Old and Living Alone - Or Not
INTERESTING STUFF – 4 March 2017

Crabby Old Lady: Is the Internet Worth It Anymore?

If Crabby Old Lady were not committed to this blog, she is unsure if she would bother with the internet anymore. Every effin' page is filled with annoyances and the amount of it has been growing for years.

NYTpopup

Here's one: it's not enough that Crabby pays real money for what she purchases online. Oh, no. Then, THEN they pester her for weeks to write a review of the product. Really? You want Crabby to critique the poop bags she uses to clean out the cat's litter box twice a day?

Or how about those batteries she buys by the sh*tload for all her electronics. What could she say? They're batteries, for god's sake. They work and after awhile they don't. Crabby could as well review a box of salt for all it would mean.

When they're not whining for a review – or, sometimes, in addition to a review - they want Crabby to fill out a survey about how wonderful their service is. “How great are we? Choose one: special, more special, fabulous, magnificent.”

Annoying as they are, those are relatively easy to ignore. But there are many other ways website developers have invented to fry Crabby's brain.

This oldie is still a goodie for news websites: As soon as the page loads, the audio starts blaring. Sometimes the video is not even visible, being below the fold, so Crabby scurries around to find the frame to shut it down thereby forgetting why she went to that site.

Or, if more than one browser window is open, some other website restarts the audio even after Crabby has shut it down and moved to another page. More brain rattling and lost attention.

Even more insidious, is when the video/audio begins a minute or two into Crabby's read of the print story. The noise destroys her concentration and she loses all understanding of the article.

Comicsnopopups

And just when Crabby thinks these tactics can't get any worse, what appears to be a quiet news story with no video blaring, times a pop-up window to appear at exactly the moment she is reading third or fourth paragraph destroying any retention of what she's read so far. (And, no, pop-up blockers do not block all pop-ups.)

The designers of these disruptions are masters at hiding the damned X that would close the window. Lately, Crabby has noticed, they have resorted to printing them in the faintest-possible font so that they blend into whatever background color they sit upon.

And don't get Crabby started on moving GIFs that repeat every five seconds into eternity. Not to mention the ubiquitous “like us Facebook” popups.

It is hard to know what these websites – and they span everything from the most staid and traditional such as The New York Times to sites like Buzzfeed listicles – believe they accomplish by enraging Crabby and, she is pretty sure, tens of millions of other people.

Do they think we don't notice what websites we're on when these cruel and (Crabby believes) dangerous interruptions occur? Surely, by disrupting thought and focus they are rotting our brains. There are plenty of studies showing how short our attention spans have become. What must all the unnecessary dispruptions do to us?

Then there are the loathsome emails. Crabby was naive enough to think that after the election the political donation solicitations would end. Don't be silly - they only increased and the progressives are no less obnoxious about it than the Republicans.

Some individual organizations send half a dozen emails a day begging for money and look out if you do donate: they'll up that number to a dozen a day.

Crabby supports three progressive organizations she believes do good work but even they won't let up on the emails.

One final aggravation that has become all too common: Popups that appear just as Crabby arrives at a page asking if she will subscribe to the email newsletter.

HULLO, YOU JACKASS – HOW TO YOU THINK CRABBY GOT HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

If a website can track what product Crabby looked at three days ago and make sure a photograph of it follows her to every page she visits for next four weeks, surely they can figure out when she has followed a link from the damned email newsletter she is already subscribed to.

Crabby subscribes to dozens of email newsletters – news, politics, ageing, some other personal interests so you can easily imagine that she suffers dozens of brain freezes each day. She is gradually unsubscribing to the least useful now.

It has become so bad, so painful that Crabby is not reading nearly as much as she once did and she's given up on a lot of research – it just jangles her brain too much when she is trying to learn and understand.

160411.eyeballs

If Crabby Old Lady did not still enjoy producing this blog and especially the information and camaraderie of the comments section, she'd be ready to kick the internet out of her life. It has become a trash heap and it took only 20 years to get there.

Comments

Yes, yes and yes on every point you made! Especially the automatic videos that you can't find to shut off, or that come back like aliens, monsters or bad guys you can't ever seem to permanently kill in a movie. There are some websites I never go to any more because of that. I understand the need to make money off of their work, but driving people away with constant interference, force feeding and hogging up your data if you're on a mobile device isn't good business practice!

Ditto!

OMG yes, all that and more! There are the pages that keep reloading as new advertisements are added. I was on one site that kept sending me to the bottom of the page even though the article was at the top. Slide shows are another thing that drive me crazy, just put the info on one page!

If you use Chrome as your browser, you can block pup-ups and some ads.

One of the purposes of my reading this blog for the past several years is for information and to know what others are thinking. I abandoned television about twenty years ago (don't have a recliner either). I deleted most news sources from favorites list. My very most favorite is Elder Blog List...maybe twice a day. I thank y'all for feeding my brain. Still lurking...Betty
P.S. there's probably another word for "lurking" now.

Frank Sinatra (You remember him) with nothing but an orchestra behind him and wearing simple, well-tailored tuxedo, came on stage and just sang. And killed every time.
Today's performers need dozens of back-up singers, a troop of dancers in abbreviated costumes, fog machines, explosives, pillars of fire, and a laser show just to get you into the door.
The internet is much like this with a lot of glitz and very little substance all designed to get you to click on their site so that they can add to the number of hits which determines their advertising rates.
However, if you know how to surf (as I am sure many of us long-time internet users do) you can cut thorough the crap and still find some real substance out there.

It was inevitable that obnoxious marketing would plumb this deep and expanding well. Obnoxiously grabbing people's attention for self-enrichment seems to have increasingly become the American way of life. Now it's even working in national elections.

Valuable observations and comments, it always helps to know others are troubled by this ever growing consumerism that drives all of this. Agree on survey observations as well. Felt good to read I am not alone by a long shot.

I keep the volume turned off and turn it on only when I want to hear it. This has saved me much embarrassment at work :)

i turn off the sound...that helps a lot.

OMG every point is right on! Would like to surf my way not their way!!

I too wish the slide shows would go away. Not ready to give the internet up. My laptop/phone is my instant library, dictionary, research tool. Still I remember when I first hitched a modem up in the late 80's it seemed like so much fun. It doesn't feel like that anymore. I often keep my sound turned off, I just can't find where the noise is coming from. And I, I admit, I shop there more than anywhere else. I do live in a farming town in the far corner of my state so I can connect with things I might be get elsewhere when I lived in Bigcity. Though sometimes I think maybe I should turn it off and join our library board and another book club, and just forget about it.

Oh, boy! So many of you (as well as the Crabby Old Lady with whom I identify) have nailed it for me. I don't have to reiterate what you have said. I do thank all of you.

I've been thinking the same thing. I wonder if we could get enough open source people to create a non-commercial internet, where everything is free and open, and no goddamn ads.

Maybe there should be a Top Level Domain set aside for this. It's too bad .org isn't non-commercial. At one-time people proposed putting all porn on .xxx - maybe we need a .free for people who want peace and quiet. We'd also need a browser and search engine that could filter by Top Level Domains.

Have been reading through the above comments and completely agree with all. Thanks, Ronni, for posting this today. It's such an aggravation anymore to deal with all the activity and goings-on on nearly every site. Except yours of course, oh, how lovely it is to visit TGB for a civilized respite.

Ronni, I love it when your inner Crabby Old Lady pops up into your website..shes a breath of fresh air.
And, like everyone else..yes yes and yes..
I've just about given up on most of Facebook because of the huge number of 'pass this along if you hate bullies, or love god or jesus or support veterans or like cats' As if we don't pass these annoyances along we don't support veterans or like cats..gurrrrr..I really think if my friends have nothing to say that day, they should just shut up and not subject everyone to this kind of negative reinforcement. I hate that people are bullies sometimes, but passing that canned opinion along to everyone isn't going to change a thing.
Don't these friends have anything original to say?
Then Facebook bugs me about having 290 messages waiting. And I can't seem to find an option to select the people I actually want to hear from..Facebook selects who they want me to hear from. Zuckenberg needs a reboot himself-back to the old Facebook where we got to decide who we want on our feed!
Phew..I needed that!

Last week a miserable excuse for a virus attached itself to my computer..called Advance Mac Cleaner..I couldn't just move this VERY LOUD advertisement to the trash, nor could I find it in apps or in my library..it was well hidden and totally obnoxious. It started up every time I opened my laptop.

I finally had to call the company and listen to 15 minutes of poor phone tree options to get the secret password to uninstall it, meanwhile listening to "ARE you SURE you want to uninstall AMC?? "
Well, yes, thats why I'm hanging in here dumb computer.
I had to go to another URL to download the uninstall, which itself was also full of the ARE YOU SURE announcements.

What a way to start the morning!
Thanks for giving me a place to vent, Crabby!
Be well Crabby and take care of yourself...we all love you!

Neighbor Elle

There are ways around a lot of this but it would take a long post. It's already been noted that just turning your sound off protects you from unwanted noise. Short of that, Chrome browser now puts a little speaker icon on the tab of any page generating sound. Click it to silence the noise from that page. Unwanted emails? Unless absolutely necessary, never give anyone your regular email address. Keep an old or secondary one to use for any site that might spam you later. You can unsubscribe or create a filter to block a particular address or just throw it in the spam bin which should then automatically dispose of all future emails from that address.

Sure, it can be really annoying at times, but give up my internet? Never!!

Elle, thanks for supplying the name of the advertisement that haunted your computer; thus giving us all a valuable warning {I'm referring to Advance Mac Cleaner.} If any of the commenters who wrote about their experiences with awful ads, sites, etc. can give the names of these offenders, it would be a big help. But it's asking a lot and I totally understand if it doesn't happen.
Especial thanks to Ronnie for the wonderfully funny post today from Crabby.
I love Crabby's moods. And Crabby is such a cool name!

posted by Page

Oh dear you must have got out of the bed on the wrong side today, Ronnie😀

From all the comments it looks like the internet is turning all America crabbie, it must be a Trump phenomenon. No doubt the UK will catch up soon.

AMEN!
Crabby old man agrees with it all.
Also Never ever ever click on anything "amazing" ,"jaw dropping", or "you will be amazed".
MAJOR waste of time and a good place to get that crappy "helpful" software accidentially installed.

I'm so with you, Ronnie, and all who commented this morning. I'm in my 80's, Crabby sometimes, and by golly, I won't let them squelch my curious nature, my need to keep learning.

I agree, some things really bug me. But I wouldn't give up on the Internet. I have my browser set with high security, I have an ad blocker that seems to be adequate, (enough so that I have to disable it on certain good sites), I set my facebook setting so that videos don't play unless I click on them, I use 3 email addresses (one just for political) and I set them to sort my emails as they come in so those I care about are the ones I look at first. I must admit that my son and my son-in-law each have worked on my computer and tablet to keep me "safe" but anything I haven't appreciated I have had no problem undoing. I know there are certain sites, such as the ones that require clicking constantly on a new page to read the story, so I just don't go there unless I am bored. I have Chrome on my tablet, Firefox on my computer, and there is a big difference in what ads I get and how some sites load. Whatever I can control, I do.

Same as with my phone. I'd love to be able to get rid of all the robocalls, I'd love for the no-call list to really work, I'd love not to answer unknown numbers but I can't because I missed a couple of important calls that way, so I just hang up (unless it's a real caller, who then gets an earful).

But I'm not going to give up what I truly enjoy about being in touch.

You elicited all my gripes about the internet. I so agree with you. I am getting pretty good at just overlooking the detritus!

I still work using the internet for research. Your observations are spot on. The things that annoy you, annoy EVERYONE. Personally, I would never buy or even look at any product using those marketing tactics. That following you around with obscure items you may have looked at in the past is just creepy.

I send a huge thank you for this article this morning. It is a breath of fresh air in a long stuffy week! I love your humor.

Jayne

Like Piedtype and others have suggested, there are ways to get around some of the most annoying interruptions on the Internet.

It is really easy to use several email addresses. For example, political info goes to its own address, and every couple of months I clean it out. (I just did, and 191 emails just bit the dust).

For heaven's sake, turn off the sound on your device unless you want it on. Perhaps for an excerpt from Colbert, or Noah. Then turn the dang thing off again.

Avoid listicles - "10 things you never knew about ....." Nothin' to see there. That pretty much includes slide shows of every stripe unless you are very interested in the topic.

Those invisible "x" marks? Treat it like an Ollie game.

Here's another Ollie game: search for the text. Soon, you will not see those ads that take up all the space surrounding the text.

Actually, just enlist your sense of humor and gamesmanship. If it bugs you, find a way to cancel it out. There's plenty of good on the Internet still, but yes, there's an enormous bunch of (fill in your favorite expletive here) as well. So get your shovel out, and have some fun.

:)

Bingo Crabby, Grumpy here hears ya!

I hear you and concur. My biggest pet peeve is the advertisements that pop just as you're starting to read something.

My - thoughts - EXACTLY!!

Yep! Have unsubscribed from most of the news blogs and the DELETE key is my friend. I donate only to PP and ACLU, and all else is trashed. And I've decided I no longer need to read about the current political disaster. If they start impeachment proceedings I'll read that. But there's only so much mental masturbation on can tolerate...

Grrrr. I agree. And now my phone (so called smart phone) is doing it too!

How about articles, ads and photos with text that is done in 4pt. Fonts. Even with 20/20 (corrected vision), I cannot make out the text. It is especially aggravating When most of the page is blank. Is this supposed to be "artsy layout "? Here's another that makes no sense -- using WHITE print on a light background (think white letters on a pale blue sky). HUH??? Do you want me to read or just admire your creativity over delivering content. What happened to BLACK text?

I am very close to canceling my subscriptions to the few publications I get because the content material is unreadable. AM I ALONE IN THIS? 201 Grandma

In addition to all the annoyances mentioned above--ALL of them! There's the consequence of praising someone or some service. They come right back asking you for a review. This is not just a company. Sometimes it's writer friends whose work I admire. Part of this is that writers, unless they are the 1% famous, are required to toot their own horns in any way possible--but I have stopped complimenting people altogether, unless I feel like writing a review. A shame, since I've always thought deserved praise ought to be given voice.

In addition, I particularly dislike being asked to comment on whatever service I have ordered. I am reminded of being in a fancy restaurant once--a free dinner--wherein we were interrupted regularly by our waiter bringing the chef to our table for us to praise. Funny in retrospect. Not at the time!

Welcome back, Crabby! Missed you.

Try coping with all the s*** while magnified x4. Put's new meaning to hide and seek for the x or off button! BTW, thanx for publishing in an easy to read, larger font size. I only need x2 on your site.

The creepiest thing that's happened so far is to find a Google birthday greeting on my home page, letter shaped candles and all. Shudder.

I

OMG, yes. I have the exact same feeling. My latest example: I went to the car dealer to get air put in my tires. It took all of five minutes out of my day. I didn't even count the number of request I had to evaluate the service. "That was the best air ever. It literally breathed new life into my vehicle!"

EXCELLENT rant!

I'm getting better at knowing which sites to avoid but I still get caught sometimes. Like others have said, I surf with the sound turned off because it's so jarring. I far prefer reading to having someone read material to me. I also agree about the pervasive slide shows, as if we lack the attention span of a gnat and are unable to concentrate long enough to read a list. Lowest common denominator indeed.

Baking has always been a hobby, but it has become more of an avocation since I retired. Some cooking sites have begun dumping in random and very loud videos as if we all require lessons in how to peel garlic to improve the quality of our lives.

I'm not generally Crabby but circumstances sometimes push me in that direction. I don't ask for much, mostly to be left alone and treated the way I treat others. Seems like it might be too much to ask.

Foxfire and i think Safari have an icon in the url box whete if it is present you can go to reader view which eliminates a lot, though not all, of the aggravating nonsense on web pages

I agree, I agree, I agree. They give you more stuff than you can handle. Yesterday trying to get tickets to a book event, ended up phoning in despair. The phonee sounded surprised, but let me give her a card and saved me two ticckets.

I just found your blog and have to agree 10000%! I'm so sick of things popping up in the middle of a page or videos that I can't turn off. I want to read...I don't want a video. I want words..those things created by putting one letter after another on a page. Doesn't anybody read anymore? Does everybody have to have their news read to them? I avoid many sites because all I want is a page of words..no pop-ups, no videos, no music, no ribbons that slide across the page, usually about where I'm reading. I'm tired of having to create fake emails to avoid 20 zillion spam emails. I'm sure I've forgotten at least one email and somewhere it's sitting with enough requests for donations to take down the internet if I tried to delete them all at once. I want things the way they used to be. Yep, I'm old and I'm crabby and I'm set in my ways and new isn't better! So there! LOL

You nailed it. All this stuff is making the internet much less satisfying for me. I do turn off the volume but the pop-ups are driving me nuts. Mary

I totally agree with your post. I just keep the sound off

Thank you thank you thank you!

Olga... that's wonderful!

Oh I am with you on all these points. They are so frustrating and for me, slow my browser down so much sometimes, I just turn it off. I get very annoyed when they ask you to subscribe when you already are. Surely as you say, they already know.

I've run into this major problem too. It's disruptive and very irritating. I have unsubscribed to a lot of political "newsletters" and other resources for just this reason. It seems to be all about the money nowadays. It's disgusting. I refuse to buy any product or service whose popup interferes with my reading. Ditto with all political "newsletters" that are nothing but begging.

Have also figured out a lot of tricks and dodges to make those pesky pop-up things disappear. One of my favorites is to just go up to the top of the page and refresh the page. It kills a lot of those pop-ups.

That's oneof the many reasons I love your blog ... I can read it in peace and enjoy the monolog and the comments.

Ditto to everything! And I especially second your pet peeve: "Hullo, don't you know I got here from your e-mailed newsletter already??!!

My second biggest new peeve: My e-mail provider, to which I've paid an annual fee for no advertising for at least 10 years, informed me at least a year ago that if I wanted to remain ad-free I'd have to pay twice as much for their new "premium" service. No thank you! Now they've added a new ad, in addition to the banner bar on the right side of the screen, a fake e-mail at the top of my e-mail list (looks like an e-mail but it takes you to an ad if you click on it). At least I can say this ol' dog can still lean a few new tricks -- I'm pretty much able to ignore the banner bar and don't click on the "fist" e-mail anymore!

Bravo! Well said, Ronnie.

I am also finding that many articles I seek out or subscribe to have real difficulty getting to the point. There is a lot of pontificating and guessing, but little real knowledge conveyed. Now that they don't have to worry about the cost of newsprint (and they've obviously cut back on copy readers and editors) writers, perhaps paid by the word, go on and on and on.

Yes, it's enough to make anyone crabby! As others have mentioned, I use adblocker, popup blocker, maximum privacy settings wherever I find them, and I'm working through options to prevent video autoplay. (Google 'how to stop autoplay' - lifehacker shows what to do in various browsers. But things do keep changing, so no guarantees.) I'm pretty impervious to such advertising and 'you might also like' as gets through, so I'll just have to tolerate the rest of it for now.
But Ronni's site is a welcome relief.

Excellent post! Two suggestions:
1. for Nan-I've had excellent results from NOMOROBO. I only have a landline so check if they do cell or smart phones.

2. When there is no X or pop-up fills the screen, get rid of it by clicking Alt & f4

I keep the sound off. I never, ever do surveys or reviews. I'm not on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or similar social media sites. And I have three email addresses: one for friends and family; one for "official" or business purposes (e.g., co-op board, accountant, doctors etc); and one for merchants or anything else that I think might generate a lot of unsolicited follow-up. That last one gets a lot of spam (I periodically check it only to delete most of the emails unopened), but the other two are pretty much spam free.

BINGO!

Ditto to everything! And Crabiness is a noble virtue, conferred only on those who have acquired wisdom.

Is there anyone who, after reading two paragraphs of an article, then being interrupted by a pop-up ad, thinks, "Oh, that looks interesting, I'll click on that"?

I have developed the habit of muttering "Kill" whenever I dismiss those ads, and get some small satisfaction from it. Should I be worried?

If I start reading an article and have to scroll back to the part I was reading more than twice (due to ads and other crap being loaded), I give up and go on about my business.

Right on!! .... and remember when cable TV was "commercial-free" and that's why we were glad to pay for it?

You have to remember that the Internet is barely 20 years old. Someday we will look back at all this crap and laugh. For now I give no one my actual email address if I don't know them -- otherwise they get an old yahoo mail address.
I started on the net back when it was called the ARPANET, so when it became universally known as the
Internet, I was inured to the whiz bang novelty of it and pared down my use of it to something manageable and kissed off the rest.
Today I accept mail only from my friends and Amazon, netflix, and occasional sites I follow until they misuse my address.

There IS life without the Net, and this too shall pass. But I shivver at dealing with the artificial intelligence that will surely follow, and Facebook be damned.
My 2 cent's worth.... ;-)

I don't buy that much online but when I do, the product and service reviews are always a factor in my decision. For that reason, I think it's only fair to write a review when asked, especially when the service was excellent. I'm all too happy to publicly acknowledge any business, or individual for that matter, who does a good job.

The Google Trusted Store program, btw, came in very handy when I had an issue with one online business that refused to make any accommodation for a mistake they had made. After numerous emails, I complained to Google which followed up and arranged a satisfactory refund for me. Based on that experience, I highly recommend it -- especially since it doesn't cost anything.

+++1 to the post, and comments.

thanks for a wonderful expression from a sensible and obviously older, gratefully analog fellow earthling!

"By the 21st century, children are begotten by production, introduced to their environment through machines, and begin their lives within virtual worlds via devices that they feel impotent and groundless to be without. Virtual worlds begin to displace authenticity, definitions dissolve, and fabrications shout down actualities."

I have been crabby since birth, and had hoped that as I became elderly, I would get stupid and fuzzy enough so that things wouldn't bother me as much. Then technology blossomed. I am now an official mental case of agitation.

As one of the first technical writers in the late '70s, I knew from the beginning that it would come to this, in terms of institutionalized commercialism. Because I was forced to become a techie in order to make a living, I still have just enough outdated knowledge to work around some of the ad intrusions, slideshow hangups, invisible X's, and so forth, but I am fast becoming a dinosaur in that area.

I can't really give up the internet, because I use the library app to find books and put them on hold at my branch, then track them as they move through the 250 holds already scheduled, until it's my turn. Also, without Facebook, I would be lonely, as many of my friends are, if not dead, far-flung. I have become dependent on the internet and social media, to a degree.

Without you, Crabby, I would still be experimenting with positive thinking (lies you tell yourself until you believe them) which never solved anything. Now I can say without shame: I AM CRABBY AND WITH GOOD REASON. In fact, I feel much more comfortable just accepting it and letting the chips fall where they may.

You nailed it. Those videos embedded on so many pages prompted me to keep the sound off. If I choose to watch something......then, I turn the sound on. And, I've been on pages or blogs, where the popup subscribe comes up.....every 15 seconds or every time I scroll down. These annoyances make me spend less and less time on the internet.

I'm a bit late to this topic. If you surf with Chrome Browser it's useful to install "Ghostery" and "UBlock Origin".
Unfortunately I found no way to avoid those painfully loud videos on Newspapers sites, except to stop them as fast as possible.

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