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Streamline browsing and save bandwidth

By   |  January 17, 2008

Do you find yourself wasting both precious bandwidth and time due to large, and largely irrelevant, adverts? If so, then Adblock Plus together with some companion FireFox add-ons might be the solution for you.

While it is an old favourite and was listed as one of Mozilla’s top extensions almost two years ago, I hadn’t re-installed Adblock Plus since I made the jump to Ubuntu a year ago. It was only after I completely wiped out my remaining 3G bandwidth (about 170MB) in under two hours due to constantly refreshing multiple news and blog sites while following the MacWorld Expo earlier this week that I decided it was time to revisit this handy extension.

Finding it was not hard at all. Visiting the Mozilla add-on site, it popped up as the random recommendation for the day, showing its popularity. Less well known, however, are the various companion extensions which work with it.

Upon installing the extension, one is asked to choose a filter to identify adverts from a list of recommended filters. This can be skipped should you opt to manually block adverts as they come up, but it saves a fair bit trouble.

Once this is done, Adblock is accessible by default through a button on the FireFox toolbar to the right of the Google search window. Clicking on the dropdown menu, one is presented with the options of changing preferences and disabling the add-on for either that specific page or for that particular site (which we, of course, highly recommend you do for the Tectonic site).

To block those adverts which slip through the filter, you need only right click on the offending piece of marketing and select either “ablock image” or “adblock frame” and it will be added to the filter and blocked each time you return to the site.

Where Adblock does however struggle is with integrated content. This is where the companion Element Hiding Helper comes in useful.

Once this is installed, it adds an extra option within the Adblock dropdown menu, “select element to hide”. Also accessible by pressing cntrl+shift+H, this option allows you to move the mouse around the page, identifying the element beneath the pointer with a red box. Using this any element of the page can be blocked, but caution must be exercised as it is all too easy to accidentally block out large sections of wanted content.

Another companion that could prove handy is the Filter Uploader, which allows one to upload one’s own modified filter to an FTP server. This is handy should you want to share the filter across a network.

Happy browsing and may your bandwidth go further, but don’t forget to disable the blocker for Tectonic.

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2 Responses to “Streamline browsing and save bandwidth”

  1. Jan
    January 17th, 2008 @ 10:52 am

    I’ve been using ABP for a few years now and it certainly makes for better browsing. I still miss a function/add-on that was part of Opera about 6-7 years ago already. By clicking a single button you select to either block all images from a site, show only the ones in the cache or show everything. It is extremely useful if you’ve seen all the eye candy on a site before and you just want to read the text.
    I know there are FF add-ons that you can do something similar, but the process is an effort and the content is still downloaded in the background.
    Such a function will be a great MB saver!

  2. ab
    January 18th, 2008 @ 10:56 am

    Although I have had various versions Opera installed over the years, I was never aware of this feature. (I use it only for browser testing the sites I create.) With innovations like that, it’s no wonder they got the EU to look into the matter of MS bundling IE. But Firefox still remains my favourite for both Win and Lin.

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