Saturday, April 12, 2008

Banner Ads Bite The Dust

Pa-leeze. Haven't we all had enough of these things? You know what I'm talking about. They are on hotmail, they are on Facebook, they are on news sites, they are everywhere!!! Banner ads are annoying (punch a monkey?), they are flashy(punch a monkey?), they are in your face and most of all, half of them are sleazy, trying to get you to undress some cartoon szwinky or gawk at some half dressed woman on a dating ad. Wish you never had to look at another one again? You're not alone. Some Programmers are sick of them too and you are a couple clicks away from Banishing Banner Ads I dare say, FOREVER (forever should be said like a middle century englishmen)! Or you could say it like: "For sire, until the end of time...". That's from those old Canadian TV history moments when they found all the fish.

Now that we are starting to see how sweet Firefox is, it's time for last piece of the puzzle. We now know why it's better than Internet Explorer, we know what do about those pages that just won't work in Firefox and finally one of the best reasons to use Firefox in my opinion, Adblock Plus. With a few clicks, this puppy will be annihilating those ridiculous Banner Ads.

How to install it

-First, open firefox and go the add-on site
-Do a search for "Adblock Plus"
-Once you see the add-on, install it using the "Add to firefox" button
-It will install and ask you to restart firefox

-When you restart the above screen will pop up, choose the USA option and hit "Subscribe"

That's it, no more banner ads. God Bless Wladimir Palant for creating this add-on! Send him a kudos at trev ((at,)) adblockplus [dot] org.

**Important Update**

Facebook seems to have found a way to evade Adblock Plus. No worries, with 2 filters added to Adblock Plus, you will be one step ahead of Facebook's picture ads.

-In Firefox, in the top menu, choose Tools>Adblock Plus...
-Click the Add filter... button on the bottom left of the pop-up window
-Add the filter text*(social_ad) and hit Enter on your keyboard
-Add the filter text*(social_ad_advert) and hit Enter on your keyboard
-Click the OK button

Done, now you have created element hiding filters and if you open facebook, the picture ads should be all gone!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Only When You Have To

This is a beautiful button. This button will save you from the shackles of Internet Explorer. This is a follow up article on my post called Firefox Rox, in which I outlined the many benefits of using Firefox over Internet Explorer. One of the drawbacks of using Firefox is that certain sites just don't work in Firefox. It can be a hassle to go find an Internet Explorer shortcut, then re-enter the website address just for those couple of sites. The solution? IE tab.

IE tab is an add-on for Firefox which enables you to use Internet Explorer from within Firefox, all with the simple click of a button! You can also tell the add-on which sites you would like to use in Internet Explorer all the time and it will open those sites in IE by default upon future visits (like your company Intranet for example). This is awesome, so let's get it installed and look at an example.

Installing IE Tab

- Make sure you have firefox first
- Using Firefox, go to the IE tab download site (
- "Add to Firefox" the latest version if you can, if it says you can't, take the second last version
- Follow the instructions to install it and restart firefox

Using IE Tab

Now that IE Tab is installed, you need to do a bit of configurating. The first thing to do is put the IE tab button right up where you can see it. I like to put it right by the home button. To do this you will need to customize your toolbar.

First, right click right up beside the Help menu on the grey/brown area. From here you should be able to choose Customize... from the menu.

Next, find the IE tab button in amongst all the other buttons.

Finally, drag the IE tab button right up beside the home button and hit Done to the button menu.

Sweet, now you have an IE tab button! So here's how it works, whenever you visit a website and it looks like junk or you know it should be run in Internet Explorer, ask your self a question: "Do I really need to go to this website?". If the answer is no, don't go, it's not worth it. You risk frying your computer and will end up in the same mess you were before you had Firefox. If the answer is yes I absolutely have to go there, simply hit the IE Tab button. This will immediately load up that website in the Internet Explorer format within Firefox.

Using the same site over and over

Now what if you visit that site all the time and you don't want to hit the IE Tab button every time you visit? For me that's my work webmail access. It brings up outlook inside my browser, but it looks awful in Firefox. So here's the drill:

- I visit the site
- Hit the IE tab button
- In the Firefox Menu go to Tools>IE Tab Options
- The website address is prefilled, so I just hit the Add button, then hit OK.
- Done

If you don't see the IE Tab Options, you can always go to Tools>Add-ons, click on the IE Tab Options from there and enter the website address.

There you have it. Now you have no reason not to use Firefox. You can have your cake and eat it too!

Firefox Rox

IE is Wrong

Well if you know me really well, you will know that I really hate Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is the most famous and commonly used browser on the planet and it has been for a long time now. Not because it's the best mind you, but just simply because it's the default browser in Windows. Well, I am here to tell you that using Internet Explorer is wrong. Here's why:

-It is made by Microsoft

That's pretty much it. Now I'm not a Microsoft hater, but I do believe that Microsoft is fundamentally out to make money and that is wrong. When you are out to make money, you are not out to make a useful product. I much prefer the ideology that if you make a good product, the money will follow, but regardless, if the Internet has proven anything, it's that great things can be made even for free!

Now because Microsoft needs a monetary reason to do everything, here is what happened to Internet Explorer over the Internet years:

- Everyone used IE because it was the default in Windows
- It didn't make money(and maybe even threatened the Windows Monopoly) , so Microsoft stopped working on it after version 6
- Hackers wrote programs to destroy your computer, fill it with pornography pop-ups, steal your credit card numbers, learn your banking information and pretty much make you go crazy with adware and spyware... (they are mostly able to do this through vbscript and activeX, Microsoft languages with lots of security holes).
- Microsoft did nothing to fix it......

Enter the Firefox

Solution? Enter the Firefox. A smooth new browser that is:

- Easy to install
- Has tabbed-browsing
- Safe from adware and spyware (does not allow vbscript or activeX)
- Has a team of dedicated developers that make sure if the hackers do get wild, they won't get too far
- Has inline spell checking (the little red squiggly line, yah!)
- And has crazy add-ons that make Browsing life wonderful

There you have it. Now Microsoft has it's tail between it's legs and is trying to play catch up with IE7 and now IE8. But IE7 is terrible and I expect IE8 will be as well, you know why? Because Microsoft only cares about money, not making something good!

*Now in this case, it's not money, because browsers don't make money directly, but it's about power and control and that is usually about money : ) It's like: "Hey, if you can do everything through the Internet now, and you don't need IE, and Firefox is on Mac, why not buy a Mac instead of Windows?"....see where I'm going with this?

Bottom line, Firefox cares about your browsing experience, your computer, your kids and you. As you will see in my forth-coming posts, not only are you more protected against adware porn-pop ups, but Firefox add-ons can even save you from seductive banner ads on many websites! Praise the Lord!

So what are you waiting for? Make the switch and delete that Internet Explorer icon off your desktop!

Tips for installing

- Click here to get it.
- Just follow the instructions, they are very easy.
- When you start using it and it asks if you want firefox to be the default browser... SAY YES!
- If Internet Explorer ever comes up again, it will beg you to make it the default......SAY NO!

Final Thoughts

If you are web savvy, you might be thinking, but hey Micah, don't some websites only work in Internet Explorer? Yes, you are right. No fear though, if you absolutely need to use a website in IE, you can because you can't uninstall Internet Explorer! If you do, your computer will blow up, literally. It's like tearing the heart out a human, Windows will die (I tried it once : ). Firefox is more like a fancy jacket that you got for free from someone in a big clothes bag that your mom dropped off, you can wear it or not wear it. I guess the point is that you should do most of your general browsing in Firefox, but only use Internet Explorer when you absolutely have to (like the canadian passport application site), but do NOT use Internet Explorer for that crazy site with some weird music program that you would like to run in the browser, it will fry your computer!!! That's the whole point of Firefox!!!

Also, I found a neat add-on for firefox that allows you to use internet explorer pages inside firefox if you have to! How sweet is that. Check it out here.

Hope this is helpful! If you work at Microsoft and are reading this, I hope this wasn't too harsh : )