Saturday, July 07, 2012

Greased Monkey Business

It’s no secret that one of the major ways I manage to keep up with “goings-on” in the world of Technology and culture is with the use of a RSS feed reader.

Generally it goes something like this:

  • Launch Feed reader (Newsfox or Omea Reader),
  • Pull down article feeds,
  • Read, review and analyze,
  • Open feeds to be saved for later processing in web-browser, and
  • Bookmark article/link.

Later I might do some sorting of the saved bookmarks by subject or category or blog-post idea.

When it comes time to actually compose a post, I will open up Windows Live Writer on one side of my screen and my web-browser in the other.

Then I do a combo of composing the text body as well as some drag/drop action from the saved bookmark links.

That’s all well and good except for a tiny gotcha I figured out about a year ago.

See, many (but not all) of my RSS feeds actual open up to a page link that was seeded with some extra feed-tracking data code.

For instance:

This article appeared in my RSS feed list, was interesting, so I launched the full article in my browser and bookmarked it: Design and create with nanoCAD, a totally free CAD solution - freewaregenius.

However if you take a look at the actual URL provided by the RSS feed link in the browser was:

…rather than the direct URL of:

I added emphasis in the first link to show the extra sauce the RSS link path adds.

That’s not really a problem, but adds a bunch of extra code (and tracking data) that doesn’t really need need to be present in the blog links that everybody jumps from. I’m all for fair tracking and they get my “ding” when I view the full page the first time within my RSS feed reader.

So what I had been doing is cleaning up the link first in the bookmark properties before adding it to a post.

Only sometimes I forget.

Well, actually, many times I forget and it can be a lot of work cleaning them up.

Too bad I couldn’t automate cleaning up the bookmarks somehow.

Although I couldn’t figure a easy way to do that, I did eventually find a brilliant Greasemonkey script that did one better.

It actually intercepts the RSS feed-load in Firefox and cleans it up before loading in the tab. Sweet!

Removing UTM data from URLs automatically for cleaner bookmarks -Christian Heilmann. From his post page:

“I’ve come across lots of delicious bookmarks that still have all that campaign monitoring stuff in them, which is annoying. To work around that I’ve just written myself a tiny GreaseMonkey script:

Install un-UTM for GreaseMonkey

“If the browser now opens a link that has UTM data in it, it removes the information and reloads the page without it to make for a cleaner URL.”

Christian is clearly brilliant and his solution works perfectly. No more tracking data appending of URL’s to my saved bookmarks!


Mischief managed.

--Claus V.

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