Is Data going the Oil way?

Dear Reader,

Two separate news reports reached me last week. And when connecting the dots, it lead me to the question in the headline.

Which is a reference to a quote from Mr. Getty, former owner of Getty Images, a stock photo company. When he used his inherited oil money to buy up rights to images worldwide, he said (source):

Intellectual property is the oil of the 21 century. Look at the richest men a hundred years ago; they all made their money extracting natural resources or moving them around. All today’s richest men have made their money out of intellectual property.

And almost as to proof his point, Bill Gates followed suit. He founded Corbis, which acquired images, and then licensed rights.

But last week it was announced, that the Corbis archive and others owned by Bill Gates are sold to Visual China Group. And Visual China Group cooperates with Getty Images. Which Mr. Getty has sold already years ago. So it seems, the rich people are getting out of that business. Why?

Maybe it has to do with the other news. Google Cultural Institute announced to have added thousands of images to its online library. Google is not only scanning the books of the world. Google is also making images available online. And so are others, often non-profit organizations. Google also knows better than anyone else, how many free (!) images are created and posted online every day. I wrote about that earlier on diablog.

With this vast source of free images, who needs to pay Getty or Corbis?

Maybe the copyright royalties are going the same way the oil price is going, which is down?

If you think I am wrong, would you let me know, please?

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

wonderful, how do they find the time to do it…

Dear diablog,

The more observant of you may well have noticed that I have not, this year, subjected you to the worst in music which has been my habit in recent years. This is mainly ‘cos I didn’t want to depress myself!!

It may well be that, despite this number being the biggest seller for years and dominant in 2015, the Druid wont like it BUT the reason for this post is not so much the tune but this absolutely brilliant marriage to a selection of clips old and new which must have taken someone ages.

You can but marvel at the artistry and level of research and sync.

Yours, diablog, singing along


Who is terrorizing us really?

Dear Reader,

During recent discussions with friends in Europe the terrorist acts in France came up all the time. And to some extent I understand. After 9/11 it took me a while to get over it. Sort of. But I think it is high time for some reasoning.

Gladly a German guy provides exactly what we need. Please have a look at the following graphic:


Quite impressive, isn’t it? Europe had real (!) terrorism during the 70s and 80s. And since then the numbers dropped dramatically. You are safer now than anytime during the 70s and 80s. But do you feel that way? If not, ask yourself: Why?

Because the ones terrorizing us, are our governments and the media. Both are profiting from the hysteria. The media get attention and can sell more ads.

And the governments think they can blow even more money on militarizing the police, starting wars, increasing surveillance, and what ever they fancy. Like sheep, people are united by an external threat. There is less infighting during an external attack. And as long as you are artificially (!) concerned about ‘terrorism’, you are distracted from government mistakes.

Please, don’t act like sheep.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

Old Media killing itself

Dear Reader,

A couple of times I wrote about how old media does not understand the internet. Here now comes another prime example.

The old media business is quite simple. They create or buy some content, today it is mostly bought from agencies, and since the content gets your attention, they put a ton of advertising around it. Whether you read a newspaper or magazine, listen to radio, watch TV, advertising is what you get. To add insult to injury, you the reader/listener/watcher pay twice. You pay attention, and you are charged for getting the media. You have to buy the paper/magazine, you pay for radio, and TV. Thus, media business were highly profitable.

Of course, old media wanted to transfer its highly profitable business model to the internet. Their website are plastered with ads. And since that wasn’t enough, they added tracking, selling your private data. And since greed knows no limit, old media wanted you to pay twice again, to watch ads. So they introduced their old fashioned subscription model. And put their content behind a paywall. But by then people had woken up, and those paywalls do not work. Especially, since you pay and still get tracked and bombarded with advertising.

On top, the internet has created alternative sources to get your news and your entertainment.

While advertising got more and more obnoxious and intrusive, as I wrote here, the internet started to fight back. Most tracking can be blocked, and intelligent internet users do so. And ads can be blocked as well. Around 50% of internet users do so. Firefox now comes with “private mode”, where trackers are blocked. And Apple is actively promoting the same thing, plus AdBlockers.

How does old media react to it? With lawsuits. I am not kidding. The big European media companies are suing providers of AdBlockers, claiming to have the right to force feed you ads.

In sheer desperation, one big media company started to block users, who use adblocker. That is fine with me. If you make ads mandatory, I leave. Your shit is not unique enough, that I turn off my adblocker. Especially, since ads are also a source of maleware.

Some people were unhappy though, and wrote code to circumvent the adblocker blocker. The game of whack a mole started. And again those people are being sued by media companies. It is hilarious.

While this fight is going on, I want to show you, what the media company achieved with its adblocker blocking.

One website was among the 250 most popular websites in the world in August/September 2015. Then they blocked users with adblockers. Now look how well that went:


Their users are running away in masses. And there is no end in sight. This is how you kill a business.

And this is how we win. Either we get the content without intrusive ads and without tracking. Or the old media business dies.

To quote from the brilliant science fiction book and bestseller Daemon:

Death to spammers

And while Dr. Alban sings ‘It’s my life’

we can sing, it’s our internet.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

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


maybe, just maybe, ER has a point…

Dear diablog,

I cannot believe how time flies by and how much of my time has been taken up in recent weeks rushing around all over the place.

Things are not likely to get any better for the next 10 days with visitors and business appointments filling even more time.

Maybe it is time to go on the run – and this is how (or maybe not!) to go about it!

I am sorry to alert you to this Channel 4 programme, The Hunted, so late in the day but if you have not been watching it – catch up, now!

I am not sure that I fully agree with this but one thing is clear – it is very good television and I am fascinated not so much by how and what the 14 do to evade ‘arrest’ but the odd bits of info, eg ‘there are more than 20,000 (yes that’s right) surveillance cameras on the London Tube…

Continue reading “maybe, just maybe, ER has a point…”