Popups, Pop-Unders, and Idiots

I am a both stumbler and a Stumbler. Because I have multiple sclerosis, I have become a journeyman physical stumbler. I am also a user of StumbleUpon. Not a pathological Stumbler, yet, I don’t think, but, a Stumbler nonetheless. For the uninitiated, StumbleUpon is a sort of Match.com or eHarmony service for you and Websites. You tell StumbleUpon what sort of stuff you like. They give you a toolbar with a Stumble button. Click on that button and they take you to a website that you might just be interested in. See? Match.com for surfers and Websites.

It has done a good job of expanding some of my horizons. They have taken me to a lot of Websites that I otherwise would probably never have found. I didn’t know that there were so many sites dedicated to physics, as one example. So far, I have been taken to 1,057 sites that I liked. The StumbleUpon toolbar has a “thumbs up” icon that you click on to tell them you like the page to which they have taken you. I assume that information goes into The Great Internet Database in the sky somewhere. It helps them, I am sure, to better direct other Stumblers who share one or more of my interests.

There is also a “thumbs down” icon to click upon if you do not like a Website that they take you to. Although the statistic is not quite as easy to find as that on the StumbleUpon-suggested sited that you liked, they also keep track of the pages that you didn’t like. I have clicked on the “thumbs-down” icon a couple of hundred times. Please note that the bulk of the time, I neither really like nor really dislike the page presented to me. Those pages I look at briefly, determine that they don’t interest me much, give neither a thumbs up nor a thumbs down, and Stumble on.

Most of the time, when I click on “thumbs down” it is because of a personal rule I decided upon early on in my Stumbling career. Although I don’t mind a few advertisements on a page (you will find a few on this one because somebody has to pay for all these hosting accounts), I detest pop-up and pop-under ads. I also detest designers that feel a compelling need to resize my browser window without asking me. That’s simply bloody rude! Finally, I do not like Web authors that want me to install yet another plug-in tool so that I can look at the smarmy content that they wrote using some dismal little tool they got for free from a cheesy site in Azerbaijan. All those get thumbs down, as do sites with horrendous design problems.

There are technical ways to avoid the software filters I have running for pop-ups and pop-unders, usually resulting in the latter. You know, one of those annoying little windows that you see flash briefly on your screen, and then hides itself (it should be ashamed!) under the browser window you are using. Those annoying little pop-unders are brought to you by annoying little people with annoying little minds. They are the same people who come up to you on the street and lean way into your personal space and ask for a handout. You know, the ones that would be getting help at State mental hospitals if the Conservatives had not closed all of them?

Those are the same people that send you the spam you like so much. Off the subject a bit, I did get a spam this morning that made me laugh. It had the title “Everything for your penis at low prices.” I almost hurt myself laughing. I didn’t open it, not wanting to spoil the illusion, but my mind immediately conjured up pictures of little one-legged trousers, polyester shirts, and baseball hats from Wal-Mart. In the same vein, I have been agonizing over my spam for years, not knowing whether to go for the enlarged penis or the bigger breasts, but I think I have finally decided on the fuller, more sensuous lips. ;o)

Anyway, back to pop-unders. I don’t know anyone who isn’t offended and annoyed by them. If it is true that anyone ever clicks on them (and I don’t believe that it is) the click is by mistake, simply because the entire body of the damned things are clickable zones to take you to tacky little web sites that want to sell you useless crap, and it is much harder to hit that little “X” way up in the corner that closes the window. So I have to assume that the people bringing me pop-unders are doing so just to bother me, and all of you. Pop-unders are, I guess, the equivalent of having one of those wild-eyed panhandlers piss in your shoe while you’re wearing it.

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