Work Around Browser Ads That Block Web Forms

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Earlier today, Mrs. Hassle-Free PC walked into my office carrying her laptop and an exasperated look. She's usually pretty good at troubleshooting problems, but this one was proving a head-scratcher.

She was using MapQuest to get driving directions. Because she didn't have the complete address of the destination, a fly-out window presented her with a couple possible choices.

The problem was, that window appeared under the advertising box alongside the form. Consequently, she couldn't click any of the choices, and therefore couldn't get her directions.

I've encountered a few ad-related oddities like this in the past. Usually it's just an errant bit of site programming or an ad with the improper dimensions for its allotted space. Either way, it can drive you nuts if it gets in the way of whatever you're trying to see or do.

The solution? In this case, all it took was a simple click of the Refresh/Reload button (depending on which browser you're using). The result was the same page, of course, but with a different ad--a common occurrence because ads are often rotated between visits, especially on big sites like MapQuest.

This won't work in all situations, obviously, but it just goes to show that sometimes even the weirdest problems have simple solutions.

(By the way, I have no doubt some of you will recommend the Adblock Plus extension for Firefox, which can rid your browser of ads altogether. That's definitely an option, but keep in mind that sites like PC World, well, we gotta pay the bills. Aren't a few pesky ads a small price to pay for free, professional content? I'm just saying.)

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