My Adblock Stopped Working in November 2007

I have no idea why. I just know that all of a sudden I was still getting my usual adblock logo but also seeing ads. Used to be the little logo indicated that’s the place an ad would be, or it might hover over something that I had the option to block. But Adblock just stopped.

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So I bit the bullet and got a copy of Adblock Plus, which I don’t know…I guess I just had some problems with it a long time ago, so I use it on my second, less frequently used for surfing, computer. And then I had to go get a “filterset.” For Adblock Plus the filtersets are regularly updated subscriptions to defenses against commonly annoying ads. This way you can stay protected, sort of like an anti-virus program you might buy.

And speaking of anti-virus; after I installed Adblock Plus I STILL wasn’t getting my ads blocked. So I searched all over the internet, and could find no solution. I did run across a few vague hints that maybe some sort of virus was killing Adblock. So that meant I had to pull out a tool. The way I run my system, and the way I set up new users, is pretty stripped down. Years ago I used to use the bulky ass Norton package, and it’s great but it gets into everything. And I even tried all kinds of virus programs and did that whole nine yards for YEARS. But finally I realized the problem was Internet Explorer. You get rid of IE, you get rid of 90 percent of your problems. Seriously. And I think since version 6 and 7 IE has become a lot more secure and they got rid of that Virtual Machine thing, but I’d already switched to Firefox. And that’s almost enough. I keep a copy of the free version of Zone Alarm, which has the “vsmon” that runs in the background that might make a few things drag, but now (like everybody else) I’m running a gig or more of RAM so I don’t feel the hit as much. And my third and final piece is Lavasoft’s free version of Ad Aware. And that’s it. Firefox with an Ad add-on to browse safely and annoyance free, Zone Alarm to make sure nothing on my computer tries to talk to the internet without me knowing, and Ad Aware in case something does manage to get through. I ran Ad Aware and my old friend Window Washer.

Then after installing Adblock Plus and a filterset, I was running ad free again. But it was blocking too much stuff, and some stuff wasn’t happening right at all. I had to re-install the flash player plugin. I don’t know why. Uninstalled Adblock Plus, and reinstalled Adblock regular. Ads again. And it seemed to be working but it also meant I would have to go one at a time adding things to the list of blockable items until it was “trained” again.

So I guess I’m going to have to move on to Adblock Plus with one of the pre-made lists. Hey I didn’t want to give up Windows 2000 for XP either, but sometimes you have to make the move. Adblock has just been killed off for some users. If you DO decided to try it, here’s something weird you should know; Filterset G is the most highly recommended filterset, BUT it’s actually incompatible. Among the compatible filtersets the most highly recommended are Easy and Jamie Plucinski. But before I go back to Adblock Plus I’m going to try something else first.

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During my search for a solution to the problem I also came across something called CustomizeGoogle. Sounds innocent enough, but among other thing, what it does is block the sponsored results of Google searches. It also “Remove click tracking,“ in other words, makes it harder for Google to follow you around. And Firefox is a major partner of Google… Anyway they’ve got explanatory video at their site that’s 10 times more clear about functionality than me. But in a nutshell it is a VERY powerful plugin, and being free and 57kb, it’s definitely worth a try.

LOOONGG before any of this stuff came out, I used a local proxy device called the Proxomitron. The name ALONE is awesome, and it does all this stuff, but it’s kinda obsolete now too. But it’s a bagload of fun to watch what’s being filtered out in real time.