Vodafone transparent proxy – BMI Javascript at 1.2.3.4

Vodafone UK appear to run a transparent proxy on HTTP connections through its network. This is most apparent when using a laptop via a mobile phone to access the Internet.

They inject HTML code at the beginning of most (but not all) webpages which forces the inclusion of an external Javascript file.

<script src="http://1.2.3.4/bmi-int-js/bmi.js" language="javascript"></script>

This code is used to replace on-page images with more highly compressed alternatives, presumably to reduce bandwidth usage on their network. This is most noticeable when browsing photo sites such as Flickr and Facebook albums.

The code seems largely well-behaved (although I have seen reports that it can break XHTML/XML documents, I haven’t experienced this personally) and is not a huge intrusion on my browsing experience … if anything it may help to speed things up, and keep my data bill down!

Still, if anybody is unaware of this occurring and is wondering why their photos look a bit rubbish, this is why!

(Google link)

The Island

The Fastcat ferry from Portsmouth to Ryde has a new addition in the form of TVs. There’s no sound so subtitles galore. They’ve just advertised a historic re-enactment of some kind or another featuring ‘the live firing of Canons’ (sic), so – we’ll be bombarding the enemy with flash photography then? 🙂

I’ll be getting a taste of islanders’ social living tomorrow as we get the ferry back into Portsmouth for Chris’ birthday drinks at Gunwharf. Ferries are every hour and finish just after 1, so no all night clubbing for me. Dismally, it’ll probably still be cheaper AND quicker than getting a taxi back to Gosport :-/

Hey, I got an email

From: Facebook
Subject: Joe Bloggs has sent you a message

Hi,

This is an email from Facebook. Joe Bloggs has sent you a message, but instead of telling you what that message might possibly be, we’re going to insist that you click this link and enter our bespoke email system instead.

Never mind that you already have a perfectly good email client with spam filtering, contacts, backup and centralised storage. It doesn’t matter that other social networking and communication sites seem to manage at least quoting the message, we’re going to insist on sending all your Facebook messages, wall posts and alerts this way.

But of course if you don’t like this system you can go away, except that all your friends will continue to use Facebook’s closed wall environment to post their events, messages and group messages, and if you’re not on Facebook … well, you can’t play.

Which really makes you wonder why your friends still use Facebook? Maybe that’s because if you get fully sucked into our happy little community you’ll be at one with the messages, walls and groups we’ve created for you… but goodness if you want one iota of flexibility about the way your content and communications comes through our site, you’re in for a fun little ride.

While we’re here, would you like to become a vampire, a zombie or maybe you’d like a super duper poke? We’ll just go ahead and keep asking.

Perhaps when you visit you’ll congratulate us on a job well done. It really does show how building a membership-based community where we define all the apps can work wonders for our traffic and advertisers. It’s an Internet within the Internet, because – y’know, the first one didn’t work so well.

Yours,

The Facebook Team

DBPedia

You might be interested in this http://dbpedia.org/docs/ – it is an attempt to automatically extract structured data from Wikipedia, and present it in a computer-friendly form.

It is then possible to download the dataset, or search using a SPARQL (semantic web/RDF query language as far as I know) query:

eg. http://wikipedia.aksw.org/index.php?qid=13 (there are more down the left-hand side)

They appear to have accumulated a rather large dataset: http://dbpedia.org/docs/#down

Dear, sweet time

I’m running with less and less free times these days, thanks to a whole bunch of vaguely interesting things going on. You may have noticed the frequency of ‘Links for…’ – these are articles I’ve spotted in Google Reader and want to share. I may also start to post articles that look like they were destined for email. In most cases, they are. The following was a quick email I sent to a contact, and rather than rewrite the contents I’ll simply copy + paste it here. It’s lazy I’m sure, but the content is what matters!