taking back the tubes

A short while ago, I posted about my frustration with imrworldwide.com, a site that seemed to be slowing my browsing experience.

After a little investigation, I realised that this was no more than a market research company’s “spyware”, javascripts that serve no purpose other than to track and report on my movements. They certainly don’t add to my browsing experience. So, I asked the question at work: “how do I block these things?”, I’d tried to find a neat firefox plugin, but they were all a bit feature rich for my needs. I just wanted a block. Then I was reminded by the folk at work of the hosts file – a wonderful little file that I could edit to effectively short-circuit the usual DNS lookup process. Not only that, but I was pointed to this site, which provided a huge ready made list of undesirable urls that you could just paste in and enjoy never seeing again! You need to know what you’re doing – otherwise you risk breaking your connection to the internet, but it’s not terribly difficult.

OK, so it might be a little bit ‘tinfoil hat’, but it seems to be working nicely and now when I visit large commercial sites, they load faster and they don’t snoop on my movements. Instead of nauseating banner ads about losing weight and dental work, I get nice empty space. Combined with the FlashBlocker plugin the effect is really quite excellent!