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23 April, 2003

How to Eliminate Pop-Ups With Internet Explorer

I estimate that at least 98% of the computer-using population hates pop-up ads (the other 2% are too stupid to have an opinion). Browsers such as Mozilla and Opera have built-in pop-up ad blockers, but the vast majority of Web surfers (including me) still use Internet Explorer.

Microsoft has chosen to not include a pop-up blocking feature for IE. This is probably because doing so would piss off many companies, and might even have a significant effect on the Internet advertising industry. And, of course, Microsoft cares much more about big businesses than they care about end users.

Sure, you can buy any of several pop-up blockers for IE. But you'll probably find that they don't work reliably, are difficult to configure, or they slow things down. If you want to know the best way to surf the Web with Internet Explorer, keep reading.

Pop-up ads rely on JavaScript. Therefore, the trick is to block scripting for all sites -- except those that you explicitly choose. In other words, scripting is disabled by default. But if you encounter a site that require JavaScript (and that site is actually worth visiting), you can quickly enable scripting for that domain.

Getting this set up is a simple three-step process.

  1. Install a copy of IE 5 Power Tweaks (it works just fine with IE 6). When installed, you'll find a new item on Internet Explorer's Tools menu: "Add to Trusted Zone"

  2. In IE, select Tools - Internet Options. Click the Security tab. Select the Internet icon for the Web zone, and click the Custom Level button.

  3. In the Security Settings dialog box, scroll down to the Scripting item, and select the Disable option for the Active Scripting setting.

After performing these steps, scripting will be disabled and you will no longer see pop-up ads.

When you encounter a site that absolutely requires scripting, just click the Tools menu, choose Add to Trusted Zone, and press F5 to refresh the page. Then scripting will be enabled for that domain (and you may see pop-up ads). I guarantee that the time you spend refreshing pages will be much less than the time that you've spent closing the pop-up windows.

How do you know when a site requires JavaScript? Some sites are kind enough to actually display a message. Another sign is that you get an empty page. Amazingly, some web site designers are so stupid that they assume everyone has scripting enabled. In addition, you'll find that clicking some "submit" buttons don't work. These are generally poorly-designed sites.

I've been using this technique for about a year, and I highly recommend it. I rarely see any pop-up ads. Those that do appear are spawned from sites that I've added to my Trusted Zone for one reason or another.

Posted on 23 April, 2003

When Office Supplies Attack

Not for the faint of heart. A collection of gruesome office images. Just a few samples.

Posted on 23 April, 2003

Hacked Comics

Hacked Comics: Newspaper comic strips, with new captions.

Newspaper comics can be boring and conventional. That's why the hard working staff at THE NeTw0rK decided to remedy the situation by "hacking" some comics -- just for you! Oh, we're so generous.

Some of you will be offended and not see the humor in these. That's okay, because we'll laugh at you. And when you come right down to it, that's what humor is about: laughing at stupid people.

 

Posted on 23 April, 2003

Web Site Design Advice

Jakob Nielsen's article should be required reading for everyone who designs web sites: Low-End Media for User Empowerment.

Fancy media on websites typically fails user testing. Simple text and clear photos not only communicate better with users, they also enhance users' feeling of control and thus support the Web's mission as an instant gratification environment.

In other words, keep it simple. Furthermore, let's get rid of those obnoxious Flash sites designed by people who think the Web is some kind of interactive television medium. And what about all of those sites that depend on Javascript. It's amazing how many web designers simply assume that every visitor has scripting enabled. Many don't even realize that their site comes up completely blank if it's requested by a browser with scripting disabled.

Nielsen reveals why such sites exist. Three reasons:

  • Design agencies sometimes recommend more elaborate solutions than the client really needs in order to increase their billing.
  • Technology vendors push whatever high-end technologies they happen to sell. Even though 3-D spinning and zooming rarely works as well as simple close-up photos, there is a vendor at every tradeshow selling 3-D to unsuspecting website managers.
  • Website managers never watch people using their websites, so they make decisions without first-hand understanding of usability. Because advanced solutions seem better intuitively, those managers are easy prey for promoters of complexity.

Amen.

Posted on 23 April, 2003

The Cigar Band Museum

You'll find lots of interesting cigar bands at the Cigar Band Museum.

The museum contains scanned images of over 800 different vintage cigar bands, as well as information on cigar band history and collecting. The majority of the cigar bands are from U.S. and Cuban brands, although some Mexican, Canadian, and European brands are also included

(via Speckled Paint)

Posted on 23 April, 2003

The Madonna Remix Project

Last week I noted that Madonna has released a bogus MP3 file that contains a recording of her "cussing out" her fans. This has spawned the Madonna Remix Project.

Presumably this was supposed to inspire guilt and repentant hearts in the sinful 'thieves'... but instead it seems to have been counterproductive... such a perfect sample is just crying out to be remixed!

(via MetaFilter)

Posted on 23 April, 2003

The Amish

I really don't know much about Amish people. My understanding is that it's a religious group that lives a simple life, and shuns commercialism and modern technology.

That's why I was surprised to find amish.net -- a web site bursting at the seams with ads for Amish stuff.

Posted on 23 April, 2003

The Amazing Rubber Boy

Daniel Browning Smith is... the rubber boy. Not a comic book super hero, but just an ordinary human.

Daniel demonstrates a variety of amazing and unique skills including: front bending, back bending, arm contortions,180-degree torso twisting, escape artistry, enterology (getting into confined spaces such as: an 18 gallon box, tennis racquet, toilet seats, and anything else humans are not supposed get into), and in a self invented act which he terms the "De-Escape", in which he gets into a locked straitjacket, chains himself up, and then crams himself into an 18 inch by 16 inch box

Oh yeah, you can even buy a rubber boy lunch box.

Posted on 23 April, 2003

Scheduling the Republican Convention

When will they hold the 2004 Republican Convention? According to this article.

The Republican party has scheduled its 2004 convention unusually late in the year, so that the climactic moment when President George Bush's re-election campaign begins will nearly coincide with the third anniversary of the September 11 attack, according to a report yesterday.

Sure, let's milk this terrorist attack for all it's worth.

The Democratic chairman, Terry McAuliffe said Mr Bush and his advisers had "reached a new low - The combination of exploiting for political gain America's worst tragedy since Pearl Harbor and the personal losses of thousands brings a new meaning to cynicism".

The Republican national committee yesterday denied that the late convention date had been picked to exploit the September 11 anniversary.

Posted on 23 April, 2003

Worm Suckers

Hotlix makes a variety of lollipops that contain embedded insects. The Cricket Lick-It, shows below, looks pretty good.

Posted on 23 April, 2003

Controversial Albums

A list of the top-ten most controversial records of all time. As further proof of how "out of it" I am, I've only heard of three of these albums (#5, #9, and #10).

Posted on 23 April, 2003

The George W. Bush Nigerian Spam Letter

An amusing parody on those Nigerian spam emails. It starts out like this:

I AM GEORGE WALKER BUSH, SON OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, AND CURRENTLY SERVING AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS LETTER MIGHT SURPRISE YOU BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT MET NEITHER IN PERSON NOR BY CORRESPONDENCE. I CAME TO KNOW OF YOU IN MY SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE AND REPUTABLE PERSON TO HANDLE A VERY CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS TRANSACTION, WHICH INVOLVES THE TRANSFER OF A HUGE SUM OF MONEY TO AN ACCOUNT REQUIRING MAXIMUM CONFIDENCE.

I AM WRITING YOU IN ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE PRIMARILY TO SEEK YOUR ASSISTANCE IN ACQUIRING OIL FUNDS THAT ARE PRESENTLY TRAPPED IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ.

(via Everlasting Blort)

Posted on 23 April, 2003

Milk Bottle of the Week

This is, perhaps, the best collection of milk bottles on the Web. And this is an excellent time to visit the site:

To celebrate the hundredth Milk Bottle Of The Week we held a poll throughout August to decide which were the world's 10 favorite milk bottles.

Posted on 23 April, 2003

Country Music Song Titles

The all-time best of the worst country song titles. A few examples:

  • Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through The Goal Posts Of Life.)
  • Four on the Floor and a Fifth Under the Seat
  • Get Your Biscuits In The Oven, And Your Buns In The Bed.
  • I Wish I Were A Woman (So I Could Go Out With A Guy Like Me)
  • My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, And I Don't Love Jesus.
  • You're The Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly

(via Scrubbles.net)

Posted on 23 April, 2003