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Monday, 06 May 2019


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It would be great to be able to pay a fee to be able to log in to a clean, ad-free internet. Maybe more realistic, a clean, ad-free facebook, youtube or any other app. Are there option out there?

From Road and Track …

If you were around to watch the opening round of the 2018 F1 season in Australia on ESPN last year, you'll remember it being plagued with abrupt commercial interruptions that often happened during critical points in the race without warning. In order to appease angry fans, ESPN eliminated commercial breaks from the rest of 2018's races, and it was pretty great. Now, it looks like that's happening again for 2019. F1 fans, get excited.


It is hard to stuff commercials into automobile races that don't have periodic natural breaks. It was especially hard in this case because ESPN was using a feed from Sky Sports and apparently couldn't replay action missed during breaks.

Required Photo Reference: People take pictures with cameras during car races.

The bit about the "Handicapper General" reminds me of a Woody Allen movie which I thought was THX-1138. Except that wasn't a Woody Allen movie, so I'm apparently a little confused. It all happened a long time ago.

Which is why I like reading books. There are no ads once you get into it. I even liked reading newspapers and magazines, back in the day, since my eyes and brain trained themselves to skip ads. But trying to read anything serious on a computer is a fools game, no matter what popup or ad suppression software you use. It's maddening to have a video start up somewhere on the page, or some popup appear and you have to search for the little x to make it go away. Sometimes I go away instead.

Good one. I agree. I have not watched broadcast TV for 20 years because of this, and I need to really want to see something to look at Youtube.
I slowly am becoming as disenchanted with the internet as I was of TV 20 years ago.
It is a little different, I never watched TV much, but I am an internet junky. Soon to not be I think.

That's precisely what the late great John Gardner wrote in The Art of Fiction. He indicated that the whole point of a work of fiction was to usher the reader into a kind of waking dream or reverie, one that provided a new perspective or experience.
And an intrusive advertisement breaks that spell, like nails on a chalkboard.

and so it goes

There seems to be a trend recently in photo blogs to aggregate content , often from people with little aptitude for either photography or writing. The insult is then compounded by inserting ads between paragraphs. Thanks for continuing to share your insights on the art and craft of photography with well-honed skill and integrity.

We've done this to ourselves. We're always trying to pay less for things, thinking that we pay for things primarily with money. But we pay with all kinds of currency, including our attention span. Ads in most forms are examples of us paying for things with our attention span.

My favorite (or rather, my least favorite) example is billboards on the road. Electronic billboards, especially. They are literally designed to distract us from something we should be devoting all of our attention to. Instead of just paying a little more for things with cash, we pay a little less in cash and supplement it with our attention span, at times when our attention span is particularly valuable.

To make matters worse, this form of payment is not voluntary. We are all paying with our attention span to see that distracting electronic billboard on the highway, whether or not we are in the target market.

In my opinion, the world would be a better place had we never started down this path. We should just pay fair market value for things with our official agreed-upon currency, and we should be able to do what we choose with our precious limited attention span.

(Followup to my previous comment.)

It occurs to me that I do not put my money where my proverbial mouth is -- I don't support TOP, for example, through Patreon. I do support it through B&H affiliate links, though...

In the internet era, consumers seem increasingly resigned to giving up fundamental aspects of their privacy for convenience in using their phones and computers, and have grudgingly accepted that being monitored by corporations and even governments is just a fact of modern life. So says The Harvard Gazette https://bit.ly/2vop4Jt

But it doesn't have to happen this-a-way. Privacy is like freedom, ya gotta fight for it.

I'm not overwhelmed with advertising, I use ad-blockers and tracking-blockers. I use Firefox, the most secure of browsers. I use DuckDuckGo as my search-engine, not data-mining Google—therefore my in-box isn't flooded with personalized spam. I use encrypted e-mail for personal communication. The list is long, but worth the trouble.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Freedom Foundation have some good info on 'net privacy. So does the Times (both L.A. & N.Y.).

Amazon Alexa (hey Alexa) and Google Home (hey Google) are always on, they listen to every word you say—if they didn't they couldn't respond to your requests. Do you trust them with all of your secrets. I don't—'cause both make money from spying on me/you.

BTW don't accept Push Updates offered by many sites.

I could not bear it without reader view and ad blockers. Site may not like them, but if they are gonna blast us with a hundred ad scripts per page, screw ‘em.

Half and half ads on TV? Damn, and I thought it was bad here in UK.

"Regular, insistent distractions can't always simply be ignored—they actively create a hostile environment."

Democracy too requires "Attention, Concentration, and the Right Attitude" and this is as good an explanation as any for why many democracies aren't functioning well these days.

Sometimes, when reading a serious article from a newspaper or magazine, near the top, you will see a square with "Print" next to it. Click on it and it will reformat the article for your printer. Usually all the ads and possibly photos will be gone, only the text remains.

The articles I really hate are the numbered ones (like "the 20 best cars" or the "10 worst smartphones) You have to click on a red arrow to see the next one in the series, and if you miss, you end up in an ad by mistake.

Or complex cameras interrupting photography...

I completely agree. Well said. Looking back, I realize I had been conditioned to gradually accept the interruptions and intentional diminishment of the art I was trying to enjoy. It wasn’t until Malvertising was rampant that I was finally moved to install adblocking software. Now I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

We live in an era where the bad guys can use steganography to sneak bad Java Script into ad networks and the advertisers themselves have used inaudible, high-frequency sounds to attempt to surreptitiously track a person's online behavior across a range of devices. Can’t we have anything nice?

You probably have heard that russians like long stories . Imagine trying to watch a 4 minute video in youtoob only to be greeted with a 10minute ad! Unskipable for the first minute. I now download all the videos I want to watch and then watch them without interruptions.

You’ll be glad you got rid of your tv. The current trend is for reality shows that are built around ad breaks. They have a teaser of what is coming up after the break then the break and then a recap of what happened before the break. From a hours tv, you probably get less than 20 minutes of original content shown to you twice then all the ads.

What can you expect? Somebody has to pay for all that stuff we find on the Internet, and I suppose it gets done via ads.

British tv offers two sets of broad choices: you get the BBC offerings, for which you have to pay a yearly fee, whether you watch their channels or not, and then you get the commercial channels that drag your head into football (I don't include that under sport - it's more about religion), sport and all the other mind-numbing junk that passes for entertainment. I especially wonder about programmes where you become part of a series, the fly on the wall at some rundown, local pub or in some dingy bedroom, virtual member of a family of people you'd normally cross the street to avoid. How perverse it is.

I hardly watch anything now other than the news, and that seems to be becoming more slanted than ever.

But the Internet, at least, offers lots of photographs by whoever turns out to be your favourite snapper. Unfortunately, they often get that wrong too, with images I know very well placed into collections of the wrong photographer.

Maybe we just have to switch it all off and buy monographs. And hope we can trust the editors.

>Kay, I'll shut up now.

Please don't, Mike.

Keith mentions that “ since my eyes and brain trained themselves to skip ads” something like happens to me in often visited websites, I completely ignore the ad region. A couple weeks ago I was showing one of my preteen students where to find some downloads. I completely forgot about the scantly clad girls on the ads on this page until I saw his eyes get slightly wider.

For John Gillooly, checkout the Brave Browser at brave dot com. They are working to change the nature of advertising. It's quite an interesting project that aims to turn advertising on its head. It pays publishers for their readers attention, supports tipping, and pays viewers for watching ads. Full disclosure: I did some consulting for them.

It's Harrison Bergeron's world. We're just living in it.

This is why Kindle will never replace my love for the printed book: they, the printed books are about the only remaining escape from advertisement. I mean, the Kindle does not throw advertising at you during the read, but the occasional ad that pops up when I first open the device can distract for several minutes after I have swiped it, the ad, away.

PADS (Post advertisement distress syndrome?)

And that's just the surface stuff that's going on. What about all the brain massaging that's occurring without your conscious awareness.

We had this thing, the interweb, with email and web sites, but for some reason we all decided to inject private companies as gatekeepers into the interface. Why did we do this?

It's quickly growing beyond intrusive ads, as I found out yesterday. I was trying to get a package diverted from my house to a Fed-Ex store (Actually, the Z6 I ordered from Amazon through TOP.) I went to Fed-Ex, couldn't find the diversion tool (I know it's there somewhere) and looked around for a while, and then gave up. The next time I opened Safari on my Mac, a "Package Manager" ap popped up. It told me the time and also what packages I could expect to be delivered from which services -- Fed-Ex, UPS, USPS, etc. I don't know where it came from. I thought perhaps I'd left the URL up, from the Fed-Ex site, but no, every time I started Safari, there it was, popping up automatically. I do have a Mac cleaner ap, and managed to get rid of it. But there's fifteen minutes I'll never get back.

This is one of the reasons why I still subscribe to print issues of my favourite publications. I was interviewed by the London Review of Books a year or two back about their new website design. Some questions centred around the print edition. I maybe surprised them a bit by saying I actually liked the adverts in the print edition, because they fitted with the page, and enhanced it from a layout and typographical point of view. This even led me to make several purchases based on ads I'd seen. Something that has never happened with a website. I've only ever clicked on ads by accident...

I want to nominate for a Nobel Prize whoever it was that invented the mute button on my TV remote.

[I had a professor at Dartmouth whose name was John Finch...gone now, as is his daughter Marina who was a classmate and friend. A piece of lampcord ran from his television to his easy chair. At the end of it was a small roller switch that cut the circuit to the speaker of his ancient television. Its purpose was to mute the commercials. It was called "The Blab-Off" and it came out in 1952 if you can believe it....


That one was "invented" by "Bob Grant," a pseudonym for Howard Manischewitz. --Mike]

I live in the USA. American's are usually surprised that I have never read anything by Kurt Vonnegut. I typically have to explain that outside of the USA, the study of English Literature usually manes William Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte, and Chaucer. And if you were raised in the West Indies, like I was, the list of authors never includes anyone born in the "North". But after reading this post, I think I will have to read the Harrison Bergeron Effect. With all the social justice movements in recent times, I think perhaps this piece of fiction may not be so far fetched.

Didn't Vonnegut posit the same equalisation principle in 1959's The Sirens of Titan?

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