Alternative Information Directory
Coronavirus information & resources
Vaccines - What You Need To Know

The power of uBO filters

I've heard people complain about the lack of granularity of uBlock Origin filtering compared to the no longer developed uMatrix add-on, and i've been one of those people. I still think Raymond's decision to abandon uM in favor of the allegedly easier to use uBO was a mistake and i'm certainty not alone. The pop-up interface of uMatrix always seemed more intuitive to me.

Some folks are adamant that uMatrix is superior to uBlock and is an absolute must-have, like breathing, however i'm not sure there's anything that one can do with uM that cannot be accomplished with uBO's filters, available in the 'My Filters' section of its settings. Other than adding a custom rule or two like *$font,third-party , which allows 1st party fonts while blocking 3rd party fonts, i've not been utilizing this filtering capability until very recently. These filters offer very granular control, right down to individual resources like a specific JavaScript file for a specific domain.

YouTube videos are a valuable resource of information but the website is a f'n joke from a technical point of view, as well as an assault on ones privacy. Sure, you can make use of the many alternative front-ends to YouTube (and Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc.) with a browser add-on like LibRedirect, but these alternatives come at a cost. They may not be able to handle the load, or they may be off-line, or they may be run by malicious actors, etc.. Nevertheless i think they are beneficial overall, especially if JavaScript does not have to be enabled to use them, but i digress.

YouTube serves up piles of shit (JavaScript) every time you load the domain and so i wanted to see how much of it could be toileted while still retaining much of the functionality of the platform like, you know, being able to watch videos and read comments and stuff. uBlock's logger makes it really easy to create these granular rules. With the logger open one can create either a URL (dynamic) or a static rule. While URL rules are more efficient, you can't use wildcards (*) in the file paths and for technically retarded sites like YouTube, which appear to use dynamically generated path names for some resources ( .../player/c4225c42/player_ias.vflset/... ), URL rules aren't going to work for all of the stuff i wanted to block.

I ended up trimming a fair amount of lard from YouTube using static filters while still retaining the appearance and functionality i wanted. Here's the filters i'm currently using (if you're on mobile you may need to adjust):

||fonts.googleapis.com^$stylesheet,domain=www.youtube.com
||jnn-pa.googleapis.com^$xhr
||www.youtube.com/*/jsbin/custom-elements-es5-adapter.vflset/$script
||www.youtube.com/*/jsbin/intersection-observer.min.vflset/intersection-observer.min.js$script
||www.youtube.com/*/jsbin/scheduler.vflset/$script
||www.youtube.com/*/jsbin/serviceworker-notifications.vflset/$script
||www.youtube.com/*/jsbin/spf.vflset/spf.js$script
||www.youtube.com/*/jsbin/web-animations-next-lite.min.vflset/$script
||www.youtube.com/*/jsbin/www-tampering.vflset/www-tampering.js$script
||www.youtube.com/*/player_ias.vflset/en_US/annotations_module.js$script
||www.youtube.com/*/player_ias.vflset/en_US/embed.js$script
||www.youtube.com/*/player_ias.vflset/en_US/endscreen.js$script
||www.youtube.com/*/player_ias.vflset/en_US/miniplayer.js$script
||www.youtube.com/*/player_ias.vflset/en_US/offline.js$script
||www.youtube.com/*/player_ias.vflset/en_US/remote.js$script
||www.youtube.com/api/stats/*$xhr
||www.youtube.com/generate_204$xhr
||www.youtube.com/s/search/audio/*$media,domain=www.youtube.com
||www.youtube.com/sw.js$script
||www.youtube.com/youtubei/v1/att/get?key=*$xhr
||www.youtube.com/youtubei/v1/share/*$xhr

Linux: Automatically shutdown your router on system shutdown

If you have a router with storage media attached it's rather important that it be shut down gracefully when powering it off, else filesystem corruption is a possibility.

In my case i shut down everything at night by powering off my PC, then my UPC which supplies power to all other attached devices. I wanted to auto-shutdown the router on system shutdown instead of killing the power by shutting off the UPC and there is tons of advice on how to accomplish this using a systemd unit file, every bit of which either failed to work for me or didn't sound reasonable, and then i found a post on the Manjaro forum that solved the problem.

Goal:

  • Gracefully shut down router on system shutdown, but not on reboot.

Requirements:

assumed key file name: router_id_ed25519
assumed user name: dingaling
assumed router IP/port: 192.168.1.1:22

In /etc/systemd/system create the systemd unit file:

$ sudo nano shutdown-router.service

In shutdown-router.service adjust the following and paste it in the file:

[Unit]
Description=Shutdown router on system shutdown
DefaultDependencies=no
Before=poweroff.target halt.target shutdown.target
# to test, comment out below and run: $ sudo systemctl start shutdown-router.service
Requires=poweroff.target
[Service]
Type=oneshot
ExecStart=/usr/bin/ssh -i /home/dingaling/.ssh/router_id_ed25519 192.168.1.1 poweroff
RemainAfterExit=yes
[Install]
WantedBy=shutdown.target

After saving the file, finish up with the following:

$ sudo systemctl enable shutdown-router.service
$ sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Naomi Brockwell: Online privacy in 2022

The more i listen to this girl the more i like her. It seems Naomi Brockwell is quite well versed in all things privacy related in the digital world and she makes it easy for the technically challenged to incrementally adopt better privacy practices by offering her knowledge in bite-sized pieces. I don't agree with all of her choices, but i wouldn't argue that any are unreasonable either, at least not from what i've heard so far.

Online privacy in 2022? The tools you should be using to stop being tracked.