How to use AdBlock to bypass The Onion’s paywall

October 07, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Geeky, Internet, Marketing 14,934 views

The Onion Pay WallI’ve been a fan of The Onion for a long time, so I was quite distressed to see that they’ve put up a paywall. Now, when you view more than five articles in thirty days, it pops up a box asking you to pay $2.95/month or $29.95/year for full access. My personal philosophy is that content should be monetized by advertisements and the minority of people that choose to use technology to block those ads just have to be accepted as a loss. With a little HTML investigation, I figured out which elements need to be hidden from the page to disable their fairly weak attempt at securing their content behind a paywall. If you have the popular AdBlock plugin (Firefox, Safari, Chrome) installed, you need only add two rules to your AdBlock settings.
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Cookies Are Not Evil

October 05, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Internet, Marketing, Musings 290 views

The Real Cookie Monster, by Jeremy HoffmanThere’s been a bit of an online privacy storm lately over the fact that Facebook doesn’t remove all the cookies from your browser when you log off. Every three or four months, there’s a big “OMG!! Facebook is EVIL and breaching my privacy!” wave that runs over the online community before everyone forgets it and keeps using the service.
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State of the Offspring Address – October 2011

October 03, 2011 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Photos 2,174 views

Beach GirlNora has taken very, very well to her potty training that we started in June. We’ve had just three bed wettings in the six weeks since returning from her three-week summer vacation and going “off diaper” 24/7. We’ve had a few bowel surprises that weren’t quite anticipated in time to “RUN TO THE POTTY!!” (an exclamation heard often lately). About once a day she lets enough drops of “pee-pee” escape to require a new pair of panties, but the outer garment almost never needs changing. Quite often, she’ll head out of the room like she’s going to get a toy, only to utter, five minutes later from behind a closed bathroom door, a “Poppy! Come limp my bottom!” When I enter, I find her sitting on the toilet with a gigantic, er, “creation” in the bowl beneath her.
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Facebook’s Power: Targeted Ads

October 03, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Internet, Marketing 157 views

Facebook ExclamationFacebook’s genius has been to make it “cool” to “tell all your friends” what movies and products and politics you like, which is exactly the data advertisers are dying to get their hands on.

A few months ago, I placed an ad on Facebook, mainly as an experiment to satisfy my curiosity about how their advertising system works. It was a few days before the British royal wedding, and I had done up a silly little photoshopped image of the bride and groom with their faces swapped, so I decided to see how much traffic I could drive to that page. I told Facebook I was willing to spend up to $10 on the ad over three days (I ended up pulling the plug, curiosity quenched, after spending only $8). Then I got to select who the ad was presented to…and that’s when things got creepy.
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Huevazo – Enormous Egg

September 29, 2011 By: erik Category: Damn, Nature!, Food, Funny, Spain, Videos, Weird 347 views

Big EggEarlier this week, my wife told me that, to celebrate a successful business meeting she was going to have with a client, she wanted to have pork chops and fried eggs for lunch. Then she said, “And save the big egg for me. Don’t use it for any other recipes.” I raised an eyebrow, “The big egg?” She smiled and said, “You’ll know it when you see it.”
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Synchronized Kites in Laredo

September 26, 2011 By: erik Category: Beach, Spain, Stuff I Found, Travel, Videos, Weird 203 views

Synchronized Kite Flying ThumbnailWhen I was sitting on the beach yesterday, I noticed something off in the distance out of the corner of my eye. In a split second, my unconscious pattern recognition neurons decided I’d seen a flock of birds. After several seconds of gazing at the phenomenon a kilometer down the beach, I’d determined that they were too big to be birds, and the flying was too orderly. They must be kites, my brain suggested, but…but…how?? They were flying in perfect formation, up, down, swooping, soaring, diving… What they really reminded me of was Boids, the artificial intelligence algorithm – one of my favorites! – that demonstrates how lifelike natural flocking behavior can be mimicked with very, very few lines of code.
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September Beach

September 25, 2011 By: erik Category: Beach, Offspring, Photos, Spanish, Videos 105 views

At the beach in SeptemberToday the weather was better than it’s been pretty much all year long. The key was the noticeable lack of wind, which normally makes our beach a little chillier than one would like. That the weather is so out of season made it all the more special, since we know there won’t be days like this until 2012. We decided to go to Laredo to walk around, but Nora caught wind that we’d be near the beach and insisted on taking her backpack full of buckets and shovels and things. We ended up sitting on the beach for about two hours playing in the sand, with Marga and myself in street clothes, not beach clothes. We had a grand old time.
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2½ Years Old

September 24, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos 134 views

2.5 Years Old Video (thumbnail)Two and a half years ago, just after the 2009 vernal equinox, my daughter, Nora, was born. It was quite exciting. She’s come quite a ways since then. Just last week, I heard her mother ask her how old she was in Spanish, and Nora responded “dos años y medio”. So immediately I set upon teaching her to say “two and a half” in English. It wasn’t easy, as she simply refused to even attempt the phrase for several days. But eventually I prevailed, just in time for her half-birthday. Marga had to work today (Nora also learned to say, “Today is Saturday!” today), so we didn’t have our traditional birthday hamburger feast.
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Miniature Books

September 20, 2011 By: erik Category: Internet, Media, Reviews 57 views

Yesterday I bought, downloaded, and read Sam Harris’ new e-book, Lying. (No, really, I did!) It was a quick read. Amazon lists its “print length” at 26 pages. While not as thought-provoking or groundbreaking as Harris’ full length books, it did make me consider how honesty and dishonesty affect my life. It was definitely worth my two dollars.

That’s right; it only costs $1.99, and it’s only available in e-book format.
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Summer’s Gone

September 19, 2011 By: erik Category: Musings, Photos, Photoshop 91 views

Lazy BenchA notable change in the weather has taken place this past week. The days of sleeping with the windows open and wearing sandals about town is coming to a close. It’s time to break out the sweaters and long trousers. There’s something about the beginning of autumn that makes me want to go outside and throw an American football around. It surprises me every year, since it’s not one of my top five favorite sports, I’ve never worn a football helmet, and I don’t have a favorite team, but there’s some deep bit of Americanism in me that I can neither control nor explain. Curious, that.
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