vive la difference…

Dear diablog,

That womanising scoundrel cousin of mine, Giovanni

began to rather feel left out of diablog recently due to all the serious stuff in which we have been involved of late – mostly at the instigation of Engine Room.
At the same time this most Italian of our contributors was beginning to feel distinctly nauseous at the constant references by Engine Room to the supposed ‘marvels’ and ‘superiority’ of life style in New York.
He asks, in a recent email, if that august grease monkey has any idea of the main differences between New York and Milan and sends us a reminder!
Fashion as seen in Milano –

Another win for Censorship – Twitter invites Censors

Dear Reader,

There is one issue certain to drive me up the wall: Censorship

From Reporters without Borders, here are two of many great examples how “Censorship tells the wrong story”:

I have written about censorship on diablog before.
Why do I bother you again?

Parallel to this site we publish our posts albeit shortened on Twitter. And twitter has became an important source of information.

But Twitter announced on its blog yesterday that:

“Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country”

Twitter does receive “take down notices”, they are published at

But I call the statement from Twitter an open invitation to more censorship. And Twitter could have taken a stand. Why? Continue reading “Another win for Censorship – Twitter invites Censors”

Good News for Beer Drinkers – Taste is Coming Back

Dear Reader,

For months now I owe you a post on diablog about beer. It is coming. Promised. Really. In the meantime, there’s excellent news from this years brewers meeting:

taste will make a comeback
In case you are wondering why, here is the explanation.
For the last 15 or so years, big brewing companies have been fighting for market share mostly in two ways:
1) buying up competitors
2) making their beer appeal to the broadest audience possible
The merger and acquisition spree lead to the creation of some huge beer companies like AB InBev and SAB Miller.
But making a beer appealing to everyone has a significant disadvantage.
Brewers had to reduce the unique taste elements of their beer. Over time many beer brands became virtually tasteless. Or in harsh words, they all became like American Budweiser, aka Bud.
And Bud is pretty much responsible for the old joke:
What does American Beer have in common with having sex in a canoo?
Both is fucking close to water.
It has gotten so bad, that in blind tastings even the brewers could not distinguish the beers anymore. They could not even find their own brew. 
How did they compete then, if not through taste?
With huge marketing campaigns. Spending big bucks on advertising, bottle design, packaging, sponsoring events and everything else in the repertoire of marketing. 
That – along with increasing distribution costs, which I will explain in a later post – cut into profits.
At the same time, some smaller brewers, old and new ones, focused on taste and slowly but steadily took away market share from the big breweries. Who now find themselves in a Catch-22: Rising costs and losing market share.
Thus, the idea to create a beer that appeals to everyone is dead.
Hooray, taste will make a come back.

Until then, enjoy local brews, and – if you are interested in internet start ups and beer – have a look at a fun new company: BuddyBeers.
But always be careful what private data you give away about your friends.

Engine Room

Home Sweet Home

My humbleist apology to all Diablog readers for my prolonged absence without leave.
Todays excuse involves moving house to the depths of the countryside and it has taken a week to get my e mail working.
I now live in an idyllic rural retreat which is only one mile from civilization by car, if the road outside isn’t flooded,which it has twice, since we moved in.

May the lord help us all if it gets icy as well, as I could be stuck here for weeks on end with nothing to eat but the local ducks who peck at the back door every morning until they are given their daily bread.
I have now met our local neighbour who spends most of his time shooting everything that moves and somethings that don’t.
I really must remember not to fall out with him.
I shall report back soon with further news of the local sheep shagging festival to be held this weekend.

Flooring – Don’t make the mistake Glynsky is making

Dear Reader,

Our industrial captain at diablog, Glynsky, is adding to his vast real estate portfolio. At least, so he said. And along he is making one of the biggest mistakes possible:

Wall-to-Wall Carpet
As someone, who lived in more places than I can remember, let me share a piece of advice based on experience.
That stuff is a nightmare. 
After a few months already, you will have visible tracks where people are walking and marks wherever any piece of furniture has been placed, even if only for a day or two. Forget about moving furniture. Unless you like those holes as additional design elements.
It is impossible to keep clean, forget about “stainless” and other marketing bullshit. It collects and keeps every piece of dust and dirt, not to mention whatever someone spills. If you don’t trust me, have a look what professional carpet cleaners get out of any carpet. 
Next, enjoy the smell. Like all textiles, wall-to-wall carpet is a great magnet and conserver of odor. That means, no pets for you.
Next problem, someone dropped a cigarette, or just blaze? Too bad, your flooring is ruined. 
With possible spilling and cigarette burns, wall-to-wall carpet means no party in your place. Enjoy the solitude.
But wait, you won’t be alone completely. Wall-to-Wall carpet is a brilliant habitat. Not for you, but for every critter, bug, bacteria and other unwanted subtenant you can think of.
And here comes the worst part.
After 3-5 years you can throw it out and replace it. Your carpet is finished. It looks shabby, is dirty beyond cleaning and you have to buy new flooring.
From a financial point of view, it is the worst you can do.
As they say: Buy cheap, buy often.
Invest wisely,
Engine Room

v12 miniature marvel…

Dear diablog,

There are times when one does things that one knows will not appeal to others. However, despite the anticipated whinges of ‘boring’ from Pete, Engine Room and Smiles (and I have to admit that model making is not one of my favourite passtimes) the following, for anyone interested in things mechanical, is amazing. Despite being a little long (just skip through if you prefer) you cannot fail to be stunned by the skills displayed by Patelo with every part hand made and probably the smallest working v12 in the world.

What is even more stunning is that it was sent to me by Christina  –

 – who seems to be really interested in uplift.

If you didn’t watch it all at least look for the moment when it fires up. Gasp!
The skill and dedication are extraordinary and I salute you.

Yours, diablog, exhausted