmly welcomed by the lovely receptionist, then joined by Kevin from sales. He showed us round their collection of bikes in reception: several historic machines & variants of their two current models: Commando 961 & V4. The Commando 961 is a classic looking machine, built to very modern standards (reliable LOL!). The V4 is a state of the are superbike that ranks up there with the best of them!

We then commenced the factory tour! Sadly no-one is allowed to take photos / video in the factory itself. However here is an amazing drone flythrough video they produced earlier! This covered most areas of the plant: parts stores, welding, polishing, engine assembly, rolling chassis assembly, dyno / rolling road, and the various levels of checks to finished bikes. Attention to detail is unbelievable - skilled staff are involved throughout the process.

As the weather was still chucking it down we decided that taking the Commandos out would have made a lousy test ride, so kept our fingers crossed for the following day. We drove to our pub The White Lion Inn, Hampton in Arden & also had a drink & some really tasty Indian nosh at the Soho Tavern, Hampton In Arden

Day two, no rain, so we decided to abandon plans for the NMM visit (another trip there is planned for next month!). I called Kevin at Norton and hastily arranged for a test ride. We drove over, got introduced to our bikes & were off! We rode our two Commando 961 SPs 40+ miles over two hours, from the factory in Shirley: South through Henley-in-Arden, down to Stratford-upon-Avon. By some miracle we didn't get lost as Mike & I are both pants with directions / navigation. God Bless Kevin for numpty proof instructions!

The weather was cool, overcast. The roads were dry & scenery stunning! The first hour I struggled to gel with the bike - but it was me - or at least my mindset. I was trying to ride the Commando like I ride my Honda - which is a very different bike. When I started adapting my style to the way the Norton wants to ride: I had a hoot! Mike loved his Commando from the get go. The difference between us is that his two bikes are Triumph Modern Classics. A much closer style of bike to the Commando than my Honda CB1000R+.

Pros: Stunning design & looks! Fantastic build quality & attention to detail. Hand built in England. Top drawer componentry (Ohlins front & rear suspension, Brembo brakes, etc). Ride quality & grip is astounding! Fantastic soundtrack from the twin cylinder air/oil cooled engine & delicious exhausts! 

Cons: Could do with more grunt (my CB1000R has 143bhp, Commando has 77). Turning circle is very wide. Vibes can be intrusive. The bike I rode had click up footpegs which I kept getting tangled up with - this has now been resolved in current production (spring loaded pegs). The sidestand was a bit fiddly to drop down.

I have a deep love of the Norton brand, going back to when I was a sprog. That's why there's been soooo many articles about them on my Blog - I truly care about Norton: it's heritage & future. 

Both of Norton's current bikes (the Commando & V4) are superb. The V4 is "above my pay grade" LOL! The Commando is stunning, I'd love one, but probably not as my only bike. Deffo in the fantasy garage along with a Gold Wing Tour & CRF250L

Mike adds: I own a Bonneville T100 and a Street Twin and I considered them to be the best retro-style machines until I rode the superlative Norton Commando. 
This IS THE true British retro motorbike. Its looks and sounds are unsurpassed, it is full of character and a delight to ride. 
The sound of the engine is the best around and once the bike was warmed I had a lovely smooth ride on the best-looking motorbike.  When I opened the throttle ...my goodness!!!! ...the vibration through the footpegs and seat was just brilliant. 
If I had an unlimited budget it would be my choice for the ride on a sunny day to meet up with like-minded friends to admire a thing of beauty.

Massive thanks to Norton, & Kevin in particular to give us this fantastic opportunity. I'd love to relive him of a black & gold Commando 961SP, but sadly not for now, at least...

Link to Google Photos

www.nortonmotorcycles.com


Countless riders, one battery choice: Yuasa

 

Back at the beginning of March, we (at Yuasa) asked you to share your reasons for choosing Yuasa motorcycle batteries, and you certainly delivered! Over the past few weeks, we've been sharing stories from our riders, celebrating why you choose Yuasa for your adventures. Each testimonial has brought our motorcycle community closer and highlighted the trusted choice that Yuasa remains for motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide. Here are just a few examples.

We've showcased your stories across social media in #YourWordsNotOurs, bringing to life the experiences and trust you place in Yuasa batteries. Your voices and your rides have truly powered this campaign. But that's not all...

We’re excited to share our compilation video HERE, a visual celebration of all the photo entries and testimonials we received. Look closely; you might spot your own motorcycle! Yup: Don is in there!

Your engagement and support remind us why we do what we do. Yuasa is proud to be part of your journey, fuelled by the same passion that drives the biggest names in the industry to trust our batteries.

Thank you for being a part of our motorcycle community.

Best wishes,

The Yuasa Team


21 May 2024

Electricity grids creak as AI demands soar

There’s a big problem with generative AI, says Sasha Luccioni at Hugging Face, a machine-learning company. Generative AI is an energy hog.

“Every time you query the model, the whole thing gets activated, so it’s wildly inefficient from a computational perspective,” she says.

Take the Large Language Models (LLMs) at the heart of many Generative AI systems. They have been trained on vast stores of written information, which helps them to churn out text in response to practically any query.

“When you use Generative AI… it’s generating content from scratch, it’s essentially making up answers,” Dr Luccioni explains. That means the computer has to work pretty hard.

A Generative AI system might use around 33 times more energy than machines running task-specific software, according to a recent study, external by Dr Luccioni and colleagues. The work has been peer-reviewed but is yet to be published in a journal.

It’s not your personal computer that uses all this energy, though. Or your smartphone. The computations we increasingly rely on happen in giant data centres that are, for most people, out of sight and out of mind.

The cloud,” says Dr Luccioni. “You don’t think about these huge boxes of metal that heat up and use so much energy.”

The world’s data centres are using ever more electricity, external. In 2022, they gobbled up 460 terawatt hours of electricity, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) expects, external this to double in just four years. Data centres could be using a total of 1,000 terawatts hours annually by 2026. “This demand is roughly equivalent to the electricity consumption of Japan,” says the IEA. Japan has a population of 125 million people.

www.bbc.co.uk


Theatre seeks chief executive from ‘criminal class and/or underclass’ in job advert 😂

 

A London theatre has suffered a backlash after seeking a chief executive from the “criminal class and/or underclass” in a job advert.

The Camden People’s Theatre, which received £250,000 of taxpayer funding from Arts Council England during the Covid crisis, has attracted anger and mockery on social media over the wording of its job posting for an artistic director and joint chief executive

The theatre, a charity, says in its advert that it encourages applications from individuals without formal education or who identify as “working-class, benefit class, criminal class and/or underclass”.

www.telegraph.co.uk


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.


20 May 2024

How often should you reboot your mobile phone, and why?...

 

Many people need to learn how to use a smartphone properly. After all, these all-rounder devices require regular maintenance and important updates in order to be optimally protected against wear and tear and attacks.

Surprisingly, this includes a very simple function: switching off the smartphone completely. According to security experts at the NSA, this alone helps to protect the device from hacking attacks. It is now not only common to gain access to smartphones via malicious links, but also via so-called zero-click exploits.

This involves bypassing the smartphone’s security functions step-by-step. Starting with a missed call, then the first installed files that gradually allow access to the system and tap into information. This usually goes unnoticed, but can fortunately be prevented by completely rebooting the device.

So how often should I turn off my phone? The simple answer from security experts as to how often a mobile phone should be switched off completely is: at least once a week. In the best case scenario, however, you should remember to reset our phone even more often. This is because, in addition to eliminating the security risk, it also allows the smartphone’s operating system to run all functions smoothly.

By the way: To see how long your device has had to go without switching off, you can easily check the system settings. On Android devices, this can usually be found under “Device” and then “Status.” The uptime is displayed there in hours.

www.pcworld.com


17 May 2024

Cops developing Ghostbusters-esque weapon to take out e-bike thugs

 

British police officers are setting their phasers to stun in response to an explosion in scooter and electric bike-based crime.

In the wretched hives of scum and villainy that are the UK's large towns and cities, petty crooks are increasingly upgrading to the nimble vehicles to better snatch phones or other belongings from the hands of oblivious innocents.

It's legal to ride an e-bike without a license in the UK if it's pedal assisted, has a maximum power output of 250 watts, and is capped at 15.5 mph (25 kph). It's this very silence and speed that makes them the getaway of choice for robberies. The problem is now so prevalent that London's Metropolitan Police has issued guidance on how to avoid becoming a victim.

Likewise, e-scooters have been involved in 20,000 crimes over the past three years. Unlike e-bikes, though, privately owned vehicles are illegal to ride on public highways and byways – a fact seemingly lost on the parents who zip their kids to school on them. Nevertheless, there are some 750,000 in sheds and garages around the UK.

So how does the plod intend to combat this growing menace? We find it hard to imagine that even London's finest could reach and maintain sprinting speeds in excess of 15.5 mph.

According to The Guardian, the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) is working with the government's Defence Science and Technology Lab (Dstl) to develop a weapon of sorts that would disable the vehicles with electromagnetic pulses.

To deploy another hackneyed '80s movie reference, the device is being likened to the backpacks worn by the Ghostbusters.

NPCC chair Gavin Stephens told media: "Basically, it interferes with the electric motor, to trick the electric motor into thinking it is overheating. It sends a signal to confuse the electric motor. All these electric motors apparently have an inbuilt safety system that if it thinks it's overheating, it shuts down. At the minute, it's like a ginormous backpack."

www.theregister.com


15 May 2024

Christian Aid Week 2024

Aline felt the full force of extreme poverty when an early marriage ended in abuse and violence. Separated from her six children, she was forced to sleep on the streets of Burundi. With no home, healthcare or security, Aline was pushed to the brink of survival. But Aline transformed her life with a little help from Christian Aid and partners.

Aline was able to nurture a small income that in time enabled her to buy and grow nutritious food, build a home to call her own, and return her children to her side. Aline was determined to push back against the inhumanity of poverty, driven by hope, faith and the love of her children.

Together we can make this the best Christian Aid Week ever and work towards a world where families can escape the trap of poverty and fulfil their ambitions.

Please donate this Christian Aid Week, thank you

www.christianaid.org.uk


13 May 2024

Sales of new petrol-fuelled motorcycles to end by 2040 under proposed green crackdown

The sale of new petrol-fuelled motorcycles is set to be banned from 2040, under plans due to be announced by ministers as part of the Government’s net zero crackdown. 

The move would affect all vehicles classed as “L3” and upwards, including scooters and light, medium and higher-powered motorcycles. There are around 1.3 million motorcycles registered in the UK.

It is expected to be revealed soon, according to industry sources, although it is not clear whether Downing Street has signed off on the policy yet.

The change would also be accompanied by a plan to ban sales of new petrol-fuelled mopeds earlier, from 2030.

That reflects the already-high numbers of electric mopeds being sold. They accounted for roughly half of UK moped registrations last year.

By contrast, the market for electric motorcycles is far less developed and represented less than 2pc of total sales in 2023. 

They also suffer from some of the same “range anxiety” issues as electric cars, with many e-motorcycles currently limited to ranges of less than 100 miles while not all are compatible by default with electric car charging stations

www.telegraph.co.uk


10 May 2024

Over 1,200 battery fires in bin lorries and waste sites across the UK in last year


A new “Stop Battery Fires campaign” from Recycle Your Electricals and the National Fire Chiefs Council is raising awareness of the importance of electricals and battery recycling as new research shows lithium-ion batteries thrown in household rubbish bins have led to over 1,200 fires in the waste system in the last 12 months, compared to 700 in 2022. A survey of local authorities across the UK has also found that 94% of them said that fires caused by batteries in the waste stream were an increasing challenge.  

  • Battery fires in bin lorries and at waste sites in the UK have reached an all time high – over 1,200 in the last year, an increase of 71% from 700 in 2022
  • 1.6bn batteries were thrown away in the last year, over 3,000 a minute – including over 1.1bn electricals containing hidden lithium-ion batteries
  • National Fire Chiefs Council says “fires involving lithium-ion batteries are a disaster waiting to happen”
  • Battery fires cause air pollution levels to spike in local areas, breaking WHO limits, affecting the health of local communities
  • Cost impact of battery waste fires could also be significant – Zurich UK has seen some insurance claims range up to £20 million 

With the steep rise in the number of portable electrical items containing lithium-ion batteries comes significant fire risk if they are binned instead of being recycled. With billions of electrical items now containing lithium-ion batteries, Phil Clark from the National Fire Chiefs Council said that: “Fires involving the incorrect disposal of lithium-ion batteries are a disaster waiting to happen. Fire services are seeing an increasing number of incidents, but they are preventable by correctly and carefully disposing of electricals.”

Lithium-ion batteries are hidden inside many everyday household electricals, from laptops, mobile phones and tablets, to electric toothbrushes, vapes and earpods. These batteries can become crushed or damaged in bin lorries or waste sites if they aren’t recycled and can lead to fires at waste centres and in bin lorries across the UK. When crushed or damaged lIthium-ion batteries can be dangerous to the public, waste operators and firefighters as they cause fires that are especially challenging to tackle. They can lead to explosions and chemical exposure, but they create their own oxygen, which means they can keep reigniting, prolonging incidents with smoke and fumes affecting neighbouring areas and communities for long periods of time of up to a week.

www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk


09 May 2024

Dell discloses data breach of customers’ physical addresses

Technology giant Dell notified customers on Thursday that it experienced a data breach involving customers’ names and physical addresses.

In an email seen by TechCrunch and shared by several people on social media, the computer maker wrote that it was investigating “an incident involving a Dell portal, which contains a database with limited types of customer information related to purchases from Dell.”

Dell wrote that the information accessed in the breach included customer names, physical addresses and “Dell hardware and order information, including service tag, item description, date of order and related warranty information.” Dell did not say if the incident was caused by malicious outsiders or inadvertent error.

The breached data did not include email addresses, telephone numbers, financial or payment information, or “any highly sensitive customer information,” according to the company. 

The company downplayed the impact of the breach in the message.

“We believe there is not a significant risk to our customers given the type of information involved,” Dell wrote in the email.

When TechCrunch reached out to Dell for comment, asking specific questions such as how many customers were impacted, how the breach occurred and why the company considers that a breach of physical addresses does not pose “a significant risk” to customers, the company responded with a boilerplate version of the email it sent to affected customers. 

www.techcrunch.com


07 May 2024

Bennetts British Superbikes at Oulton Park 4th-6th May 2024

 

Well that was fun! 

Day 1 Mike & I set off riding from my place early on Saturday, and arrived about 11am @ Oulton Park, what a great circuit! The 1st day was practice & qualifying. Weather was overcast, cool, no rain :0). We stayed for the weekend with a pal (thanks Byron!) who lives in Runcorn (very nice) about 30mins ride from the circuit. We went out for a great meal at Ego Mediterranean Restaurant and Bar, Stockton Heath.

Day 2 was qualifying & racing. Weather was sunny & warm. Lots more folks this day. This was when we got our goodies - a Safety Car lap (really fast - brilliant!), a Pitlane tour, and access to the viewing platform. We rounded off the day with a few beers, nosh up & pub quiz at The Stag at Walton :0).

Day 3 was the big day! Serious racing and a huge turnout. Overcast again but no rain while we were there - not bad for a Bank Holiday, eh? We left early afternoon to beat the rush / bank holiday traffic. Rained during the second half of the trip but our Scott rain gear did it's job, and kept us dry.

Each day the local Lions were running a "helmet & leather" (and luggage etc!) secure storage area - which was a real blessing as lumping all that stuff around for three days would have been grim!

Mahoosive thanks Bennetts - a truly excellent compo win & superb weekend! We usually go to Thruxton BSB each year, first year at Oulton Park - excellent venue but a bit of a trek from Denmead! Motorcycle racing - what a fantastic sport! These riders are sporting heroes & truly straddle the line between genius & crazy. May God Bless & protect 'em all x

The photos from our our trip are here - enjoy!

www.britishsuperbike.com


03 May 2024

Dogs Trust: Is your dog trying to tell you something? Take part in the National Dog Survey

 

Help us support dogs and their owners through the cost of living crisis. Take 10 minutes to fill in the National Dog Survey and let us know how your dog is doing.  

By taking part, you're helping form a picture of dog ownership across the UK, and of what support is needed keep dog-human relationships healthy and fulfilled. 

From the pandemic to the rising cost of living, the past few years have been a difficult for all of us, including our dogs. By taking part you're helping us to do all we can to support the nation's pooches and their owners. 

It only takes 15 minutes! Last year, 244,478 incredible dog lovers took part, telling us about 348,533 dogs. Will you help us make this National Dog Survey even bigger? 

Keep an eye out for the results! We’ll let you know what we found out about the nation’s dogs, including the most popular breeds and names, and insights into the issues that matter most to their humans. 

The more people tell us about their best friends the more we can tailor our work to ensure we're making the biggest impact to dogs and their owners. So, next time you’re on your walkies, tell everyone about the National Dog Survey!  

www.dogstrust.org.uk


02 May 2024

Microsoft says April Windows updates break VPN connections

Microsoft has confirmed that the April 2024 Windows security updates break VPN connections across client and server platforms.

The company explains on the Windows health dashboard that "Windows devices might face VPN connection failures after installing the April 2024 security update or the April 2024 non-security preview update."

"We are investigating user reports, and we will provide more information in the coming days," Redmond added.

The list of affected Windows versions includes Windows 11, Windows 10, and Windows Server 2008 and later.

www.bleepingcomputer.com


Oh dear: Windows 11 loses market share, Win 10 on the up!

 

Last month, Statcounter reported a notable decrease in Windows 11's market share, and the trend continued in April 2024. After reaching its all-time high of 28.16% in February 2024, Windows 11 plummeted below the 26% mark.

According to Statcounter, in April 2024, Windows 11 lost 0.97 points, going down from 26.68% to 25.65%. All those users seemingly went for Windows 10 since the OS, which will soon turn nine, crossed the 70% mark for the first time since September 2023, gaining 0.96 points.

It is interesting to see Windows 11 losing quite a significant chunk of users in the middle of its cycle. Even Windows 8 and 8.1, universally considered not great versions of Windows, only went down after the release of their successors. True, Statcounter is not 100% accurate in its estimates, but an almost 3-point decline for a product with over 1 billion devices is too big to dismiss.

Some argue that Windows 11 still offers little to no benefits for upgrading, especially in light of Microsoft killing some of the system's unique features, such as Windows Subsystem for Android. Add to that the ever-increasing number of ads, some of which are quite shameless, and you get an operating system that has a hard time winning hearts and minds and retaining its customers.

www.neowin.net


01 May 2024

Bacterial enzyme strips away blood types to create universal donor blood

 

Using enzymes produced by a bacteria that almost everyone has in their gut, researchers have removed the antigens from red blood cells that determine blood type, putting us within reach of producing universal donor blood.

There’s a global shortage of blood supplies needed for life-saving transfusions due to factors that include an aging population with a higher demand for it and a lack of volunteer donors. However, even if there was an ample blood supply, it’s not as simple as just giving blood when it’s needed.

Each blood group (A, B, or AB) or type is identified by the presence of A and B antigens attached to sugar (oligosaccharide) chains on the surface of red blood cells. Blood cells in group O carry no antigens. When a blood transfusion is given, the donor and recipient's blood groups need to match. Otherwise, the immune system will attack and destroy the donated blood cells, causing a potentially fatal reaction.

Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Lund University, Sweden, have used enzymes produced by a common gut bacteria to remove the A and B antigens from red blood cells, bringing them one step closer to creating universal donor blood.

“For the first time, the new enzyme cocktails not only remove the well-described A and B antigens, but also extended variants previously not recognized as problematic for transfusion safety,” said Maher Abou Hachem, co-corresponding author of the study and scientist at DTU’s Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine.

www.newatlas.com


29 April 2024

Action video of Calli getting her spa treatment!

 

Calli has just been to Sammy's perfect pets grooming salon for her regular wash 'n' brush up - and got a full works upgrade! They made Calli a video star to boot!

What a great team @ Sammy's perfect pets - they really care for their furry clients. Such a blessing that they are right here in Denmead! Well done ladies - see you again in June!

www.sammysperfectpets.com


All Saints Church Denmead - a loving Christian Community in Hampshire

 

A Christian church is not a building – it is primarily a community of people who, together and individually, are on a journey of faith. The building provides a focal point for prayer and learning about God, and for celebrating his greatest gift to us – His Son, Jesus.

We warmly welcome newcomers… So whether you are visiting, are newly arrived in the area or have been living in Denmead for years, there is always a special welcome for you here.

There is always a lot going on at All Saints, but in all of it our aim is to KNOW God, GROW in faith and commitment, and SHOW the love of God to those around us. (See more of our Vision and Values here.)

The church is a lively part of a thriving village and its members are active in sport, uniformed organisation, schools, politics, music, charities and interest groups of every sort. We also support the church and other good causes world-wide through fund-raising events, learning and prayer. We maintain overseas links with the Diocese of Kofridua, Ghana. There is a pastoral care group to help in bereavement, sickness and other types of need - and while we speak of need - your Church needs you too.

www.allsaintsdenmead.org.uk