And now for a word…

So, I was minding my own desktop business: several windows open in two different browsers, some with several tabs; three or four terminal windows, some in a remote UNIX system; a trial version of Mathematica for Mac open in the background; half a dozen Finder windows stacked between all that. And of course, Word and Excel for Windows (in Parallels), which for one reason or another, I have always open. In summary: several instances of a dozen applications from three operating systems, all sharing the same screen.

In the middle of that multitasking chaos — praying to remember what I’d put on the clipboard while feverishly looking for the right window to paste it, suddenly it happened. Out of the blues, an unannounced window jumped in front of me. A cry for help from the page file ? The scheduler telling me “close some processes …or else” ?

Nothing of that. It was one of those old-fashioned, but quite banal pop up advertisement windows. This one coming from… Parallels ?! Tu quoque Brutus ?!

I wish I had the presence of mind of capturing a screenshot of the offending window, which had some ridiculous offer of games and assorted software, but I was so incensed and incredulous that I just clicked the small check box “don’t show me those offers again” and sent the pesky pop-up back to hell from where it came.

* * *

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t see why people should put up with advertisement in products they are paying the full price for. Like movies, for example, or DVDs. Or… software. Advertisement in web sites, and in free (as in beer) software is disruptive enough, but then you are getting what you’ve paid for.

* * *

I’ve stumbled upon a website offering free textbooks, one of which was a “Mathematics for Computer Scientists” which attracted my attention. Well, it turned out that the PDF (obtainable after some suspiciously inconvenient personal questions — which I answered with random strings) had ads every four or five pages. Big, bright, full-color half-page ads.  I’ve found it so distracting, that after a few minutes the file landed right in the bit bucket.

* * *

Synchronicitously enough, the NYTimes has recently announced it will start charging its “heavy readers” (e.g., me) for content. I am still debating if am biting or not. On one hand, I would hate to see NYT sinking, so I feel I should be contributing to keep it afloat. On the other hand, since the light readers are still getting a free pass (and being drowned in advertisement), shouldn’t  Times sweeten the deal for us, the most faithful readers, by keeping ads to a minimum ?

* * *

Am I being just anacrhonist in my quest for advertisement-free peace of mind. After all, in this age of information petaoverload, what is one ad less, one ad more ?

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