Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Quick, get out of Photobucket while you still can

It’s weird, but it seems every time I go offline, or can’t go online for a while, something significant happens and I don’t find out about until long after I should.

It’s only July 2, and after being out of touch with the web for most of June, I looked at my web site to find it filled with this blackmail message from Photobucket, instead of the thousands of image I have uploaded and had hosted there since 2005 or so, I can now only have them show if I pay these crooks $399 EVERY YEAR:

Photobucket blackmail

Photobucket blackmail

Now we know why Rupert Murdoch (Mr Paywall) bought into Photobucket.

But don’t take my word for it, read this from PCMag UK:

The key feature of a Photobucket account we’re talking about here is called “3rd Party Hosting.” It allows you to embed images from Photobucket in another location on the Internet, e.g. in a forum post or on a website.

As Norvic Philatelics discovered, Photobucket changed its terms and conditions and removed the 3rd Party Hosting feature from the lower subscription tiers. If you want to continue using that feature then a Photobucket Plus 500 subscription is required. It costs $39.99 per month or $399 per year.

Not only is that very expensive, it means existing Photobucket accounts on lower subscriptions tiers will have any embedded images they’ve created in the past cease to work. Considering Photobucket has been around since 2003 and hosts over 10 billion images, that’s potentially millions of embedded images across the Internet being broken thanks to a policy change. Here’s just one example of how this change impacts a forum thread.

The worst part of this debacle, according to, is the fact Photobucket users were apparently given no warning of the change. The subscription features simply changed, and images stopped loading without explanation.

There’s hope this is a mistake, or that Photobucket’s management will realize the scale of the problem they have created with this change. But if that doesn’t happen, expect to see that Photobucket broken link image above many times in the coming months.

Photobucket Breaks Image Links Across the Internet

No faith or trust – Photobucket is now dead

Like many others (take a read around for responses), I was taken aback by this step-change.

While Photobucket has been happy to keep filling my InBox with crap adverts for the cheap tat it wants to be to buy, there was not ONE WORD OF WARNING OR ANY ALERT regarding this fairly significant change to its Terms & Conditions, opportunity to plan/prepare in advance, or even offer feedback for them to ignore.

Like many, I am now in the process of downloading whatever material I had there (to host myself), and then closing/deleting my account.


Also, like many other responses I have read to this betrayal, I will not use Photobucket ever again, even they cancelled this change and restored this free aspect of their service.

While I’ve used some fairly questionable (free) hosting services in the past, and they HAVE disappeared, I at least was able to look at their offering and see this was likely.

Not so with Photobucket – at least not until the last sell-out/takeover, when it went rapidly downhill, lost quite a few functions, started selling aggressively, but did not make any changes that affected the free hosting, which carried on as before, so I left things alone.

I should have jumped ship then, when I noticed New International and creep Rupert Murdoch lurking.

A DECENT company does not remove your images THEN give you the option to pay to get them back.

Maybe they just thought it would be ‘kewl’ to change their business model to that of the current spate of Ransomware operations that have appeared recently.


July 2, 2017 Posted by | Lost, photography | | Leave a comment

A little more Maserati

Since we had a nice Ferrari yesterday

Relatively rare here (although I seem to be finding them), Maseratis are quite popular in China these days, usually with wealthy girls or women. And like most supercars in China, they’re often seen in crashes (or just in unfortunate scenarios).

This is something I have learned purely by chance, having gained in interest in certain aspects of cars in China. Sad to say that the ‘New Money’ that seems to be pouring into the pockets of young celebrities (and others best not referred to) there does not appear to be bestowed with any more brains or intelligence than anywhere else in the world, and companies such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, and their like are opening new showrooms there, now apparently their biggest market, where they are making a fortune from the horrendously expensive repairs to their cars, often employing carbon-fibre and other composite structures that can only be repaired by the factory. As the bills approach 5 and even 6-figure sums to repair, cars can be written off over there with some ease, rather than be repaired, unless their cost is in the millions (of dollars), since local taxes can double the price of a $2 million super or hyper car to $4 million, or even more.

Some Chinese buyers try to avoid the taxes by smuggling their hypercars into the country – and when they are caught, they lose the car entirely as it is confiscated and auctioned! Does this bother them? Nope! They usually turn up in another story, having bought another one to replace the one they lost. Oh… Remember I mentioned crashes at the start? Many of those cars are not insured, so the repair bills I mentioned are out-of-pocket for the owner. They’ll often not bother, and just start go get another one from their garage, or buy another one.

So, back home…

This is a 2016 Maserati Ghibli DV6 Auto (yes, that ‘D’ does mean diesel AND a turbo), base price around £51 k, but you can probably add another £5-£10 k with accessories and options.

While it is not a fire-breathing monster, this 3 litre turbo-diesel will reach 155 mph, and 60 in about 6 seconds… adequate.

Step up to the GranTurismo MC Stradale with its 4.7 litre, 188 mph naturally aspirated (petrol) engine with 4.5 second 62 mph dash (but those start at around £112 k).

Things are getting more complex though, with Maserati teamed with Ferrari (and others) for engines, and using twin-turbos to pass the 550 HP level. As yet, I haven’t spotted any hybrid or electric variants, but with rapid changes taking place, and Ferrari having the LaFerrari, the option has to be somewhere.

Sad to say, Maserati seems to have few fans, and while it represents better value for money at this level of car, reviewers tend to downgrade it, complaining it comes with fewer toys than others, and uses some standard switches from the corporate parts box – yet is always applauded for its performance and handling.

I still quite like them, apart from the signature item of the three vents in the side of the front wing. In some light it’s fine… but in some, it looks ‘wrong’.

But I love the trident up front.

Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli

I was a little embarrassed here – I don’t like to be in people’s faces when I grab a pic, and was a little surprised to see this car actually had a driver sitting in it, hidden by the reflection on the windscreen, but he seemed to busy with papers/letters, and might not have noticed me as I took the time to get this framed reasonably. Most parked cars are empty, but not this one.

This was near The Barras, I’d probably not leave my car Maserati here either.

July 2, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment


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