Archive

Archive for May, 2012

Stopping online tracking in its tracks

In addition to the IP Address blocking, and IE 9 Tracking Protection, that I do to stop annoying online ads I’ve also recently discovered another way to save my computers resources. Something that the different tracking companies do to track us is load a little bit of Flash on a webpage to execute some tracking code. Even if I only see the webpage as having just some static text, Adobe Flash will get loaded and the browser will run the code. Adobe Flash is an add-on and Internet Explorer allows you to configure add-ons, such that they can be loaded only on pages that you want them to be loaded on. So to put a thorn in the online trackers side, stop Adobe Flash from being loaded on every website.

In Internet Explorer go to Manage add-ons. Find the “Shockwave Flash Object” and click “More Information”. In the window that pops up press “Remove all sites”. If this is the first time you do this you’ll see an ‘*’ in the box showing the list of approved sites. The asterisk is a character commonly used to mean everything.

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Now that you’ve removed all sites, the list should be empty. When you go to a website which uses Flash you’ll see a information bar in the bottom of the window requesting to run Adobe Flash. If you went to the website to see a Flash video, press Allow. If you’re not watching a video, either dismiss the bar by press the ‘x’ on the right hand side, or just ignore it. Nothing is forcing you to make a decision about running Flash. If you do this, you’ll notice the bar on practically every website and will learn to ignore it.

The only downside to this process is that if you allow Flash to watch a video on a website that you normally don’t watch videos on, and want to remove that website from the approved list, you have to remove all of the sites from the list. The add-on manager doesn’t have the functionality to remove just one website. It’s kind of pain, but it’s no big deal because it’s really easy to add sites back to the list. On my different accounts I normally have only four or five approved sites on the list anyway.

I love having one more way to prevent my computer from running code that I don’t feel is necessary to run. True, if I allow a site to run Flash because I want to watch videos, this won’t prevent that site from running the Flash tracking code, but there are so few of those sites, that this is one more way to be a pain to online trackers. Now if only P3P was strictly enforced.

Mystery Date is a good movie poorly executed

Having recently watched Mystery Date I find it more enjoyable to remember the movie than it was to watch it. In full disclosure I didn’t see the movie unadulterated, I saw it on the “This” TV network which may have removed scenes and bleeped out inappropriate words.
The movies premise is that the main character wants to take out the girl who’s house sitting the house across the street, but doesn’t have the courage to walk across the street and ask her out. His older brother shows up and sets up the date for him. During the movie a bunch of interactions happen between the main character and people who think that he’s his older brother. There are many plot twists and there are a few characters who’s “character” changes.
So with all of the twists and turns it makes for a fun story to think about and retell. The problem is that it wasn’t that exciting to be watching it. It’s kind of hard to pin down exactly what I would change if I was in charge. Different actors, different director, perhaps another twist? I don’t know. It does seem like the story deserves better treatment. If you stumble across it while channel surfing I recommend giving it a shot.

Categories: Entertainment