TechCrunch has been hacked?

Every day, when I wake up but still don’t have enough energy to get up, I read the latest news. I don’t use Google News or Microsoft MSN News Start (or whatever they’ll rebrand the same service next month), but, as if I still was living in 2008, I use an RSS reader.

So the news aren’t chosen by an algorithm, but are sourced from carefully hand-picked feeds, slowly found and evaluated over a decade.

One of those sources is TechCrunch, which used to be a bit more interesting, now has become a bit of a clone of Engadget (it’s run by the same publisher) but with more focus on acquisitions and startups. I’ve always thought about just removing it, but I’ve always felt a bit nostalgic because it’s been with me for over a decade.

In the last few days, however, I noticed a radical change. Content was sloppily copied from 9to5mac using ifttt, headlines had errors: at first I ignore the problem and quickly swipe away the news, then I start to be severely annoyed!

I click on one of these NOT interesting news and I find myself on an amateur blogspot site. Huh? What happened?

Quite simply, TechCrunch was using feedburner to distribute their feed so they could easily redirect all subscribers to another site if there were any changes. Here it is (was?) :

Maybe they decided that by now no one uses RSS anymore, and so, they deleted their feedburner account, allowing a cybersquatter to take it?

The new feed is present at but it seems weird not to have used the redirect function and allow a potential scammer to grab the old feedburner address and get all views from all the old RSS subscribers… (We are dozens!!! We’re not gone!)

Stop Vivaldi browser to start automatically on macOS

I installed the latest version of the Vivaldi browser on macOS and after a reboot I found this on my dock:

Normal? No, I did not put it as default browser, I did not stick it in the dock and especially I did not leave it open (the white dot indicates that it is running)

So, somewhere, there’s some setting that launches it automatically every time you start the computer.

But my main browser is Firefox, I use Vivaldi only in limited cases, where the site works well only with Chrome. (I try to use Google products as little as possible, Vivaldi is like Chrome but without Google user tracking).

I’m looking everywhere for this setting, but I can’t find it.

Finally, I found it in “System Preferences” -> “Users & Groups” -> “Login Elements”.

You must press the “-” button to remove it from automatic start. Not on “hide”.

Automatically generated humans

Who’s this asian girl? Nobody!

This picture has been automatically generated!

By visiting the site at you will get a new random “human creation”, generated by an algorithm! Impressive!

Some results have very evident artefacts, but it’s still impressive!

The video below shows all the possible combinations, millions, and the possibility to adapt it with other kind of photos (after training of the model, with thousands and thousands of sample pics)

Trust no one

In my last post I wrote about Mark Rober’s porch pirates trap.

An Imgur user did a very thorough investigation, from few details he managed to know the address of Cici’s house, and it came out that 2 reactions out of 5 were faked: the package was never stolen.


As it was later explained in a public apology, Mark asked around his neighbors is someone could host the trap outside the house, giving a monetary compensation for each attempt. 5 attempts in a few days looked many to me, all on the same address!

The neighbor pretended to help, but just wanted to take the reward, faking the attempts!

The trap to find dishonest people worked too well…

Revenge against porch pirates

When I lived in the USA, something that was unbelievable for me, it was that packages were left outside of the door, without even knocking the door! I understand that you need to deliver a lot of packages, but at least ring the bell! When I did my first online order in the US, an AT&T GoPhone, I was totally shocked when the following day the UPS left it outside the door. I thought “if they did this in my country, the package would have been stolen immediately”

Well, it looks like packages are stolen from the porch, there’s people who drive around and when they see a package, they steal it.

Since the police doesn’t care about it, Mark Rober, who has worked for 9 years as a NASA engineer, decided to get revenge: a device that would cause a glitter explosion in the thief hands, with a fart spray. And with four internet connected cameras, to get their reaction!


Your website could be used for a mail bombing

Today, by pure luck, I looked quickly to the mail server logs. Since the beginning of the year it has sent about 1500 emails.

“Ah, ok”, I think, and I move on.

Then I think about it. Hey, 1500 emails sent in a couple of days???

Looking the logs I immediately found the culprit:

After every post of a WordPress website it was enabled “share by email”!

A chinese bot, every minute, was going to the page and was sending the content to the same email address!

Result: a mail bombing!

I hope that my IP address reputation is not tarnished and doesn’t affect my deliverability…. 😡

Adobe sends invoices that are looking like spam

Unfortunately, needing it for work, I had to buy rent Photoshop CC.

After a few days I get the invoice by email:


Nlar? Who’s that? I almost pressed on “report spam”, when I see that’s an Adobe invoice. I open the email:


??? What the…?? They send an invoice (very important, because otherwise I can’t deduct the 19% VAT from it), like this, in an empty email, without a “thanks for giving us money, even if you hate us“???

If I didn’t remember to have bought rented it, I would have definitely deleted the invoice, since they sent it 3 days after the subscription!

UCBrowser is now banned

Today I went to see my access log report (even if I don’t use Google Analytics, I still have complete access to server logs, and I analyze anomalous patterns) and I found this:


??? Nobody uses UC Browser outside China!

I go to see visitor log:


What happends, suddenly the Naruto karaoke become popular in China? I read more details:

ucbrowser3(Green: IP addresses, pink: device; yellow: browser)

The IP addresses in the log file aren’t the actual ones, they’re from CloudFlare, a proxy between this site and the Internet. The real addresses are for example (Shenzhen), (Tianjin), (Jiangsu).

What can be the odds? Either there are thousands of chinese with a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 interested in Naruto karaoke (but they close the page before reading it), either UCweb is doing a “micro-DDOS” to my server, they need to get that specific page (only that page!!!) every few minutes. They’re not identificating themselves as a bot like Google, Bing and the rest of the world is doing, but they pretend to be a Samsung Galaxy Note 2

I hate this abusive behaviour, so I will redirect every visit from a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with UCBrowser, to

Update 9 september: I thought that banning only Galaxy Note 2 with UC Browser (meaning: only bots) was enough, but they just updated their bot. Ok, so, ANYONE using UC Browser is now banned 😡💢


In Italy an year has 13 months

…this is what the Italian phone companies have decided to do, to get some free money from their subscribers.

How they did it?

They changed every existing contract from “monthly payment” to “pay every 4 weeks”. There are 52 weeks in an year, so they get a full free month every year! A nice way to increase their price almost 10% without let the average customer notice it on the bill!

TIM and Wind got fined 400000 euro from the Government, but that’s not enough. With 20 million customers, they will steal 200 extra millions euro every year (assuming that an average phone plan is 10 euro). Just 400k it’s not enough, they’ll just pay the fine and continue getting the free extra money.