Monthly Archives: August 2005

Mozilla Prefetch Misgivings

I’ve recently noticed that when I go to Google to search on something, I will sometimes get a cookie request from the first link that Google finds in the search.

I thought this was strange since I didn’t click on the link to the first search response. In fact, I hadn’t clicked on any link. Yet, I was being asked to accept a cookie from the site as if I had.

Well, now we know what is going on. The Mozilla family of browsers (which includes Firefox) implement an HTML tag that prefetchs content. The Mozilla FAQ says:

Link prefetching is a browser mechanism, which utilizes browser idle time to download or prefetch documents that the user might visit in the near future. A web page provides a set of prefetching hints to the browser, and after the browser is finished loading the page, it begins silently prefetching specified documents and stores them in its cache. When the user visits one of the prefetched documents, it can be served up quickly out of the browser’s cache.

So, this is how, when using Google, Mozilla prefetches documents and stores it on your computer, without your knowledge or approval, even though you haven’t clicked on any links found by your search.

In this day of super spammers, porno purveyors, and virus vermin, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is a vector for BigProblems(tm). Imagine the police taking you and your PC to jail because of illegal content downloaded and stored on your PC without your knowledge or consent. Imagine Trojan Horses or viruses being downloaded without your knowledge or consent.

While you can turn this “feature” off (and I urge you to do so by following the directions from Google here), I think it should be off by default. This is so obviously a problem, rather than a feature, that you have to hope that Mozilla hasn’t begun to emulate Microsoft’s evil ways.


Come Back Kids

Congratulations to the Ewa Beach, Hawaii World Champion
Little League Baseball team. I don’t have the time to give
you a play-by-play but it was one heck of a championship game
yesterday. Down 6-3 in the final inning they come back to tie
it and send it into extra innings. Then, in the bottom of the
first extra inning, a walk-off home run won the game for the
plucky team from West O’ahu, Hawaii over the defending
champions from Curacao.

Well done to the kids and their coach Layton Aliviado. You
can read more from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin here.

Things will continue to be sparse around here while I
continue to work on my project.


Move Along

I’m still cranking away on the project that is due next week Thursday so I gotta go.

Have a Great Weekend, Everyone – Aloha!

Flying Spaghetti Monsters Sited

Well, no, not actually. You’ve probably heard of the
Internet phenomenon referred to as the Flying Spaghetti
Monster, or Pastafarians, as some adherents are called.
Wikipedia has as good an explanation
as anyone else on
this passing fad so feel free to follow the link and see what
the noise has been all about.


Speaking of Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation is doing
fund raiser
. You can follow the link to the site to see
why they’re asking for money and then decide if it’s worthwhile
to donate. You decide. YMMV. Insert disclaimer here.

Tim O’Reilly is Not Evil

You may not always agree with
the man, as I did not regarding a contest they had that only
let in ‘Mericans living in the lower 48 states. But they
corrected that when it was pointed out.

But the O’Reilly family of sites is being taken to task
for some of the advertising therein. Mr. O’Reilly
has a longish post
and getting longer series of comments
on the subject.

I think the conversation that has started on the subject
is an important one because it affects how well Google
searches perform (understanding that “well” is a relative
term). What is the right way to advertise, given that
advertising pays the bills for many sites, is a difficult
question. But at least Mr. O’Reilly understands the questions
to ask. If you have the time, go read his post and the
comments to it.


Time Out

Sorry, no post today. I’m really busy at work trying to
finish a project due next week Thursday so I gotta go. Until
then, talk amongst yourselves.