Yesterday on Time Goes By, I read how many internet users get frustrated by all the online annoyances when they are trying to browse or read — pop-up ads, regular ads, autoplay videos with their unwanted sounds, jittery GIFs, cluttered sidebars, etc.
There are a lot of ways to minimize these distractions. I’ve written before about getting around pay walls — the limit on how many articles per month you can read for free (“Readability and those pesky pay walls”). But when I looked back at that post yesterday, I noticed one thing had changed. The Readability.com website that I recommended had been taken down late last year. However, there are other, similar options. If you use Chrome for browsing, as the majority of people do, there’s an extension called Mercury Reader. Use it to read articles without any of the annoying pop-ups, sidebars, suggested articles, etc. The clean interface is particularly nice on long reads typical of The Atlantic and other sites. Mercury Reader only works on Chrome, however. There are similar options for other browsers.
Pop-up blockers like AdBlock suppress many but not all pop-ups. And websites are developing ways around them, now popping up anti-ad blocker pop-ups that don’t let you read the website or story unless and until you turn off your ad blocker. Those are particularly annoying and unless I’m a real fan of that website, I just move on. They’re gambling that you’ll turn off your ad blocker rather than angrily leave and never return (as I’ve done several times). Not sure it’s a gamble I’d take if I depended on views for my income.
As for the annoying, unexpected sounds from ads and autoplay videos, I just turn off my computer’s sound. The problem is that if I forget to turn it back on, I’ll later miss various notifications I want to hear. Chrome now has another way to deal with this. If a page starts playing a sound, a small speaker icon will appear on its tab at the top of your browser. Just click the icon to silence the offender. Saves looking all over the page to find where the sound is coming from. Or suppose you have half a dozen tabs open and a sound suddenly starts playing. From which page? Just scan the tabs and click the icon.
It’s an ongoing war. But remember, as annoying all those ads may be, they are necessary to fund the internet content you enjoy. The internet is my link to the world, my news source, entertainment, companion, encyclopedia, continuing education, communication device, etc., etc. On Time Goes By, Ronni Bennett asked, “Is the internet worth it anymore?” Abso-damn-lutely!