Top Annoyances of the Web (and you thought they fixed them already!)

Let’s face it, the internet has already impacted much of our lives. Most of us have adapted to the technology that permeates everyday living but shouldn’t we pause first and ask ourselves if it is right that we have to change our lives in order to accommodate the demands of an online world? Or do we have to wait for technology to improve for the web to fit seamlessly into our lifestyle? I am asking this question because right now I will show you a list annoyances that I consider to be so important that they makes me think of whether or not the internet is really headed in the right direction. We have a choice: Should we ignore them and work around the annoyances, or actually fix them?

Sites that demand registration – there are sites, especially news sites, that demand that you register after you have read enough free pages. Sadly this could be the trend because newspapers are losing money to bloggers and news aggregators. Classified ads which are traditional sources of revenue for newspapers are not relevant on the internet because of sites like Craigslist and eBay which essentially offer the same services for free.

To work around news sites that demand registration, search for the news on Google News or better, just go to

Too much network socializing – First there was MySpace, now there is Facebook and Twitter. Google joined the fray with Google Buzz. If your friends have accounts on different networks, how do you keep in touch without losing your sanity? Try aggregators that feed you updates from several networking sites. There is Digsby or Meebo – top picks that simplify your social networking life.

On line ads are becoming too flashy – Have you noticed how passive banner ads (or maybe those that used to be animated GIFS) are now real videos? It is annoying because they can really slow down your browsing and irritate you with their sales pitches. To fix this annoyance, use FlashMute. Since most advertisement videos are just Flash movies, the software makes it easy to silence ads by providing an icon or a hot key that mutes out audio.

I don’t even have a farm! – This is such an annoyance for me because like many other account holders of Facebook, I do not have a Farmville farm! Why are people sending me trees, tools and critters? To go around this, install Facebook Purity. Or you can use Facebook Lite for basic social networking essentials.

Phishing! – Scammers are waiting for the day when you install leaky software or a time when you get careless and accept email from someone you do not know. Fortunately for us, most browsers, especially those with current security updates, are able to fend off phishing attacks.

I did not say open a new window! – I don’t know if you agree with me but I like to keep track of tabs or browser windows. If a link makes a browser create a new tab or worse, open a new window, I get irritated because I did not ask for it. There is a fix, but only for Firefox, and it is complicated. Just make sure that you know when a link open in its own tab and don’t click on those that open new windows.

What is that a frame? A remnant of last century’s browsing technology is back! It is the frame? If you are in Google Images and click on a search result, the page you are led to is embedded in a frame. DiggBar also puts its result in frames? What is the web police force doing about this?

To prohibit DiggBar from working in Firefox, just run GreaseMonkey’s DiggBar killer script.

Ads disguised as links – Another annoyance, just because website owners want to make money, is the hover link that pops up into an advertisement. I instinctively hit the Escape key or click on the “x” button. To fix this annoyance, ban sites that serve ads. Firefox users can do this with the BlockSite add-on.

Search engine returns millions of hits of mostly junk sites – I know you know what I mean. I type a generic search term and I get millions of hits. Some of the hits are from the same site! While there is no easy fix for this, Google has an advanced search mode to filter out all those junk sites from the results. If you do not get the results you want, why not try other search engines such as Yahoo or Bing?

Sites that accept only Internet Explorer – Although I concede that Explorer is the most popular web browser, I know that Firefox users number in the millions, so it peeves me when a site that I stumble on prevents me from entering because Internet Explorer is the browser the site wants. To fix this, use the Coral IE tab to fool these sites that you are using Explorer. Chrome has the IE Tabs extension as well for similar functionality.

I can’t get the CAPTCHA – why are CAPTCHAs so hard to read? There are easier ways to prove that you are human and indeed, some CAPTCHAs make you answer simple math questions like “What is two plus four?” This is friendlier and less error prone.

Sites that are owned by cybersquatters – These sites come up whenever you make a mistake in typing a URL. These bogus sites are owned by cybersquatters who are off to make a little money whenever someone clicks on a bogus link.

To solve this problem, include the bogus site in Firefox’s BlockSite add on.

Restaurants serving out Flash menus – I don’t know if restaurant web site owners are aware of this, but Flash menus take a long time to load and may not degrade gracefully if disabled in the browser.  But why bother going to these kinds of web sites when Yelp and UrbanSpoon tell us where the hottest food is being served?

How can I rely on online surveys? – Let’s accept it, most of us wouldn’t like to admit that we bought a lemon for a High-Def Television. So how do we trust those surveys stating that so and so brand is the best model in its class?

To get the most reliable information from results of online surveys, just look for the most consistent results. Also look for numbers. If there are only 4 responses giving 5 star ratings, you’d better look for another review on the web.


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