Thursday, December 13, 2012

Good job, YouTube.

Well, Google has once again amazed us by how accurate it is while pointing a gun to its own foot, and shot themselves once more with the stupid redesign on the YouTube layout.
This time it goes beyond changing the graphics, which they did, to match their inorganic, minimalist, sterile layouts of Google+ and the rest of their products (It looks like that from in here, as I type in Blogger, another product under the Google wing).
This time they seriously fucked with the functionality of the website. First of all, your home page is not your customized experience you were used to until now. Now, Google will FORCE you to check out a list of videos their amazingly stupid algorithm has picked for you, which often includes videos you have already watched (check image below).

Holy shit, you recommend something I already watched? You must be a mind reader!!

I used to have my homepage as the latest videos uploaded by my subscribed channels, hiding all other activity such as comments and likes. Now, to get to that page, you have to click in several places, and it will not remember your preference for the next time.
If you would like to go directly to your subscriptions, I recommend you change your current bookmark from going to to

Lastly a message for Google, which I'm sure they'll never see, but I gotta get it off my chest...


The only reason why flocks of people are not leaving YouTube already is because the content creators are still attracted by Google's ad revenue network, which is one of a kind right now in the websphere. With nobody to compete with realistically, YouTube is getting sloppier and overall, worse. What a damn shame.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The conundrum of finding a job

How is one to get their first job when employers act like this?
Well I tell you how. You gotta know someone who knows someone who will get you in. Corruption at its finest.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Carbage in, carbage out

Grab a car, grab your tools, ignore all common sense and bang bang till you think it looks cool.

That's how most carbage comes to be. For the owner, it's the greatest thing that ever rolled on a road. For the rest of us, we don't know if we should laugh or cry.

Here are a few examples of cars butchered and murdered by their $&%@# owners.

Well hello there, I heard you like big suspensions...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Problems aren't solved in Facebook

I'm pretty sick and tired of people who try to show political activism or try to be pseudo ecologists by sharing stupid images or infographics in Facebook.
Newsflash, idiots:

and you would probably still share it. Without double checking any facts.

In what I can recall, he already posted images suggesting:
  • there is a water-powered car (total bullshit) which is being kept secret as a conspiracy by big oil companies, cos obviously that would leave them bankrupt... doesn't matter this car concept violates the laws of physics, it must be hidden somewhere, we need to recover it!!1
  • boycott a million number of brands, most of which he probably uses and wears, because they're using harmful processes and/or exploiting children and/or making baby seals cry
  • suggested that microwaved water is somehow harmful to plants, showing a bogus "highschool experiment" that has been known to be a damn lie for years.
  • everything about modern society is wrong and the native americans knew best, we should all go back to "those good times"... and ignore the fact they died at 40 and were a bunch of bloody fucks who would have no problem sacrificing humans among other things.
  • we should leave everything we are doing every day and dedicate ourselves to being in constant protest and riots; when the police comes to put us in our place, make sure to snap a picture and send it to Facebook!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Boson discovery announced by CERN

Today CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) announced that after 3 years of research using the brand new Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, they have gathered enough data to recognize a new sub-atomic particle. This discovery has been made in the frame of the search for the elusive Higgs Boson, a particle that has been predicted theoretically, but never observed, as an essential part of the most widely accepted model for quantum mechanics, the Standard Model.

There are currently two independent teams working at the collider with this goal in mind, and combined data results show that a previously unknown particle has been definitely observed, and it is with certainty a boson. However, in the press conference this morning, scientists and project leaders have made it clear that while it was a boson, they could not yet confirm it was the boson.

Much more analysis of the data will be needed for this, however the news has been well received by the science community, and the general consensus is that, while it will take a little more confirmation, this is probably it.

Whichever the end result is, whether it's the Higgs boson or a completely new boson, it is certainly a historic day and it will unlock new paths for quantum physics.

A Q and A followed the press conference as usual and some pertinent questions were answered. The team was very careful to let know that this was not the definite answer to whether or not the Higgs boson exists yet, and that the Standard Model was incomplete and this is just another piece of the puzzle.
Some other journalists in the room seemed more interested in when will the particle be confirmed, why are we putting so much budget into research in a time of crisis, and other irrelevant questions.

The fact of the matter is, after much hard work with the aid of an superb machine, scientists once again delve deeper into the makings of the universe around us, taking us closer maybe to the ultimate question of what is everything made of and where did it come from?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blow up Chevies

Thinking of buying a brand new Chevy Cruze? It sounds like a good deal. A well sized car with enough room and a good price tag. Not horrible looking, either.

But wait... there might be a problem. GM is recalling around 475,000 cars because they might have the slight problem of catching on fire and exploding.

"Our engineers have found about 30 fires in total, most of them are related to oil or improper parts"

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Transit of Venus

"Once in a lifetime opportunity" is often an over used sentence, but it really applies to what's going to happen this June 6th: the planet Venus will appear to move across the Sun from our perspective. Call it a "Venus Eclipse" if you will, with the difference to normal eclipses being that the planet is too far from us to appear to block out the Sun.
Instead, we will be able to observe its small disk crossing in front of our bright star. 

The orbits of the Earth and Venus make this a rare event. It happens in a regular pattern, with two transits taking place within 8 years of each other, and then long gaps of either 121.5 or 105.5 years. The last one was in the 8th of June of 2004, and almost 8 exact years to the date we have the next one. If you miss this chance, you will have to wait until December of 2117, which might cause an inconvenience.

Where to see it?

Well look at this map and check if you will be able to observe it from your location. 

Make sure you know what you're doing if trying to view the Sun through any magnification device!

Are you in the shadow zone of the map like I am? Well, we will have to settle for broadcasts. Many TV channels will certainly take an interest in such a rare piece of news, but if you're like me, you'll wanna follow this online. NASA will be covering the event in full, as well as many people streaming from their telescopes, for example, one of my favorite YouTube scientists, Thunderf00t.

Whatever you do to follow this, and you should, enjoy yourself and remember all the details.
Later in life, you will be able to say "I saw the Venus Transit of '12! Oh yeah I was there...!"

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Solar eclipse tomorrow

Get your sun watching eyeglasses out. If you live in either East Asia (particularly southern Japan) or western North America you will get to see an annular solar eclipse.

The Moon's shadow will streak across the Pacific mostly, as our natural satellite will be positioned between the Earth and the Sun. People located in East Asia will see the phenomena the morning of the 21st of May, while those located in Western America will see it at the late hours of the 20th, right before sunset. Those in the penumbra will be able to see a partial eclipse.

However, the moon is currently close to it's apogee (when it's furthest to the earth), so its apparent size is not enough to cover the Sun's disk. The result is what looks like a bright ring on the sky, hence the name 'annular eclipse' (from the latin annulus, meaning little ring).

Although the Moon will cover some of the sun's brightness, it is not safe to look at it with naked eyes. It is advisable to get some purpose made glasses or filters, in case of observation with binoculars or a telescope.

This eclipse is a part of a series which has been going on since the year 984, every 18 years and 11 days, called Saros 128. Goes to show how much of a clockwork our solar system can be. The series has 73 events and will end in November of 2282.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Earth from Space in 121 megapixels

From Russia with love, we have this spectacular images of the earth taken from a geo-stationary satellite called Elektro-L No.1, orbiting above the Indian ocean.

With a camera that combines three visible and one infrared wavelengths in one shot, we get this 121 megapixel single shot of the planet, the best resolution yet for a single image. We also get some weird, warped colors because of this: the vegetation looks reddish instead of green. Don't worry, the trees are still there.

More high resolution images at Planet Earth

Friday, May 4, 2012

Recovering a failed hard drive. Part II, the solution

Getting SpinRite to start working is really easy. With the burnt CD inside the CD drive, all one has to do is turn the computer on, with the intended hard drive to recover connected, and wait some time. A welcome screen with clear options tells you what you need to press for which operations, and off you go.

SpinRite has different “levels” of operation, for different functions. The default and recommended level is level 2, which will scan the contents of the disk and attempt to recover whichever sectors are damaged or unreadable. I chose this option and let it go. At first, the scan seemed to go quite fast. Obviously the scanned parts were healthy and were duly being skipped. After about 12 hours of operation, the screen was telling me it was 2.89% done, trying to repair the first bad sector… at which point I understood it was going to take a while, lost interest, and turned the screen off. I let it work for around 12 hours before I checked on it again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

25th of April, the Carnation revolution

The word “Revolution” beckons thoughts of bloodshed, popular uprising, violence, and the ultimate need for change.

A peaceful and bloodless revolution is sometimes considered an ideal, albeit unreachable, possibility. It was 38 years ago in Portugal that it became a reality.

The story starts in early XX Century when the old ways of monarchy were abandoned in favor of a republic. A coup d’état saw this end not much longer, and Portugal joined many other European nations in the ways of dictatorship and fascism. It was called the “New State” and it imposed itself using the usual fascist weapons of censorship, military enforced strict laws, a secret police dealing with “undesirables”, and rigged elections.  As a part of NATO this regime was only tolerated because it was opposed to communism (as most other dictatorships at the time, in Germany and Italy for example).  The strict control over economy and expenditure meant at first the country was growing and benefiting from the creation of companies and conglomerates, as well as by the imports of the overseas colonies, like Angola and Mozambique. There had always been a good relationship between the ‘mainland’ and the colonies.  However by the 60s, both blocks of the cold war wanted to gain favor within these territories. Guerrillas funded by the US and Russia started battling local control with the colonists, which started wars in almost all the territories, stretching Portugal’s military thin and demanded an increase on the budget. Conscription for these wars forced many young men to flee the country. In later stages, a plan was to be introduced where conscripted officers would attain the same rank as those who formed in a proper military academy, after some service overseas. This pissed off the high rank of the military, which in a military dictatorship, was not good news to the regime.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Recovering a failed hard drive. Part I, the problem.

Two weeks ago I was going through old computer parts I stored in a box when I came across 6 defunct hard drives. What I mean by defunct is that the data inside them is not accessible any more for a bunch of different reasons. Data loss is one of the nightmares of any computer user, and all hard drives will eventually fail: it's not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN. Since I've had personal computers for more than ten years, it only makes sense that I have a fair collection of failed hard drives.

The problem

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2012 Sports cars

Around this time last year I made a round up of the up and coming supercars for the year. These are the ones I could find which are either going into production or expected for the rest of this year. Enjoy the sexiness.

Toyota GT - 86

After a lot of back and forward with the possible specs of this car, a couple of concepts, it was finally confirmed and released. It will boast around 200 horse power from it's 2 liter four cylinder engine which will certainly carry the slim car around well. It is meant to be a driver's car, fun to throw into the corners, light and agile, rear wheel driven. Technically more like a sports car rather than a supercar, but let's start slow.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Thrown into the public knowledge by the Transformers movies, the new Camaro will see a more sporty variant with this version named after the 1969 car which was fitted with the all-alluminium ZL1 engine. This car shares the powerplant with the very good Cadillac CTS-V. By fittin magnetorheological shock absorvers the makers are saying they care about handling and not only sheer power as it's often the case with american muscle cars.

McLaren MP4-12C GT3

I never really covered the MP4-12C, made by british racing team McLaren, famous for their Formula 1 exploits and success. This version is not really a super car for the road, but the GT3 version, for professional motor racing. It will encounter its arch enemies, the Ferrari 458 and the 911 GT3 RS in the championships around the world. We'll see how it fares.

Porsche 911 (991)

Yet another version of the longest running family of super cars, this new 911 takes a small step forward while going back at the same time. What I mean is the design looks different than the previous generation, and in turn, it looks a little like the earlier 911 designs. The headlights are round, for example. The performance is enhanced a little bit, however the electro-mechanical power steering has been reported to "remove" some of the excellent steering feeling the 911 is known for.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage Zagato

"The V12 Zagato is the pinnacle of the Vantage range", claimed the official press release from Aston Martin when they showed the world the car designed by Zagato based on their V12 Vantage. Certainly a looker, there will be 150 made, making this car extremely rare and equally desirable. It will become a 'classic' many years from now, for sure; "a celebration of both Aston Martin's heritage and future".

Lamborghini Aventador J

After a year drooling over the regular Aventador, Lamborghini decided it wanted more drooling people so they released these concepts of the convertible version of it, and my, does it look stunning. That helmet should come with the car, and if you get it in black, you can pretend you're Batman.


This car is here because of the rocketship that will have for its engine, like it's four door brother the M5. A five hundred and sixty, twin turbo, BMW engine. Being another product from the M line, it will be beautifully engineered with German precision. From zero to a hundred in around 4.2 seconds, I consider this a supercar. While it might look tamer than the traditionally flamboyant supercars, never judge a book by its cover.

Well, that's it for now, other cars not included here, I'll talk about them in future posts. I hope I'm not the only one wondering, why are all of these release photos either red or maroon? I had to dig some to find other colors to put in here. Damn.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tribute to Ferdinand Alexander Porsche

When someone thinks of fast cars and iconic designs, it's impossible not to think Porsche 911. German engineering with a twist, an unmistakable shape, and blistering performance.
The guy who designed this car was the grandson of none other than Ferdinand Porsche himself, who started the company and is famous for his tank designs and the Volkswagen Beetle. The 911 was meant to be the new flagship model for the company and boy did it become so. Arguably the most successful sports car ever, with many iterations but maintaining the original design. Introduced in 1963, to this day it is impossible to mistake it's shape with any other cars (save other Porsches which borrow a little from it), and it would be rare to find a high performance touring race without one of these rolling around.

So I wanna leave my respects to Ferdinand Alexander Porsche for designing one of the icons of the 20th century. He passed away thursday and we should all know who he was.

(photos include a Porsche 904, which was also designed by him)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lack of posts

I have been diagnosed with clinical lazyness and that's why I haven't been submitting any posts as of lately.

The case is being handled by Doctor Nick. I hope this medication he prescribed me helps.

I'll be back soon with more interesting stuff. Unless these pills don't work.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

iPad 3... too hot, too cold? Revolutionary, dull?

Reports are coming in that the new Apple tablet, the iPad 3, is getting too hot for comfort, literally. It can run 7º C hotter than its predecessor, the iPad 2, and is causing concerns among experts.

The simple fact is that the iPad 3 packs quite some punch compared to the previous one, thanks to a new faster quad-core processor and graphic unit, as well as a bigger capacity battery and a much more higher resolution display, dubbed the "retina display", boasting 'as much resolution as a human eye is capable of seeing', a claim contested by some.
All of this packed in about the same case, albeit a tiny bit thicker, means the device can run a little hotter, which concerns some people who claim it could cause "toasted skin syndrome", a skin condition normally attributed to using a hot laptop on one's legs, leading to lesions, and to low sperm counts on males.

This is only minor news though compared to the disappointment Apple fans felt when it was introduced. The device looked exactly like the iPad 2, and nothing like the edge-to-edge, 3D, revolutionary display everyone was expecting. Quite the contrary, many have dubbed this 3rd generation 'the least innovative of the iPads'.
Others on the other hand are declaring the iPad 3 is the "PC Killer". This is, that it's going to be the first device that will mark the beginning of the end for big, bulky personal desktop (and maybe even laptop) computers.
I don't see that happening but people are free to speculate. In the mean time, I will be using my very good Samsung Laptop which doesn't burn my crotch.
Artist concept of what the community expected the iPad 3 to look like...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How to access iPhone location data

After last post where I mentioned iPhones and Androids stored some location information, some people asked me how could they check theirs.
The truth is I don't have a smartphone, neither do I plan to get one since my old trusted Sony Ericsson keeps working perfectly after 4 years. The other truth is I know exactly who can help you.
MyPhoneTracker in action

This easy to use software is located at the very excellent source for Apple news, applications and other goodies, Mac-and-I .  As well as MyPhoneTracker you will find all kinds of tips and tricks, recommended programs for your Mac, games, etc.. Check it out and leave him a thanks for his work on this free and open source app!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The struggle to keep online privacy

As social networks and smartphones advance, it seems that privacy recedes into an ever shrinking pocket of the online experience. While ten years ago it was hard to find out someone's email address and with that perhaps his username at a certain forum, today a dedicated stalker can get all kinds of information about someone with very little effort.

Google is in the headlines because as of past thursday their new privacy policies kicked in, which in a nut shell claim to be aimed at offering a better experience to the user by suggesting relevant ads and interesting videos, for example, based in their searches, visited websites, etc. While one could see the advantage of this, many question what would happen if this sort of information fell in the wrong hands. Others ask why is there no way to opt-out of this tracking, which is active whenever someone's logged into any of the many services Google offers, including Gmail, YouTube and Google+. The reality is that this sort of data has always been collected and used to show advertisements (how else would a company who spends millions in infrastructure and offers mostly free services to the public make money?), and the only change is that instead of having around 60 privacy policies for each of their services, they have a unified one to better understand their target audiences and market their ads better. If you're concerned about what's being gathered, click on this link and find out, by accessing the Google dashboard.

Tracking data from an iPhone
Apple is also on the radar since there seem to be some apps that can access users' photos with the excuse of looking at "location information" in these files. With smartphones not only storing important information about contacts but also about GPS generated locations, this could be a little more dangerous than simple advertising. A deceivingly harmless looking application could be transmitting user location data to someone or something, and that's worrying. Of course the only thing Apple can do is ask app developers to add a privacy policy of sorts so users have to agree to it before using the software, but that doesn't quite work since almost nobody takes the time to read them.

Whatever these two giants will do to counter the accusations, only one thing is clear: as our lives get more and more digital, our privacy disappears slowly but steadily.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Or like Jeremy Clarkson will probably describe it whenever he reviews it: The most powerful production Ferrari ... in the world!

When the ruling word over car engineering is "eco", it is weird to see an announcement for a brand new V12 engine, the most powerful Ferrari engine ever. Weird and exciting for petrolheads all over the world. Yesterday it was at last unveiled, not only the engine, but also the car that will benefit from it's extreme performance.
Here it is, and it's a gem.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Globe at Night project

Light pollution is defined simply by the glow of artificial lights that get scattered at night and block the natural light of stars and other celestial objects, blocking our views of the sky. It seems that recent studies show that it also can have serious health implications. In a nutshell, our bodies are "fooled" into thinking it's still day light and the production of melatonin - a hormone that regulates our awake/sleep cycles - and this can have an influence on bad sleep patterns, but more dangerously, low melatonin is linked with a higher risk of breast cancer.

“Light at night is now clearly a risk factor for breast cancer. (...) Breast tumors are awake during the day, and melatonin puts them to sleep at night.”
David Blask, researcher at the Cooperstown, New York-based Mary Imogene Bassett Research Institute.

To reduce the risks specialists recommend a good night of sleep with all light sources blocked, both from outside and inside. This means shades closed, TVs and monitors off, lamps, and everything else that's lit enough to be a substitute for daylight. 

The light bill for all of this night town lights is huge. Estimates show 1.5 billion dollars of wasted energy worldwide and more than 10 million tons of carbon dioxide produced. In a world running mostly on oil and looking for alternative energy sources, this is completely unacceptable. 

The Globe at Night project is a project that aims at measuring light pollution all over the planet, and it relies on common people to input their observations. It's as simple as going out for some minutes at night and looking for the Orion constellation, and comparing your observations to the examples given in the website to measure which magnitude stars can be seen from your location. Head over to their website and give your contribution.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Apple and Samsung at it again

Shortly after losing a case in the German courts, Apple, creator of the very famous and loved by the masses iPod, iPhone and iPad, is at it again, suing Samsung for 'copying' their products. All in all, these two electronic giants are engaged in 30 patent infringement battles in 10 countries, and honestly I think it's becoming kind of pathetic.

We were the first! Oh wait no we weren't.
Basically Apple is sad because their iPhone and iPad design was "copied" by other companies, never mind the fact that touch-screens have been around for decades and present in smart phones even from the day when there were no color screens, or that commercial lithium ion batteries were developed by Sony in 1991, and all other technologies behind the iPhone were not Apple's idea; putting them together, however, it was, and that is commendable and gave them unprecedented success. But you can't sit on your laurels forever. Other companies are bound to catch up and copy your ideas, eventually even improving them somehow, which is what all other phone companies are trying to do in order to remain competitive which is what companies are all about.
This has a Samsung processor... Awkwaaard

My point is: crying over this is just hypocritical and wrong. Almost none of the products Apple offers were originally their ideas, but ideas borrowed from others and improved into something people like.

The bottom line is that Samsung's devices are outselling Apple's. Instead of trying to improve their products in some way that will give them an edge, they are spending millions in courthouse bullying. Since Samsung holds some patents of their own, it's throwing some punches back.

In the end it's all about who manages to convince people who don't need these gadgets to lay down the better part of a thousand dollars to get one, just to be cool.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Windows 8 is coming

Microsoft announced they will make publicly available a preview version of their newest Operating System. While a developer version was released last september, this one is aimed at the common user, albeit with the tag of "trial", which means some features might not be available.

The software giant will announce the release february 29 in Barcelona, during the World Mobile Congress, aiming their new OS towards the mobile market, both phones and tablets.

Many people have tried this already and both screenshots and videos are readily available, showing a radical departure from the traditional layout first introduced in Windows 95, almost two decades ago.

Some sources state that the most noticeable change will be the removal of the ever present Start menu, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was an optional choice; many people like the way it works and are comfortable with what's familiar, so completely removing it would mean shooting oneself in the foot. Microsoft isn't famous for taking such high risks.

So will it suit computers, since it was designed for tablets? We'll have to wait for the 29th and try it ourselves.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tech news

It's been a busy week in the technology world. Here's a quick round up of the main articles:

The Pirate Bay founders refused appeal

The founders of the popular torrent hosting and tracker The Pirate Bay were denied an appeal by the Swedish Supreme court, thus making their previous sentences final. Guilty of "assisting in making copyright content available", Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde are sentenced to one year and in jail and to pay around 3 million euros all together as reparations.
From Sunde's blog:

"From having the minister of justice pressured by the US to illegally make a case of TPB, through the police officer responsible for the investigation (Jim Keyzer) 'just happened' to get a job at Warner Brothers the weeks before I myself got promoted from a witness to a suspect to the judges in the court cases being either board members, or in one case the actual chairman of the board, for the Swedish pro-copyright society, it was clear to us that the supreme court – where many of the judges make a lot of money on their own copyrights – would be hard to persuade to take the case." 

The site moved to the domain , but taking the recent event with Megaupload, it is quite possible that their site will be taken down by the US justice department, despite SOPA and PIPA not passing. It would seem they never needed those laws in the first place to blatantly censor the internet; they were just an mirage.

Apple's appeal to ban Samsung products in Germany fails

An appeal to ban Samsung smartphones and tablets was rejected by the Munich Regional Court. Apple Inc. claimed these devices to be in violation of their patents on who knows what. At the end, the final verdict was "Apple should go eat some oranges, this is just a case of sour grapes."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gadget of the Year, 2011

If there's something that's proliferating like cockroaches it's handheld gadgets, otherwise known as "smartphones", but I refuse to call them that until I see them doing something smart.

The winner for me this past year was:

Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung seems to have found a good formula for making these gadgets, since many specialty sites considered the second iteration of the Galaxy series to be superior to many other Android based phones, and even superior to the grandaddy of them all, the iPhone.

I got to have one of these in my hands not long ago and played with it a little bit, and it was pretty good. This however hasn't changed my opinion that people who don't need most of the features (and certainly being in Facebook 24/7 is not something anyone really needs) shouldn't spend a small fortune on one of these things.

 Originally, the S II was shipped with Gingerbread Android and now it's upgradeable to the Ice Cream Sandwich version, keeping it up to date, until the S III is launched (to be announced in February this year).

The honorable mention goes to the iPhone and it's wonderful auto-correct feature, which gives us laughter every day.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Where's Megaupload?

So as many of you know, the sharing site Megaupload was forcefully closed by the U.S. Justice Department yesterday after an investigation into alleged copyright infringement. It's founders were detained in New Zealand and will be shipped to the US where they will await trial.

The reasons for this raid are simply ridiculous, far fetched and unjustified; at points, it's borderline crazy or paranoid. It's just corporate America wanting to limit the sharing freedom of the people: Megaupload was previously targeted by large corporate copyright sharks such as Universal Music Group.

The legal document released is full of complete garbage that doesn't justify such drastic action. Read the whole thing here, if you wanna subject your brain to injury. If you don't, I did it already... read some excerpts below and what I think of them.

Calling the owners of Megaupload "The Mega Conspiracy", a worldwide criminal organization whose mombers engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale, with estimated harm to copyright holders well in excess of $500,000,00"

Well we're off to a good start. Let the paranoia begin! A file hosting service is not such thing, not even a conspiracy. It's the Mega Conspiracy against those honest hard working copyright holders that are losing so much money because of the Internet, it's intolerable and has to end ! </sarcasm> is a commercial website and service operated by the Mega Conspiracy that reproduces and distributes copies of popular copyrighted content over the Internet without authorization. 

No, it's a site where anyone can upload anything at any time and where as there are files which are intellectual property of some, it doesn't mean the primary goal of the site was to host illegal files. was at one point in its history estimated to be the 13th most frequently website on the entire Internet. The site claims to have had more than one billion visitors in its history more than 180,000,000 registered users to date (...).

So being successful is a crime?'s income comes primarily from two sources: premium subscriptions and online advertising.

Like many websites nowadays.

In exchange for payment, the Mega Conspiracy provides the fast reproduction and distribution of infringing copies of copyrighted works from its computer servers located around the world.

No, that's nowhere on the site and are bogus conclusions of what someone CAN do with a megaupload membership, not what they were designed for. 

Subscription fees collected during the existance of the Mega Conspiracy from premium users are estimated to be more than $150 million. 

Good for them...?

Any internet user who goes to the website can upload a computer file. Once that user has selected a file on their computer and clicks the "upload" button, reproduces the file on at least one computer server it controls and provides the uploading user with a unique Uniform Resource Locator ("URL") link that allows anyone with the link to download the file.

Thank you for explaining how someone can host ANY file in megaupload, not only copyrighted material.

For example, a link distributed on December 3, 2006, by defendant DOTCOM links to a musical recording by US recording artist "50 Cent." A single click on the link accesses a download page that allows any internet user to download a copy of the file from a computer server that is controlled by the Mega Conspiracy.

A link from 2006? Damn, these guys talk like most of the content in is copyrighted material, and all they could find is a 50 Cent mp3 from 5 years ago? 
It must have been a huge deal though. That poor guy must be living on the streets because megaupload deprived him of so many dollars. The poor fella. advertises itself as a "cyberlocker", which is a private data storage provider. However, as part of the design of the service, the vast majority of users do not have significant capabilities to store private content long-term. Unregistered users (referred to as "non-members" by the Conspiracy) are allowed to upload and download content files, but any Non-member-uploaded content that is not downloaded within 21 days is permanently deleted. 

Surely deleting old unused files can't be because hosting files costs them money. Oh no, it's a conspiracy. 
Yes, if you want your files to permanently occupy space on a server rented and paid for by, you must pay some cash to help with the bill. Is this proof of criminal activity or just something that makes sense?

Once a user clicks on a link, the user is generally brought to a download page for the file. The download page contains online advertisements provided by the Conspiracy, which means that every download on provides a financial gain to the Conspiracy that is direcltly tied to the download. The more popular the content, such as copies of well-known copyrighted works, the more users that find their way to a download page; the access of these additional users, in turn, makes the Mega Conspiracy more money. 

Another good idea they didn't have which they wish they did, probably. To pay for the costs of freely-hosted files, those which are not supported by the paying members, Megaupload displays ads and generates some revenue which goes to paying hosting costs for those files. Again not an illegal thing to do. 
The argument that most popular files are copyrighted material is debatable and no actual evidence was shown for this claim.

Though the public-facing website itself does not allow searches, it does list its "Top 100 files", which includes motion picture trailers and software trials that are freely available on the Internet. The Top 100 list, however, does not actually portray the most popular downloads on which makes the website appear more legitimate and hides the popular copyright-infringing content that drives its revenue.   

So at least some honesty in the middle of this witch burning circus. Megaupload is NOT searchable, so that makes it not a reliable means of getting copyrighted material. Saying the Top 100 files is a façade hiding the illegal pirating scene is just going complete bananas at this point.

A non-premium user is limited to watching 72 minutes of any given video on at a time, which, since nearly all commercial motion pictures exceed that length, provides a significant incentive for users who are seeking infringing copies of motion pictures to pay the Mega Conspiracy a fee for premium access.

Again, someone forgot that hosting video and streaming that video is very expensive both in server capacity and bandwidth prices, and pushing people into buying the premium access is also a way to paying the bills and making a little money, which is what most sites actually aim for, right?

It goes on and on with useless points that anyone with a shade of intelligence could tear apart in just seconds.
What's really scary about this event is that if SOPA passes, we will be seeing this everywhere. Again, I urge everyone to do whatever they can to speak up and stop this complete nonsense.

Car of the Year, 2011

As you all know, I love cars. But what I love the most is a car that goes much faster than what it looks. Huge backwheels and exposed, fire breathing engines don't impress me, but if a normal looking car drives as fast and as nimbly as a supercar, then that's a big plus in my book.

So my car of the year is one that does exactly that.

BMW 1 M Coupé

I have to admit I was never a big fan of the BMW 1 Series. I always thought they looked a bit wrong, and were a bit pretentious. As usually BMWs are, the 1 series was much more expensive than similar products from other brands. The back side was all wrong and it looked like a giant had parked it's butt on the roof and squished the sides.

However the 1 M styling follows a more aggressive line, as it should be for a performance model, and uses the coupé model instead of the hatchback (the difference is the ugly rear is gone in favor of a more traditional boot).

Powered by a very quick 3.0L Inline 6, twin turbocharged engine, producing 335 horsepower, it deals with the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in under 5 seconds, and will keep steadily accelerating to it's electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.
One of my favorite features is that the only available gearbox is a 6-speed manual, making this a proper driver-car.

(read more in this excellent piece on TopSpeed)

Other mentions go to the newly updated Nissan GT-R, for the same reason of being much quicker than many more expensive models.

And finally the McLaren MP4-12C, which is completely asphalt burning quick, but lacks a bit of supercar flair and passion.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fail of the year, 2011

And the winner is:


Sarcasm at it's best.

Yeah, I know it's been failing since 2008 but the fact that it keeps doing it deserves recognition. Not many entities have this kind of commitment towards failing, and it should be rewarded.

Other nominees were the iPhone 5 turned out to be just the 4S, and Duke Nukem Forever.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The 2011 Awards

Another year has gone and a heck of a lot has happened in this past one, as I've shown in the last post. Now it's time to reward the biggest and best, sometimes worst, of 2011. I'm going to dish them out in the next few days, and starting today with:

Game of the Year

This one should come as no surprise. It's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

But I haven't even reviewed it, you might say? Well, I was too busy playing it, and that is what is trump card is. It's so immersive, you lose yourself in the beautiful landscapes, adventuring in deep dungeons, ancient Dwarven ruins, and fighting fire spitting dragons with your mighty shouts.

Of course, as any other game, it has it's downsides, but unlike many others Skyrim has a distinct advantage: it's completely mod friendly, which means users can create their own content, and the amount of modifications circulating is huge, and when a developer's kit becomes available, mods will increase even more in both quality and quantity.

If you're not convinced yet then think of this... Which other game was so huge as to spawn an internet meme of it's own?

My special mention goes to Portal 2. I enjoyed it, but because of some weird crashing bug I couldn't proceed from a certain point in the story. It was a great game while it lasted for me, although not as engaging as the first one.