Software review – Pop-up Stopper

Reviews, Uncategorized
February 26, 2003

Software review: Pop-up Stopper

Boy oh boy, if ever a label described exactly what the product does, this is it.

We all know the problem. Visit a web site where the owner thought he could make lots of money promoting his or someone else’s products in pop-up windows. From the advertisers perspective, this method does work. The real problem comes when the web site owner gets greedy, rationalizing to himself “If one was good, more must be better!” The reality is, more is not better. More is annoying. The problem is even worse if we accidentally stumble into a porn site operated by unscrupulous owners. Their mindset is a little more aggressive. “Let’s FILL their screen with SO MUCH PORN they’ll eventually give up trying to make it stop.”

Not to fear, though. I’ve allowed this process to spawn unrestrained on occasion just to see what happens. It does eventually stop because at some point, your computer has launched so many browser windows it runs out of memory and locks up! They’re so stupid they don’t even realize their own tactics are self defeating. All they really accomplish is to annoy us, even those who like porn!

What makes the mechanism of pop-ups work is something called JavaScript. Microsoft calls it Active Scripting. Javascript really can do a great many things to enhance the enjoyment of visiting a particular web site. From automatic spell checking to database lookups, animation and games, Javascript can mean the difference between just another ho-hum experience to “Wow! That’s cool!” But, like anything else, too much power in the wrong hands usually leads to abuse.

So how do we make it all stop. One method I’ve seen involves the shortcut keys Ctrl-W. This is fine for the one or two windows that may pop up at a site on top of the window you really want to see. But is does not work to close pop-under windows, nor does it stop new ones from appearing when navigating between pages of the same site. Most cause new ones to appear every time you enter a new page.

Another way to stop pop-ups it is to disable Active Scripting in your browser altogether. The down side to this approach is you really do rob yourself of a great many things most of us already take for granted while surfing online. If you think I’m exaggerating, I assure you, I am not. Go ahead and try it. Then try to do some online banking or shop your favorite online store or auction site. You won’t get very far. This approach is like cutting off your arm to eliminate writers cramp. It works, but at what cost?

The best way to combat the annoyance of pop-ups, pop-unders and the like is to install software that targets just that problem. Pop-up Stopper is just my ticket. It’s free, easy to install and very easy to use. Turning it on and off is a simple double click of the system tray icon. Most of the time I leave mine off because I rarely frequent sites given to abusive pop-up window tactics. Even if they start suddenly, double clicking the icon again stops them dead in their tracks. Another way to use this software is to leave it on but override it only when needed. When would you need to override it? Some sites, even in places, use JavaScript pop-up windows to display information without replacing the main window. This is often desirable for such things as help menus or product details. The way you normally view those is by simply clicking a link at the site. Pop-up Stopper will prevent them if enabled unless you hold down the Ctrl key while clicking the link. It’s a very simple procedure to get used to. This way, pop-ups only appear when you say so, otherwise they’re blocked by default.

If you’ve had enough of pop-ups, Pop-up Stopper is a must-have for your computer. Did I mention it’s free? Yes they will try to push paid products on you. Trust me when I say, all you really need is the free version. Free is good. Get your copy today and rest easier while surfing the web. Visit Panicware (Catchy, eh?) and download your free copy today. (And yes, they use a Javascript pop-up for the download! I told you, Javascript is useful.)

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