Friday, April 6, 2012

An eye for the internet

We trust our eyes. They are our trusted friends, advisors and guardians when we move about in the world; there are few things we encounter that cannot be encountered that much more spectacularly when our eyes are there to see them.

On the internet, this is not always so.

In fact, many sites are doing two things at once to fool our eyes. They display ginormous and numerous ads everywhere, in order to draw our eyes' attention to them. And they also do a lot of invisible things, in order to gather data about you. The one thing is offensive at best, and the other is rather nasty at it's worst.

Fortunately, there are ways to restore your ability to trust your eyes. Three easy ways. First off - get Firefox, or something that is not Internet Explorer. It's easier on the eyes, to say the least.

Secondly, get Adblock. It does what it says it does - blocks ads. No ifs, buts or anythings - they are just gone. Out of sight, out of mind.

Thirdly, get Ghostery. It's a bit more subtle, in that it removes all those background processes that goes on. And it shows them to you, telling you just how much gunk there is under the hood the website you're happening to watch right at that moment.

It's usually a lot more than one would think. Even I have a few of them going on, as you might discover.

Now, you might want to fiddle a bit with the settings in Ghostery. The most brutal setting turns off everything, including social media buttons, which might be a bit more than you really want. Fortunately, the settings are as visual as they are easily changed, so there's no pressure.

Just trust your eyes. And trust in your ability to help them along when they need a hand.

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