NYT registration generator April 24, 2002 7:05 PM   Subscribe

Tired of using mefi/mefi to log into the New York Times?

Now you don't have to.
posted by mr_crash_davis to MetaFilter-Related at 7:05 PM (31 comments total)

via memepool.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:06 PM on April 24, 2002

Hey, thanks!
posted by y2karl at 7:41 PM on April 24, 2002

What a colossal waste of cycles on NYT's part. I remember reading here previously that they haven't done squat with any of the marketing data they have gathered. One has to wonder how many eyeballs they have scared away with the registration requirement.
posted by machaus at 7:49 PM on April 24, 2002

But for now it's great, thanks!
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 9:02 PM on April 24, 2002

I'll use it simply to inconvenience them. Thanks for the link.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:06 PM on April 24, 2002

Yeah, the NYT sucks. It actually asks you to register to access timely, quality, FREE content. The nerve! Let's fuck it up!
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:30 AM on April 25, 2002

Subversive. I like it.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:17 AM on April 25, 2002

I'm with donkeyschlong on this one.
posted by mrbula at 7:11 AM on April 25, 2002

Two words, donkey: Market Forces.
posted by SpecialK at 9:56 AM on April 25, 2002

I'll use it simply to inconvenience them.

Jesus, what a prick. So you take their content that costs them money to produce and then try to stick it to em on the way out?

I mean, christ, all they're asking is that you register to recieve (FOR FREE) content that would cost you a couple of bucks a day on the newsstand.

I have no idea how you people can excuse your lame mefi/mefi logins or using random login generators and then bitch when shit isn't free. Hell, you could make the case that the owner of this site DOESN'T HAVE A JOB because people are completely unable to support any online endeavor with money out of their own pockets. It all has to be free and served up hot and fast!
posted by internetgeniuses at 10:51 AM on April 25, 2002

I submitted a small change to the script that allows 1) a 'url' query parameter so sites like MeFi can link to it and pre-populate the URI field; 2) automatically submit if a 'submit' parameter is in the query string. Marc has already added them to the page so links like this:


will work automagically!
posted by bschoate at 11:05 AM on April 25, 2002

hey, some of us use several different computers, and it's a pain in the @ss to remember our NYT passwords (since half the time I can't remember the really important ones!) - dammit, I registered once, and they have that demographic information. from now on, I'm from Bhutan and I work in retail! (or something.)

oh, and thanks!
posted by epersonae at 11:20 AM on April 25, 2002

Oh c'mon, that's your excuse for stealing? That you can't be fucking bothered to remember a word?
posted by internetgeniuses at 11:27 AM on April 25, 2002

Futher: so if I forget a dollar bill at home do I get to steal my lunch because well.. *whine* I REALLY WANT IT and it ought to be free anyway damnit!
posted by internetgeniuses at 11:28 AM on April 25, 2002

Hey, it's not your problem if I steal my lunch.
posted by smackfu at 11:53 AM on April 25, 2002

Actually it is.
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:57 AM on April 25, 2002

How is it stealing?
posted by NortonDC at 12:09 PM on April 25, 2002

stealing? I don't think so.

(a single word? how many passwords do you have? I can think of probably a dozen right off the top of my head, not counting ATM card PINs. you gotta keep the most important ones in the closest brainspace, and sometimes the others disappear!)

most of the time, I'm on a computer where I've logged in with my good properly filled out profile, with the cookie set. so...when I go to another computer, hell if I know what my password is (honestly, I couldn't tell you right now!) - I know that I've actually signed up for several "legitimate" accounts over the last year or so, usually when setting up a new or reformatted computer, either at work or at home. once I wrote it down (a bad habit to get into with passwords) but have since lost that little scrap of paper.

hell, it's not even stealing, because you don't have to pay anything. it's perhaps a bit shady ethically, because you're essentially pretending to be "someone" you aren't - as if I went to the lunch counter, paid my dollar, and they asked, "are you epersonae?" and I replied, "ummm, no, I'm L1enF67P."

you might say that I'm stealing a username from someone who wanted to be L1enF67P, but I think that's why it creates nonsense usernames. :)

so what's the difference between forgetting and going thru the process of getting a new account the normal way, and letting an randomizer handle it?

(this speaks nothing to people who subvert the registration on principle, and I have no intention of doing so.)
posted by epersonae at 12:22 PM on April 25, 2002

How the hell is this 'stealing' anything? The content is provided free of charge to anyone who happens to come along and register an account. The NY Times doesn't care what your account username or password is; they have hundreds of thousands of them on file. They simply want statistical data on which content gets viewed, and to deliver the paid ads along with news.

This method obstructs NEITHER of those goals. Am I stealing from the New York Times because I forgot the login I registered three years ago and create a new one?

The content is free. The access to said content is free. Using this tool takes no money out of anyone's pockets. You, "internetgeniuses", are both wrong in your assumptions and are overreacting to the highest possible degree.
posted by Danelope at 2:09 PM on April 25, 2002

Creating server and manpower headaches for the NYT by forcing them to weed out this crap creates costs for them that they've thus far shielded readers from. Think about it, jackelope.

And the not-being-able-to-remember-your-password excuse is such bullshit. It takes more effort just to remember the pissing url for this random generator. Anyone who uses it is clearly going out of his way to be a shithead for no reason. There are better institutions to subvert online than the NYT, frankly. Try a little discernment. Cause, rebels. Rebels, clue.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:05 PM on April 25, 2002

It is trivial to block this script, anyway, and I predict the NYT will do so shortly.
posted by kindall at 3:24 PM on April 25, 2002

"Weed[ing] out this crap" would take one line in a configuration file on a Debian box, and I'm not sure how much effort is required on the Netscape Enterprise/Solaris server that NYTimes is running. Block accesses to the registration server from the IP address of the generator. Quick and simple systems administration.

It's happened before, i.e. when Google blocked access to the Which is better? toy with which people on MetaTalk had so much fun. Where was your outrage then, donkeyschlong, when this grevious abuse of Google was taking place? Or when channel.nytimes.com was being taken advantage of, even by our glorious leader? Moral relativism sucks.
posted by Danelope at 3:24 PM on April 25, 2002

Since I never made any morally relativistic comparisons, I don't know how you can accuse me of such.

Nice argument technique. Bring in outside stuff, try to pin it on me. Weird. Sloppy.

I'm not a cop. I wasn't even aware of those instances. I don't see how this undermines the current discussion.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:28 PM on April 25, 2002

The point is, should the New York Times take notice of this login generator and choose to deny it access, it will take a minimal amount of time, effort, and resources to do so, invalidating your argument that it presents them with a financial strain that could, potentially, be passed onto readers.

If they don't disable access to it, they clearly aren't concerned with user logins. Either way, people are continuing to provide viewing statistics and ad impressions regardless of how they register to view the free content. Hence, there's no "theft" taking place, as no revenue is being lost and no product is being taken against their will.

Thanks for the compliment on my argument technique, though! I only use it because I've yet to master the "dismiss perfectly reasonable questions by calling them bullshit without a valid reason" technique, which you so clearly have perfected.
posted by Danelope at 3:40 PM on April 25, 2002

Touché! Haha.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:57 PM on April 25, 2002

I can't wait until MeFi opens up its registration again so I can create a random registration script!

Being a dick is fun and all until it begins to hurt you, right?
posted by jbeaumont at 4:12 PM on April 25, 2002

The argument "It's not stealing because the content NY Time provides is free" is circular. You can't not give them what they ask in return for their product (in this case, registration information) and then justify this by saying that they don't ask for anything in return for their product.

I really (really) don't care one way or the other, I just thought I'd point that out.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 4:39 PM on April 25, 2002

Block accesses to the registration server from the IP address of the generator.

The random login generator is entirely JavaScript based. Anyone who saved the page locally can continue to make use of it. The only way for the Times to address this technically is to add one of those "type the numbers that appear in the picture above" things like Yahoo and some of the free home page providers now use to foil automatic registration.
posted by rcade at 8:10 PM on April 25, 2002

Incidentally, I never gave a whack about the whole "stealing" argument. My problem is simply with people who, for whatever reason, apparently want to inconvenience a company which, for as long as any of us can recall, has been providing a valuable service gratis. Where's the sport in that? Go fuck with M$ or Yahoo.
posted by donkeyschlong at 8:41 PM on April 25, 2002

The random login generator is entirely JavaScript based. Anyone who saved the page locally can continue to make use of it. The only way for the Times to address this technically is to add one of those "type the numbers that appear in the picture above" things like Yahoo and some of the free home page providers now use to foil automatic registration.

No, they just require that the registration script see a referrer from the NYT site itself. A few people might be able to spoof that, but it would close it to the general public. To lock it out totally is a little more complicated, but they could generate a pseudo-random number for each registration form served, MD5-encode it together with an unchanging secret key (say "NYTrulz") and the date, and require the form submission to have both the random number and the MD5 checksum that matches it for the particular day (in hidden fields of course).
posted by kindall at 10:09 PM on April 25, 2002

No, that won't work, you could still just request the registration form from the server to get the secret information, then spoof the referrer if they check that.

You could make it so a given IP address can't register more than once an hour, but that'd have a negative effect on big proxy servers like AOL's.
posted by kindall at 11:43 AM on April 26, 2002

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