15 Internet Annoyances, and How to Fix Them

Don't Open That Window

We are Web surfers, not babies, so why do some Web sites open new browser windows or tabs when you click on a link? If your site is compelling enough, I promise I won't leave just to check out a link.

The Fix: Firefox users can type about:config in the address bar, search for “browser.link” in the filter field, double click on open_newwindow and change the value to 1. Still, I wish browsers had a “never open in new window or tab” option. My solution was to train myself over many years to open pretty much everything in its own tab.

A Frame to Block Your View

I thought browser frames went out with Netscape Navigator, but once again our Web browsers are being invaded by the DiggBar and its ilk. These are sad attempts to keep us penned in to one site's pages.

The Fix: Once again, add-ons save the day, at least for Firefox users. The DiggBar Killer script for Firefox's Grease Monkey add-on will ensure that you never see the DiggBar again.

This Link is an Ad

No money-making editorial Web site is free of advertisements--PCWorld included--but I hope my publishers never include those links that create a pop-up ad when you hover over them. Do people even look at those ads? I just hunt for the “X” and get back to the editorial.

The Fix: Internet Explorer users have it easy: Go to your list of restricted sites (Tools, Internet Options, Security, Restricted Sites in IE8) and block the following: “*.vibrantmedia.com,” “*.intellitxt.com” and “*.kontera.com.” Firefox users can get the same results by restricting those sites with the BlockSite add-on. Everyone else can block those sites with a free OpenDNS account.

Junk Sites in Search Results

Have you ever navigated past the first or second page of search results? It's a wasteland of junk Web pages and bad information. If Google, Bing and Yahoo replaced those back pages with a message that read, “You've failed. Try again,” I don't think we'd be any worse off.

The Fix: I can't make search engines read your mind, but I can shamelessly promote some expert advice on getting better Google searches. And don't neglect subsections of search engines, such as Google News and Bing Shopping.

This Search Bar is Worthless

As a whole, Web sites' internal search engines are so bad that I rarely trust them anymore. They'll fail to dig up that article you read a few months ago, or they'll bury it among countless irrelevant results, and they lack the tools of a real search engine.

The Fix: Head to your search engine of choice and precede your search with site:nameofsite.com "what you're looking for” for a surprisingly good index of what you seek. Google can even display results by date when you click “Show options.”

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