Ad-Blockers aren’t by any means new news. They’ve been around for years however they’ve been flooding the tech-feeds all week. This mainly due to the iOS 9 adoption of content blockers in Safari & developers app pouring into the app-store, namely the top paid apps for blocking ads. The case for blocking ads provides a cleaner web & performance enhancements on the mobile end.
So whats the big controversy surrounding ad-blockers? Well theres multiple stances here regarding the ethics of ad-blockers, should you use them, who do they effect, what should they block by default. The list goes on. First lets start by explaining what ad-blockers are for those who aren’t aware.
What are ad-blockers?
Well to state the obvious they block advertisements. Now not all advertisements are measured the same. In the modern web we have a more traditional view of ads.
These are the main assortment of advertisements you’ll see on the web. The skyscraper ad on the sides, between slideshows, on the homepage of sites, etc. These can vary from flashing images to static ads that either are obtrusive or subtle & in place such as adverts served via the deck. Google’s Adsense is common example of the what you’ll see across the web.
These are form of adverts that some services are starting to block & or allow you to enable/disable. Trackers are scripts that essentially gather data about users in order to pass along information about the browser. It’s the reason that you see “watches” all over the web after looking up things such as Rolexes, Panerai, Swatch. While these can be helpful in providing meaningful ads it can also lead to an intrusion of privacy.
Of course there are various other forms of adverts nowadays in-video/pre-roll based ads & so on that are also detected & blocked by ad-blockers. While blocking has been common on desktop browsers we haven’t seen great implementation on the mobile end. That is until a popular OS like iOS 9 has adopted the content blockers to allow developers to setup apps to block specific content on Safari.
Why are people blocking ads?
The answer to this is obviously subjective but the main reasons are pretty clear.
Let’s be honest advertisements can be plain annoying. Ruining our browsing experience & in extreme cases interrupting us from viewing our content. We’re pretty far along from the pop-up days however some adverts depending on sites implement them can be just as annoying & obtrusive. From preventing you from viewing content, timers, and much more these are just some of reasons people block ads.
More so on the mobile end we experience a slower web experience due to the amount of ads & trackers running on sites. This can in some cases break the web viewing experience for the user (however the same can be said for blockers). A good example was displayed in Khoi Vinh’s blog post showcasing how ads were preventing something as common as scrolling down the web page on an iPad.
iOS 9 blockers have already showed that their blocking has significantly boosted browsing speeds for iPhones & iPads while also cleaning up the sites a bit.
Furthermore we live now in a society where people want their content now. We’ve grown tired of commercials, ad-breaks, and things that don’t pertain to us in general. We just want our content & more so we want it free. Studies are already showing people are more willing to pay for ad-blockers than the content itself since its already free.
Now personally I can’t judge anyone for using or not using ad-blockers be it Ad-block Plus or on iOS 9. I feel the way people choose to browse the web is their own personal preference much like the way people watch television. There’s netflix, cable, downloading torrents and what have you. If people prefer to browse my site with an ad-blocker on then so be it. I personally use Ad-block plus via Chrome to selectively block what I qualify as obtrusive ads. Obtrusive ads in my opinion are those that interrupt & or require actions to jump through the content itself. Those pesky slideshows that people use to get more views & in between every slide is an ad that you either have to wait to skip or jump through some hoop to move forward. If people have to jump through hoops to get to the main content then your doing it wrong.
The cases for & against ad-blockers
From the perspective of a web viewer & someone who also consumes content on a daily basis both from big networks & independent creators.
People simply want less friction & annoyance when it comes to browsing the web. They simply want to view their content & not be interrupted by flashing banners or what have you. Those who’ve also got a taste for how smooth the web can run without ads are also in favor of the performance boost. On the privacy end there are advertising networks out there that are doing some scummy stuff to gather data about users & people should be entitled to block or disable said trackers & ads that violate said privacy without their knowing. Then again this leads into a whole other argument around privacy. More than anything it coms back to the first point people don’t want to be annoyed by ads that typically aren’t relevant to them or what they’re consuming.
As a content creator & someone who makes a living via the content creation business I can also see the case against blockers from some perspective. Advertising still is the dominant method of revenue for most networks & more importantly independent creators. Sponsorships & ad-networks make up a majority of sites revenues. So when your blocking their ads your essentially blocking their revenue streams. Now this in itself is a hard thing to pin point as it also exposes the flaws in advertising. Most advertising networks still depend highly on views, impressions, and clicks so when viewers block their ads they’re void of these. However what ad networks don’t take into account are the value of said viewers. I’ll take 100 people who value my sponsors versus 1,000 impressions that don’t convert any day.
It’s hard to find a sort of middle ground here. I do believe & personally use ad-blockers to clean up certain parts of the webs but also feature adverts/sponsors on the very site your reading. However I try to follow some principles when it comes to advertising in order to provide readers a seamless experience. DigitalDojos itself has omitted Google Adsense in place of native advertisements. I feel this way users are presented with advertisements that are related to the content your reading & sites overall theme. The talk about moral arbitration of which ads are good & obtrusive is also subjective. Cause while I don’t mind whitelisting the creators I support it’s hard to determine what advertisements should & shouldn’t be allowed. Cause advertisements in the traditional sense don’t bother me. I as consumer don’t mind viewing lets say a 10+ minute video & sitting through a 30-second advertisement. We tend to forget that creators in the modern web tend to put out 99% of their content for free. So when they try to implement a paid model or sponsorship/advert people tend to have retaliation.
This is just part of the problem of how we perceive advertisements & paid content. It’s easy to say networks & creators should find alternative sources to typical adverts but much harder to implement. If anything these ad-blockers are getting the questions to the forefront & making us rethink how we see the future of the web. As Ad-blockers become more popular both on the desktop & mobile most people can’t fight how people browse the web. Despite certain sites trying to implement ad-blocker blockers (yes thats a thing) in order for you to view their content. CNET is good example of this.
While I hate playing devils advocate on this topic, the thing is there is no right answer of now. Rather the discussion brings up the point of adaptation. Both in business & consumer sense. We need to adapt to the technology changes at hand & how many people are adopting such things as ad-blockers. While we can fight back & complain we can also look to how we can find alternatives to still provide great content & pay the bills.
As Jon Gruber of DaringFireball stated
Are we fighting ads, or are we fighting garbage?
Better advertisements & transparency is a start. If anything this will hopefully rid of the disgusting & obtrusive things some ad-networks are doing to their viewers & force their hand to implement subtle & ethical data gathering methods.
What is your stance on Ad-blockers? Do you use them & if so why, if not why are you against them. Add onto the discussion by commenting down below!
Previously I published an article on what to expect at Apple’s “Hey Siri” event. Leaving off the iPad’s from said list. Until now rumor mills have been going back & forth whether or not we’d hear about iPad’s at the event. Some saying Apple had a bigger focus thus requiring the bigger space they rented in order to showcase multiple new products. While others argued that Apple would certainly have a secondary event solely for the iPad.
However more news has come to light that this will probably be Apple’s sole fall event. Thus bringing the iPad releases into said “Hey Siri” event for a big release alongside the new iPhone & Apple TV.
So what exactly can we expect for Apple’s famous tablet lineup.
The long awaited iPad pro is said to add power user like specs to the iPad line & bring a bigger screen size at 12 inches. The rest of leaked specs are as follows-
- 2732×2048 resolution
- A9 Processor w/2GB of Ram
- Force Touch-Enabled Stylus
- Stereo Speakers Top & Bottom
Thats right a stylus. While thats something we probably wouldn’t see years ago under Jobs with the addition of Force Touch technology a stylus could be a good addition to the tablet. However this is still up in the air as users are mostly fine with the finger precision.
As far as design goes the iPad Pro will share the looks of the previous two iPad models Air & Mini just harboring the faster hardware, screen size, & of course “Pro” tag.
iPad Mini 4:
Apple is also said to update the iPad Mini alongside the Pro release adding in a thinner design, better camera at 8 megapixels, and improved display (fully laminated). There’s still question as to whether the mini will receive the A9 update or the A8X CPU to coincide with the rollout of iOS 9.
iPads have no doubt been in a league of their own for quite awhile. It’s Apples product where we haven’t quite seen true competitors to it’s design, ease of use, and app support. The Pro isn’t for the everyday user rather the power user. Those who want more out of the iPad & to truly replace that of a laptop, as if that can’t be done already. Pro model would be a perfect fit for iOS 9 & the new series of games/apps that’ll be released with it. Also finally rounding up their tablet line from Mini, Air, to Pro (or whatever they call it).
Stay tuned for more coverage following the event.
Klok is one of those gems you find in the app store now & again. For someone like me who has to deal with multiple timezones & be able to easily convert across them this app provides all of that in an elegant interface.
When you first download Klok you’ll be able to adjust all settings within the app itself. Here you can add clocks of timezones you want to view & manage. Additionally you have options to adjust what clock you want to see be it digital or analogue. However the app is truly built for iOS’s notification center. Swiping down from anywhere in iOS gives you access to your NC widgets. You can easily add in the Klok widget by hitting the “edit” button at the bottom. Once added in your presented with a simple & clean clock interface.
This at a glance shows you the time across your set clocks.
However taking it a step further you can then tap on any specific clock to then set a time to convert across all clocks. So lets say someone in the UK asks to schedule a call at 2:00 PM their time. You simply tap on your London clock & then tap on 2:00 PM this will then change all your set clocks to their local time so you know what time it’ll be when its 2 o’clock in London.
- Ease of Use
- Accessible anywhere via Notification Center
- Occasional bug with clock +1/-1 icon
- iOS only
All in all Klok is completely free & definitely worth the download if you deal with timezones at any capacity. Whether you want to know the time somewhere else in the world at a glance or be able to convert timezones on the fly. Grab it free for your iPhone today.
I’ve personally been a huge fan of Casey Neistat (Film maker, vlogger, all around great guy) & his content for some time now. Not too long ago he ventured on a journey to start a daily vlog series in which he’d share his life while also talking about his new company in the making. That company would be working on an app that is known as “Beme”. 100+ vlogs later Beme has come to the world & aims to bring a unique spin to the social media world.
Casey bias aside, Beme is a social network that focuses on video sharing in an effortless & authentic way. While I plan to overview the app next week when they release their big update here’s what I’ve learned so far about the app.
Credit: Thanks to the user @JammyLaffers on Twitter for the invite code
Beme aims to record & share video immediately without revisions. There is no adding of filters, editing, or re-shooting. Just post out whatever it is you recorded. Even more unique than the concept behind it is the recording method. Beme utilizes the proximity sensor on the iPhone to start the recording of your beme. From there it’ll instantly send out your post to your followers. The idea behind this is to take the phone out of the way when it comes to capturing moments. To be looking at the person your talking to, see the sunset your capturing, and so on. Now this entails you either block the sensor by whatever method you see fit. Put it against your chest, block the sensor with your finger, & so on.
This idea behind is really interesting. I like the idea of making video more honest & almost unobtrusive. People react differently when an iPhone is in their face. This wouldn’t completely eliminate that but it’d be more discrete. Proximity controls make it a bit difficult to see how it’ll be used in the real world & how people will interact with it. Initial testing led to a lot of bemes that weren’t meant to be sent. The bemes are ephemeral so they disappear after someone has viewed it without any option for replaying.
Sign Up Process:
As of right now Beme is live in the app store you can download it here for iOS. However the process isn’t as simple as install & setup. Their is currently an invite process in which people who have access to the app can invite their friends & the cycle carries on. Trying to create more of a community behind this app versus random fly by installs. This will last for the initial app launch phase, as the app goes public for everyone in 100 days. There’ll be a lot of updates to come along & fixes to be made as its now in the wild. As Neistat himself has stated in his vlog
The interaction part of the app comes with “reactions”. Followers & other viewers of your Bemes can react as they watch your video. An overlay appears in the top right that allows you by tapping to take a selfie to show your reaction while viewing their video. This is meant to capture the response of the viewer in that very moment. Shock, joy, laughter or what have you.
The app is very much still in its infancy. There’s much to be improved & even explained for some new users. However the direction is taking is very interesting. Sharing without the need to create. Think of Snapchat but stripped down to just the video aspect. Storytelling being the key focus. However at the same time introducing an honesty to videos. Now with all good certainly comes bad. Privacy issues will surely arise for users who unknowingly may have posted something or sent something they didn’t mean to. Furthermore I’ve found myself reshooting my bemes due to them being cut short. Defeating the authentic feel the app is going for. In the normal video creation process you have the ability to take & edit then post. In this case it’s straight from capture to live. Picking up on some social trends while creating its own. Beme isn’t perfect but it’s a start.
Follow me on Beme at @Adrianc & stay tuned for updates to come on the apps progress.
Also be the first to comment & receive a Beme code/invite! I’ll try to distribute as many codes as the app allows.
This video was made possible by the great folks at Pixelmator. Pixelmator is a full featured image editor for OS X, iPhone, and iPad. Allowing you to edit, enhance, and create great works of art. Download Pixelmator today! Get a 30 day free trial for mac OS X users.
So you took that great selfie, landscape photo, or what have you. Then you realize theres that person or object that just throws off the photo. If only you could easily remove it. Using Pixelmator on the iPhone you can! Making it as simple as coloring over the object & few seconds later away it goes. This is a look at how to easily remove objects from photos on iOS.
Pixelmator for iPhone runs at $5 USD & while its a full feature image editor it also offers great tools like the repair/retouch tool.
This tool makes easier than ever to strike out the object from your photo as soon as you take it on your iPhone.
Pixelmator offers this tool across all platforms mobile & desktop. The great part about the repair tool is its simple & easy to use. Anyone can remove objects be it skin blemishes or people in the background. Repair tool removes the object while also blending in whatever is in the background. Making it look seamless. You can adjust the tool size in order to precisely color over the object no matter the size.
Before & After Example:
Cover, wait, erase it really is that simple.
UPDATE: As of July 15th, Pixelmator has been updated to version 2.0.2 which has improved the repair tool to be 5x faster & even more precise!