The Web, My Way

I used to work for an ad-supported company, so I’ve always felt kind of bad using AdBlock. I bifurcated for a while between keeping AdBlock off except for obnoxious sites, or keeping AdBlock and whitelisting sites I frequent that aren’t obnoxious. It ended up getting to be too much of a hassle, so I’ve browsed with AdBlock on full-time, and a handful of sites whitelisted. I still feel bad doing so, but not bad enough to unblock.

Recently I’ve noticed a couple sites that are really slow. Firebug shows they’re doing tons of crap. Uncrate seems to have something that will go off and do an AJAX post any time I scroll to expose new content, and content from several other sites is pulled in. Slowly. The site locks up my browser for a moment. Some other site I went to the other day managed to peg one of my cores at 100% CPU usage. I don’t even know what it was doing.

I’ve declined to use NoScript for a long time, because in 2010, the Internet just doesn’t work without JavaScript. It would be like me trying to avoid surveillance cameras in public, or trying to avoid using WiFi because I didn’t trust it. But I’ve just had a mini-rebellion. There is so much crap on pages. A page pulls in JavaScript tags from a half-dozen sites, and each of those pulls in more scripts that all make calls all over the place. I have a pretty fast computer and keep Firefox locked down, so when a page is able to lock up Firefox for a moment, something is really wrong.

So I’m browsing the web on my terms now. NoScript blocks just about all JavaScript and I’m starting to selectively whitelist. I did permit Google Analytics.

The other great thing about NoScript is that it blocks Flash by default. I like Flash for things like videos. But Flash is also insidious in its use of persistent cookies that your browser doesn’t control. Using Adobe’s site to view saved Flash cookies, I have a ton, mostly from sites I’ve never even heard of. I deleted content from all of them, but also don’t permit Flash to run by default.

The Internet looks pretty crappy now, but right now I prefer that to sites that are crappy.

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