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Blocker that only affects full-screen popups?

 
 
Eddie G
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      01-04-2013
Does anyone make such a thing? Seems like a good idea, given that most
of the obnoxious popups try to take full screen.

It would also be nice to auto-block "Are you sure you want to leave
this page?" I always cancel the process on those things, and it often
results in having to restart IE and reload all IE sessions.


 
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Mayayana
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      01-04-2013
| Does anyone make such a thing? Seems like a good idea, given that most
| of the obnoxious popups try to take full screen.
|

I'd be surprised if that's available. Assuming that what
you're describing is actually a popup it would require
parsing the script code for a popup and comparing the
window size specified to the screen size. For most people
who want to block popups that doesn't make much sense.
They just want to block popups.

I'm always amazed by how much noise pople put up with
by enabling script. How does one ever read an article with
cartoons and windows jumping around everywhere? If you
don't want to disable script you might try experimenting
with Firefox. That has hundreds of extensions you can get,
including NoScript which can block script only on selected
websites.

I wrote a similar, free program for IE. I wrote it originally
for a blind friend who was forced to use IE due to limitations
with his screenreader:

http://www.jsware.net/jsware/jspagefilt.php5

The IE problem: Mozilla browsers, and to some extent
Opera, provide the ability to control behavior a great deal.
If you know how to do it, you can block all sorts of things.
For instance, I block IFRAMES because 1) they're unsafe
and 2) most of them are ads, put into IFRAMES by sleazy
3rd-party ad companies so that they can set a 1st-party
cookie. IE, by contrast, was developed to cater to corporate
IT people who want to control employees. Microsoft never
intended that the person using the browser should be able
to control anything.

Another limitation with all this is that the less you know about
how webpages work, the less you'll be able to control them in
any browser. As in the example above: To block IFRAMES you
first need a browser that lets you do it. But then you also
need to know what IFRAMES are and why you'd want to block
them. You also have to deal with functionality problems if
you start restricting things. Many websites these days are
putting their entire webpage text into a script, so their webpage
is essentially a software program. If you don't allow their spying
and targetted ad operations that run via script then you just
get a blank page!

The biggest drawback: Most people don't want any hassle
online. They want to be able to shop, Facebook, etc. without
problems. Script allows that functionality. Script is also risky.
And script allows all of the harassment you're describing. It all
comes with the package. To a great extent, you simply can't
have both. So if you need to enable script -- and especially
if you don't want to leave IE behind -- then you're stuck with
all the hair-pulling tricks that websites do via script. Many of
which, like controlling the context menu, editing the status bar,
etc., are used solely for dishonest purposes.

| It would also be nice to auto-block "Are you sure you want to leave
| this page?" I always cancel the process on those things, and it often
| results in having to restart IE and reload all IE sessions.
|
|


 
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Eddie G
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      01-06-2013
On Fri, 4 Jan 2013 09:30:23 -0500, "Mayayana"
<> wrote:

>| Does anyone make such a thing? Seems like a good idea, given that most
>| of the obnoxious popups try to take full screen.
>|
>
> I'd be surprised if that's available. Assuming that what
>you're describing is actually a popup


Yes, or technically 'popunder'.

> it would require
>parsing the script code for a popup and comparing the
>window size specified to the screen size.


I'm not familiar with the software techniques used by popup blockers,
but since popups can be blocked without disabling javascript, it would
just be a matter of comparing the size of the popup with the screen
size. Why would it be necessary to parse javascript? (That's the part
that sounds difficult)..

> For most people
>who want to block popups that doesn't make much sense.
>They just want to block popups.


There are tons of popups that can't be avoided, like Google's
"Captcha", which is used everywhere now.

> I'm always amazed by how much noise pople put up with
>by enabling script.


I used to keep it disabled, but it's very difficult to avoid it these
days, and it will get harder. Javascript is intertwined with HTML5,
and of course required by jQuery/UI. It's everywhere on mobile
devices.

Google maps and other Ajax-based apps rely on javascript.
Microsoft ASP.NET/MVC development tools now use jQuery for many ops,
including their channel for Ajax.

> I wrote a similar, free program for IE. I wrote it originally
>for a blind friend who was forced to use IE due to limitations
>with his screenreader:
>
> http://www.jsware.net/jsware/jspagefilt.php5


Looks interesting. Presumably written in C++? Since you know the
internals of IE plugins, and can block IFrames, what would be the
problem with blocking popups?

[I did read the rest of your post below... thanks]

EG



>
> The IE problem: Mozilla browsers, and to some extent
>Opera, provide the ability to control behavior a great deal.
>If you know how to do it, you can block all sorts of things.
>For instance, I block IFRAMES because 1) they're unsafe
>and 2) most of them are ads, put into IFRAMES by sleazy
>3rd-party ad companies so that they can set a 1st-party
>cookie. IE, by contrast, was developed to cater to corporate
>IT people who want to control employees. Microsoft never
>intended that the person using the browser should be able
>to control anything.
>
> Another limitation with all this is that the less you know about
>how webpages work, the less you'll be able to control them in
>any browser. As in the example above: To block IFRAMES you
>first need a browser that lets you do it. But then you also
>need to know what IFRAMES are and why you'd want to block
>them. You also have to deal with functionality problems if
>you start restricting things. Many websites these days are
>putting their entire webpage text into a script, so their webpage
>is essentially a software program. If you don't allow their spying
>and targetted ad operations that run via script then you just
>get a blank page!
>
> The biggest drawback: Most people don't want any hassle
>online. They want to be able to shop, Facebook, etc. without
>problems. Script allows that functionality. Script is also risky.
>And script allows all of the harassment you're describing. It all
>comes with the package. To a great extent, you simply can't
>have both. So if you need to enable script -- and especially
>if you don't want to leave IE behind -- then you're stuck with
>all the hair-pulling tricks that websites do via script. Many of
>which, like controlling the context menu, editing the status bar,
>etc., are used solely for dishonest purposes.
>
>| It would also be nice to auto-block "Are you sure you want to leave
>| this page?" I always cancel the process on those things, and it often
>| results in having to restart IE and reload all IE sessions.
>|
>|
>

 
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Mayayana
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      01-06-2013
|
| > it would require
| >parsing the script code for a popup and comparing the
| >window size specified to the screen size.
|
| I'm not familiar with the software techniques used by popup blockers,
| but since popups can be blocked without disabling javascript, it would
| just be a matter of comparing the size of the popup with the screen
| size. Why would it be necessary to parse javascript? (That's the part
| that sounds difficult)..
|

Usually a popup like that is created with script, using the method
window.open, creating a new window that can then be dynamically
populated with a document (webpage). Some popups are not really
popups but are rather sections of the page set to be undisplayed by
CSS, then are made visible when the mouse hovers over a given
spot, or something like that. Then it may also be possible to show
popups via Flash. I'm not sure about that, as I've never used Flash
and have never enabled it.

The script popups are what's blocked by popup blockers.
Blocking based on window size, then, is possible with those because
that's usually specified in the window.open call. But I'd be surprised
if anyone creating popup blockers is going to go to so much trouble.
It means checking the code and providing a settings window to the
end-user, so that they can choose what sizes to block. For most
people blocking popups the size isn't relevant.

But I've never tried NoScript and blocker extensions in Firefox.
Maybe there's something there. Since I very rarely see popups
and other script-generated items, I'm not really very familiar with
the variety of them.

| > I'm always amazed by how much noise pople put up with
| >by enabling script.
|
| I used to keep it disabled, but it's very difficult to avoid it these
| days, and it will get harder. Javascript is intertwined with HTML5,
| and of course required by jQuery/UI. It's everywhere on mobile
| devices.

I don't use a cellphone to speak of, but I know what you
mean on PCs. jQuery itself is just a 100+- KB javascript. It's
amazing how bloated pages have become. I just loaded google.com
without script enabled. I see about 15 KB worth of webpage.
When I download it I get a 175 KB file! And that doesn't include
external scripts/libraries. HTML5 is really little more than a marketing
term for turning webpages into javascript-based software programs
that are designed to deliver interactive services while spying on
the visitor and showing them personalized ads.

I use two browsers -- Firefox and Pale Moon -- which are
nearly the same thing. I enable script and temporary cookies
in Firefox for sites that need it. I use Pale Moon everywhere else.
I also block 3rd-party images and use a HOSTS file. So the
webpages I see are sometimes rather bland, but nothing jumps
around. And I only see honest ads, which is to say I don't
let websites secretly send me to Doubleclick, even when script
is enabled. I only see ads that are actually on the webpage,
which is very few these days. Most are secretly injected
browser sub-windows that allow the ad server to set a 1st
party cookie because technically you've visited their website.

People have to decide what they want for themselves. It can
be a hassle not enabling script. I find it worthwhile for 3 reasons:
1) Script is simply not safe. Nearly all online attacks require
script enabled. 2) Script enables a great deal more spying. It
allows the webpage to track your movements, track and time
your scrolling of the page, set dynamic cookies, etc. The google
analytics script alone, which is on the majority of webpages,
can allow Google to track your movements, while the giant ad
servers are allowed to track you and set cookies via both
script and IFRAMES. 3) Simple readability. I just can't concentrate
with things moving all over the page, and unwanted popups make
my blood boil. If I were going to put up with the chaotic explosion
of cartoons and nonsense on the average page it just wouldn't be
worth it to me to visit the page in the first place. With a HOSTS file
and script disabled I see a static, magazine-style Internet.

Most pages I visit work fine that way, but I also don't use many
interactive sites. I've barely glanced at Twitter and have no interest
in Facebook, Foursquare, webmail, etc. I'm not interested in having
my social life hosted and spied on by corporations.

|
| Google maps and other Ajax-based apps rely on javascript.

Yes. Map sites are one place I have trouble using.
fortunately I have map books, which work fine most
of the time.

| > I wrote a similar, free program for IE. I wrote it originally
| >for a blind friend who was forced to use IE due to limitations
| >with his screenreader:
| >
| > http://www.jsware.net/jsware/jspagefilt.php5
|
| Looks interesting. Presumably written in C++? Since you know the
| internals of IE plugins, and can block IFrames, what would be the
| problem with blocking popups?
|

All of that is possible. But as noted above, it means a lot
more work for me and it's not clear that it's useful. I made
the program mainly for the fun of it, and to help a blind
friend who was stuck with IE. Most people who care about
controlling their browser left IE years ago. So I figured it
was enough to just provide basic options, like disabling
script, iframes, etc.

Personally I don't think it's realistic to try to go halfway.
Big corporate interests are trying to come up with big
money-making plans by turning the Internet into interactive
TV. They *will* use script, they *will* spy on you, and
they *will* use any sleazy method possible to know who
you are while pelting you with as many ads as they can get
away with. (Look at network TV. Anyone would have to
be nuts to try to watch a movie on those stations these
days. It hardly goes 7 minutes between interruptions. They
just don't know when to stop.)

I see Facebook users humiliated by repeated affronts to
their dignity, and yet they can't bare to leave. Facebook
is a great example of this trend. People got hooked on it
and the people running Facebook have been very clever
about biding their time. Now it's an institution. Even PBS
News Hour says, "Like us on Facebook". So now Facebook
can get away with outrageous spying. You can't just say,
"I'll use Facebook but I'll find some software to make it
less obnoxious." I just don't think it's realistic to go halfway.
It's like saying, "I think I'll borrow money from the loanshark
just this once." The loanshark's whole business model is to
get you hooked and then extort money from you.

Awhile back I saw a quote from Facebook's COO Sheryl
Sandberg, who said that Facebook "enables brands to find their
voices. and to have genuine, personal relationships with their customers"
...."to make marketing truly social". That's her description of their
spyware/targetted ad business model. That's the kind of person
who's running companies like Facebook.They may be shrewd
about business, but their humanity is another issue. The quote
above demonstrates a primitive, naive, simple-minded amorality.
I find that sort of attitude typical at Gooogle, Microsoft,
Apple, etc.

Sorry to go on so long, but I get worked up about this
topic. Things are changing fast, not for the better, and
I don't think most people have any idea of the magnitude
of it all. We're fast approaching a time when there may simply
not be an option to have a computer with one's own software
on it. It's all becoming a service. And that future is being
enabled by people who don't see any harm in putting up
with spyware and ads in order to enjoy a free service. The
spyware, the services, and the switch to javascript-based
webpages are part of a process of redefinition about where,
and on whose property, you're doing your computing.


 
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