Bits & P.C.s: Pop-Ups and junk e-mail
By Richard Heller
Are you tired of all those commercials? No, I dont mean the TV and radio ads, I mean the ones that keep popping-up as you surf the Web. There is a way to reduce or eliminate these annoyances, and it can be done at little or no cost.
The cheapest way to get rid of the pop-up ads is through Pop-Up Stopper. You can download a free version of the program from Panicware (www.panicware.com) or you can find the retail version available for $10 for the basic version or $30 for the companion version. The deluxe program adds additional features while the $10 version is essentially the free version with a few extras.
While Pop-Up Stopper blocks the ads from displaying on your computer, it still downloads them to your system where it analyzes the Web page before displaying it. Intermute (www.intermute.com) blocks these ads in a different manner.
Their AdSubtract program installs itself so that when you are on the Internet, all the Web pages that you visit pass through their computer system. Their computer maintains a database of advertisements and the Web sites that they come from so they can block them. Because they block the ads at their computer, the only thing that you receive is the Web page minus the ads and the pop-ups.
Since the pop-ups are not sent to you, the Web pages will actually load faster. You still have control over whether you want to see the ads or pop-ups from specific sites, and you can have a sound effect play whenever an ad or pop-up is ignored.
You can download a 30-day trial version of the Plus version from their Web site, or you can purchase the retail version for $20. The plus version adds cookie control and a few additional features. Both versions include AdAware, a utility that will inspect your computer for spyware.
Spyware is the name for the programs that track your Internet activity and reports back to a service that compiles demographics that are sold. Or, they feed you targeted ads, that is, if you are checking the price on airline tickets, they will send you car rental or hotel ads.
Another annoyance is the junk e-mail or SPAM that you receive daily. While some Internet providers are now offering filtering software, there is still a need for a program that almost anyone can use.
McAfee (www.mcafee.com) has a program that may take care of the SPAM. Their SpamKiller program will check your incoming e-mail for telltale content or subject matter. It also maintains a database of sites that sends out the Spam, blocking it from reaching your computer. You can even configure it to block e-mail from specific countries or senders.
The program can automatically import your address book so that it knows what e-mail you want to see. The program works with Outlook and Outlook Express, Eudora and Netscape Communicator. It will also work with MSN/Hotmail, but it does not support AOL.
You can download a 30-day trial version from their website or purchase a retail product for $40 or less.
Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service-related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times or e-mail email@example.com.