Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Laws, sausages, and misleading packaging

Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.
-- Otto von Bismarck

The connection between laws and sausages is clear, but what about sausages and false advertising? While I don't eat pork, I do eat chicken and occasionally buy (what I thought were) chicken sausages. While I try to examine food items (ingredients, manufacturers, etc.) I clearly missed a thorough reading of these. Of the three or four brands of chicken sausages I saw in an overpriced health-focused supermarket (you know what I'm talking about), all but one use a pork skin casing. This bothers me since I bought the chicken sausages to avoid pork and have assumed that others do the same. Additionally, since there is one brand that doesn't use pork, that tells me that it's possible.

Al Fresco or Aidells (pick "Chicken and Apple") for some examples. I'll update this post later when I determine which brand is the "good" one.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cutting down on snail-mail spam

Following up on this post: I got the nth credit card application in the mail and finally looked closely enough to see this phone number:

1-888-567-8688 (1-888-5-OPTOUT)

Searching for that phone number takes you to the FTC Privacy Protection Page, where you'll find several useful links for cutting down on junk mail from credit card companies and direct marketers.
In related links, take a look at carbonrally where you can "compete" for carbon reduction by making various promises. One of the actions you can take involves going to CatalogChoice.

Update (2.26.2008): A friend shares a link to GreenDimes -- a similar service, though this one seems to cost money.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Copying links from Google search results

You may have noticed that when you copy links from Google search results, you don't get what you expected -- when you hover over them, your browser says one thing, but when you right-click on them, it says another. For example, searching for snappletronics, Google gives you the code for a link like this: (emphasis not in original, obviously)

<a href="http://snappletronics.blogspot.com/"
onmousedown="return rwt(this,'','','res','1','AFQjCNGxo5T82OPvPMIGpTmHTE3JzTBwzg','&sig2=vMD0Ey969KDVrwhFXwVgBw')">

What does this mean? It means that when you right-click on the link, some Javascript function gets to run and change the link, so the link turns from Snappletronics to Snappletronics (watch the tooltip or your browser's status bar). The second link tells Google that I clicked the link and maybe other identifying information. I believe this surreptitious link-changing is a pretty strong violation of "Don't be evil."

Fortunately, there's help if you use Firefox. If you have Greasemonkey, this script will remove their hooks and prevent them from changing the link on you.

Update (11.12.2010): The above script is now outdated. Depending on when you read this, this script might be a decent replacement.

Friday, February 8, 2008