You might not know this, but most modern web browsers come with the ability to use external extensions, or 'addons'. These can do anything from translate a webpage into the faux-english spouted by the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show (showing my age here), to downloading youtube videos. In this article I'm going to step you through some of the better addons to use for your web browsing, and the caveats involved. I'm not going to cover how to install the extensions, as this differs from browser to browser, but it is usually relatively straightforward and only involves clicking on a link on a web page. All of the addons below are available for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. I don't know about Microsoft's Edge browser though.
The first is "Ublock Origin". You may've heard of ad-blocking addons before, but this is the only one I recommend. It has a relatively low performance impact compared to the others, and minimal memory usage. It used to be that you would find some websites would stop working properly if you had an ad-blocker installed, but this has become almost unheard of nowadays - particularly since website designers know that some people will be using ad-blockers, and even ask people to not use them if they are. I guess the ethical question is, given that most companies on the internet rely on advertising as their source of revenue, do you feel comfortable not viewing their ads? I can offer one answer to that in the form of a question, which is "were you ever going to click on those ads in the first place?". If you are like me, the answer is no, so then it becomes relatively ethical, I think, to block something which was never going to provide the website with click-for-cash funds. You will be amazed at just how much less cluttered and irritating the web is without ads popping up all the time.
The second has a cute name, "I don't care about cookies". You may not know what cookies are in the comtext of the internet; they are innocuous (usually) bits of information in which a website stores information about you after you leave it, and in some cases they also collect information about the other websites you visit. They are used for everything from remembering that you've logged into a website before (eg. facebook) so you don't have to log in again next time you visit the site, through to more nefarious user activity monitoring (eg. again, facebook). They are necessary and almost every website uses them. Unfortunately some time ago the European Union passed a law stating that websites had to ask permission from the user to accept cookie use (which just sounds silly when you say it out loud), which is why every website you visit has that annoying box that pops up down the bottom asking you if you accept cookie usage. "I don't care about cookies" means that those boxes never show up. End of story.
The last-but-not-least addon that I recommend is called "ShutUp comment blocker", cause you know how stuff.co.nz and youtube are so immeasurably improved by the random comments of a thousand internet nobodies? Yeah, me neither. So this one blocks out all comments from all websites (though it keeps track of which websites you Don't want comments blocked for too).
Click here to go back to the main page.
© 2021 Matthew Bentley. All Rights Reserved