Do you know what I dislike more than just about anything else?
Popups. I can’t stand advertisements on my favorite webpages. Truth be told I really only visit five or so websites regularly. However, I visit them every day, often multiple times.
On most sites advertisements are not really that bad. When video is involved everything changes. Watching a 30 second advertisement just to see a 10 second clip aggravates me. Not being able to skip the ad just about sends me over the edge.
Just that scenario set my wheels into motion. What could I do to never deal with this again?
I decided to rid myself of advertisements forever. I also decided that I was better off ridding my whole household, not just myself.
Being that we are only a few paragraphs in I must warn you that this gets very techy, and very nerdy. You have been warned.
So how do you go about “washing” the internet? Here at Smart Dolphins we have a term, “dual NIC”, which means any computer that has two “Network Interface Controllers”.
Most computers have one NIC. It is used for accessing a local network, the internet, or both. It’s that little hole you plug your network cable into.
A “dual NIC” setup is a computer that has an “incoming” and “outgoing” network controller. This means it sits between your modem, and all of the computers on your network.
Think of it as bouncer at a bar. There is one entrance, one barrier between the outside and the dance floor. Naturally you can leave this gateway unattended or you can hire yourself an absolute psycho to scrutinize everyone. I wanted the psycho….
Next I researched the bouncer I would use to decide who gets in, and who doesn’t. I eventually settled on a Linux based firewall called Untangle. Firewall really is an inaccurate term for Untangle as it does so much more. Untangle is really a “network appliance” as it controls everything from spam, viruses, ads, bandwidth usage, to content, plus much more.
After installing Untangle on a spare computer I salvaged from my personal collection of parts my wife refers to as “that horrible mess” and I was on my way.
I’m not going to seek credit as some network genius here. I really did little more than turn on Untangle’s ad filter (in addition to every other filtering option ever, as you know I hate to go too far) and voila.
I was looking up video left and right, every source I could find. Nothing, I found nothing. Every site I went to just loaded the video, instantly. No ads anywhere.
Even the very worst offenders produced nothing. It was as if somebody had bleached the internet. I love getting a notification every time Untangle catches and kills a virus before it even reaches any of our computers.
Even websites I hadn’t noticed advertisements on came up so much cleaner.
Okay, now I’m bragging. More than anything this post is about identifying a problem some may not see and absolutely obliterating it. This post may not be useful to all, but for all you neurotics out there, have fun with Untangle!
PS. The interface resembles a 32-inch rack-mount setup with skins for different manufacturers. Nerd factor here is huge. See below.