Friday, 14 April 2017

09:02 – It was 55.2F (13C) when I took Colin out at 0715 this morning, with heavy fog. Our back fence line and the trees along it were barely visible, but everything beyond it was a uniform gray.

More and more web sites are now on my no-visit list, as they implement anti-ad/script-blocking measures. I run Adblock Plus and NoScript on Firefox. I happened to use Firefox yesterday afternoon to visit one of those sites. The main page looked normal, but clicking on any of the articles displayed an error page that said there was either a problem with my internet connection or I was running an ad or script blocker and that I should disable it. Yeah, right, like that’s gonna happen. Instead, I took the action that most of their former readers will take and removed them from my bookmarks. Anyone who allows ads to display or scripts to run on a website is just asking to be infected with malware or other serious problems.

Attempts to block adblockers and script blockers have become rampant over the last few months. I blame it on Trump, since it seems to have started right around then. Facebook famously tried to implement blocking of ad/script blockers and failed miserably. The same is true of other sites. But the thing is, even if a site somehow succeeds, all it’s doing is driving off most of its readers. The problem is that sites regard ad revenue as the only way to pay their costs, while readers regard ads and scripts as completely unacceptable. There simply are NO acceptable ads. If you want to monetize your site, put up a paywall or a tip jar.

If that drives you out of business, so be it. Die gracefully instead of polluting your readers’ screens. Just be aware that most readers don’t consider your content to be worth paying for at all, let alone by letting obnoxious, dangerous ads be displayed on their systems. And only a tiny fraction will donate via tip jar, let alone by subscribing. You simply don’t have any content that is worth paying for. And by “paying for” I include such minimal things as giving you a valid email address.

There’s apparently a new report out that has panicked commercial websites. In Germany, 40% of internet users use ad/script blockers; in France, it’s 30%; in the US, it’s still under 20%. It’s time for us all to strike back. Those figures need to be 100%. For many years, every time I install or degrunge someone’s computer, the first thing I do is install AdBlock Plus and NoScript. We should all be doing this. Every time you see someone’s computer running without blockers, tell them of the dangers of running barefoot and offer to install blockers for them and show them how they work. If everyone with basic computer smarts does this for all of his friends and acquaintances, we can get the percentage of systems running blockers up much closer to 100%, making it impossible for parasitic web sites like The Atlantic, Facebook, etc. to earn money from ads. Any web site owner who thinks ads are an acceptable way to generate revenue needs to be awakened rudely. Let’s drive them out of business.

And, yes, I’m looking at you, Google.

I got another one of “those” emails overnight. I periodically get emails, sometimes from long-time readers, who think I’m not just expecting a TEOTWAWKI event but actually looking forward to it. They’re wrong on both counts.

On the first, I’ve said over and over that I’m not expecting a TEOTWAWKI event but instead a gradual (or not-so-gradual) slide toward dystopia. Yes, a TEOTWAWKI event is possible. In fact, it’s likely, depending on your time frame. I’ve guesstimated the probability of such an event at 0.03/year, so over the long term it’s more likely than not to occur. But if my guesstimate is correct, that also means that the probability of things continuing pretty much as they are is 0.97/year. So our preparations focus on that 0.97 probability, with just a nod when possible to the 0.03.

As to the second point, not only am I not looking forward to a world-ending catastrophe, I dread it as much as any sane person does. Probably for different reasons than most people. I’m not concerned with the humanity thing. I don’t really care if 100 million Americans die, except to the extent that such an event affects me, my family, and my friends. Yes, if I could wave a magic wand and cause every prog/neocon/politician/bankster to cease to exist, I’d do so, but only if it didn’t inconvenience me and mine. That’s not an option, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that no such event occurs.

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