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Kittens vs the Daily Mail

September 28th, 2010

This is what the Daily Mail website now looks like on my computer. Let me explain.

It's hard to avoid the Daily Mail. Even if you'd never choose to buy a copy, links to its website are everywhere (except this post, obviously). Some are easy to spot and avoid, but when one is obfuscated by link shortening services – particularly common on Twitter, for obvious reasons – it's all to easy to visit Mail Online unintentionally. And this is bad for two reasons: it'll make you very angry or upset*, and it helps to bolster the newspaper's website stats and online advert impressions.

My solution involves kittens. All the best solutions do.

Kitten Block is a Firefox extension that blocks the Daily Mail and Daily Express websites. And nothing else. There are no configuration settings, options or adjustable blacklists and no override option, so once installed it looks rather like this:

If you click on a link – shortened, full or whatever – to either site the extension intercepts it and redirects you to a special page on www.teaandkittens.co.uk, as pictured above. The extension can of course be disabled or removed. It's free, obviously – the code that makes it tick is mostly cobbled together from snippets on the Mozilla Developer Hub site, so I take no real credit – and anyone's welcome to edit, reuse or improve it.

Kitten Block has been tested on Firefox 3.6 under Windows, but use it at your own risk – please let me know if you spot any bugs, problems etc. You can get it from the Mozilla Addons site, here.

UPDATE: Kitten Block version 1.1 is now up on the Mozilla Addons site. It includes support for Firefox 4 Beta (up to 4.0b7), optimised code (shorter, smarter, redesigned to prevent incompatibility with other addons) and – very excitingly – a new kitten icon.

UPDATE 2: Now also available for Chrome!

* Or both, obviously.

21 Responses to “Kittens vs the Daily Mail”

Misogynistas at SlideRulesYou.com Says:

[...] compulsive habit. The only excuse I can muster is attempting to know thine enemy. Browser apps like this one from TomRoyal.com – where when activated, any Daily Mail website link will be automatically redirected to pictures of [...]

Nat@London Says:

What could be better! My kittens certainly approve!

davidnottingham Says:

Any chance this extension could be ported to Chrome? It'd save me a lot of ire.

Tom Royal Says:

David – I'll take a look. I think Chrome extensions are essentially Javascript, so it should be possible.

istyosty Says:

very nice. I run a site with similar intentions (reduce their hits/ad revenue) but you can still view their articles. Mind if I cannibalise your extension to run mailonline links through my proxy?

http://istyosty.com

Tom Royal Says:

Hello – a colleague pointed out your site just the other day as it happens. And sure, if you want to adapt the code into something similar for your proxy, go for it – should be a very simple change.

istyosty Says:

Thank you very much, I'll stick a credit to your original extension on my site also.

A link to a kill | Evolving Thoughts Says:

[...] the Daily Mail: Kittens vs the Daily Mail. A useful plug-in. Can we have a more general [...]

Zero Tolerance for the Daily Mail, its contributors and supporters. « Roll back… and mix. Says:

[...] If you'd like to do the same, and use Firefox, you'll find a good start is Tom Royal's excellent Kitten Block plug-in. [...]

vincentthefirst Says:

I just love tea and kittens so much. Not having any kittens of my own, I took a photo of my lovely cup of tea in the hope of sharing it with other happy tea and kittens fans. I would make me happy if you added to your site, consider it a controbution of support. I do hope you like it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62041900@N05/5646351837/

aleix Says:

Hey Tom, I've installed the Firefox, Chrome and Safari kittenator. My computer is safe now, but the iOS devices aren't, is there a way to install Kitten Block on Mobile Safari? I hope Apple aren't being bums about it. Has anyone created it yet?

Tom Royal Says:

Hi Aleix

I'm afraid Apple doesn't allow plugins for mobile Safari :( I think the Firefox version might work on Mobile Firefox for Android, but there's no way to install the blocker for iOS. Sorry!

Tom

The Curious Case of Istyosty – When is a Proxy not a Proxy, General Legality and the Moral Highground « Rev Dan Catt's Blog Says:

[...] can Sharkify the page and make Sharks appear all over it. Or even (as Istyosty says) use Kitten Block which prevents you even reaching the Mail Online in the first place – when you click on a [...]

CJD and the Daily Mail – Guy Chapman's Blahg Says:

[...] on one copy: "Does this girl's tragic story mean the return of CJD?" (if you have KittenBlock you might need to disable it to read the [...]

richyblue Says:

any chance of an Opera port?

James837 Says:

I'm using this addon for Chrome, and I love it so much.

Tea & Kittens – 1
Daily Mail and Express – 0

:D

E1201 Says:

It won't allow me to download the blocker for safari. Please help! :)

The faces of TV archaeology | A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe Says:

[...] to have been the take of the Telegraph (of whom we might expect no better) and the Daily Mail (of whom we might expect worse and who recorded Mrs Ochota's arrival with the headline, "'What's she got [...]

Let’s boycott the MailOnline for 24 hours- TitTat Says:

[...] you’ll wonder why you bothered about it at all. So step away from the sidebar of shame, install kitten block and join us for 24 hours of Mail-free [...]

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