Thursday, July 20, 2006

Nifty hack

I needed to make a few edits to a web page, and for a variety of technical reasons which I won't dwell on, I couldn't view the results of my work from inside my network. I called up a friend to ask him to check the site from outside, as I realized that my neighbors are no longer giving away free wireless and my MacBook doesn't have a modem. After all, if a pal had an active network connection handy, it beats getting my act up and out to go to somewhere with free wireless in the middle of the night.

As it turned out, my outside source was out tripping the light fantastick and not in front of a computer. He did, however, mention seeing a post over on Lifehacker talking about using Google as a poor man's web proxy. Short story: You can use Google's optimized-for-mobile-devices (with tiny little brains and expensive bandwidth fees) page, aka Google Mobile Search, to browse the net. As part of the benefit to a handheld device, Google rewrites far too much of the target site's layout to be useful for my purposes, but by using Google's tool, I at least could confirm some basic facts and fix a minor typo or two.

To actually look at layout from the other side of my network, I used a pair of free proxies to check the site as-is: I hit The Cloak first, but its free-level bandwidth cap stopped me while I was reloading a page with a rather huge image. I next hit Anonymouse, which had a moderately annoying ad, but got the job done.

I, of course, use "hack" here in all the ways the media doesn't. With apologies to Robert Heinlein, "'hack' means 'to create.'"


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