Google Chrome does not honor Cookie Blocking for Youtube.com

UPDATE: Chrome will correctly block youtube (and other cookies). Thanks to Mike West at Google for taking the time to leave a comment outlining the fix. The crux of the issue is that a literal pattern like I was using ( youtube.com ) will only match the literal domain “youtube.com”. To match all sub-domains, you need to use a wildcard, although the syntax is non-obvious (to me). The correct pattern is [*.]youtube.com. Interestingly, if you try to use *.youtube.com, the field turns red and you cannot save the pattern, which is what led me to try youtube.com. I have also updated my article on HOWTO prevent youtube from tracking your gmail-credentials.

Here’s the original post:


A few (wow, 10?) months ago, I posted instructions for preventing youtube from tracking your gmail credentials, which amounts to blocking youtube from setting cookies in your browser, and removing any existing youtube cookies. However, I’ve noticed that every so often, youtube once again identifies me by my GMail account, and I have to clear the cookies again, even though I am still blocking all cookies matching “youtube.com”.

I finally decided to investigate, and it appears that Chrome is not honoring my blocked cookies settings at all. Clear all cookies prevents youtube from identifying my GMail account, until I click on a youtube link in an email in GMail, and then the cookie is set and I’m identified until I clear it (don’t log out of youtube, you will be logged out of GMail too). For reference, my Chrome version is currently 20.0.1132.57, and is “Up to date” as of this writing, but I have been having this issue for some time.

Steps to reproduce:

  1. Close any open windows/tabs for youtube.com
  2. Open Settings, Advanced Settings; under Privacy click “Content Settings…”
  3. Click “Content Settings…”
  4. Under Cookies make sure the “allow local data to be set (recommended)” is selected.
  5. Click “Manage exceptions…”
  6. in the box “Add a new hostname pattern”, enter “youtube.com” (without quotes); set the behavior dropdown to “block”, and click ok.
  7. You are returned to the Content Settings dialog; click “All cookies and site data…”
  8. in the “Search Cookies” box (top right), type “youtube” (no quotes).
  9. If the list contains any cookies, click “Remove all”.
  10. Close the cookie dialog, content settings dialog, and the settings tab.
  11. Navigate to youtube.com
  12. Return to settings, advanced settings, content settings, All cookies and site data
  13. Search again for “youtube” (no quotes). You will see cookies from youtube. If you return to youtube and watch some videos, and then search again, you will have more cookies, plus “local storage”.

Just because youtube is a google property is no reason for Chrome to not honor my cookie settings. I don’t know if that is the case; I don’t know if Chrome ignores all cookie blocking settings, but this is a case I discovered and can reproduce. I submitted a bug report (essentially the same as this post) via Chrome’s “report an issue” feature. We’ll see if it gets addressed; I’ll post an update if I hear directly from Google.

HOWTO Prevent YouTube from Tracking your GMail Credentials

Updated 21 Jul 2012 to correct the cookie pattern syntax for Chrome.

I have recently noticed that when I visit a page on youtube, the top-right corner shows that I am logged in by my email address. Because I use Google Apps for Business (neé Google Apps for Domains) to manage my email, and because Google recently insisted I merge all of my Google accounts, I also see a banner at the top of the page warning “This account is managed by jclark.org” with a link for more info.

What this means is that Google can track all of the videos I watch on YouTube and associate them with my GMail account. And I expect that goes for YouTube viedos embedded on other sites as well Because I value my privacy, I don’t want that behavior; that’s the primary reason I have never signed up for a YouTube account. Logging out of YouTube has an undesirable side-effect: I am immediately logged out GMail and Google Reader as well. One solution is to use separate browsers, however, I prefer to run a single browser for efficiency, and viewing any page with an embedded YouTube video in my GMail browser would tack me, even if I then use another browser to view it.

I have found a simple solution: do not allow youtube.com to receive or store cookies on my browser. This also required removing any existing youtube.com cookies already stored by the browser. This has the side effect that I cannot log in to YouTube at all, however, that is acceptable to me since I don’t have, and do not want, a YouTube account.

Here are the steps I took in Chrome:

  1. Close any open youtube.com pages.
  2. Using the wrench icon, open Preferences
  3. In the “Under the Hood” tab, in the Privacy section, click “Content Settings…”
  4. Under Cookies, the current setting should say “Allow local data to be set (recommended),” or possibly “Allow local data to be set for the current session only”. If you have another setting, you probably already take a more active role in managing your cookies, and should not need these directions.
  5. Under Cookies, click “Manage Exceptions…”
  6. Under “Hostname Pattern” type “[*.]youtube.com” (no quotes) and change the Behavior dropdown to “Block”. Close the dialog.
  7. You are returned to “Content Settings”; under Cookies click “All Cookies and Site Data…”
  8. In the search box, type “youtube” (no quotes). The list of sites’ cookies will be filtered to URLs containing “youtube”; in my case, it was all URLs ending in youtube.com. Click “Remove All”.
  9. Close preferences. Browse to YouTube, you should now see a “Sign In” link in the upper right corner. Confirm that you are still logged in to GMail.
  10. Profit! Well, a little more Privacy, at any rate.

Inspiration

If you can watch this without being inspired to do something, well, I feel terrible for you.

More Please:

Hamburger Assistant

Like the idea of Hamburger Helper but don’t like the smarmy little glove? Need a quick dinner? Try this.

Ingredients
1 lb. Ground Beef
2 packages Beef flavored Ramen Noodles

Cook the ground beef about 3/4 done and drain the fat off. Add seasoning packet from one of the Ramen packages and continue to cook. Meanwhile, boil the noodles from both packages together (no seasoning) for two minutes and drain well. Mix the noodles with the cooked beef, and add remaining seasoning packet to taste. At least a half packet, you may want the whole thing.

This has always been my go-to dish when I’m Mr. Mom. The kids love it, and so do I. At $0.20 plus a pound of beef, it’s a lot cheaper than the glove too.

Missing Comments

If you have commented on a post in the last few months, and it never appeared – it should now be present (unless it was spam, of course). I just discovered a number of comments awaiting moderation; I don’t seem to have been getting the notification e-mails. I’m trying to figure out why; in the interim, I’ll try to keep an eye on the moderation queue.

My Television Debut

Those of you who could pick me out of a lineup may catch a glimpse of me tonight, if you watch the Phillies’ Season Opener against the Braves, at 8pm on ESPN2. Whether you know me or not, tune in – baseball is back! It should be a great game. Go Phills!

A Lovely Cuppa

I am a lifelong coffee swiller. I started drinking coffee in high school, and never really stopped. The blossoming of premium coffee that started in the 90′s with Starbucks increased my appreciation for a good cup, and reduced my patience with bad brew. The coffee in my office isn’t great, but it’s not terrible; also it is free and always available. Six or more cups a day was not uncommon for me.

But I’m getting older. Time was, I could have a cup of coffee a half-hour before bed, and go right to sleep. Those days are no more. Nowadays, a cup of coffee after dinner and I have trouble falling asleep; two cups and I’m up all night. So I gave up coffee after dinner a while ago. However, the coffee was starting to tear up my stomach. So I quit completely.

I didn’t set out to give up coffee. In early December, I had a mild sore throat. One evening, I decided to treat it with a hot toddy – in this case tea, with honey and bourbon. Now, a few years ago, a co-worker turned me on to loose tea from Adagio Teas. I have their IngenuiTea teapot, which is the most convenient way to make a cup of tea I’ve seen. Since I hadn’t used the teapot in a while, I didn’t have much on hand for tea – just a set of samplers I had received when I ordered an extra teapot for Sherri to use (mine was at work). Wanting something to go with honey (and bourbon), I made a cup of Citron Green. It helped my throat, and I loved having a hot beverage in the evening again. Tea has about half the caffeine of an average cup of coffee (and much less than a strong coffee like Starbucks), and green tea has about half the caffeine of black tea.

In addition to the reduced caffeine, I noticed that the tea wasn’t irritating my stomach either, so I tried some other teas in the sampler. This led to a fresh order from Adagio, and some more sampling. After another week, I found that I was honestly enjoying tea more than coffee, and just stopped drinking the coffee.

So I’m now a tea convert. I’m still trying different samplers occaisionally, but here are my daily teas:

  1. Earl Grey. Captain Picard was right. Now, this is an acquired taste for some people. Earl Grey is a black tea flavored with oil of bergamot, a citrus fruit. It is somewhat floral. I’ve always liked it, but Adagio’s version, “Aristocrat Earl Grey” (also called “Bravo”) is outstanding. This is my first-cup-of-the-morning tea. I enjoy this tea with a splash of milk and a little sugar – about 1 light teaspoon to an 8 oz cup of tea. I don’t want it to be sweet, but I find that a little sugar brings out a lot of the flavors in the tea.

  2. Yunnan Jig. A black tea from the Yunnan region of China. I’ve spent several minutes trying to figure out how to describe it. It reminds me of a classic black tea, like English Breakfast tea, but so much better. I was never a huge fan of regular black teas, but this is now my standard tea. Sublime. I take this the same way as the Earl Grey – milk and sugar.

  3. Citron Green. This is a green tea flavored with citrus. It is excellent with a half-teaspoon or so of honey. It’s a great tea to relax with, and is the tea I always reach for after 8pm, if I’m having tea.

If you’d like to try some tea, I’d certainly recommend trying a sampler of loose teas from Adagio. They offer a number of samplers – black, green, oolong, flavors, herbal, and more. They used to sell samplers along with the IngenuiTea teapot at a discount, but I can’t find that on the site. Customers can send free $5 gift certificates to their friends, so if you’d like a gift certificate, send me an email and I’ll pass one along.

Oh, and I’m not the only fan of loose tea in general or Adagio in particular; what started as a comment to Effika’s post on the subject became this post.

Getting Read

November is NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. While I won’t be participating, I do know someone who has, and some day I would like to. Many folks participate just for the sake of writing, but many folks would like to be a published author some day. How do you go from writing to getting read?

In the Internet Age in which we live, there are many more options than ever before. Some folks have published entire books online, and some have even been published by a traditional publisher as a result. Many folks now choose to self-publish, using one of the many services now available that will print, sell, and even distribute your works, such as lulu.com.

But what if you want to go the traditional route, and be published by a traditional book publisher? I have never been down this road myself (first-hand accounts welcome in the comments!), but my understanding is that you submit your work to a publisher – or to many. Often, you don’t submit the entire work… only the first 10,000 words, along with a synopsis of the entire story. Even with only 10,000 words to read, publishers receive far more submissions than the senior editors could ever possibly review. Instead, manuscripts go into a slush pile, where an editor’s assistant will (hopefully) eventually read it; if they like it they can try to persuade an editor to have a look. Given the volume of unsolicited manuscripts that publishers receive, the chances of your manuscript being selected for publication are slim.

Harper Collins has decided to use the distributed power of the internet to try and tackle this problem. They have launched a new website, authonomy, currently in beta. The site allows authors to submit works – including incomplete works – and allows site visitors to read, comment on, and recommend works posted to the site. From the FAQ:

authonomy invites unpublished and self published authors to post their manuscripts for visitors to read online. Authors create their own personal page on the site to host their project – and must make at least 10,000 words available for the public to read.

Visitors to authonomy can comment on these submissions – and can personally recommend their favourites to the community. authonomy counts the number of recommendations each book receives, and uses it to rank the books on the site. It also spots which visitors consistently recommend the best books – and uses that info to rank the most influential trend spotters.

We hope the authonomy community will guide publishers straight to the freshest writing talent – and will give passionate and thoughtful readers a real chance to influence what’s on our shelves.

How will this help authors? At a minimum, reading the comments of potentially many reviewers could be valuable. But there’s also the potential of being read by the editors at Harper Collins. Again from the FAQ:

Once a month we’ll be pulling out the top five books from the Editor’s Desk Chart, and passing them on to our Editorial Board. HC editors will read from the first 10,000 words of each manuscript, and will feed back their comments to the appropriate authors, who will be able to decide whether or not to make these comments available to the community at large.

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, and decide to post your work at authonomy, please leave a comment below- I’d love to read it.

The 2008 World Series Champions, Your Fightin’ Phillies!

Congratulation to the Philadelphia Phillies, 2008 World Series Champions! And as if that weren’t good enough, only 4 month until Spring Training! Let’s Go Phils!

The 2008 National League Champions, Your Fightin’ Phillies

Congratulations to the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies, National League Champs. The first Phillies team in 15 years to make it to the World Series, the Phils won the NLCS tonight against the LA Dodgers 5-1, to win the series 4-1. Cole Hamels pitched another outstanding post-season start, giving up 1 run in seven innings, and was named NLCS MVP. Shane “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” Victorino, who in my estimation was at least runner-up for the LCS MVP title, again had an excellent night defensively, and hit 1 for 2 on the night with a .750 OBP. It was an outstanding win all around, and certainly a joy to watch after last night’s nail-biter of a game 4, which the Phils won 7-5.

On a more personal note- Philadelphia sports fans have a bit of a reputation, and well earned. I am in my 13th year as a transplant to the Greater Philadelphia Area, having grown up in Virginia Beach. Back home, the closest thing we had to a “local” professional sports team was the Washington Redskins, 5 hours away up I-64 & I-95. My folks, both from New England, were both staunch Red Sox fans, but in those days the Bum Sox (as my mother so often called them) were deep into their 84 year World Series win drought, and were only seen on TV a few times a year. My father took my brother and me to several minor league games every summer, to watch the (then) Tidewater (now Norfolk) Tides, who were at the time the AAA franchise of the New York Mets. Aside from these outings, I really didn’t grow up a sports fan. Tidewater Virginia just wasn’t a big sports town.

So, when I moved to the Philly area in 1996, I got a bit of a culture shock. These folks are fans, in the truest sense of the root word “fanatic”, and they are passionate about their teams. This is a city (in fact, a whole region, encompassing southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and much of Delaware) with 4 major sports franchises (Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, and 76ers) but without a championship in over 25 years. Witness the Cheesesteak of Suffering, which at the time of this writing shows 9270 days since a Philly championship of any kind (as an aside, the Philadelphia Soul won the Arena Bowl this year in the AFL, which was awesome (!), but it just doesn’t count when it comes to the drought around here).

Once I moved to the area, though, it didn’t take long. Improbably (given that I’d never watched a game before moving here), I became a hockey fan my first year here, following the Flyers as they won their first conference championship in 10 years before getting swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals. Although they haven’t done as well since, I’ve been a Flyers fan ever since. A few years later, in 1999, Andy Reid took over from Ray Rhodes (who led the Eagles to a 3-13 record in ’98) as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and drafted Donovan McNabb as the second overall pick that year. The ’99 season wasn’t very good either (5-11). But in 2000, the Eagles hype finally got to me, and I watched the season opener, which they won. I was quickly hooked and watched the Eagles go on to have their first winning season in 4 years. They then proceeded to win their division in the 5 of the next 6 years, including a trip to the Super Bowl in 2004. I’ve been hooked ever since, and have only missed a handful of Eagles games on TV in the last 8 years.

And so it was that last year my friend an co-worker Yeager, an avid baseball fan in general and Phillies fan in particular, after years of ribbing from the guys in my group (including me) at work about how baseball isn’t a “real sport” like football or hockey, managed to peak my interest. It was after the all-star break, and the Phillies were make a dogged attempt to catch the hated Mets for the NL East divisional title. The team that Jimmy Rollins had dubbed “The team to beat” was making it happen, Fightin’ as only the Phillies do while the hated Mets managed their storied collapse. By the time the Phillies clinched the divisional title (on the last day of the regular season!), I was completely hooked. Unfortunately, the Phils got swept by the Colorado Rockies in the NLDS, but it that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm. During the off season, I read (at Yeager’s recommendation) Baseball Between the Numbers, an excellent introduction to the field of Sabremetrics, the über-geeky expression of love of baseball via statistical analysis (highly recommended- I’ve read it twice now). I even picked up my first copy of the annual Bible of baseball, the Baseball Prospectus. I’ve followed the Phills all season, and watched a whole lot of baseball… even to the exclusion of a couple of Eagles games so far this season (an idea I would have laughed at a couple of years ago). My appreciation for baseball has really increased, as I learn more and more about this surprisingly deep game. Tonight’s win was hugely satisfying for me, as a recent fan; I can only imagine what long time fans are feeling.

So, to the 2008 Phillies – congratulations and best of luck in the World Series. I sure would like to see that Cheesecake of Suffering reset. To Philadelphia sports fans of every team – thanks. Your enthusiasm has really rubbed off, and I will continue to be a fan of Philly teams no matter where I live. And a special tip of the ball cap to Yeager, for putting up with the anti-baseball razzing over the years, and turning me on to the original National Pastime.

GO PHILS!