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Old 11-27-2010, 03:54 PM   #1
profkhaos
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Extract URL from Firefox address bar in Linux


Hello,

I'm trying to create an application that monitors, among other things, what site the user is currently viewing. I would like to know if there is any way to get the current URL from the Firefox's address bar on a Linux machine. I know that under Windows I can use the DDE server approach, but under Linux this task is proving very tricky. I've considered an approach involving an extension to Firefox, but this would require the user to install the said extension himself. Which is not something I want. If an extension can be installed by a different program's installer than that could work, but I don't know if that's possible or not.

I'm currently banging my head against the wall trying to figure out how to do this, so any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,
khaos
 
Old 11-27-2010, 04:19 PM   #2
paulsm4
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Your best bet might be to use a proxy, like Squid:

http://www.linuxhomenetworking.com/w...ess_with_Squid
 
Old 11-27-2010, 04:26 PM   #3
impert
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Quote:
I'm trying to create an application that monitors, among other things, what site the user is currently viewing
Just why do you want to do this, and to whom?


Quote:
but this would require the user to install the said extension himself. Which is not something I want
Perhaps because even a half-awake user would not do it.
 
Old 11-27-2010, 04:40 PM   #4
profkhaos
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@impert: Ok, you completely misunderstood my purposes and that's my fault mainly. Right off the bat I'm gonna' say that creating a virus or rootkit or whatever malware is _not_ my goal. I'm trying to create a tool that measures productivity, similar to RescueTime. It's not that I don't want the user to know what's happening. Far from it. It's just that I wouldn't like for the end user to have to install a million different things if there's a way he can install just one thing.
 
Old 11-27-2010, 04:50 PM   #5
impert
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profkhaos,
Thank you for your courteous reply.
However, I was not thinking or viruses or rootkits, I was concerned about the question of the user's privacy, a concern that your second post does not entirely allay.
I don't know "RescueTime", but when you talk of "a tool that measures productivity" to me it conjures up images of companies spying on employees, and the mindset exemplified by the time-and-motion experts of the 1920s and 30s.
I hope I'm wrong.
 
Old 11-27-2010, 05:11 PM   #6
impert
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A couple of minutes looking at the RescueTime blogs reminded me of stories of Henry Ford timing how long his workers spent in the toilets.
I hope you have considered the ethical implications of what you're doing. In any case, I don't have the know-how to help you, even if I were sure that you should be helped.

Last edited by impert; 11-27-2010 at 05:12 PM. Reason: Typo
 
Old 11-27-2010, 05:16 PM   #7
profkhaos
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impert,

I can see why you'd think it sounds like that. And there's always a potential for abuse in almost everything. When you're working for a big company, this is more or less what's going on anyway. I don't like it either...especially when you're in a position that doesn't involve mindless repetitive work (like programming, which needs creativity). However, and many people may disagree, at a certain point there's also a risk that people just don't work as hard as they may get paid for. I'm _not_ at all saying that people should be considered lazy by default. But there's always a balance that has to be maintained. Employers should be prevented from setting impossible goals and exploiting they're workers (sometimes at the risk of the workers' health). On the other hand employees should manage to meet goals that are reasonably set. What is reasonably, what is exploiting etc, though, don't really make the point of his thread I think.

PS: that henry ford thing is definitely, in my opinion, a case of abuse.

Last edited by profkhaos; 11-27-2010 at 05:21 PM.
 
Old 11-27-2010, 05:30 PM   #8
acid_kewpie
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It does sound extremely dubious to me too. This stuff is done via a proxy normally, and done very well. You're making it sound so much more like covert spying than journal business procedures.
 
Old 11-27-2010, 05:32 PM   #9
impert
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Again, thank you for the reply.
As I said, it's not my area of expertise, (what is?) but I hope you will think about the privacy implications, and the possibility of abuse.
Best wishes.
 
Old 11-27-2010, 05:42 PM   #10
paulsm4
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Hi -

Here are a few commercial alternatives you might put in Big Brother's stockings for Christmas:

WebWatcher:
http://www.monitoringsoftwarereviews.org/

WorkExaminer:
http://www.workexaminer.com/

TrackForWin:
http://www.track4win.com/faq.asp

PS:
As far as "employees in the bathroom" stories, the legendary former CEO of Northwest Airlines, Donald Nyrop, died earlier this week. He did a lot of great things. But...
Quote:
http://steve-olson.com/why-you-shoul...almost-always/

Former Northwest Orient CEO Donald Nyrop built entire office buildings without a single window Ė not even the doors were glass Ė because he didnít want his employees frittering away time looking outside. Iíve seen the buildings. They are giant gray cement rectangles. He ordered all the doors taken off the bathroom stalls because he didnít want employees wasting time on the toilet. Can you imagine what it must have been like to work under his leadership? You couldnít even defecate in solitude.
 
Old 11-28-2010, 02:50 AM   #11
profkhaos
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Thank you all for the replies and I will consider all your comments...not to mention stories. I didn't think stuff like that was possible in this day and age...
 
Old 11-28-2010, 03:40 AM   #12
gnashley
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Reading this about measuring productivity reminds me of the owner/boss I had on a job many years ago. He didn't want his employees to waste any time even saying 'Good Morning' to other employees. If he saw you do this, he would come and say: I pay you by the hour -each hour has 60 minutes in it.
 
Old 11-28-2010, 07:16 AM   #13
acid_kewpie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnashley View Post
Reading this about measuring productivity reminds me of the owner/boss I had on a job many years ago. He didn't want his employees to waste any time even saying 'Good Morning' to other employees. If he saw you do this, he would come and say: I pay you by the hour -each hour has 60 minutes in it.
Nice. Management in this situation seldom appreciate the cost of the negative atmostphere they create... a few lost minutes here and there vs 20% increase in staff turnover.

I few years ago I joined a very small Cisco support firm, and they had a massively nasty contract. They hired me knowing I did not have the skills to do the specific work they wanted, and so would have to train me from day one. When I came leave 6 months later after seeing general examples of it being run out of the bosses wallet, and being an awful awful company, they (in line with the contract clause) charge me for the training course they offered to me... They claimed that due to staff turnover and their size they couldn't afford not to do this, I maintained that they couldn't afford *TO* do it... their unnecessarily negative working practises made me leave, and me leaving cost a hell of a lot more than a grands worth of training course in terms of recruitment agencies and potential lost business due to staff shortages.
 
Old 11-28-2010, 07:52 AM   #14
gnashley
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As I recall, I only stayed about two months on that job -and wouldn't have stayed that long if I hadn't desparately needed the money.
 
Old 11-29-2010, 12:20 PM   #15
profkhaos
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Hi again,

Well I finally got how to do it. A big thanks to Torisugari from mozillazine. here is the link to the thread in case anybody else is curious

http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewto...4733#p10174733
 
  


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