Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

  Spreading safe hex

I used two [REDACTED] terms in describing how to improve your web experience in an attempt to further comment on Doc's issues with ad loading speed earlier today. Usually I would see some notification that "my comment is up, but awaiting moderation". Didn't see that this time and I posted twice... I guess aggressively spreading around this sort of hex-ed information will lead to the collapse of web 2.0 as we know it, and thus there are filters for that already in wordpress - or just perhaps for the analogies I made.

Given all the filtering going on out there, I dropped reference to those terms in this repost, here. I worry that one day I won't be able to post to my own blog due to [REDACTED] content, and have to wonder today if my lack of readership from [REDACTED] is related to pieces linked to off over on the [ELIDED]....

Along the way I discovered that the syntax for setting expires headers was apparently busted in ubuntu gutsy - setting

ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 month"

was accepted but didn't work!

ExpiresByType image/png A2592000

did. I wonder how many web servers out there are busted due to this, and how much bandwidth is being wasted, or if I was just doing it wrong.... Have to get around to bug reporting that.

Anyway, I was writing about improving Doc's web experience via better filtering... and wrote:

Well, lots of people out there can help you strap on an internet ad-busting [REDACTED] as it is no longer terribly difficult, and doesn't require a degree in [REDACTED] ed. Starting with the easiest, adblock plus... (Sure hope you use firefox):

Install it, then restart your browser. It's not particularly useful without a subscription to a blocklist, so get one (I use EasyElement + Easylist, as well as this bust tracking filter.

Adblock is my favorite firefox plugin. It's (unsurprisingly) installed in nearly every clued cybercafe I've been in...

While we are in the browser...

If you would like some additional insight as to why the web is slow, even with a 20Mbit connection, install firebug and Yslow, and look at the inadequate cache expiry times and useless extra http lookups on the 2 pages that you have control over and swear to find some way to make those that don't have 20Mbit downloads happier... save on the metered bandwidth bills for those in Australia and other parts of the world... and write to people that you read regularly to help 'em conserve bandwidth... (in the nicest possible way(s) :) ) if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Exiting the browser arena (and adblock is "good enough" for most people)...

Privoxy is available on every OS. I still use it as it seems slightly more thorough than adblock, and I can do amusing things with with it. A big advantage to privoxy is that it works with ie, safari, etc, but usually in that case it's best to install it on the edge of your home network, rather than on the laptop...

You'll note that one of these tools (don't know which one) completely eliminates ads from your own site. By acting in your own eyeballs' defense you are hastening the end of the Internet as we know it (I sure hope some kind of ecash comes along in time to save whatever is left)

Due to an ever increasing number of corrupted DNS servers (stuff that feeds you malware or redirects you to advertising sites when you mistype an url, I gave up trusting DNS and started running my own bind (also known as named)....

Under linux, this is easy - just install bind, (apt-get or yum), which by default is in a caching configuration - and make one changes to your dhclient.conf - add a

prepend domain-name-servers 127.0.0.1;

somewhere near the top. I don't know how the mac does it, but I hope it would be close to this easy.

boom - no matter where you go, vastly speeds up the 2nd dns search for something (because they are cached) - no arbitrary dns relocations at wifi hotspots except the first one - and you can strap on a few additional [REDACTED] to combat malware, see, for example malwaredomains.com.

Makes sense to do on your home network, too. You can name stuff... openwrt has a much easier to configure dns server called dnsmasq...

The hosts file thing mentioned by someone else earlier is a decent first start, but not as effective as running bind in combination with it. I note that there is a memory hit for running bind but it barely registers on my process list.

Would like to know in a future post what you think of the web after you implement (some of) this. Your eyes might improve without surgery, and web 2.0 become tolerable again. Hopefully, if more of the members of the metaverse implement this kind of stuff, after the advertising bubble bursts, web 3.0 will look this good by default.

But I'm not holding my [REDACTED] [ELIDED] [REDACTED] breath.

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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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