Sunday, March 30, 2008

ATTN Mozilla: We need Adblock IRL

DESPITE THE AIR OF LUDDISM I may have expressed in my last post, I do actually use the Web. I browse in Firefox near-exclusively. At work I sometimes view Web pages on which I'm working in other browsers to make sure they function across platforms, and there are still a few atavistic islands of Firefox incompatibility in the Netiverse that force me into Safari. The Firefox feature that made me an instant convert is the Adblock plug-in. No words can express the liberation that simple clump of code has represented in my Web access. Coworkers have gasped when I've shown them the difference between blocked and unblocked commercial and informational sites. Net ads damage my Slack—that ability, according to SubGenius guru "Bob" Dobbs, not merely to not give a shit, but to give a shit freely.

I find myself wishing for a version for real life to remove annoyances. I might need a version of the reveal-o-sunglasses Rowdy Roddy Piper was given in the documentary They Live, which exposed to him the alien invaders among us and their insidious propaganda. Or I might go the cyberpunk route and get custom optics. Better yet — like adding Flashblock to Firefox along with Adblock to screen out memory-wasting animations and sounds — a full rig would eliminate useless sounds as well.

Imagine being able to look at a cellphone user and have both him and his useless chatter disappear, not only then but every time you run into him on the train. Contemplate how awesome not hearing your cube-neighbor choke like a tubercular chain-smoker every three minutes would be. Ex-boyfriend still haunting your old favorite bookstore, coffeeshop, or bar after you've given him the boot? Gone.

Given the enduring legal hassles of homicide, and the leaden pace of the bird flu's advance, we ought to fund a cyberimplant wing of Mozilla pronto and get this gear on the street where it's needed.


Dave said...

I figure you'd want to see some sort of "placeholder" graphic in the spot where this cell-phoning dingbat might be standing, if for no other reason than so you know at what point you have to execute a get-the-bleep-OUT-of-my-way style shove.

Schizohedron said...

This occured to me after I posted; something to define where the "frame" was, even after you've blocked the hell out of the contents. My usual approach to unblocked ads is to eradicate them frame and all, Carthage style. For retaining some sort of marker as you describe, I sort of imagine a human-shaped form filled with TV snow. With the right software, one could have these personless silhouettes filled with interesting "screensaver" patterns. So eventually half of the train ends up looking like William Hurt at the end of Altered States. By coincidence, I would block Hurt himself, as I despise him.

Dave said...

I've never seen Altered States; is this film the root of your WH hatred?

Schizohedron said...

Ohhhh, no . . . it was the double whammy of Broadcast News and Children of a Lesser God what made me want to put the hurt on Hurt.

Go to about 0:45 in this for the Altered States ref, which begat a parody interstitial MTV animation and arguably the last bit of the vid for "Take On Me":