keeping time…

Dear diablog,

You may consider this as irrelevant and a quick way to get over the problem of too little time to post regularly at the moment – but you are wrong.

Mme. and I are unashamedly addicted to Strictly on Saturday nights and record it to revisit at any time.

Sometimes the most unlikely person gives a performance of truly astounding skill – added to which I am totally, hopelessly in love with Aliona!


Add to this the discovery of a real dancer lurking inside the rather ordinary Jay McGuiness, whose success as a singer is ‘ok’ at best, and things explode onto the screen.

Even at height of his terpsichorean skills Glynsky would have been daunted by the routine ‘jive’ the two of them got through.

Really worth a watch

Yours, diablog, with twinkletoes


Advertising – online vs. offline

Dear Reader,

Do you have a favorite bistro, cafe, pub or bar? A place you call your 2nd living room, where they know you by face, or even by name?

I do. Actually I have a couple of those. I walk in, we exchange nods or hellos, and I get the usual. The staff knows me. They memorized my face and what I drink. Sometimes the staff offers something different, which they think I might like. In new marketing lingo that is called customer relationship management. In meatspace I am fine with that.

Most places have chalk boards with daily specials or new offers. That is advertising or newspeak ‘in-store-promotion’, and I am fine with that, as long as it is non-offensive. If the stuff is blinking, making noise, in my face all the time, then it is a nuisance. And I stop going there.

Very few places have my email address, and they sometimes inform me about events, specials, news. That is called opt-in direct marketing. And since I gave them my email address, I am fine with that too. For as long as I can opt-out, and only if they do not sell my email address to third parties.

But all this is not what online advertising is about.

Let me stay with the example of your favorite bar and what it would be like, if they took online advertising into meat space. Imagine the bar owner hires spies to follow you around 24/7. These people record all the places you go, all the people you talk to, and all the conversations you have. It records all your purchases and your consumption. And then they draw conclusions from that.

Would you be OK with that?

Google and other online advertisers spy on you like that. They give you a permanent ID. They plant a permanent file on your PC or smartphone. Or you are identified by your unique network card number, or the IMEI of your phone, plus operating system + browser + addons + the settings of all the above. The spying files have funny names like cookie, super cookie, or beacon. The names are supposed to hide the intrusiveness, the spying.

What are the implications?

Imagine you walk into the bar, and the staff tell you: “Sorry, you have to pay double for your drink now”. Because they know, that you paid that much in another place last week. Or: “We do not offer you coffee anymore.” Because they know, in other places you have champagne. And that is more profitable. Or the staff tells you: “Sorry, we do not serve you anything”. Because you had 10 drinks this week already, and you have five bottles of beer and one of vodka in your fridge, and that is above what they – or the government – think you should have.

And online, every website can do that tracking and spying. Amazon, eBay, Twitter, F*c*book, most of them do it. As soon as a website has the F*c*book Like button or Google +, they are spying on you. Imagine every store you pass on the street, would spy on you like that.

Would you accept that?

One of the euphemisms for these practices is liquid pricing. And it is reality for airline tickets, train and ferry tickets, for insurance policies, and many others. Liquid pricing is for the advantage of the supplier. Its goal is to maximize profit. They want to get the most out of you. Or frankly, you are taken for a ride.

And that is why I dislike online advertising and the people using it. Where I can see an advantage in traditional advertising, and can opt-out of that, in online advertising aka spying, the goal is to rip you off. And to limit choice.

Sorry, no cheap car insurance for you, you have bad neighbors. Sorry, no health insurance for you, you googled cancer a few times too often.

If you want to know, how to prevent some of the stuff, let us know.

Engine Room

for england and saint…

Dear diablog,

This man


Referee Joubert, was obviously in the mind of Signor Shakespeare in the Henry V


speech, though he got the name wrong.

G+P suggests that he should now be the patron saint of England for services to the happiness and well being of rugby fans.

The slime and anger of Tweeters, Trolls and members of the SNP (the Jocks have always been poor losers) is so funny and warms my heart.

They (the Jock Whinging Brigade) have even had a pop at JK


who has had the temerity, as a true ‘Briton’, to marry a Jock and offer her support to their fans for the (wonderful) mistake by M. Joubert. The bile and attacks on her for not being a true Jock and daring to try to support her husband defy description. May they all rot in the Hebrides.

Long live St. Joubert! Maybe he will feature in the next Harry P book.

Yours, diablog, really enjoying the pain of those of the north


How bad is it?

Dear Reader,

After warning Glynsky – and you – for years about the danger of surveillance, last week the overlord of diablog gave in. Here he mentioned for the first time, that I might have a point.

Prior he had nothing to hide, it was in the best interest of society, freedom of speech had its limits, criminals must be found, bla bla bla. Like tens of millions of people Glynsky had swallowed the kool-aid fed to the masses by our politicians, government officials, and conservative media.

And, what a coincidence, last week those same politicians got caught with their pants down. It is hilarious. The hypocrisy is beyond fiction. Seriously, you could not make this stuff up.

On Wednesday a British court ruled, that the GCHQ is allowed to ‘monitor’ members of parliament. Please note the newspeak, they are calling it monitoring, not surveillance or spying.

Wait, what? Haven’t they always? I mean, if the GCHQ – in collaboration with the NSA – is spying on the whole country and all other countries, doesn’t that include the MPs?

Obviously not. See, those same MPs, who have been selling you bullshit about surveillance for more than a decade now, have been exempt from the spying. Or at least, they were made to believe that. While you have been under surveillance 24/7, the MPs thought they were not. It is quite easy to agree to something bad, if it does not impact you, isn’t it? If you ever needed an example of ‘not in my backyard’, there it is.

But it gets better. On Thursday, less than 24 hours (!) after the court decision, the MPs held an emergency meeting. Because, now that it is them being put under surveillance, now surveillance is bad. And those MPs aren’t even ashamed of themselves.

They knew all too well, what surveillance means. It means, among other nasty things, that you are open to blackmail. That little marijuana habit, the mistress, the little bit of cheating on your taxes, all that comes handy, when the GCHQ wants to convince an MP how to vote. Oh, you want to cut our budget? Wouldn’t it be a pity, if the voters learned about that undeclared income from the lobbyists? You might have to step down. Of course, there is no need for that, if our budget isn’t cut.

In conclusion, not only have the MPs been lying to you for many years about surveillance. Also they think only the sheep should be fleeced. They of course are above that. They deserve better. You are plebs. They rule.

If it wasn’t so damn serious, one could turn it into comedy.

Stay sane,

Engine Room

What does it matter?

Dear Reader,

During my last trip again I had the great pleasure to meet and debate with youngsters. Somehow the discussion went to proper spelling and grammar. In the mid-90s a new kind of person appeared online. They insisted to use language properly. Since 1995 they are referred to often as Grammar Nazi. This is the logo for them:


People, who think grammar and spelling doesn’t matter, think of themselves in this fashion:

During the recent debate, one self-proclaimed Grammar-Nazi came up with a useful metaphor.

He asked the audience to imagine a person unwashed, maybe even smelling badly. If this person approached them, how would they react?

According to the Grammar Nazi, proper spelling and grammar is the online equivalent to washing in ‘meatspace’. If you do not bother to shower, you cannot expect people to treat you with full respect. Equally, if you do not bother with spelling and grammar, you cannot expect respectful replies online. Or any reply at all.

Maybe the comparison helps when training younger staff members, who are sometimes struggling to drop their online slang in work communication.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room