Tag Archives: i don’t like

Attribution links to pasted content? – Something is wrong on the Internet!

15 Nov
Some websites will transform, at the paste event, the content that you copy. This isn’t recent, and it was a mild annoyance until it made its début in Opera, the browser I use the most (I installed 12.11 beta RC last last week).

What happens is that when you select text from some web pages, the site uses JavaScript to report what you’ve copied to an analytics server and append an attribution URL to the text that you paste.

What a terrible idea.

As John Gruber put it in a 2010 article on the subject:

It’s a bunch of user-hostile SEO bullshit.

I looked at the Tynt website, and soon found that users can opt out. o/ http://www.tynt.com/opt_out.php

If you don't want Tynt tracking copy activity or adding attribution links,
you can disable Tynt, by clicking the Opt Out button below.
You will need to Opt Out for each browser you use, and have cookies enabled.

It appears that there aren’t any other competitor. I hope it stays that way.

But what I wish even more, is that Websites would just NOT do this. It’s not privacy that concerns me, it’s the fact that in many cases, what I want to paste is lost.
In all cases, what I want to paste is what I select.

I don’t want to need any work-around. Yes, I can view the source of a page and select from there. It’s tedious. Yes, I can paste in a text editor, strip to what I need, copy again and paste what I want. It’s also tedious.

Notes on handling identi.ca group spam accounts

25 Nov
As admin for the identi.ca group Friends of W3C, I spent several hours today blocking spam member accounts. Because I could, thanks to the US Thanksgiving holiday which blesses us with a couple quiet days.

A few notes:

  • It isn’t easy a task. It has to be done from the members page, one at a time, by clicking ‘Block’ and confirm the action in the next page. And it’s really boring.
  • Homepage links that contain ‘buy’, ‘cheap’, ‘best’, ‘reviews’, ‘price’ are a sure sign of a spam account. Ah, and ‘forex’ too.
  • Also, ‘deals’ especially when that follows ‘blackfriday’ in the URI. But this is seasonal spamming.
  • Homepage links which end in ‘sitemap.xml’ and ‘sitemap.php’ all turned out to belong to spam accounts.
  • Homepage links which contained ‘sexy’ turned out to be pretty disappointing. I AM KIDDING, I didn’t look.
  • Those which Bio contains ‘SEO’ most often are spam accounts. Same for Bio that contains ‘increase your’. And ‘toys’; you get the idea.
  • Some trends: identifying ‘Thailand’ as location, promotional links around SLR cameras, watches, TVs. Vaccum cleaners too.
  • While most of spam accounts show the default avatar, a small number of them do have an avatar. Most likely, an image depicting landmarks in Thailand. Or Thai masks. Or Thai temples. After a while I got the feeling they were familiar; they use a very limited pool of images. That’s why.
  • I have nothing against Thailand.
  • Is it a coincidence that some spam accounts have a Bio written in Thai? I’m asking.
  • I was fooled. Nickname ‘cutecat’, avatar of the most adorable sleepy kitteh, Bio ‘I like snow and cats’. A couple inconspicuous micro-blog entries and bam! one that points to an obscure promotional website. Dated a year ago. Blocked.
  • I reached the awkward series of those accounts which joined en masse and which homepage links contained NSFW words. They made me miss the SLRs, watches, shoes and TVs links! I looked at none. Honest.
  • There was a ‘JustinBieberPhotos’ account. Didn’t take the bait!

I’ve been at it more then 3 hours and blocked 830 spam member accounts. I have more than twice that number to go over still. I’m done for now. Next time I’ll do it for a half-hour maybe, and I’ll do it once a week. Till we’re rid of our historical spam member accounts.

These days we get a dozen new spam accounts joining that group. I hope the folks at StatusNet would look for patterns and block them as soon as the accounts are created.

In all fairness

9 Apr
In all fairness, unfairness sucks.

This is really pushing my buttons. I think I was raised that way, being a twin. During childhood, the master word at home always was ‘equity’. I became highly sensitive to unfairness, yet my twin brother seemingly didn’t.

Years after years of being a grown-up and living in the real life, I’ve softened, but only by a fraction. Unfairness affects me far more than I wish it would, in my personal life and to a lesser degree in my professional life.

Because I don’t do well with confrontations, I reason a lot with myself, in pursuit of the right balance between an unfortunate situation and the bright side I can hold on to. For the greater good, or out of cowardice, I yield, hoping I can keep up with the choice I made, and hoping the effort is acknowledged. But too much unfairness, I can’t cope with ; there is just so much I can take. Sometimes I burst and the balance is broken.

Practices become habits, or systematic reactions start creeping into my everyday life, shaping an uncomfortable order. To avoid this, and preserve the balance, I try as much as possible to give hints or warnings that a situation is not ideal for me and that the balance is in jeopardy. But what is a significant effort or concession from me, is not necessarily reciprocated and my hints are ineffective. The value –or cost– of the status-quo is hardly ever the same for the involved parties.

Fortunately, it doesn’t happen frequently. Unfortunately, it’s distressing and overwhelming when it happens.

E-mail stuck in Outbox

31 Aug
For the past couple of months I’ve been annoyed with Opera e-mail sometimes being stuck in Outbox, at the “Authenticating” stage. Sometimes. Hence the annoyance. Sometimes it works fine for days. And sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t know what triggers it. I wish I knew :) Assuredly I can’t be the only one experiencing this! I’ve looked and searched the Web, forums, Opera knowledge base and support pages.

I’m using Opera 9.64 on mac OS X 10.5.7 and outgoing e-mail talks to an SMTP server over TLS.

I just found a workaround that is not very satisfactory, but good enough so long as it does the trick: disconnect/reconnect wi-fi, try again, worky. <sigh />

I also found that even if the stuck message is removed from the Outbox, Opera will eventually deliver it. Sadly the original timestamp is not kept. So if I found another way to send that message, people will still receive it again. Later. <re-sigh />

I changed how Opera handles e-mail a couple of months ago, so that might be it. I used to ssh to a machine and Opera talked to localhost to pop and send.

Snowphobia and hypnosis

25 Nov
This is an entry on snowphobia and a failed hypnosis session some years ago.

I have snowphobia. I like snow (although it’s cold and I prefer things hot :). It’s walking and driving on slippery surfaces that freak me out.

There was a very local hailstorm over the Sophia Antipolis area last night and when I drove to the office this morning I was surprised the area was all white. At first it was beautiful. I was safely driving on ploughed roads.

But at the round-about near the office, the ice was there to meet my tires and it was no longer beautiful but unnerving. I did well. I “beached” my car where I could, blocking two others (leaving a note to the attention of the owners with my cellphone number on it, and it was tempting to add “and please, move my car yourself if it’s in your way” ;).

This reminds me of the failed hypnosis session that occured back in December 2004. Being impaired by my phobia, I did the sensible thing and made an appointment with a doctor who practiced hypnosis.

He made me sit on a comfortable leather armchair, rest my hands on my thighs, close my eyes and listen to his monotonous and quiet voice.

He made me imagine I was in a place I like and I was feeling good about it. So I was on a large beach of white sand, taking a nice walk and enjoying the warm breeze, the small number of people (at a good distance) and the melodic sound of the waves.

Then he made me go in my car for an enjoyable ride. He said it was starting to rain but I was safe. The rain was light and I was comfortable driving. Then I drove down a slope and I was still safe, and I was still enjoying myself. Then he made me go back to the beach.

I got off the car and was to transfer my fears on framed pictures. I was to carry the pictures to the air balloon that was moored on the beach. I carried the frames and put them in the basket. I cut the moorings and saw the air balloon lifting up.

At this point my friend Dino suddenly appeared in the basket and was waving bye bye, smiling at me!

I backtracked quickly to the previous scene so as to re-do it again, Dino-free. But there he was again! appearing in the basket of the air balloon and waving bye bye while smiling.

That was the end of the session. Too bad it was ruined so close to the end!

The doctor was confident that would do it. But in case I was still frightened to drive on frozen surfaces or snow, I was to schedule another appointment with him. I am still very uncomfortable with snow, ice and all slippery surfaces, but I never scheduled another appointment.

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