Tag Archives: linux

Bug Labs

1 Dec

This is one of the coolest ideas I’ve seen in a while. Bug Labs is developing some technology that should be very interesting to any geek. Another great find by Robert Scoble. The video quality isn’t high because they were recorded on his cell phone, but I’m glad he had a video capable cell phone with him when he bumped into Peter.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

bug_lab.gif

Half star ratings on Netflix

2 May

I noticed a friend of mine (Jordan L.) who had half-star ratings (2.5, 3.5, etc.) on Netflix. When I asked him about it, he said to just “hover over the left side of the star” to get a half-star rating. This didn’t work for me, so I thought it might be a Linux vs. Windows thing and asked another friend (Mike F.) to try it out. Same result – didn’t work in IE or Firefox on Windows. Then Mike found a JavaScript file that could be installed with greasemonkey and that worked fine for him.

I’ve yet to install greasemonkey, and I don’t like the idea of installing JavaScript on my system unless I’ve thoroughly analyzed it, so I thought of another way.

I installed wireshark on my Ubuntu Linux box and sniffed the network traffic to Netflix when I rated a movie. After some experimenting and removal of extraneous info, I came up with the following URL to rate a movie with half stars. This specific URL will rate the movie “The Incredibles” with a 4.5 star rating (probably a bad example since The Incredibles clearly deserves a 5 star rating):

http://www.netflix.com/SetRating?widgetid=M70001989&value=4.5

To rate other movies, simply replace 70001989 with the id of the movie which you can find by hovering over the movie. I believe you’ll need to be logged in to Netflix already for this to work.

Now as to why Jordan can rate half-stars without the aid of a greasemonkey script, that’s still a mystery.

Update: got an email from Jordan explaining that his Netflix pages include the following two JavaScript source files:

src=”http://www.netflix.com/layout/jscript/dom_starbar_v2.js?v=126505″
src=”http://www.netflix.com/layout/jscript/dom_starbar_halfstars.js?v=126505″

I only have the first one, and from the name of the second one, I presume that’s the one that gives him the special half star rating capability. I guess Netflix favors Jordan over me :(

Update 2: mystery solved! My curiosity got the best of me so I contacted Netflix. The rep said they’re running a test and Jordan just happened to get picked (I didn’t mention Jordan, but I suppose they looked through my ‘friend’ list)! They do that periodically to test features to see if they’ll give them to the unwashed masses. I asked if they could run the test on me, and he said it didn’t work that way :) So I guess it’s the greasemonkey script or the inconvenient URL hack for the rest of us.

Etch is here

8 Apr

Wow, debian.org has finally released version 4.0 (“etch”). debian is an awesome linux distribution for servers, but 3.1 has some rather old packages. In particular, I need Apache 2.2 for mod_proxy_balancer, so I installed Ubuntu 6.10 server on my last server to get more recent packages. I expect to use debian 4.0 for future server installs.

I found out about this from distrowatch.com and there’s a blurb on slashdot.org about it.

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