Rick-Roll Prevention

If you are an experience web surfer, odds are you’ve clicked on a linked and ended up seeing this video on Youtube. Rigging a link so that it sends you to this video is called a Rick Roll. You are being “rolled” into a Rick Astley video. In the near-instant comedic shelf lives of internet humor, this sort of technique has become a bit passe, but it does still happen from time to time. Also, sometimes links are unintentionally directed at different content from what you are expecting. Or sometimes this is completely intentional in order to try to infect your computer with malware.

Today, I have a new tool to share with you that can help prevent this sort of thing from happening to you. The origin of this tip is from the VideoSurf blog, so you can check out their explanation. I did, however, want to expend on a couple of the things they talked about there.

First, this does require that you use Firefox and you will have to install an add-on called GreaseMonkey. GreaseMonkey is a very cool little addition that will allow you to install script that will pre-render pages in a variety of different ways. VideoSurf’s script will show you a preview of a video on the search pages of Google, Youtube or Yahoo. In this way, you can actually see the video without having to click on it. This is how you’ll be protected from the dreaded Rick-roll.

However, it is worth mentioning that for each of these scripts that you add on to your GreaseMonkey, you are going to increase the loading time of each page. In this sense, it is a bit of a trade-off to decide what functions are going to be worthwhile in your web browsing. Also, once you are used to a set of pre-rendered webpages, it is a little hard to go back to a regular browser without all the little add-ons you’ve built up for yourself.

I would recommend trying a few. Lifehacker has a very nice list of some of their favorites, and I hope to give you some more in a later post as I start to experiment with them.

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