Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ad blocking software--highly recommended

For some time now I have been getting increasingly annoyed, not to mention alarmed, by the nature of the video ads coming up on Yahoo. I use Yahoo a lot, both for e-mail and especially for weather. (I have a touching and irrational conviction that if I stare at the fancy Yahoo weather report and maps long enough, I can make it rain. It's the modern version of a magic rain dance and is doubtless the result of some atavistic racial memories that have been passed down to me from paleolithic forebears.)

I'm not going to go into detail on these ads, but suffice it to say that the girls dancing the Achy-Breaky or whatever it is to celebrate the current mortgage rates are not my chief concern, though that's mildly annoying in its own right. Some of the worst came up when I was innocently shopping for a new bread machine, on consumer's review sites.

So I tried turning off all pictures and other multimedia possibilities on the advanced internet options for IE. That just made the perfectly inoffensive lighthouse on this very blog disappear, as well as all the buttons on blog comments boxes and other legitimate and useful items, but video ads on Yahoo were still swimming into view--literally, because in that case it was a fish swimming around in a bowl. No problem in itself, but an indication that the problem was not solved.

My beloved husband said, "Ask Todd." Well, I tried to be independent for a while but finally gave it up and asked the all-things-computers-omniscient Todd McKimmey via e-mail. And sure enough, he immediately informed me that there is (who'd a thunk it?) ad blocking software out there. He recommended Ad Block Plus for Mozilla Firefox. (I rather gather that his attitude is, "Who would use IE when you could use Firefox?" I have to admit to seeing that point of view.) In the process of stumbling about, I more or less accidentally also downloaded Ad Block Pro, which is for IE. That one is only a 30-day free trial, but it looks like it's just $19.95 to register it after the 30 days, which is nothing for the service. I got the one for Firefox, too, which appears to be free.

Well, I can't begin to say how much nicer a web experience I am now having. All the tacky junk, and even just the ugly and annoying junk, is gone. Even though it isn't exactly bad, I really was getting tired of seeing all the ugly "avatars" I could choose from by clicking on some ad. I would rather be caught dead than be represented by any of the females pictured there! And I hate all that blinking stuff in my face. Plus I don't have to worry about having the kids in the room when some ad for Victoria's Secret ("Mommy, why does that lady have no clothes on?") or something worse comes up. Youngest Daughter is just learning to read, too, and reads everything she sees. Phew! It's a great relief. And the ads disappear nearly without a trace, too. It's not like there are big white blocks in the visual field on the weather site. You really have to look to try to figure out even where those ugly ads would be. Not that I care. I'm just glad they are gone. It's great!

It doesn't solve all Internet problems, but it's one big step in the right direction, especially for those of us who are careful about the sites we go to anyway.

No comments: