Great history time lines and maps

Dear Reader,

Making information available is one of the core benefits of the internet. The following is yet another example, how multimedia and the internet can make learning and teaching a greater experience. Our fans of maps and history buffs will love this.

Remember when you had to learn who was president when? Who ruled what when? What a dire task of memorizing names and dates. And for what exactly? What knowledge did you gain from the facts only, without a proper network of references?

Here comes a much better solution:

Just click on the button “Go to TimeLine” and have a look what happened when and where.

To quote from the website:

(It) allows to represent entities, periods and events through timelines. The system provides the desired historical analysis, simply by incorporating into the timeline those entities that are considered related, for the period under study. All this may be supplemented, if desired, with the corresponding cartographic representations.
Kingdoms, pontificates, political regimes, revolutions, wars, battles, natural disasters: all these concepts can be represented in GeaCron. And others will be added soon, such as cultural, artistic and philosophical trends, religious movements, etc.
With this new functionality, we have achieved one of the most important goals of our website and hope that their use provides significant assistance to those interested in the history of mankind.

I love the internet!

Stay curious,

Engine Room

webm Video – now with sound

Dear Reader,

Thanks for testing yesterdays WebM video, especially to the Druid and Smiles.

Since the Druid could not watch it, here is the Glynsky’s family member reacting to his resolutions as mp4:


WebM is supported in Mozilla Firefox 4 and later


Opera 10.60 and later Opera browser logo 2013.png,

and – if you really have to use it – Google Chrome 6 Google Chrome icon (2011).svgand later.

I added the logos, so that you know what you click.

In case you are using Internet Explorer Internet Explorer 7 Logo.png, you know you should not, right? Microsoft hates free open source software and does not support it. They do not want to lose all their revenues. Yet, for IE users, there is the solution. Download WebM for IE here: and install. Now you should have system wide WebM support.

Apple is as bad as Microsoft, when it comes to free open source software. They do not want to lose the revenues from iTunes. How someone can use iTunes is beyond me (Yes, Glynsky, I am looking at you!). Anyway, even for the Apple users with their

Safari Apple Safari 8.0 Iconthere is a solution. It is described in easy steps here:

Now back to vids.

Continue reading “webm Video – now with sound”

Video File Formats and Standards

Dear Reader,

As mentioned here, until a few weeks ago we used a plugin, called PowerPress, to post videos. It worked fine, at least there were no complaints. Then our content management system got an update, which included a video player itself. That made things a bit easier for us, and PowerPress obsolete.

Except that with PowerPress we had to use special code to embed the files. Thus, I did not dare uninstalling the plugin. Now over the holidays I deleted the special code in ~200 older posts, the vids in those posts are now played without the plugin. Unless anyone mentions problems with videos in older posts, I will ‘unplug’ PowerPress.

In the future, we – and many others – will use a different video file format, called webm. You can read about it here. It is free, open source, and royalty free. Yes, for sound in mp3 and videos in mp4 someone is paying royalties.

Besides being FOSS, webm does not require anything on your side. Modern browsers can play it directly, no plugin required at your side either.

Below is an example of a webm video. Supposedly, it shows a member of the Glynsky family, reacting to his new years resolutions:

Would you let me know, whether or not the video works for you?


Engine Room

and it’s been a happy time, ready for the slump?……

Dear diablog,

Wishing you all a very happy day, time with your friends and that all you wished for has arrived, albeit a little sooty.

And, being Boxing Day, just for Engine Room – at only 7GB of memory, and 25 minutes long!


To help digest the port and cigars,

Yours, diablog, ready for the show


What the Hack?

Dear Reader,

Apologies for the lack of posts lately. Two websites got cracked. And I say cracked, because hacking is something completely different.

One website was turned into a spambot, sending out spam emails under the domain name. The other one was plastered with links to fraudulent websites selling pills. Both break ins had been possible due to outdated content management systems lacking updates. Those websites were neither mine, nor did I maintain them. But the owners asked for help, and fixing the websites kept me busy for a few days, and nights. After diablog got cracked in March 2011, I had promised here to educate myself more. I did, and that knowledge came handy now.

Cracking has been in the news a lot lately, thanks to some stupid – borderline criminal – media company, aka Sony. You can read here, why I call them stupid, and here why I call them borderline criminal.

Following the old political rule – never let a crisis go unused – the American government jumped on the band wagon. The POTUS is unethical enough to call for more rules for the internet. Never mind that his NSA is undermining the internet constantly. I guess Obama believes we are too stupid to see the irony in that.

As a result, now the world is discussing an equally stupid movie, aka The Interview, and North Korea. Instead of what really matters, like how US congress passed a bill granting “Unlimited Access To Private Communications Of Every American” without legal process. Or the consequences of the torture report.

If you want an educated opinion about the crack, I highly recommend the often mentioned Bruce Schneier. Here are two quotes:

First, this is not an act of terrorism. There has been no senseless violence. No innocents are coming home in body bags. Yes, a company is seriously embarrassed–and financially hurt–by all of its information leaking to the public. But posting unreleased movies online is not terrorism. It’s not even close.

Nor is this an act of war. Stealing and publishing a company’s proprietary information is not an act of war. We wouldn’t be talking about going to war if someone snuck in and photocopied everything, and it makes equally little sense to talk about it when someone does it over the internet.

By the way, if a cracker breaks into a private company and the US government threatens to retaliate, what should Belgium do to the UK, after the government agency GCHQ breaks into the state-owned Belgacom? Declare war?

Stay calm,

Engine Room