Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 28th May 2010 18:40 UTC
Internet & Networking If there's one thing several people are really, really good at, it's ruining the web. The latest attempt is something quite insipid, something that had me scratching my head a few times before I realised what was going on. When copying and pasting text from certain websites, content would be added to your clipboard without you knowing about it - something like "Read more at". John Gruber finds this just as insipid as I do, and investigated a little further - while also coming up with a way to block this nonsense. Seriously - this is right up there with those in-text underline ad things.
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by bralkein on Fri 28th May 2010 19:48 UTC
Member since:

Unless I'm mistaken, the word insipid means bland and doesn't really have anything to do with what you're describing, at least as far as I can see. Do you mean insidious?

Also, I was pleased to notice that is already blocked by the useful hosts file provided at by an awesome guy called Dan Pollock. Use a cron job to keep it updated and you'll avoid all kinds of nasty crap, no matter which browser or other software you're using.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Insipid
by broken_symlink on Fri 28th May 2010 20:59 in reply to "Insipid"
broken_symlink Member since:

i think he is implying more like its done in poor taste.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Insipid
by bralkein on Fri 28th May 2010 21:17 in reply to "RE: Insipid"
bralkein Member since:

Insipid means flavourless, not tasteless. I thought it was a pretty stand out error but if I'm being finicky I guess I'll shut up.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Insipid
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 29th May 2010 11:14 in reply to "Insipid"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:

How would you go about setting up such a cron job? I've never done that before, and while there are enough explanations out there on cron in general, I'm wondering what the most optimal solution would be in this specific case. I'd imagine you run a wget command, followed by a cp? Or just wget it straight to /etc/hosts?

Can anyone help out on that one? I'll put it up as a separate article for other users to reference when Googling this stuff.

While we're at it, we may want to gather solutions for other operating systems as well, like Windows and Mac OS X.

Edited 2010-05-29 11:18 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Insipid
by sorpigal on Sat 29th May 2010 17:44 in reply to "RE: Insipid"
sorpigal Member since:

A tiny shell script, using wget as you suggested. Backs up your existing hosts file to hosts.local so nothing will be lost and reverting is easy.

You can drop it in /etc/cron.daily/ and chmod a+x it, or you can put it anywhere and add a crontab line like:

0 0 * * * root /path/to/update-hosts-blocklist

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Insipid
by Stratoukos on Sat 29th May 2010 18:13 in reply to "RE: Insipid"
Stratoukos Member since:

You first have to edit the crontab file, using 'crontab -e'

Each job's format is 'Minute Hour DayOfMonth Month DayOfWeek Command', where each field can be either a value, a * meaning everything or a comma separated list of values. There is also a shorthand where */2 means every two minutes/hours/etc, */10 every ten, etc.

A job that runs everyday would be '0 0 * * * /path/to/script'.
A job that runs twice a year would be '0 0 1 */6 * /path/to/script'
A job that runs every Sunday and Friday would be '0 0 * * 0,5 /path/to/script'.

The script could be

wget --output-document=$HOME/temp
mv $HOME/temp /path/to/hosts

Of course this isn't as simple as it sounds, since it would overwrite your hosts file and you would lose anything that it contains and isn't already on that list. Perhaps you could write a more complete program that would compare the downloaded list with the existing hosts file and update the file accordignly.

OS X comes already with cron installed, but without wget. You can download it and install it manually or, if you have macports intalled, use 'sudo port install wget'. For Windows I don't know a way to do the same thing, but I imagine it would also involve a scheduler and a script to download and replace the hosts file.

Reply Parent Score: 1