Facts vs Feelings

Dear Reader,

It seems, some people have difficulties distinguishing between facts and feelings. Hint, feelings are as relevant and reliable as horoscopes and fortune cookies.

To help, here is an entertaining piece by John Oliver – a Brit – using American politics.

That should make it easier for self-absorbed Brits to swallow the medicine:

Stay amused,

Engine Room


just to clarify…

Dear diablog,

I first apologise for my protracted silence but this is due to too much pressure on the Glynsky brain –  which can only, now, process one piece of information at a time. I am doing my best to catch up but ‘stuff’ keeps getting in the way and I regret that diablog has suffered (??) my absence. I promise to do better next week!

Add to ‘stuff’ an interest in developments on  ‘Brexit’  – ever confusing to the ‘non aligned’ – things get ever more complicated for a simpleton like me.

One of our correspondents – I think Christina


is doing their best to help us all through the conundrum and has sent the following.

I hope it helps to shed light on this contorted subject.

All is clearer now,

Yours, diablog, voting with me feet



Intrusive online advertising

Dear Reader,

My disgust with online spying by the NSA / GCHQ is well documented here on diablog. And in a recent post here, I took a shot at online advertising, which by now is just as bad as the government spying. Casper wants to know more, so here it comes.

First let me say, I am not against advertising in general. Offline as well as online advertising serves its purpose. But online in particular, it has gone way too far. And I am not the only one saying so. There is a post by the IAB, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, admitting (quote, emphasis mine):

We messed up. As technologists, tasked with delivering content and services to users, we lost track of the user experience.

Twenty years ago we saw an explosion of websites, built by developers around the world, providing all forms of content. This was the beginning of an age of enlightenment, the intersection of content and technology. Many of us in the technical field felt compelled, and even empowered, to produce information as the distribution means for mass communication were no longer restricted by a high barrier to entry.

In 2000, the dark ages came when the dot-com bubble burst. We were told that our startups were gone or that our divisions sustained by corporate parent companies needed to be in the black. It was a wakeup call that led to a renaissance age.

But we messed up.Through our pursuit of further automation and maximization of margins during the industrial age of media technology, we built advertising technology to optimize publishers’ yield of marketing budgets that had eroded after the last recession. Looking back now, our scraping of dimes may have cost us dollars in consumer loyalty. The fast, scalable systems of targeting users with ever-heftier advertisements have slowed down the public internet and drained more than a few batteries. We were so clever and so good at it that we over-engineered the capabilities of the plumbing laid down by, well, ourselves. This steamrolled the users, depleted their devices, and tried their patience.

Whenever you visit a website like The New York Times, or The Guardian, you are bombarded with ads. And not just banner ads, there are various horrendous interruptions. Lay-overs, flash videos on auto-play, and many many more.

See, those publishers are too lazy or stupid to place the ads on their websites themselves. They leave it to 3rd parties. And there is neither editorial oversight, nor any technical oversight what goes on their website. Which in the worst case leads to ads infecting visitors with maleware. The normal case is, that up to 80% of the data traffic from websites is advertising. Think about that for a moment. 80% of the data you download, and for which you pay, is junk you never wanted in the first place.

Of course, revenues from ads are not enough for greedy bastards. On top of you being pestered with ads, you are tracked. The publishers sell your data. The Guardian for example has about a dozen (!) companies tracking you. Again, there is zero oversight, what is collected and how. And to whom your data is sold afterwards. You think, selling your data isn’t a business? Then read this article:

So, what can you do?

Continue reading



Dear Reader,

Just off a nightshift reading code, and with Pete still being on his leave of absence, it is my job at diablog to moan and complain about things. Well, not about things in general, more about Glynsky.

If there ever was a lazy person, it is Glynsky. Prime example, his last post, where he writes (quote):

Damned if I can figure out what the lyrics are saying I should do, but heck, …


That’s the best you can do? Then please click the link below:

Needless to say, I highly recommend you do not use Google. Instead you should use DuckDuckGo, or Ixquick, or Swisscows. Anything is better than Google, Bing, Yahoo and other spying search engines.

And in case you want the lyrics, here you’ll find them

Stay tuned,

Engine Room


A bridge for sale

Dear Reader,

In a recent conversation with our beloved commentator Phillipa



we got back to the issue of Windows 10 and why you should say No to it.

During that conversation I compared your computer to a piece of land, and the operating system to a house.

Imagine you buy a piece of land and a builder has put a house on it already.

After you paid and moved in, you discover that the builder kept keys to the house. He can come into your house anytime. And he does so daily!

He put in a surveillance system and checks and records what you, your family and anyone visiting are doing. He claims it will make your house safer and will help him improve the house. What is an improvement and what is not, is entirely up to him. He calls that updates. They are mandatory and you have no say in it.

He also claims, that he can fix problems in the house that way. Never mind that he is liable for any problem in the house anyway. He built the bloody thing, didn’t he? His checking leads to him removing anything from the house, that he thinks you don’t need. Or should not have. He also puts in things, he believes you have to have. Sorry, he took your entertainment system. You don’t need that, according to him. A radio will have to do. Your movie selection? He claims it is illegal and took it away.

The builder also reads all your mail, incoming and outgoing. He records all telephone conversations you have. He also bugged your car and keeps track of where you are driving. Oh, and he put a tracking bracelet around your ankle, and everyone in your family. He checks your fridge, freezer, cupboards, and closets  for what you buy and consume. He then sends you mail with what he calls “better offers”.

Since the builder reads all your communication, he knows your bank details, your accounts, the balance, whom you pay, who pays you, everything. He is also familiar with anything health related, your conversation with your doctor, the pharmacist, everyone.

All this “information” gathered about you, the builder is selling to other people. Anyone paying him, learns everything about you. And fills your mailbox with even more “better offers”.

And the best part, he preserved himself the right, to use and rent out any of your rooms, if he wants to. So whenever the builder feels like it, you have a lodger. The lodger uses your whole house. Tough luck, if you want to use it. The lodger, of course, isn’t paying you.


And one last thing, just because Microsoft calls Windows 10 a free upgrade, it is neither free nor free of charge. You bought your computer and Windows with it. You paid for it. And never have you been less free, than with Windows 10.

If you still think this is OK, and one should install Windows 10, then I have a bridge to sell.

Stay sane,

Engine Room


what freedom?…

Dear diablog,

Recently the Invernessdruid referred to ‘free speech’. The main diablog rules laid down by Engine Room when we ‘opened’ 4 (good lord, already 4) years ago were ‘no religion, politics or sex’. Broadly we all agree but sometimes….

I have been meaning for ages to post a snippet received from Erika


quite some time ago but which says a great deal about modern society.

I think we should post it every Monday morning as a ‘thought for the week’.


I believe that the original referred mainly to religion, but in 2015 add: race, colour, sexual orientation and just about anything else that is oppressed by ‘political correctness’.

I am truly disturbed that there are things and, apparently personal views, about which I can’t talk about openly. On discussing this with an extremely left orientated friend I was told that to ‘express controversial/non mainstream personal views in public is very dangerous as ‘the ‘uneducated’ might believe it to be true and act upon it!’ – what?? How condescending and arrogant is that! I am the only one who knows what is good for you. Purleeeez. Exercise tact and care not to offend yes, but shut up completely?

I have always believed in free speech and by this means can identify who/what you think/believe.It also allows me to identify who you are and what I should be careful of when expounding my views to you. The mob rule by Twitter and the like is awful. The lynch mob even worse. I know that ER disagrees with me on this but circumstance I think proves him wrong.

As I, the normally affable, really wonder what (and who created) modern society and its views I need to learn more. To this end I shall certainly be acquiring and reading this as soon as possible – an interesting, it would seem, reversal by a supposed revolutionary.

Here’s hoping things improve.

Yours, diablog, in education