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Why Are You Telling Us All This?

Because it's not too late. It's not too late for you to arm yourself against it. There are several things you can do (apart from boycotting advertisers who use pops and informing responsible ones how annoying it is.) Some of these measures are more drastic than others.

Turn off JavaScript

This is the safest option because it protects you from all sorts of other things, too. In today's world, it's not entirely practical, however, and some Web pages need JavaScript to perform e-commerce applications.

Use a Smart Browser

Opera, the "other" browser, has had only one reported security flaw in six years of operation. With this kind of record, it seems natural that they'd be the first to allow you to completely disable popups with the click of a mouse. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2 Opera gives you the option of turning popups off.

Opera also has the advantage of being significantly faster than either IE or Netscape. Opera has a free version with targeted banner advertising at the top (you can actually choose what kind of ads you'd rather get) for an ad-free version for $39.

Use Filtering Software

There are numerous filtering options, and a search on any search engine or a program repository such as Tucows will turn up more.

One of my favorites is Proximatron, which is an application designed to "tame JavaScript" and written by Scott R. Lemmon. It includes a host of filters for blocking not only pop-unders, but also does other useful things: It changes JavaScript redirects to links, removes window commands from spawned windows (to avoid those fiercely annoying pages with no close window control), blocks Web bugs, stops JavaScript from modifying the Status Control Bar, and on and on. If it's wrong about JavaScript, Proxamatron lets you fix it.

How much is it? Well, Proximatron declares itself to be Shonenware, a concept designed by Lemmon and, as far as I know, the only product distributed in that manner. To use Proximatron, all you have to do is buy any album by Scott Lemmon's favorite band: Shonen Knife, an all-girl, Japanese heavy metal band (Picture the Power Puff Girls playing Black Sabbath tunes.) A bargain at that price. Proximatron can be a little difficult to use, but there are simpler alternatives.

adsubtract pro is $29.95, and blocks popup adds (and automatically playing music!). There is a free version that blocks numerous advertisements, but lets the popups through (and the music).

Others include Pop-Up Stopper from Panicware, which retails in the $20.00 range; Pop Up Killer from xfx, which runs $7.00, and makes entertaining noises every time it kills a popup; and PopNot from High Density Software, which retails for $12.00.

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