How to Insult the Mac Brigade

I’ve insulted the Mac Brigade. I am so sorry. I didn’t realise that putting stickers on an Apple Macbook was such a heinous crime. HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO STUPID?

Well, that’s how Bernie puts it anyway. Sort of. He posted a photo of my Macbook at BlogTalk and the response surprised me. Hahahaha. Thud! (Laughing my head off)

For those who missed the original shot, here’s one I took moments ago. There are stickers from Laughing Squid (and a button too), (Thanks Nikolay),, Hyku, that WordPress crowd who get everywhere, and 2 from Om Malik: FoundRead and NewTeeVee.
The other button says, “hard bloggin’ scientist” and I got that from Jan Schmidt last Tuesday at BlogTalk. Thanks!


Lovely isn’t it? Who’s on your laptop? Anyone got a Dell sticker to put on the Apple Logo? It’d shine through nicely!

How to use ssh as a proxy server

Using ssh as a proxy or encrypted tunnel to browse the web can sometimes be necessary:

  1. When you’re at a conference but need to login securely to your blog.
  2. When local access restrictions make life really difficult.
  3. If you have a server in another country and want to see what Google Adsense adverts people see in that country.

I use ssh for the third reason. I want to see what adverts people in the USA see when they look at my blog so I can filter out the low paying and MFA ads (see for more). Unfortunately I have a head like a sieve so unless it’s in the bash history I need to go look this up every few months:

ssh -D 8080 -Nf

Replace with your own hostname. That short command will create a socks5 proxy at Just configure your browser to talk to that and you’re surfing again!

Here’s a few external links you might find useful.

(I bet that when I most need to look up this post I’ll be behind a tight firewall that won’t let me at my blog ..)

Middle click your urls again in Firefox 2

One of the really useful features of Firefox in the past was the ability to click the middle mouse button anywhere on a browser page and have the URL in the clipboard load in that window. For some reason it stopped working some time back and I don’t know why. Here’s how to enable it again if your Firefox has stopped obeying your middle finger.

  • Open “about:config” in a new browser tab or window.
  • Search for “middlemouse” and find “middlemouse.contentLoadURL”. Set it to true if it’s false.
  • If that preference isn’t there, create a new one by right clicking and creating a new boolean value. Type “middlemouse.contentLoadURL” into the box and press return.
  • A new value, set to true by default, will be created.
  • Now try copying a URL and middle-clicking it anywhere on this page. Try for good luck!

Linux Ubuntu Dapper to Edgy – no problem

I upgraded my Ubuntu 6.06 install to the new Edgy soon after it’s release using the simple command gksu "update-manager -c". Several hours later, and after clicking on a few dialog boxes to update files in /etc/, I’m not running Ubuntu Edgy on my desktop box.

Initially I wondered where Firefox 2.0 was hiding, but on my upgraded system it’s /usb/bin/firefox.ubuntu so it’ll live alongside version 1.5. I also noticed that when saving files in the GIMP the filename would disappear when I clicked on a new folder in the “bookmark” folder of the Gnome file dialog. Once I noticed, ctrl-c to record the filename and ctrl-v to paste it in again worked fine. I rename my files when saving so it’s not much of a hardship.

My machine seems slightly faster but I haven’t delved too deeply into what has been upgraded but Firefox, xchat, terminal, GIMP and Gthumb all work fine! Did your upgrade go as well?

Testing Firefox 2.0

I’m trying out Firefox 2.0 and first impressions are good. Fonts looks a little different which is refreshing but I’m having trouble exporting my bookmarks from Flock. It looks like others are having the same problem too. There’s even a FAQ about it.

On the Mac, click-and-hold doesn’t bring up a context menu. I’ll have to figure out why. Must be a key combo. Ah! It’s CTRL-click!

If you’re wondering which is better, IE7 or Firefox 2.0, then check out this “unbiased” review:

In one corner we have Internet Explorer 7. After 18 months of development and a shiny new set of tabs, he’s in top shape and looking better than his predecessor ever did. That is, before he entered the ring with Firefox 2.0. Now he’s just a cripple with fancy RSS reading.

Drowning in the flood

I have noticed a strange thing in the past week or so. Google has referred legitimate looking browser user agents to this blog and In and within seconds that browser tries to download all my feed links, and several months of my archives. I have a little flood protection built in and it stops them with a 403 after several of these requests but it’s annoying. It’s some sort of pre-fetching plugin to “speed up” browsing isn’t it? Firefox has a similar thing in the form of the “Fasterfox” extension if memory serves. Ben Metcalfe has a good write up on the evils of pre-fetching. It could kill your database or use all your credits in online stores!

Whatever you’re using, welcome to my kill file. … “GET /index.php?tag=suicide-girls HTTP/1.1” 200 36422 “” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)” … “GET /wp-content/plugins/widgets/rss.png HTTP/1.1” 200 3341 “” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)” … “GET /feed/atom/ HTTP/1.1” 200 35775 “” … … “GET /feed/ HTTP/1.1” 200 35449 … … “GET /feed/rss/ HTTP/1.1” 200 4636 … … “GET /wp-content/themes/whiteasmilk/style.css HTTP/1.1” 200 9639 “-” … … “GET /xmlrpc.php HTTP/1.1” 200 42 … … “GET /2006/07/ HTTP/1.1” 200 68150 … … “GET /2006/09/ HTTP/1.1” 200 68150 … … “GET /2006/08/ HTTP/1.1” 200 68150 … … “GET /2006/06/ HTTP/1.1” 200 68150 …

My Meteor – why don't you work in Firefox?

There’s only 3 mobile phone companies in Ireland, Vodafone, O2 and Meteor. I’ve been a customer of each and am currently with Meteor. That might change however as their newly redesigned website doesn’t work properly in Firefox. They offer 300 free texts from their site but when one hits the “SEND” button nothing happens.
If you’re a Meteor user mail with your phone number and your PIN, or 3 phone numbers you’ve rung in the past month (for verification).
Ask them politely to fix their website so it works in Mozilla Firefox! The Javascript error I get is,

Error: window.smsForm has no properties
Source File:
Line: 295

Oh, and last time I checked, Vodafone’s website offers 300 texts a month and it did work in Firefox.
Later – Niall suggested entering your text message, phone number, and instead of hitting “SEND” copy and paste the following code into the URL address bar and press return: javascript:window.document.smsForm.submit();
Now how hard is that for Meteor to fix?