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February 14th, 2009

Melbourne, and proxy filters

Seeing as how I'm stuck using my work laptop for a few weeks (couldn't be arsed getting the mobile broadband to work on my linux laptop - Huawei E169 modem - it does work, just needs some kludging around) I thought I might give Chrome a try. It's pretty neat, except ...

Problem: Its fast, it looks pretty, there's lots of screen real estate. However, it doesn't block ads like FF/AdblockPlus can do. I guess like a lot of folks, I am hooked on the FF/extension bandwagon. (That, and it still renders quite a lot of webpages correctly)

Solution: Install Privoxy. I use it in linux in combination with Opera 10 alpha, and it works ok. But ...

Problem: Privoxy just plain sucks when it comes to blocking content. Too many false positives, and it is simply not easy enough to update it and train it. AdblockPlus has made me lazy.

Solution: Install BFilter. It has versions for linux and Windows and MacOS. Best of all, it supports AdblockPlus scripts, they just need to be modified a little. Hey! A great guy by the name of Steve (not me) wrote a neat little perl script which can convert them into BFilter format. However ...

Problem: The bash script that invokes it doesn't mesh well with Windows.

Solution: Aww, what the heck. Install Cygwin. I then spent too long messing with the bash script and setting up a task scheduler task to have it update automatically. (In retrospect, I could avoid all this hassle by dumping cygwin and installing perl for win32 and writing a DOS batch file to run the perl script.) Anyway, there's another problem.

Problem: The bash script in question calls only one file at a time. And I want to load multiple adblock filter lists into BFilter.

Solution: This isn't exactly a taxing problem. There's multiple solutions in bash. I mean I could just download them separately and cat a bunch of them together. Turns out you can get served a combined list from the server. Which is even easier.

The end result is exactly what I've been after. An adblocking proxy that can be used by any browser - not just Firefox. I've no idea how it affects browsing speed, I'll see what happens. In the end, I'm kind of happy to be losing my addiction to Firefox. Those extensions are just too damn tempting.


Melbourne has been pretty interesting so far. The course has been fantastic. First couple of days we went over some colour basics - colour gamuts, rendering intents and that sort of stuff. Then Wednesday afternoon through Friday we spent pulling the machine apart and memorising components - mainly circuit boards, power boards, motors and assemblies.

Jess got in yesterday so today we headed into the city to wander around and hit Minotaur again (I'd already found it earlier in the week). I think Jess is in love with Melbourne already, and she's only been here a day!

Wandering around today, I kept coming back to this one thought. They're all midgets. Seriously. I'm not exactly a man-mountain but so many of these people are just tiny stick figures. Either that or they are kids dressed as adults.

I'm sticking with the midgets theory.


Steve P
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