Tag Archives: free

I Feel Bad About Running An Adblock But I Can’t Stop

Bloggers tend to have a complicated relationship with advertisements. For professional bloggers (i.e. those who make a living off this sort of thing), that’s the lifeblood of their profession. In fact, I’d go as far to say advertising is what’s created the Internet as we know it today (well, technically, the World Wide Web, but nobody seems to use that term anymore).

We expect to get content for free these days, but we also expect it to be of a professional quality. The days of some dude’s crappy Geocities page being the only source of information are long over; now, you can peruse hundreds of blogs written by people that, in a different decade, would be reporters for actual newspapers and the like. And advertising is what makes that happen.

And then there are the ad blockers. A brief description for the non-tech readers: an ad blocker is an app you can install, typically directly into your browser. It will scan the content of each page that you access and it will disable the various ads, pop-ups, sponsored content links, and other stuff that websites use to generate advertising revenue. The end result is that each page is decluttered from all the extra stuff that gets stuffed in there and it creates a cleaner, more enjoyable browsing experience.

For the user, there is no real downside. For content creators, however, there’s a huge downside, in that websites earn money by how often those ads they display are viewed and if people are blocking the ads, they’re not getting the page views, which means earning less money. It’s not a big loss if only a few people do it, but if enough users are blocking the ads, it can really hurt the content creator.

Aside from that, there’s a moral dimension as well: those ads are how creators get paid for their work. By blocking the ads, you’re getting the content for free, or at least, you’re not contributing to the creator getting paid. Is that stealing? You could make an argument that way. Certainly, I feel bad for using it. I feel like I’m taking advantage of the system.

Some creators get around it by moving to a subscription-based model; for a small fee, you get an ad-free experience and maybe some addition perks. For most people, there a likely a few sites that they use heavily enough where this is possible, but certainly not all of them; there’s just too much content out there.

Recently, I tried turning off my ab block to see if I could get by without it. The price of good content is a few ads, I told myself. After a week of browsing without an ad block, I was in a hurry to reactivate it.

It isn’t just that the ads are annoying or for things I don’t care about. They’re actively harmful to my experience on the site. The human eye is drawn to movement and so while I’d be trying to focus on reading a page, the videos would play or pictures would shift, and every time it happened, my concentration was broken for a moment as my gaze shifted to the thing. Not to mention the sheer visual clutter for most pages.

Compare that to the clean, quiet space created by an ad block and you’ll see why, regardless of feeling bad about using it, I was in a hurry to go back.

I don’t have a solution to the problem. It’s just something that I’m thinking about right now.

And for what it’s worth, I pay WordPress a small fee each year to keep ads off my site, so you’ll have an ad free experience here regardless if you use ad block or not. But I’m also a hobbyist blogger who doesn’t depend on the success of this site to eat, so it’s hardly a fair comparison.

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Tucson, You Continue To Disappoint

I know that the state I’m from doesn’t define me. I’m my own person, after all. Just because I’m from Arizona doesn’t mean I fit the mold of what Arizona is to the rest of the country. I shouldn’t let this kind of thing bother me, right? It’s just that it’s hard to even want to call a place home when you have brilliance like this:

A former mayoral candidate in Tucson, Ariz., is launching a privately funded program to provide residents of crime-prone areas with free shotguns so they can defend themselves against criminals. . . McClusky said citizens need to do more to protect themselves because city government is failing to do the job.

“We need to take back our city, and it needs to come back to the citizens and not the criminals,” he said.

There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t even . . .

I don’t even feel the need to point out the idiocy of just handing out guns to people with nothing more than a background check, considering how thorough and reliable such background checks are. I imagine there’s also a part in this program that plans for each person to “solemnly swear that they will use this free shotgun only for good.” Maybe they’ll swear on a Bible, ’cause, you know, that always works.

The thing that really bothers me? It’s not even about the guns at this point. It’s about the fact that there are people that think like this and even worse, there are people that look at the first group and say, you know, I think that there is a good idea.

I’m not afraid of guns. I understand their place and their purpose. I own a gun myself. But to launch a plan to “take back our city” makes it seem like it’s a gunfight a minute around here. Honestly, it’s not, although I suppose that will change when everybody has a free shotgun and it’s like that time all the neighborhood kids had a big Super Soaker fight, except that everybody will be dead instead of soaked. Can’t wait for those good times to roll.

It’s like the people that moved out here arrived in the Southwest with their minds filled with images of cowboys and gunfights and OK Corral shootouts. And when it turned out that, surprise, the Wild West isn’t, those people were disappointed. There’s a part of those people who really wish, deep down, that they could tote their shotgun and their revolver and just lay waste to the first motherfucker who does something to deserve it. It’s like they’re disappointed that we don’t need to solve things with shootouts.

Every single time Arizona does something, it’s embarrassing for anybody that engages in rational thinking. I’d really like for that to stop, but I won’t be holding my breath, because then somebody might see me holding my breath, assume I’m up to nefarious purposes, and it’ll be another Wild West shootout.

When it comes down to it? I think that for the vast majority of people, even so called responsible gun owers, guns are just another form of toy. They’re dangerous toys and they’re expensive toys and they carry an awesome burden of responsibility, but I think that years and years of immersion in a pop culture where the dramatic gun cock is considered the ultimate form of punctuation have made us forget that this isn’t a fucking game.

I’m not blaming pop culture and movies and video games for making us violent, especially when statistics show that overall, things are getting better. It’s not the media’s fault for making violence sexy. I’m blaming us for being too immature not to realize that violence in reality is not fun or sexy or exciting. Deep down inside, we think it’s going to be just like the movies and that’s why we want it. That’s why we long for a zombie apocalypse. That’s why we hope for the chance to shoot a home invader so we can be a hero, even though if we really wanted to “be prepared,” we’d eat better and exercise more instead of buying more guns, considering the likelihood of dying to cardiovascular disease in comparison to violence.

It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.