Cleaning up my Web Browsing
I received a bunch of responses to this post about all the new ads. I've played around with all of the solutions proposed over the last 2 days. Here are my comments.
AdSubtract: This app seems to do the best at eliminating adds. It removed all the animations, sound effects, and even banner and in-line ads as well. For example: If you go to this page without AdSubtract you'll see a banner add at the top and an in-line advertisement in the text of the article. With ad-subtract its almost a pure text page! Pretty cool. I'm on the free trial, but the cost would be 30 dollars. They charge for upgrades over time and I also get the feeling that my web browsing is slowed while it's filtering and it takes up a valuable 16mb of memory in the task manager. If this survives days 3-7 of my 7 day trial I'll probably pay up.
FireFox: This browser blocks pop-up adds and supports extensions that will allow you to select and block specific animations. Most instances of IE on my machine take up around 20mb of memory, but each instance firefox seems to take up 40. You also get bit by sites (like channel9) that are built (for better or worse) around IE 6 and have issues in this browser. So I'll probably uninstall it.
IE Viewing Options: There are options in IE to disable Animations, Sounds, Videos, etc. Unfortunately these seem to only block embedded media that is rarely ever used commercially anymore. But it does come in handy to uncheck this stuff if you should happen to stumble onto a site that decides you want to hear their MIDI intro.
SlimBrowser: I'm not sure what is so slim about it. On the first launch it launched two of it's own ads and by default has 5 rows of toolbars! It also surrounds itself with a pretty thick windowframe. I was able to turn the toolbars off and remove the frame. I'll have to try this out some more because it seems the default setup is poor, but if you customize it you can get some pretty good banner/dhtml filtering going with only a 5mb increase over IE since it basically just wraps the version of IE you have on your machine already.