Tuesday, May 18, 2004

knock knock. who's there?

BTW just in case you don't already know about this, here's the scoop on BugMeNot - sometimes when you are surfing the web, you get to a page that won't show you the news or whatever until you login, because they need to analyze usage patterns to target specific demographics and increase their advertising revenues. Often I just say 'fuck em' - actually, that's true now that I think about it, I do say that quite often - err, 'cause just about anything behind a gate at one site on the internet is right out on the lawn at another site, so 'fuck em'.

Occasionally, however, I actually want to read the article. That's where BugMeNot comes in... go there, type in the name of the website, and if they have them (they have data on over 2100 sites) they'll tell you a user/password combo to get you in. If they didn't have the site already, what the fuck, *you* set it up and enter the data at BugMeNot.

If you run into this problem a lot, use their bookmarklet on your toolbar to simplify the process... clicking the bookmarklet will scan their database and give you the info automagically.

If the place you are having the problem with is the New York Times, there is another useful solution: Aaron Swartz's New York Times Link Generator transforms an NYT.com URL that would lead to a login screen into one that leads to the archived version of the story, which exists if the story is more than a few minutes old. Aaron has made a bookmarklet for this as well, so as soon as I see the NYT login page I click on the bookmarklet and the problem goes away. Aaron also released the python source code for the conversion tool that gets triggered by his bookmarklet if you want to see how it's done.

And finally, if you don't know what bookmarklets are or you do and want to find more cool stuff, go to bookmarklets.com.