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January 19, 2004

Ads Subtract

When visiting my in-laws recently, I gained control of the TV remote and commenced to muting the commercials, which is normal behavior at home. My father-in-law looked over at me and, with obvious disbelief, said, "What? You don't like commercials?" He was amazed to hear that I couldn't stand commercials and that I owned a Tivo, the single coolest thing I've ever owned, to help me avoid them.

Likewise, I can't stand ads on the internet, where they've become increasingly invasive. I've assembled a potent combination of browser, plug-ins, text files, and, now, User Style Sheet mods to surf practically ad-free. Here's my setup:

1. Mozilla browser: Everything starts here. By itself, it blocks pop-ups and unwanted cookies as well as images that don't originate from the site. Plus it has tabbed browsing, enabling the user to have several pages open within one browser. I can't recommend this browser enough.

2. Adblock and Bannerblind plugins: Adblock uses keywords to block addresses of advertising servers, while Bannerblind blocks ad-sized images like banner and tower ads.

The above is pretty straight forward and in the realm of the average user. It's also an unobtrusive way of blocking pr0n from kids' browsers, but as a geek, I go a little further using these two techniques:

3. Hosts file blocking: the hosts file resolves URLs (www.example.com) to IP addresses ( Ads are served from computers with known URLs. If you resolve the URLs to bogus IPs ( for example), your browser never even loads the ad. Check here for more info. Not for the faint of heart.

4. User Style Sheet Flash Animation loading option: Just found this one and it is cool. I haven't loaded Macromedia Flash for Mozilla because of all the ads that use Flash. But now, with this snippet of code placed in a local User Style Sheet, you are given the option of running a Flash animation or not. Very cool.

Why go through all this trouble? Because I'm nauseous from the everyday, relentless quest to separate me from my money. I don't want what they're selling, and I don't want to whore my eyeballs any more than necessary to be entertained or informed.

Posted by tat at January 19, 2004 07:40 PM

Pop ups suck. 'sept when I'm interested in the product. (1%). Course I like my content free so... Bring on the pop ups!

Posted by: Trickhorn at January 20, 2004 10:52 PM

I hate pop ups. when i surf i dont want to see things i'm not interested in. I'm surfing for things i want. why in the heck do i want to see some ad. I know it helps the peoples site because they get money for it.
Lets kill them all. kill baby kill.

Posted by: Jeff Hebert at January 21, 2004 11:49 AM

What I especially like is a show that paid for by only one or two sponsors, so you have to watch the SAME commercials over and over again. My wife had GOT to watch the American Idol, so it's nothing but Ford and Coke commercials the whole time.

I only have dial-up so I don't do much surfing that isn't target specific. I don't generally have a problem with ads on web-pages, and Mozilla pretty much kills all the browser based pop-ups.

Its the connection specific pop-ups that really get me. They come through the software I use to make the internet connection, and so far I don't know how to stop them. If my sister and mother weren't also sharing this internet connection I'd have fired them a long time ago.

Commercial breaks on the radio are probably the worst. They seem to last forever. I listen to a talk station and I'll bet some of the breaks last as long as 15 minutes. That may be offset by the amount of content before or after the break, but my drive home is only 20 minutes. Sometimes its all commercials.

That's why I have tapes and DVDs! But even the DVD's have commercials on them now, and some of them won't allow you to fast forward through them or skip to the menu.

And what about all these anti-marijuana commercials they've been running that are just plum wrong! "Just tell them that you blew they're chances to go to the championship because you smoked marijuana..." He only blew the chances 'cuz some moron decided to make it illegal. "This stuff grow naturally in the woods, but if you smoke it or eat it, you'll let some little girl drown in a pool." HOGWASH!!!

Posted by: Todd Drevers at January 21, 2004 03:53 PM