Reclaiming Facebook Real Estate « Quædam cuiusdam
Reclaiming Facebook Real Estate
Friday 29 February 2008 @ 12:08 am

The most irritating of the many irritating boxes of words that Facebook shoves in your face are the ones with headings like “Top TV in the UWO Network”. Even if I still attended the University of Western Ontario, it would not enrich my day to be told that everybody else there was watching “Grey’s Anatomy”; this sort of thing just pollutes the river. So: Greasemonkey to the rescue! Here’s a script that finds these blocks, deletes their contents, and gives them a random background image from your collection. It identifies them by looking for images of the Facebook favicon.

To use this, you’ll have to create a few 419x108px jpgs, name them sequentially from 1.jpg on up, and put them on a web server. No, you can’t use mine, they’re personal. Then create a Greasemonkey script that applies to “http://*” and paste this code into it (sorry about the smart quotes, you’ll have to fix those):

var maxBackgrounds = 8;
var backgroundURL = "http://yoursite/backgrounds/";
var imgs = document.getElementsByTagName("img");
for (var i=0; i < imgs.length; i++) {
   if (imgs[i].getAttribute("src").indexOf("") >= 0) {
	var thisDiv = imgs[i].parentNode.parentNode.parentNode; = "url(" + backgroundURL + 
		Math.ceil(maxBackgrounds*Math.random()) + 
	while (thisDiv.childNodes[0]) {
	} = "100px";

Edit the “maxBackgrounds” variable to contain the highest number in your image collection. Now when you call up Facebook, you’ll see images you’ve chosen instead of plastic pseudo-information from your networks.

Or, if you prefer, just replace the “” bit with “’none'”, and the boxes will disappear entirely.

Either way there is enormous satisfaction in asserting control over a little bit of your digital landscape. And it’s fun cropping interesting little horizontal snippets out of your vacation photos. No doubt Facebook will change its code eventually and reclaim those pixels in the name of inanity, but we will not cease from mental strife.

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