My experience of the web is about a thousand times better than it used to be.
I will remove all these when the ad companies and websites start to behave themselves, which will be never.
Same thing with cookies.
On a side note, web developers have gotten really lazy at feature checking. In the IE days they'd at least have a banner saying their page wasn't going to work because it required IE or Netscape. Browsing with cookies turned off nowadays, I hit one or two sites a day that won't even display and then often get stuck in infinite redirect loop.
My experience is the opposite.
I used NoScript for almost 8 years, and then switched to uMatrix one year ago.
It used to be that disabling JS rendered web pages illegible. But good CSS changed that. So now you can read sites perfectly fine with JS. You can't interact, but you can read.
EDIT: Wow I just tried disabling JS on nytimes.com and it's INCREDIBLE. Reallly, try it. In Chrome I used the pattern [*.]nytimes.com. Not sure what that syntax is.
uMatrix handles network stuff (blocking css, js, media, etc).
uBlock also handles network stuff, but the difference is that uBlock can also block specific elements on the page, eg, divs by id or class.
If you block all JS and CSS with umatrix, you can still read articles by pressing the "reader view" button in Firefox.
From the wiki page, there are many useful FAQ/ guides/ docs. Specifically, there is a link to a decent guide:
edit: using both is redundant
In fairness to gorhill it's a couple of years since I last looked at uMatrix so it may be much improved.
I don't think there is a list, but I'd say it heavily depends on your browsing behaviour. In my case the vast majority of web sites that I access randomly (mostly trough some feed or aggregator) are text based and actually more pleasant to use without js: Faster, no jumping around of content, no obnoxious subscribe modals, almost zero ads, etc. If it doesn't work without js, I usually just close the tab. I hold the view, that if something is important enough for me to care, it will reach me in some form or the other eventually.
But if you are mostly about multi media content, checking out tech demos or similar, you are going to have a bad time.
You can use the "Quick JS switcher" plugin to easily enable js for a page
I'm quite lenient in white listing, because for me personally disabling js is mostly about performance. If I'm interested enough in a web sites offering and see the utility of it requiring js, I'm also willing to wait a little. But I'm not patient by default
Good: HN works well and handles the downgrade gracefully (ex: upvoting becomes a POST rather than AJAX).
Bad: The original Reddit site works ok but the new React based one one fails miserably as it shows a loading screen that never changes.
But reddit seems to know they suck at websites: you can still access https://old.reddit.com/r/<whatever> and even https://old.reddit.com/r/<whatever>/.compact for the old site and the old old site.
People who are also writing content-based apps and want to write once but still obtain native speeds on mobile? The lack of right-click functionality is just bad design, not React's fault.
The truth is, people/organizations doing this simply put other concerns above user experience and friendliness.
There is nothing native about a website which has actual lagging while I scroll when the previous version could do it just fine in desktop mode.
The irony is, Reddit on mobile is god-awful slow. It takes a good 5-10 seconds of displaying a spinner just to show me a kilobyte of text (self-post or linked comment). I no longer click Reddit links on mobile for this reason.
Reddit has got to have talented people working for it. But whatever they're doing that results in a 10-second spinner to display pure text is "Mongo DB is web-scale" levels of comedy.
React is fine for browser-based line-of-business (and I guess also collaboration) apps; for content, not so much because you have to go through hoops to parse content into React's vdom .
Reactive Native's primary selling point (and nature of existence) is that it uses native components instead of wrapping a webview. This is the most obvious, relevant, and hyped detail of React Native. So your statement, "React Native is a browser" implying the same performance penalties as visiting as a website or using Cordova/PhoneGap, is false.
I think there needs to be a movement to bring the WWW back to basic, readable, low-JS, animation-free, content-based sites.
(Also, they probably save money on electricity by externalizing more and more processing to users.)
Which will be when access portals (currently search engines, and app stores for apps) heavily correlate resource usage with ranking / commission / etc.
Currently, the biggest access portal(s) are invested in ads, so not any time soon. But when every kb drops your pagerank one point, and every cpu cycle costs an extra penny of App Store commission, that is when the entire market will suddenly follow.
It’s not soon but it’s not never. It’s possible.
But I think the industry’s solution to this has always been to just wait for the inevitable faster and faster computers that come out each year, so that the lag becomes less just by the passage of time. But that becomes a cat and mouse game because as CPU’s and network speeds get faster and storage gets cheaper, developers can get away with larger sites and slower code.
case in point, nowadays you can barely browse the web with an iPhone 4, but when it first came out people weren’t waiting 30 seconds for a pageload on it. Even look at the average size of an app in the App Store now. I think facebook was 40MB when it first was released, now it’s 300MB. It’s like you have to keep getting newer and newer hardware just to keep up.
You surely aren't using it anymore, are you? They are now owned by an ad company.
They are a German company very much covered by GDPR, so I think it's relatively safe to use the tool this way. I'd be happy to hear otherwise though.
I also recommend Decentraleyes, Smart Referer, First Party Isolation and Facebook Container. Plus of course HTTPS Everywhere.
It's hard for me to imagine productive browsing without most of those addons now.
So, I do think it is nowadays fine to use Ghostery. I still don't quite understand why it's so popular, there's tons of other tools for the same purpose (for example Disconnect, Privacy Badger, Firefox's built-in Tracking Protection), but yeah.
Maybe, maybe not.
The problem with straight up blocking of all ads is obviously it cuts of funding for content creators whose work I enjoy.
What I really want is blocking of the ridiculous crap you find in ads, but still allow reasonable publishers to show ads & monetize.
That's why I'm hopeful for the "Coalition for Better Ads". It's essentially trying to define that standard across multiple parties.
No seriously, if it sucks so much, why haven't users responded by going somewhere else, thus incentivizing sites to behave well?
But, it's still something worth probing into: if it really does make the user experience worse -- and I agree it does -- why haven't people punished those sites by going elsewhere?
My best guess is that it's like bad customer service: it bugs people, but it's not really the differentiating factor when choosing a product/service provider.
I've met many young people who still default to pen-and-paper for things like note-taking. It's tempting to dismiss them as luddites, but I can't exactly blame them, given how much I know about just how user-hostile modern computer software and hardware can be.
In becoming ad revenue maximizers, taking for-granted assumptions on audience, this situation doesn't optimize for serving the audience well. And since their models are to provide content in bulk, it keeps users served "well enough" to keep coming back, as opposed to less-funded alternatives which might provide a better UX, but don't provide the bulk content that monied sites can.
Fundamentally, people visit sites and endure bad UX if the content is there to draw them. The utility cost of bad UX often isn't the dominating factor.
Yes, but again, that's only true because apparently the UX isn't actually bad enough to push away a significant chunk of their userbase.
> Fundamentally, people visit sites and endure bad UX if the content is there to draw them. The utility cost of bad UX often isn't the dominating factor.
Agreed. But you could also interpret this as, "people don't mind this type of UX that much".
USA Today definitely would not have survived another 5 years with 25 second page loading times. Or at least, such an old website wouldn't have generated enough revenue to survive long term (and USA Today would put their content on something else like Apple News, Youtube, etc)
The news experience through websites is so bad that I don't read news on the WWW anymore.
That is one tread bare cop out.
When the choice is to go without completely, few will do so (and those that do will often get marketing blitzed as "luddites").
The market isn’t magic, and the market we actually have is far from free.
Otherwise, it'll turn into a case where companies will farm out their web design and digital marketing to "marketing heavens" just like they already do creative restructuring and accounting for tax evasion purposes.
The federal government in the US is profoundly dysfunctional to the point where this isn't worth the time or money. However, it may be worth the effort on the state level.
If everyone who says that voted in the primaries and mid-term elections it wouldn’t be true. The party of dysfunction is in charge now but only because so many people choose not to vote.
For example, people tend to get stuck in tribal thinking where one party or the other is to blame when the seeds of the problems go all the way back to the founding of the country. It's hard to shake people out of it so they can have a productive discussion even when everyone's trying to be fair and honest.
It's weird that voting does not take place on a non-working day in the US (like Sunday, for example).
Some employers tried making it look fancy to let employees take the day off to go voting so that maybe some other employers would pick up the habit in exchange of some bragging rights but it didn't go very far.
Internet was supposed to free us from the limitations of the real world. World of internet was supposed to be the one where you can fluidly switch between your preceptions of self, become a new person whenever you felt like, leave your past behind. This was supposed to be a new world where people see themselves differently.
Now we have created countries on internet. Transferred our real world identity onto internet. Masses were rushed into the internet before they were ready, before they got the concept of what internet means psychologically. Now we vast bureaucracies ruling the internet, so depressing. Depressing to see ppl on HN saying "Good" to every GDPR news. Sad to see internet age squashed by beurocracies right when it was getting started.
Every beautiful place on Earth will sooner or later be exploited for mass tourism and marketing. If you ever find such a place, keep it a secret, to keep it intact.
And GDPR is an awesome thing, it's an example of governments doing the right thing.
We have though. Your world on the internet looks different based on citizenship( ipAdress) and ppl have to get a visa (VPN) to go that country on the internet.
People hated it when China did this but somehow EU doing this is somehow commendable. Now people are europeans, americans, indians ect on the internet. I just want to be a human being.
But this started long before government intervention ("personalization", "regional content"), and it is not the fault of the EU that tech companies pursued behaviors that were against the spirit of the laws. There are two ways for tech to respond to the multigovernment problem: conform to all of the laws throughout the world, or "create countries on the internet". As is evident now, most companies chose the latter
> Now people are europeans, americans, indians ect on the internet. I just want to be a human being.
Then let's put people in power that uphold international law and treaties, and empower international bodies.
One prevents people in China from accessing stuff the government doesn't like, the other prevents companies from treating your data like shit.
> Your world on the internet looks different based on citizenship
Yes, my world on the Internet looks a hell of a lot better than the Internet as seen from the US.
Also, they both massively break the “end-to-end” principle, since your geographic location (and therefore ISP) has a big impact on what data gets served.
(The differences between the two are arguably more important, but they are obvious, and have been discussed to death, so I won’t bother pointing them out)
There is no breakage of the end-to-end principle either. EU can only legislate in their own region, so they can't enforce GDPR outside of EU. A company thqt is GDPR compliant for every user doesn't have to check the IP at all.
Any differences stem only from the companies will to keep abusing users data in the rest of the world.
Internet in rest of world is fine. Atleast our govt doesn't record our porn watching activities via unknown third parties.
That has always been the case for people on "third-world" countries. Hulu, YouTube (the publisher of this content has not made it available in your country), and even stuff more tangible as Amazon.
Now you're just catching up with what the internet has been like for basically everyone outside the US and Western Europe since ever.
The older internet was not a network of for-profit users trying to rent-seek on every digital interface & every page view. Standards were created by academics, internet committees, and concerned & involved users, trying to figure out what would work best as a resilient distributed system.
Now what goes on online is defined by the rent-seekers, the data pimps, and the predators. Their actions have real-world, legal consequences which ruin it for everybody, and their size & clout overwhelms the decisions of average people.
I hope that preventing companies exploiting data will lead to more interesting business models than "provide distracting trinket and harvest data".
I don't want to take part in a grand age of the Internet which basically amounts to people harvesting information about me so they can do anything from trying to sell me shit to attempting to corrupt the democratic process.
1. distracted by 'trinkets'
2. Expose your personal information in exchange for trinkets
3. Prone to buying 'shit' on the internet
4. naive to fall for fake news
5. Govt needs to step in and take charge to create "more interesting business models"
"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize."
That's a form of crossing into incivility, and it leads to much worse (as seen below). Could you please not post like that here?
The FBI can clobber your .com domain if you infringe US law, even if both you and your server are located in places it would be perfectly legal.
Since when? The Internet was designed to be a robust way for Americans to communicate in the event of a nuclear attack.
I've also read about it in the book "Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet". In the prologue it mentions:
“Rumors had persisted for years that the ARPANET had been built to protect national security in the face of a nuclear attack. It was a myth that had gone unchallenged long enough to become widely accepted as fact.”
“Lately, the mainstream press had picked up the grim myth of a nuclear survival scenario and had presented it as an established truth. When Time magazine committed the error, Taylor wrote a letter to the editor, but the magazine didn’t print it. The effort to set the record straight was like chasing the wind; [Bob] Taylor was beginning to feel like a crank.”
Some other sources seem to confirm this, e.g. http://www.alphr.com/features/369490/top-ten-internet-histor...
That's why the downvotes have come -- to clean this up, so people can scan past the grey stuff that probably adds nothing.
Maybe time to take a new look at gopher and newsgroups?
Vultr has a $2.50 a month box with a few European locations. You only get 500gb of transfer per month on that size, but you can test the waters and size as per your needs. They even have an install script for OpenVPN if you don't want to go through that headache.
The only real downside is they limit you to 2 boxes at that size per account. Clearly just a loss leader for them (but it got me using their service).
The combined effort needed to produce and maintain huge lists of rules to hide ads everywhere is probably way above the one needed to setup a VPN.
While the technical people have ability to implement solutions. I suspect many are short on time. I think a VPN despite it's cost is a better solution for many (provide websites don't restore the js/bloated functionality)
Surprisingly many do.
With that said, a fair number also require some tweaking and it is that tweaking that non-technical users will be unlikely to understand nor be patient enough to work through in order to get a particular site to work.
There are plenty of sites that I frequent that have tastefully located, static banner ads that are served directly through the site operator rather than through an add network. This has the dual advantage of allowing the operator some editorial control, and of producing ads that tend to be much higher quality (to me, anyway) because they involve actually telling me about new products and services I might be interested in because they are related to the actual content I'm reading, rather than being a giant pile of "one weird trick" ads and targeted advertisers' sad attempts to sell me things I've looked at before, and therefore either already bought or already decided not to buy.
In essence, it would be a return to the kind of advertising that print media uses. Which, incidentally, tends to command a higher price than all this junk, anyway.
I've also done paid subscriptions to various journalistic websites in the past. I've since stopped, generally because their reading experience is generally so awful that I've retreated back to print media for such things. So I suppose you could count me as one of those people who would be willing to directly pay for a simple web. (It's not like I prefer to kill trees. I just value readability is all.)
Tasteful banners are nice but tracking the performance of such ads is very hard. Ad business is really cut-throat. When you visit a site, there literally are multiple ad networks / advertisers bidding for a spot in front of you, with real money, based on the site, your location and your interests. A huge network of autonomous trader bots that trade real money billions of times per day for a spot in front of a human's eyeballs. If an algorithm decides that you have a higher than normal probability of converting to a paying customer, they (an AI or expert system) decides on the spot to pay "premium" to be in front of your eyeballs. They do this while running A/B tests with different ad variations to figure out what converts better, for which segment of the population etc.
Modern ads are not only kind of targeted. They are INSANELY targeted. There have been instances of people targeting singular people through ads based on geolocation and interests.
A publisher cannot be expected to run all that bidding code on their own servers. Those networks are actually a network of networks. If you are buying ads today, you want analytics immediately to see how you are doing, how much you are spending so that you can improve and adapt before sinking more money on it.
The profits generated by such methods are a couple orders of magnitude higher than a simple untrackable banner on a site placed by a site owner which gets swapped out whenever...
Hm, what if you’re a reader looking for journalistic text articles, is the same content available on both?
p.s. the EU version is on it's own subdomain, maybe you can reach it from the US too: https://eu.usatoday.com/
Also, the articles seem to be missing links and the videos are not available.
If all you want is the text of the articles and you only want the latest stories, the EU experience is probably great. But if you want more, you're probably going to be disappointed.
I believe Safari has this, too.
Might find an extension for other browsers.
Many of us have sworn off Twitter, FB, Google, youtube, etc. because we don't care for the tracking, nor do we care for regulations. Unfortunately, we miss out on many things when people insist we participate on those sites by merely linking to them as part of a discussion.
Now compare that to the extra electricity required for everybody undergoing the horrible experience of 80 poorly written trackers and ads constantly overloading each tab in a web browser.
This reminds me of the American budget. Cut the funding for Planned Parenthood and the Arts but we need a hundred new tanks!
Personally, I can't wait for a shift in business practices. Ads have ruined my confidence in privacy. Most sites share your data with over a dozen different ad tracking vendors. I've seen twice that for a specific class of site, ie thechive.com.
Please never do that, unless you want your visitors to have the worst accessibility experience.
How are "people on a smartphone" or "people with bad vision" small sets of users? Also, rendering the whole page in a PNG file takes more work than merely serving the page as is, which is the second reason nobody does it (the first one being "why would someone want such a shitty browsing experience?").
That point is never. Never do that.
edit Clearly this is a terrible idea, just to clear up any misattribution of intent.
Serving ads requires exactly:
1) The HTML <img> tag.
2) Server side rendering (at least enough to insert a URL into the src="" attribute of the <img> tags.
3) A webserver that responds to the URL's inserted in #2 above by supplying an image.
That's it. And, in fact, in the beginning of ads on the internet, the above was how all ads were served. But sites didn't care for it much, because they had to do extra work to serve ads. And advertisers very much did not like it because they had to trust that their partner sites were truthful in their reporting of add impressions (for the pay by impression model).
And having the advertiser be the one running "the server" of #3 above (which would allow them to monitor impression counts) means that their partner sites need to be kept up to date with the latest set of active URL's, lest some <img> tags show the broken link icon. Also a huge hassle.
The JS ad frameworks came about because the ad networks realized if they could lower the bar to gaining "ads" on a site, they could get more sites running ads (the push went something like "now use 'ad world 2.0', now just a single <script> tag in your website, no other work on your part").
And along the way the ad networks realized that the companies purchasing the impressions were willing to pay more for impressions that might be more "significant", and "relevant ads" were invented. Of course, the unstated, behind the scenes, part of "relevant" was that in order to determine "relevance" we now have to track and monitor the end users activities all across the internet so that if we see J. Smith searching for cat food on Amazon, we can now start serving him ads on facebook for catfood, and they will be "relevant" because we know he is interested in cat food for some reason.
So sites don't have to go "ad free" to also be "track your users activities everywhere" free. They just have to return to the original model where the ad was the internet equivalent of a highway bill-board or a poster on the side of a bus-stop shelter. Untargeted, just there, maybe it is seen, maybe it is not.
I started distinctly noticing this over the last year or two in thinking about how much more relevant I found advertisements in print magazines and journals as online. In literary journals, I'll find advertisements from publishers about their new releases in related topics. In scientific journals, I'll find conferences, new lab equipment and products for related fields, and so on. In design journals, I'll find advertisements for furniture, fabric, and so on. I get one local art magazine mostly for the advertisements, which are primarily new exhibition announcements. I actually somewhat enjoy seeing these sorts of advertisements: they're clearly marked as ads, but they're also actually useful. If, say, New England Biosciences puts out a kit with new features, their advertising in Science can let me know about an option I might otherwise not have heard about, for example.
Yet even before I started very strongly blocking as many ads and tracking online as possible, the targeting was horrible by comparison. There were the saturation-advertising systems, which would come up with wonderful decisions like "this person just bought a new mattress; that must mean they buy mattresses often, so let's show those advertisements" or "this word was used somewhere in the website, let's show stuff tangentially related to that word," or "everyone is interested in ONE WEIRD TRICK." Most of the time, these advertisements had nothing to do with me, or what I was reading, and they were obnoxious and unhelpful. How this became the norm online, just because on some rare occasions, the algorithms might work well, as opposed to the very well-targeted advertisements in print publications, is quite confusing.
The evolution of the Internet in the last two decades has been such a tremendous disappointment. It really peaked in the early 2000s (when I got my first DSL connection but before JS became a thing).
I know this is well-intentioned, but so is most authoritarianism. We don't want to go down that road. Your personal preferences don't get to become law.
Having politicians and lawyers micromanage technology decisions for the entire Internet? What could possibly go wrong.
Every now and then I’ll wander into the regular Internet for something (e.g. HN links some article). Usually it’s a jarring and deeply unpleasant experience.
Consuming any other kind of content on the Internet has gotten so much better it's hard for me to imagine, in the late 1990s, predicting how good it is. I had a laptop hanging 1 hop off a default-free peering core router and never would expected this network to replace all of radio and television.
Similarly, creating any kind of content is drastically better than it has been at any other point in the history of the Internet. For 90% of what I need a word processor or spreadsheet for, free Google Apps is more convenient than MS Office on my laptop; I'll use them simply to avoid launching the app. I'm still in native apps to draw diagrams, but I bet I won't be in 5-10 years.
And don't forget: Flash is dead.
On balance, I think we're much better off than we used to be.
As to content creation, I guess I don’t see the point. If you told me in 1998 that two decades from now I’d be using a word processor that wasn’t any more capable than Word 97, simply more resource intensive, I would’ve thought that to be a pretty bleak prognostication.
I bought a copy of BeOS back in the day, and avidly followed the newsletters: https://www.haiku-os.org/legacy-docs/benewsletter/Issue2-47..... An honest exchange of currency for useful software; plain HTML content. I miss that tremendously.
There’s an ocean of content, but most of what’s actually born online is an aggressive waste time, designed to maximize engagement and nothing else. There are 10 minute+ YouTube videos on topics that could be better encapsulated in a paragraph of the written word, but of course it’s easier to monetize the video. The pervasive online business model is industrial scale invasion of privacy, news media is teetering, blogging is suffering, forums are mostly dead.
A majority of the population visits a handful of sites like Facebook and Google, the latter of which wants to subvert email. Brandolini’s law rules, and has been turbocharged with the power of a thousand retweets and a million echo chambers. White supremacists and all other manner of kooky fucks finally have the global audience they’ve always dreamed of. Twitter and other platforms have fueled an outrage culture with the soul of a jackal and the attention span of a gnat.
I do like streaming content, but it seems like a bad trade off.
Oh yeah, and we have the security disaster that is the IoT and resulting bothers.
1. Move here and get a job, I have no idea what the visa system is like for wherever your country is, but if you work in tech that's a good start.
2. Get a VPN
Gotta love the GDPR, a nice way to get rid of all the "social media" crap and hundreds of ad trackers that has infested every corner of the internet.