The tech helper: removing internet ads (Feature)
By Jay Dougherty Dec 4, 2010, 2:06 GMT
Washington - Ads are everywhere on the internet these days. At best they're mildly distracting. At worst they're not only annoying but downright obstructive. What can you do get to the content you desire without having your blood pressure raised by ads everywhere on a web page? Read on for some answers.
Q: It seems like all of the videos I want to watch on YouTube and other video sites are now preceded by advertisements at the beginning that I cannot skip. Is there any way around these?
A: Occasionally, there is a way around the ads that now precede many videos online. When an ad starts playing before a video on YouTube or another popular video site, try pressing the refresh key (F5) while in your browser. Doing so will often - although not always - cause the video to reload and move directly to the start of the video, bypassing the ad.
Again, this trick will not always work, but it's worth trying. On YouTube, you can usually dismiss introductory ads this way.
Q: Is there some trick I can use to get rid of all advertisements on a website? I use several forums, and they have become overrun with ads.
A: There's no trick, but if you use the Firefox web browser, you'll have access to the industry's widest selection of ad-blocking extensions or plug-ins. Two of the best are Adblock Plus (http://adblockplus.org/en) and Flashblock (http://bit.ly/97zZgg).
Adblock Plus effectively removes most common ads from web pages, including those from Google's Adsense program. Flashblock, as its name implies, focuses on removing Adobe Flash-based ads, which can be among the most annoying or distracting because they use video elements.
Both are easy to install. Open Firefox's Tools menu, and select the Add-ons option. From the resulting Add-ons dialog box, click Get Add-Ons, and then in the search field, type Adblock Plus, and press Enter. When you see Adblock Plus in the list of search results, click the Add to Firefox button to the right of its name. Doing this will install the plugin into Firefox. You'll be asked to restart your browser. Do so. The repeat this procedure to install Flashblock.
With these plugins installed, visit any ad-laden site you enjoy, and see whether the ads have been removed.
Ad blocking in IE is a little trickier, primarily because of the difficulty of programming add-ons for the browser. Some users, however, report success with IE7Pro (http://www.ie7pro.com/ad-blocker.html).
Q: A lot of sites that I visit have words that look like hyperlinks but are really ads. Is there a way to get rid of these fake hyperlinks?
A: These 'fake hyperlinks' are the result of ad programs from companies such as Vibrant Media, Kontera, and Infolinks - advertising firms that have developed a system of 'in-text' advertising that pops up ads that are supposed to be relevant to the context of the information you're reading. The words that trigger the ads are typically underlined twice, often in a colour identical to a traditional hyperlink, which is often signified by one underlined word.
As you've discovered, the in-text ads can be quite annoying, however, especially since even allowing your cursor to hover over a double-underlined word invokes the ads, which can pop up and roam all over the content, obscuring your view.
Again, though, for Firefox users, there's good news. The Adblock Plus extension, discussed earlier, will completely eliminate in-text ads from most sites.
Q: I rely upon Windows Live Messenger to chat with my family and friends. The most recent versions feature distracting ads. Is there any way to get rid of these?
A: Yes. There's a program called A-Patch (http://apatch.org) that provides several options for eliminating ads and other annoyances - including the What's Hot section - from Windows Live Messenger.
Because there are several versions of A-Patch available on the site's downloads page (http://apatch.org/downloads.php), be sure you know the version of Windows Live Messenger that you use beforehand. You can find version information in Windows Live Messenger by opening the Help menu and selecting About Messenger. Note the 'build' number, in particular, and then find the version of A-Patch that is compatible.
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