Ad blocking, my conscious decision to abstain

When Apple released iOS 9 on iPad and iPhone it included a new feature that can block web ads within Safari. I’ve been using Ad Blocking plugins on my PC and Mac browsers for a while and jumped straight in and installed 2 apps to play around with.

I wanted to improve my online experience by reduce page load times, reduce my battery usage and stop being so damn distracted by them!ad spam

The funny thing is, I also own a couple of blogs like ProductiveWizard.com where I have used advertising and the occasional affiliate links in the past, nothing grand and nothing horrible in my opinion! The aim was to earn money towards the next 12 months online hosting costs (less than $100). Yet I also removed the ads 8 months ago when I thought they detracted from the overall look and feel of the sites and have only recently re-introduced them.

So, after some thought I removed all of my ad blockers PC, Mac and iOS devices and now view webpages as the creators intended, warts and all. Many of these smaller sites may need my ad impressions to keep the lights, they may be starting on their journey towards self employment and my adblockers could impact them directly.  So I have now decided to show my displeasure to any annoying sites with bad ads by voting with my eyeballs.

  • If your site uses javascript linking in text that’s annoying I will close the tab and never return.
  • If you make an advert appear over what I’m trying to read say goodbye to a potential customer.
  • If you autoplay a video ad without my implicit click, don’t be surprised when I leave and you never see my tracking cookie again.
  • If your article or page is riddled with lots of ads that distract too much or cause nausea, I will bid you farewell for good.
  • This is not add related, however applies; If your site has a ‘Top 10’ list of something and you put them on individual pages or a gallery that reloads each time someone clicks ‘next’ to boost your page views I will laugh at you heartily as I press the back button.

I do find myself using Safari Reader view or Evernote Clearly more often when I find the ads too distracting (Inject an Ad between every paragraph? tut tut). This way the site gets my initial page impression as I switch to Reader view but I can read the article in with less distraction. In fact it often looks a lot better than the same webpage when using an adblocker.

If you run a website and run ads, take a good look at how you are using them. Less is more.

Mostly, just treat your readers with some respect .

Windows 10 and Surface 3 – Turn to the dark side

With all the buzz of the Windows 10 launch a few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to experience it for myself, rather than throw it on a virtual machine on my Mac I decided that I’d replace my iPad Mini and opt for a Surface 3 for my light commuting and travel needs, the idea of a full OS on tablet was a huge draw. I even got a twitter mention from the official Microsoft account.

Continue reading “Windows 10 and Surface 3 – Turn to the dark side”

Will anyone miss Currys : PCWorld when it’s gone?

I ordered a Logitech Keys to Go keyboard for my iPad that was delivered on Saturday using Amazon Prime. Unfortunately there was a defect with Backspace key that was causing it to stick when pressed, I arranged a return with Amazon but there were none currently in stock, no drama.

On a whim I took a look at the PCWorld website to see if they had them in stock today, my 2 local stores (Farnborough) showed they had them in stock. I headed to the main store and wandered the store and eventually found the Logitech display with 2 x KeysToGo in Red and Teal, but no black. A nice store chap went and checked the stock inventory system to find yes they had 2 black in stock and went off to find them……

20 minutes later the store assistant reports that they can’t find them, he suggested I could try the other Farnborough store as a stock check showed they had 3 in store. Well I was out already, why not.

As I wandered around the other store I eventually found a dummy box for a black Keys to Go, with a note to take the box to an assistant. So after eventually finding one I asked if I could purchase one, a quick check of his stock confirmed that 3 were indeed in store. Off he went (via 2 other customer queries) then passed me to a colleague. I wandered the store for a while, had a play on a Roku 3 box (I asked another store assistant, none in stock) then saw my customer assistant coming my way with 2 boxes, both of which I could tell were not Logitech Keys to Go. Off he went again, randomly opening cupboards under displays looking for the 3 keyboards. Poor chap even helped other customers whilst he looked.

About 15 minutes into my 2nd attempted purchase I asked the chap to stop looking, he said I could order online which I thanked him for and headed to the exit empty handed again.

In total I wasted a good 90 minutes trying to buy a keyboard that was in stock in 2 separate stores. The whole premise of physical stores is the ability to buy your chosen goods that day perhaps at slightly inflated price for the convenience. Never again.

To Jailbreak land and back again..

images

A few weeks ago I Jailbroke my iPhone 5, the latest in a long line of iPhones I’ve jailbroken over the years.

I lasted 5 days in this Jailbroken state, I reinstalled stock 6.1 within a week. You see, one Jailbreak library update and my phone was left in a non bootable state. Hacking your phone can be a ruthless master. I was thinking of returning to stock already and this failure just made my decision easier!

Louise remarked ‘Why do I always Fiddle and Fart with my Tech, which you end up breaking!’

Hmmmm maybe she has a point!

The Jailbreak itself was straightforward enough, there were a few apps and hacks that worked well on the iPhone 5…. but none really added anything useful to my workflow… Yes my iPhone looked a little prettier, yes I could check Email/Facebook/Twitter quicker, yes I could default to Google Maps over Apple Maps…. but as the days went on I slowly realised the that it was just extra cream I had added at the expense of security and stability.

Why Jailbreak in the 1st place? My iPhone’s iOS interface is feeling more and more dated, I just wanted to inject some life into it! However, Jailbreaking didn’t add anything for me (bar the cream).

Looking at my full Apple setup (even before Jailbreaking) I’m seem to be spending more and more time troubleshooting my Apple products, an iMac that refused to perform a TimeMachine backup, a duplicate number of contacts on an iPhone and Macs, an AirPort express that my iPad mini refused to connect to (iPhone and Macs had no problem), my ipad mini refusing to sync and a MacBook Air that goes a little crazy when it syncs to Google drive.

I know some of these issues can be blamed on 3rd parties, however I’ve gotten so used to Apple products “that just worked” It’s become a sobering experience having to troubleshoot issues. One if the reasons I swapped to a full Apple setup was due to the low (none?) maintenance overhead it would bring.

I dont use Apples iCloud or their apps (iMail/ iCal)as it doesnt fit my workflow, I use Google for my Calendar and email, Dropbox and Google drive for files, Evernote and Nozbe help me get things done. If your 100% tied into Apple both work and home maybe you could use them…
The iPhone and iPad were game changers, but they are in real danger of being left behind as Android keeps producing better and better hardware. Android apps are improving (my greatest bugbear with Android)

It does make me question my dependence on Apple products, I’m not using their apps or infrastructure, I’m having to perform more and more maintenance to keep them working, the hardware is not cutting edge anymore….. And all with an Apple premium?

Hmmmmmm, I’m becoming more tempted with some kind of hardware reboot! (Still loving the Google Chromebook!)

Samsung Movies. Thanks for nothing!

Samsung, you really are something special, this is an email I received this week…

Dear user,
We’d like to inform you that from 15/12/2012, the Samsung Movies service will no longer be available and the web page movies.uk.samsungapps.com will not be accessible.

If you wish to use the service over 15/12/2012, then please click here.

Please also note that the following mobile devices are no longer supported

  • Samsung Galaxy TAB
  • Samsung Galaxy S
  • Samsung Wave
  • Samsung S8300 Tocco Ultra Edition
  • Samsung S7350 Classico
  • Samsung M7600 Beat DJ
  • Samsung i8910 HD
  • Samsung Jet

Thank you for using the Samsung Movie Store.

Samsung Movies was a dog to use, the only reason I used it at all was due to free vouchers I received when buying various Samsung products. However I’m not 100% sure if the email is saying the whole Samsung Movies is closing or if one of my products is no longer supported in Samsung Movies? But you said Samsung Movies will not be available anyway….. Any idea anyone?

Either way, corporate communications shouldn’t make the customer confused as to what services they are pulling!

I’ll be sticking with Apple or Google hardware in the future thanks…

Microsoft Surface RT, where are the hands on previews?

So the Microsoft Surface is available to pre-order at last, but one thing really concerns me. Where are the previews/reviews before I place an order? The only ‘reviews’ have been made with a very limited ‘touch and feel’ session at the Microsoft launch event a few months ago.

Apple do this also, but with Apple’s iOS you know what you’re getting, an OS with a few years behind it. With Microsoft RT it’s a much bigger gamble as no one really knows if it’s amazing or meh or how well or poorly it will cope on the Surface hardware.

I do wonder how many will take a +£400 pre-order gamble? I think less than Microsoft hope.

Another Android device is about to bite the dust!

byenexus7Lets start this off with a little statement. The Google Nexus 7 is a nice enough device, but it’s just not for me!

It’s only been a few weeks since I took delivery of the Nexus 7 and at times it’s been a joy to use and other times it’s made my brow furrow far too deeply. It took some time to realise what the issues were but I think I’ve nailed them down for me.

Apps.

Android Tablet app development is a very poor cousin to its iOS brethren. Maybe the Nexus 7 will help bridge the gap now there is a decent Android tablet available, but as I’m an early adopter I’m left in despair. Just take a look at The Times for Android Tablet? Avoid! The iOS version runs rings around it. Flipboard for Android Tablet? Fine if your eyesight is poor, the font size is huge! RSS readers? Newsrob comes closest, but it’s not a patch on 3 or 4 iOS choices. Kindle works fine, apart from the screen is too bright at its lowest setting for nighttime reading!

Lack of 3G.

As I noted in my original thoughts of the Nexus 7 this device would be loads better with a 3G antenna. It’s a portable size yet does not have a portable connection. Yes it’s keeps the costs down but it makes no sense to me!

Button layouts

Yes it’s a minor quibble, but the number of times I’ve turned off the device when trying to turn up the volume is crazy. Lean it against the back of my train fold out table/chair… the power button is hit.. grrrrrr!

It’s another device in my bag.

This was something I wasn’t expecting, having another device to carry around has been frustrating. Maybe it was because I still had to turn to my iPhone for my Morning GTD reviews or emails that annoyed me so much. I had a great device in my hands (Nexus) but had to revert to the iPhone to be productive.

So where next?

Android, your apps and devices…. Your fired. All of you. Again… for now!

Honestly you have so much promise but in every iteration you have left me feeling short-changed. I’m a geek, I should enjoy messing around with you, but I don’t.

My iPhone is still my number 1 choice gadget that I pickup when I leave the house and my iPad is still what I reach for when I get home.

iPhone (New) as I am sure it will be known maybe the device I need. But the reports of the slightly larger screen may come up short for what I want, which may mean I do need a 2nd device. The iPad mini? I’m confident the app/software support will be just as good as the full iPad offerings… but will it include 3G? That would be deal breaker for me if it does not!

So…. FOR SALE, one lightly used Google Nexus 7 16GB, boxed with a nice neoprene sleeve.