Dear Reader,

National pride is having a renaissance. In the US a shmock was elected president with the slogan “Make America great again”.  How much of a shmock is he? Well, just check, where the slogan came from here, it (quote)

is a campaign slogan used in American politics that originated with the Ronald Reagan campaign of 1980.

And the UK went bonkers and voted to leave the EU. The motivation there too can be summarized with national pride. How successful has national pride been for the UK? As an example check the history of “Made in Germany” here,

The label was originally introduced in Britain by the Merchandise Marks Act 1887, to mark foreign produce more obviously, as foreign manufactures had been falsely marking inferior goods with the marks of renowned British manufacturing companies and importing them into the United Kingdom. …

Germany successfully leveraged the Made in Germany tag as a brand synonymous of product reliability and quality.

Oh, that worked well. Just not for the UK.

So, who needs national pride and why? Someone a lot smarter than me, Arthur Schopenhauer answered these questions:

On the other hand, the cheapest form of pride is national pride; for the man affected therewith betrays a want of individual qualities of which he might be proud, since he would not otherwise resort to that which he shares with so many millions.

The man who possesses outstanding personal qualities will rather see most clearly the faults of his own nation, for he has them constantly before his eyes.

But every miserable fool, who has nothing in the world whereof he could be proud, resorts finally to being proud of the very nation to which he belongs. In this he finds compensation and is now ready and thankful to defend, … all the faults and follies peculiar to it.

From ‘Parerga and Paralipomena’, Vol. 1, Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life, ‘What A Man Represents’

National pride gives me shivers. It was one driving force behind both world wars.

Ask yourself, don’t you have anything better to be proud of?

I am certain, you do.

Stay sane,

Engine Room

Pikaja Rossa

Dear Reader,

Diablog is about the good things in life, and here is one more.

Since it is cold, winter, gets dark early, this is the best time for a great red wine, enjoyed at the fireplace.

If you have been following diablog a bit, you know I love Amarone. Amarone has grown in popularity, and the retail prices have gone up steadily. At the same time, the quality has gone down. Sometimes I wonder, how much Amarone is in those bottles offered by popular vineyards for $30+ a piece?

Last year a friend, suffering the same problem, found a treasure. On a trip to Italy he discovered a winery, producing a red wine “Amarone style”. Meaning, it isn’t an Amarone, but the grapes are matured the same way.

This is it, Pikaja Rossa:




And this is the website of the producer:

My friend bought 20 cases. That’s how good this is. And he paid 30% of what a normal Amarone costs at your local retailer.

The wine is heavy, 16.5% alcohol, and absolutely delicious. I love it.


Engine Room

Told you so

Dear Reader,

Nobody likes the headline, told you so. But on this occasion it is needed.

On diablog I have been advocating privacy for well over a decade. And I warned you on multiple occasions, that the data you hand out, will be used against you.

Here now is a report from  Slashdot here:

Admiral Charges Hotmail Users More For Car Insurance (

One of Britain’s biggest car insurers has admitted increasing premiums for drivers who apply using a Hotmail account. From a report:

Motorists seeking cover from Admiral could be charged $45 extra if they use certain email addresses. The insurer said some domain names were “associated with more accidents” than others, raising applicants’ risk profile. Figures from the Association of British Insurers to be published today show that the cost of car insurance has increased by more than a quarter over the past three years. Admiral said that hundreds of factors were used by underwriters in setting car insurance, with riskier motorists paying more. Issues included the age of a driver and their postcode.

Can you now please act? How much worse does it have to get?

This is a prime example of the stupidity of “big data”.

Stay sane,

Engine Room

almost sorted

Dear Reader,

We are getting there, almost all is sorted at diablog.

With the switch to SSL and encryption a lot of things needed changing at diablog. A huge thank you goes to the provider of our server. Without their help, we would have been lost.

One change involved a plugin we used, a piece of software called Subscribe2. It allowed you, dear Reader, to subscribe to diablog in an easy, automatic way. And receiving email notifications about new posts. Unfortunately, the software was abused for spamming. Thus, it is gone.

We turned our beloved commentators, Smiles

and the Inverness Druid

into real subscribers of diablog, with their own accounts.

They are sort of guinea pigs, pardon the wording. We shall see, if they receive updates and whether this can work for others in the future as well.

More changes to come next week,

stay tuned,

Engine Room


Dear Reader,

We are back, and https ready. Feel free to update your bookmark.

Yet, we are not fully functional, the design and layout got screwed up, various plug-ins not working, … etc.

We’ll get there.


happy new year

Dear Reader,

Happy new year and a healthy and prosperous 2018. May it turn out better than you hope.

While everyone was celebrating, I spent some time preparing Diablog for the future. Mainly, because as of this year some browsers show red warning messages, if you try to connect to a website without SSL encryption. If you navigate to a site with http instead of https, that is flagged as insecure. Think of it as http being communication via postcard, while https is a letter in a sealed envelope.

That of course makes perfect sense, if you are entering private data on a website. You should not trust a shopping site, or banking, an airline, etc. without SSL. But it makes less sense, if you are visiting a website for reading only, like Diablog. But, since many users are uninformed, and the red flag might scare them, and prevent visits, I decided to switch to https.

That requires getting a certificate. Those used to cost around £40. Thanks to letsencrypt one can get a certificate free of charge now. Thanks, guys!

What sounds easy and nice in theory, turned out to be a nightmare.

First, our server software needed an upgrade for letsencrypt. Upgrading destroyed the website. Going back required restoring the server from a backup, which can take hours. When eventually the upgrade was done and fixed, installing the certificate destroyed the website again. So we were back to square one, restoring from backup. After days and countless hours I was ready to throw in the towel.

As Glynsky hadn’t bothered to post much during 2017, I asked him by the end of December, whether it was worth the hustle. First he said no. And I prepared to scrap Then I got a break and managed to install the upgrade without destroying the website. Still, installing the certificate did. Then Glynsky said he would be sad to see it go. Just then we got the server upgraded, and the website website restored without losing the content. Then we got the certificated installed and managed to get the website back.

Now the only problem we are left with is, the https isn’t working yet. But I guess, we shall figure that out too. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, we can be glad the whole mess prevented us from having to listen to Glynsky’s usual xmas mayhem, aka what he calls Christmas songs. One has to be thankful for the small things, I guess.

So, I apologize for the inconvenience, best of luck for 2018,

Engine Room



untie the knot

Dear Reader,

After the Brexit referendum Glynsky and I debated a lot. We were equally surprised to learn, Glynsky was pro Brexit, and I was against. Not that I had a vote.

After a few arguments, which got quite heated, we agreed to disagree. The always wise Glynsky ended our debate with: “Nobody can predict the future.” I agreed, of course.

Ever since I have been following the news about Brexit. And with news I mean the facts, not the cacophony of opinions, wishes, dreaming, infighting, and inflated egos.

I watched the rising prices in the UK, the continuing losses of jobs, the 32% drop in M&A deals, the decline of real estate value, the downgrading of the UK credit rating by Moody’s. And Brexit hit close to home. Family members, working in the UK for international organizations, were told to look for other positions within their organizations, but outside the UK.

During our debates Glynsky said, the EU needs the UK as much as the UK needs the EU. When challenged, he referred to the EURO clearing and the bond market at London Stock Exchange, and the transatlantic cables to the US. He considered those “must haves” for the EU. That was roughly 15 months ago.

In the meantime the Deutsche Boerse in Frankfurt started offering lower commission on EURO clearing. And the EU started the process for a new law, requiring EURO clearing to happen within the EURO zone.

Plus, an insider told me, the German state of Hesse wants its own direct cable from NYC, across the Atlantic, through the rivers Rhine and Main, directly into Frankfurt.

I interpret these actions, more than anything else, that the EU is preparing for what is called a hard Brexit.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room