Squatter Domains, Tracked with Delicious

A few weeks ago I hit a couple of domain squatter sites in quick succession and got a bit annoyed. I asked on twitter/identi.ca whether anyone knew of any kind of domain squatter database on the web, perhaps along the lines of the email RBL lists, but got no replies.

I thought at the time that delicious might be useful for this, in much the same way that Jon Udell has been exploring using delicious for collaborative event curation.

So here's the results of some hacking time this weekend: Squatter Redirect, a greasemonkey script (i.e. firefox only, sorry) that checks whether the sites you visit have been tagged on delicious as squatter domains that should be directed elsewhere, and if so, does the redirect in your browser.

Here's a few squatter domains to try it out on:

The script checks two delicious accounts - your personal account, so you can add your own domains without having to wait for them to be pulled into the 'official' squatter_redirect stream; and the official squatter_redirect delicious account, into which other people's tags are periodically pulled after checking.

Marking a new domain as a squatter simply involves creating a delicious bookmark for the squatter page with a few special tags:

  • squatter_redirect - flagging the bookmark for the attention of the squatter_redirect delicious user
  • squatter_redirect=www.realdomain.com - setting the real domain that you want to be redirected to
  • (optional) squatter_domain=www.baddomain.com - marker for the squatter domain itself (only required if you want to use from your own delicious account)

So www.quagga.org above would be tagged:

squatter_redirect squatter_redirect=www.quagga.net
# or, optionally:
squatter_redirect squatter_redirect=www.quagga.net squatter_domain=www.quagga.org

Feedback/comments welcome.

Cityrail Timetables Greasemonkey Script

I got sufficiently annoyed over last week's Cityrail Timetable fiasco that I thought I'd contribute something to the making-Cityrail-bearable software ecosystem.

So this post is to announce a new Greasemonkey script called Cityrail Timetables Reloaded [CTR], available at the standard Greasemonkey repository on userscripts.org, that cleans up and extensively refactors Cityrail's standard timetable pages.

Here's a screenshot of Cityrail's initial timetable page for the Northern line:

Cityrail standard timetable

and here's the same page with CTR loaded:

Cityrail timetable via CTR

CTR loads a configurable number of pages rather than forcing you to click through them one by one, and in fact will load the whole set if you tell it to.

It also has support for you specifying the 'from' and 'to' stations you're travelling between, and will highlight them for you, as well as omit stations well before or well after yours, and any trains that don't actually stop at your stations. This can compress the output a lot, allowing you to fit more pages on your screen:

Cityrail timetable via CTR

I can't see Cityrail having a problem with this script since it's just taking their pages and cleaning them up, but we shall see.

If you're a firefox/greasemonkey user please try it out and post your comments/feedback here or on the userscripts site.


Top Firefox Extensions

I've been meaning to document the set of firefox extensions I'm currently using, partly to share with others, partly so they're easy to find and install when I start using a new machine, and partly to track the way my usage changes over time. Here's the current list:

Obligatory Extensions

  • Greasemonkey - the fantastic firefox user script manager, allowing client-side javascript scripts to totally transform any web page before it gets to you. For me, this is firefox's "killer feature" (and see below for the user scripts I recommend).

  • Flash Block - disable flash and shockwave content from running automatically, adding placeholders to allow running manually if desired (plus per-site whitelists, etc.)

  • AdBlock Plus - block ad images via a right-click menu option

  • Chris Pederick's Web Developer Toolbar - a fantastic collection of tools for web developers

  • Joe Hewitt's Firebug - the premiere firefox web debugging tool - its html and css inspection features are especially cool

  • Daniel Lindkvist's Add Bookmark Here extension, adding a menu item to bookmark toolbar dropdowns to add the current page directly in the right location

Optional Extensions

  • Michael Kaply's Operator - a very nice microformats toolbar, for discovering the shiny new microformats embedded in web pages, and providing operations you can perform on them

  • Zotero - a very interesting extension to help capture and organise research information, including webpages, notes, citations, and bibliographic information

  • Colorful Tabs - tabs + eye candy - mmmmm!

  • Chris Pederick's User Agent Switcher - for braindead websites that only think they need IE

  • ForecastFox - nice weather forecast widgets in your firefox status bar (and not just US-centric)

Greasemonkey User Scripts

So what am I missing here?


Since this post, I've added the following to my must-have list:

  • Tony Murray's Print Hint - helps you find print stylesheets and/or printer-friendly versions of pages

  • the Style Sheet Chooser II extension, which extends firefox's standard alternate stylesheet selection functionality

  • Ron Beck's JSView extension, allowing you to view external javascript and css styles used by a page

  • The It's All Text extension, allowing textareas to be editing using the external editor of your choice.

  • The Live HTTP Headers plugin - invaluable for times when you need to see exactly what is going on between your browser and the server

  • Gareth Hunt's Modify Headers plugin, for setting arbitrary HTTP headers for web development

  • Sebastian Tschan's Autofill Forms extension - amazingly useful for autofilling forms quickly and efficiently