ER

Why Trump?

Dear Reader,

Too often I am asked “How did Trump happen?”.

Here is an answer by someone, way more intelligent than me:

This is Glen Greenwald interviewed in Brazil by a German journalist. He talks about Snowden, Trump vs Clinton and what is happening in Brazil right now.

Stay tuned,
Engine Room

Glynsky

quite outstanding…

Dear diablog,

I wonder if you have heard of the astounding work of an artist called Patrick Hughes?

I hadn’t and am grateful to the BBC for introducing his extraordinary techniques to G+P

This stuff is quite weird and takes some getting used to

but is unique and quite extraordinary.

Long live the creative spirit.

Yours, diablog, with an expanded culture

Glynsky

Glynsky

what a morning, but ER (and Windows 10) is overcome…

Dear diablog,

For ages I have been aware (and we were all given a red card by ER) that the dreaded ‘kin Windows 10 was looming.

Personally I am used to Microsoft – not necessarily a fan – but I don’t want right now to change to something that means I have to start learning all over again. Philippa, bless, has apparently succumbed to the ER pressure and uses a computer program that sounds like a lost African tribe. Enjoy.

However, last night without warning as I logged off I got the news flash – next time you switch on you will automatically be updated. Whether I wanted or not!!

Luckily I remembered that my sister found as quick way round it. Sure enough she gave me the number and, before connecting to the web, spoke to Alvin (who sounded just like one of the Chipmunks) who sorted me out, got rid of Windows 10 and its unwanted (or future) updates and, even better, told me that 7 should be ok to 2019. Eeeeehaaagh.

If you have the same problem try

03448002400

the Microsoft support line (UK) and all will be sorted.

Alvin, you are brill – thanx

Glynsky

ER

Beware of monopolies

Dear Reader,I have a very strong dislike for monopolies. They don’t work, except for the owner. Today’s point in case: youtube.

Yes, I know, there are other websites for video hosting, vimeo.com for instance. But youtube is in fact a monopoly.

Almost all publishers are hosting their videos on youtube. In our early days of diablog we used them too. Youtube is the first destination for people looking for videos. And Google. which owns youtube, throws all its weight behind it. Youtube links are always prominently displayed on Google search results.

And how does Google make money? Through advertising. So it comes to no surprise, that Google is tempted to abuse its near monopoly. And force you, to pay them through advertising. And they do.

How can one tell?

Yesterday I was looking for a video for this post. And youtube did not work. It was broken. I could not see any videos. The site did not display much at all. After trying a couple of things and spending more than an hour, eventually I found the root of the problem.

To prevent tracking, one can use an add-on called Ghostery. That disconnects from trackers. And currently Ghostery breaks Youtube. Or rather, youtube does not allow you to use its website, unless you allow youtube to track you. Which means, youtube requires, that you let them spy on you, and sell your data to advertisers. All the while claiming that their service is “free”. Remember when their slogan was “Don’t be evil”?

My dislike for Google as a near monopoly is growing every day. They have a near monopoly on searching the internet. And they have a near monopoly on videos. And contrary to popular believe, Google is abusing its monopoly.

A few days ago the story broke, that Google executives contacted the US State department offering to abuse their powers and secretly manipulate Syrian people. Do you want to be governed by Google?

Please, avoid Google, today’s recipient of our Idiot of The Day medal.

Google is neither your friend, nor is it neutral. In my humble opinion, Google needs to be broken up.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

ER

Media sites deliver herpes

Dear Reader,

The headline isn’t complete. It should continue with ‘or the online equivalent’.

So far I have criticized websites for their advertising at least twice on diablog, once here and once here. On both occasions I recommended you install an advertising blocker, for example ublock.

Now, there are people like Glynsky, who say “I don’t mind a little bit of advertising”. Fine.

And how do you feel about an internet ad infecting your PC with maleware?

As reported by TrendLabs here and MalewareBytes here some websites delivered maleware infected advertising to their visitors. That is the equivalent to giving you herpes. And which websites did this? Here is a list from MaleWareBytes (emphasis mine):

msn.com
nytimes.com
bbc.com
aol.com
my.xfinity.com
nfl.com
realtor.com
theweathernetwork.com
thehill.com
newsweek.com

Now I did not expect anything from MSN, short for MicroSoft Network. And AOL stinks since its founding.

But a special thanks goes to the BBC. Using taxpayer money, yet being greedy and showing ads on top. Because you can never get enough, can you? And those ads infect PCs with maleware. What a bunch of shmocks!

Please, install an adblocker. As in right now.

Stay sane,

Engine Room

ER

Open Science

Dear Reader,

The internet is supposed to make information available. Everywhere, to everybody, and at the lowest possible cost.

Naturally, there are people and companies, who and which used to profit handsomely from data not being free. Publishers of scientific data are among the greediest in that group. How does their outdated business work?

Scientists create the data and write about it. For free, because they have to. They do it for the reputation and for scientific debate. That is how they and their ideas advance. Other scientists then check the data and writings as part of what is called peer review. Again, they do that for free, because see above. And then comes some publisher, takes all the free stuff and charges everybody to read it.

Universities and labs have to subscribe to the magazines, paying big bucks. Researchers have to pay for individual articles usually up to US$30. And – of course – advertisers pay to put stuff in front of those eyeballs. Plus, never mind that most of the researchers and scientists are paid with government money, which is yours. If you want to read scientific articles, you have to open your wallet yet again.

Or at least you had to. Because here are two websites, where you can get the scientific publishing for free.

The first is Sci-Hub: https://sci-hub.io/

The other is Library Genesis: http://libgen.io/

People like Aaron Swartz fought for this. Open data, having the public – which paid for research – make the best use of it, this is the goal. And slowly but certainly we are getting there.

Flipping the bird to Elsevier in particular,

Engine Room

ER

HoC Season Four

Dear Reader,

Two years ago I recommended you watch House of Cards. Then, the second season was out, and both season one and two were very good.

Last year I did not say anything, because season three was a lot weaker. It was borderline boring, almost a waste of time.

This Friday, March 4th, Netflix released season four, and I am happy to say, it is as good as one and two. The 13 new episodes are entertaining and gripping. The authors went back to being current. There are great stories in various episodes. And the actors are back to their excellent work. Kevin Spacey shines brilliantly.

So, if you ave a few hours to kill, House of Cards is worth your valuable time.

In case you do not have netflix, or are a victim of its recent policy against proxies and VPNs, you can find links to videos on various websites.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room