[nSLUG] Re: User agent spoofing

Mike mspencer at tallships.ca
Tue Jan 23 13:53:15 AST 2007

This is an interesting and increasingly frequent problem.  It's very
similar, in both cause and effect, to the ISP help desk scenario we
all know:

    Help Desk:  Thank you for [blah blah blah] How may I help you?

    You:        I'm your user foo at yourdomain. Your secondary MX record for
                yourdomain  is in error so that much of my email is routed
                to in Kyrgyzstan and discarded.

    HD:         What version of Windows are you using?

    You:        None.  I'm using Linux.

    HD:         We don't support Linux.

Ben> I see no conspiracy against Linux users here, so let's not act
Ben> like a bunch of flaky zealots with persecution complexes.

I agree.  If you really, *really* need to see [1] whatever they're
refusing to give you, honey (and, optionally, hacking) will get you
more than vinegar.

Ben> Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by
Ben> stupidity (or ignorance).

My corollary to Hanlon's Razor is: Cases the scrutiny of which leads
inescapably to the application of Hanlon's Razor are already FUBAR.
Press reset.

In the case of corporate entities, we're either (stupidity) doing
their homework for free or (malice) entering the lists bearing the
Sword of Righteousness against the Mindless Blob that Ate New York .

In cases like these, where I want to view a site often, I try to
figure out the js and either hack or (preferably) elide it, creating a
page in ~/html that references the desired data in a way that I can
handle and bypassing all the js checking.  In more extreme cases, I
create a script in localhost/cgi-bin that does similar.  If I'm not
clever enough to make that work, I get along without.

Of course, applying that attitude in general leads me to getting along
without things that many folks would consider a necessity, a right or
an entitlement.  But la vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin.

- Mike

[1] But have a Naked Digital Lunch. Look to see what, exactly, is on
    the end of your bitfork.

Michael Spencer                  Nova Scotia, Canada       .~. 
mspencer at tallships.ca                                     /( )\
http://home.tallships.ca/mspencer/                        ^^-^^


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