SURFING WITHOUT ADS

For several years now I've been advocating the use of the Mozilla browser ( http://www.Mozilla.org ). Not only does Mozilla have fewer security issues, but it's a faster, more stable and easier to use than Internet Explorer.

One of the great features native to Mozilla is a pop-up blocker that's so efficient I commonly forget that pop-up advertising still exists, and only am aware of the issue when someone (using another browser, no doubt) mentions how irritating these ads can be.

That said, another feature I've recently been enjoying is the ability to add helper programs to Mozilla, commonly called "extensions."

Of all the extensions available, the "must have" in my book is called "AdBlock" and yes, it's free.

Available from http://adblock.mozdev.org AdBlock allows you to filter out advertisements on the web pages you visit using a sophisticated set of rules that you can create to suit your preferences.

How it Works

Once you install the AdBlock extension into your Mozilla browser, you'll then need to pay attention to a few subtle changes displayed on your browser screen.

First of all, you should notice that in the lower right corner of your screen you'll see the word "AdBlock" and clicking on this will bring up a list of possible addresses that can be blocked from the current web page you are viewing.

Each line presented can be selected, and edited, for future blocking, and here is where you'll find the real power for controlling your surfing experience.

For instance, you may find a URL listed such as: http://ad.doubleclick.net/adi/pcm.dart/home;ptile=1;sz=728x90;ord=9524608851

There's actually no point to using AdBlock for filtering out that specific advertisement because it will only block that one specific image.

On the other hand, editing the URL to just: http://ad.doubleclick.net/

This rule has the affect of blocking ALL advertisements served by DoubleClick - a huge online advertising agency that no doubt places ads on many of the sites you regularly visit.

Adding just a few thoughtfully edited advertising URLs will go a long way toward making your surfing much more pleasant, as well as much faster since you'll no longer have to wait for requested web pages to download and display such advertising.

You can also add rules that are specific to the sites you commonly visit. For instance, http://ads.businessweek.com will allow you to view the content on BusinessWeek.com but without most of their advertisements.

The next significant difference you'll notice when surfing, is that many images on the web pages you visit will automatically have an "AdBlock" tab attached to them (though this feature can be disabled if you find it annoying) so that you can quickly pick and choose specific advertisements to block based on the page you're viewing.

Finally, the Mozilla "Tools" menu will also have a new drop-down option for AdBlock that allows you to customize the program and to add, review and modify existing rules.

You'll no doubt need to spend some time reviewing all the options and features of this great little helper program, but once you do, you can then greatly enhance your online surfing experience.

It's worth noting that there's little point in trying to block each and every online ad that you might see on your screen. Instead, concentrate on adding just a handful of well designed blocks that give you the greatest return on your time invested.

Rules such as those presented above that will block advertisements across many web sites (DoubleClick) and those that will block ads from sites you use daily (Businessweek.com) are those that will most likely be worth your time and effort.

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Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale