Blocking Flash

I do not get on well with flash. Most of the time it’s just doing junk content delivery that I have zero interest in. It crashes… it’s a pain to install on Linux. The quality never seems to be as great as the HTML5 ones and they never have a standard UI. Horrible.

Luckily Apple have been doing their very best to drive a stake through its heart; but you still find it on the desktop. Sure there are programs like ClickToFlash and the like but they never manage to block it everywhere. They miss the RSS readers, the odd times I switch to other browsers (Opera: I love you but until 1Password support you I cannot switch full time). There hasn’t been a proper hitting the nail on the head, all encompassing, elegant solution.

…Until now. For a while I’ve been using GlimmerBlocker to block ads. It’s great. It filters all the connections in and out of my computer so it can even block the ads in my RSS reader. It needs a java-runtime which is okay I guess but it sorts the ad-blocking problem neatly and it also seems to offer the least hacky way to get Safari’s search bar to use DuckDuckGo (who are lovely people and even added a !kolw command for me to search the KoLWiki).

I’ve also been getting around my Flash loathing by switching my user-agent string to an iPad every time I encounter flash. iPad doesn’t do flash; but everyone supports it and if you pretend you’re one most websites give you an MP4 rather than a FLV file (as well as less ads and occasionally cheaper wifi prices apparently). It’s great.

Problem is you can’t in Safari set it permanently. You can in Chrome (which is what I was doing), but it still means reeder still gets the FLVs when I look at my RSS feeds and then I need to click through… no. Not right. Must be a better way.

The trick is to get GlimmerBlocker to do the User-Agent switch. It’s easy. Create a new rule; modify request; add the code

gb.request.header["User-Agent"] = ["Mozilla/5.0(iPad; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.21.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.4 Mobile/7B314 Safari/531.21.10"];

Bliss. Flash isn’t even installed any more. I love GlimmerBlocker so much right now. I reinstalled the laptop today and it was the first thing to go on. Can’t recommend it highly enough.