Adblock Plus, an "add-on" for current versions of the Firefox browser, is a powerful tool for suppressing advertising. After installing Firefox, you have the choice of installing any number of add-ons, and this is normally the very first one I do.
Adblock Plus uses filters to determine what is an ad. Finding filters, unless you write them yourself (a most tedious procedure), requires you to subscribe to existing lists. I subscribe to eleven in all, and I almost never see an ad — either graphic or text-based — when I use Firefox. It makes the Internet a liveable place for me.
But subscribing to filters is unpleasant because it requires many
repetitive mouse-actions. A faster way is to create a file called
patterns.ini containing only the following:
[Subscription] url=~wl~ title=Exception Rules defaults=whitelist [Subscription] url=~fl~ title=Ad Blocking Rules defaults=blocking [Subscription] url=https://adversity.googlecode.com/hg/Adversity.txt downloadStatus=synchronize_ok [Subscription] url=http://adblockrules.org/download.php?type=all downloadStatus=synchronize_ok [Subscription] url=http://adblock-chinalist.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/adblock.txt downloadStatus=synchronize_ok [Subscription] url=https://easylist-downloads.adblockplus.org/easyprivacy.txt downloadStatus=synchronize_ok [Subscription] url=https://easylist-downloads.adblockplus.org/easylist.txt downloadStatus=synchronize_ok [Subscription] url=https://secure.fanboy.co.nz/fanboy-adblocklist-addon.txt downloadStatus=synchronize_ok [Subscription] url=https://adversity.googlecode.com/hg/Adversity-Tracking.txt downloadStatus=synchronize_ok [Subscription] url=http://fanboy-adblock-list.googlecode.com/hg/fanboy-adblocklist-current-expanded.txt downloadStatus=synchronize_ok [Subscription] url=http://fanboy-adblock-list.googlecode.com/hg/fanboy-adblocklist-stats.txt downloadStatus=synchronize_ok [Subscription] url=https://adblock-chinalist.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/adblock.txt downloadStatus=synchronize_ok [Subscription] url=https://secure.fanboy.co.nz/enhancedstats.txt downloadStatus=synchronize_ok
(This is my own list, of course.) I save
patterns.ini to the
adblockplus directory, which is typically at a path something like this:
<hash> is a random-looking eight-digit alphanumeric sequence
that identifies a given user profile to Firefox. (Each
user profile needs its own set of Adblock Plus filters in the
Then I go to Firefox and open the filter preference window for Adblock
Plus. On OS X, that means Tools -> Adblock Plus -> Filter
Preferences. In the bottom right corner of the window there is a
checkbox marked "Allow some non-intrusive advertising". If I click it,
either to check or uncheck it, the filters in
repopulate from the URLs I have placed in the minimal file.
So it doesn't seem to be necessary to go through the tedious manual
installation method in order to get the filter subscriptions. I save a
copy of the minimal
patterns.ini file above in a normal directory for
fast replacement if I need a new user profile for some reason.
The "Allow some non-intrusive advertising" option was introduced in v. 2
of Adblock Plus — in other words, it is recent. At the moment, only ads
associated with two German sites,
involved, but surely this is the beginning of a much more pervasive
trend, since advertising now funds most internet content, or so it
appears to me. When I was a boy, all television was free as long as you
had a TV set to receive it; apart from public broadcasting, it was paid
for entirely with advertising. So I recognize the smell of this business