Today is a special day. It’s Friday the 13th. Again. The third Friday the 13th of 2009. Normally, I would consider Friday the 13th to be something of an unlucky day. After I divulge this little bookmark secret, you might agree.
Friday the 13th could be an unlucky day for web page advertising. Most Mac web browsers come with a setting to block those annoying pop up advertisements that clutter your Mac screen. Would you like a single click that would eliminate all web page display advertisements in Safari?
Paying The Freight
For the most part, internet content for blogs, web sites, news sites et al, is supported by advertising.
Advertisements can range from totally annoying to highly useful to a generally acceptable but ignored status in between.
In other words, like it or don’t, internet advertisements help to pay for all the free content that gets soaked up by our eyeballs through Mac web browsers.
Pop up ads, though, cross the line of acceptability for most users, so browser makers provide browsers with a simple setting to stop (most) of the pop up ads from, well, popping up.
Flash Advertisements Begone
The same holds true with Flash ads. They’re everywhere on web sites these days and can be annoying, too.
There’s an old saying, “Does Your Mac’s Safari Crash? It’s Probably Flash.”
From that seeming axiom came the utility ClickToFlash which blocks Flash in Safari and replaces it with a simple gradient screen. Click the screen and the Flash ad plays.
The Readability Experiment
Allow me to introduce you to a simple, elegant solution to the web page advertising clutter problem.
Imagine a simple Safari bookmark, which, when clicked, disposes of a web page’s advertisements, and replaces it with a clean, uncluttered page with just the content you want to read.
That’s Readability. A bookmark that is sure to make many Safari users happy, and advertisers, unhappy.
Readability is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you’re reading.
It’s not a plugin. It doesn’t have a price tag (after all, today is Friday). Installation is drag and drop. You won’t have to restart your Mac.
Readability is a bookmark which performs a little magic on a web page when you click it. First, go to the Readability web site to Select Your Settings.
You can choose from Style, Size, and Margin preferences. Style ranges from Newspaper to Novel. Size from Small to Extra Large. And Margin from Narrow to Extra Wide.
I chose Newspaper, Large, and Wide.
Then, drag the Readability bookmark link to your Safari toolbar (it may work just fine in other browsers; or not). Point Safari to a web page with content that you want to read, but on a web page with advertisements.
Then, click the Readability bookmark. Voila!
The web page instantly changes to a simple newspaper-like column without all the blinking advertisements surrounding the article. The ads have disappeared.
There are advantages and disadvantages. Just as television sponsors don’t want viewers to use a DVR to skip past the commercials, I’m sure that web page advertisers don’t want users to click to make ads disappear.
Even Mac360 makes a few hundred dollars a month on advertising from various sources, so we always appreciate your patience and the occasional click to help fund our literary efforts. Advertising, as they say, pays the freight.
Readability is handy, simple, and just works (mostly). Advertisers and web sites can’t be too happy about such an elegant and inexpensive use of technology, but if necessity is the mother of invention, then nature will find a way to make life better.