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Read Your Yahoo! Emails Without Going Blind!

Flash and JavaScript AnnoyancesIf you are like most people, you probably have one or two email accounts with Yahoo!, Windows Live and Google. I applaud these Internet powerhouses for giving us free email accounts, but does Yahoo! Mail need to make us go blind when reading our emails? I mean, talk about Flash and JavaScript overkill!  The first thing I noticed when I logged in recently was this HUGE space taken up at the top by an ad banner after you sign in. 

The thing flashes and rolls and blinks and…, oh my. Even when you open an email to read, the banner sits pat and for every new email you open, a new ad shows up. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that this is about money, but do we have to go blind because of free email accounts? Google does not think so.

Compared to Gmail, Yahoo! email on the web is a Flash and JavaScript haven!  Gmail serves ads on GMail, but they are subtle and on a small portion of the right side of the screen. More important, the ads are without images. Yahoo! Mail pushes ads at you and they are in your face like you won’t believe. Even when you sign out, the onslaught does not let up.

Here’s what I mean:
Here’s an image of Yahoo!’s initial screen with JavaScript and auto images on – notice the billboard. Then look at Gmail’s initial screen after login.

Yahoo!:

GMail:

Google offers free email accounts, up to seven Gigabytes per user, I might add, and they do not attempt to destroy our vision by bombarding us with all kinds of flashing images, text, and anything else that they could lay their programming fingers on, including solicitation from unknown women:

And last time I checked, Google was making money.
I got sick of dealing with the Flash and JavaScript annoyance and finally decided to fight back and the tool of choice was Mozilla’s Firefox. Firefox has a quick and easy way for you to turn off JavaScript and freeze those annoying dancing boobs. Opera has an even faster way (Tools | Quick Preferences | Enable JavaScript).

But it looks like Yahoo! (and most Flash and JavaScript dependent websites for that matter) has wizened up to the fact that their antics might tick off a few folks and force us to take drastic measures (like turning JavaScript off and putting a leash on Flash) so they now also have images that still dance even if you turn off JavaScript. My counter, turn off automatic loading of images or install an add-on to do it for you.

Here’s how you turn off JavaScript:

In Firefox, click on Tools | Options. Click on “Content” at the top. You now have the options to block pop-up windows, load images automatically and enable JavaScript. Uncheck the boxes for “Load images automatically” and “Enable JavaScript”. Click OK and refresh the browser. All those annoying images will go to sleep while you read your emails in peace. You can always enable JavaScript and automatic image loading when you need them.

Another option is to install an add-on like one called Flashblock – “an extension for the Mozilla Firefox, and Netscape browsers that takes a pessimistic approach to dealing with Macromedia Flash content on a webpage and blocks ALL Flash content from loading. It then leaves placeholders on the webpage that allow you to click to download and then view the Flash content.”

Here’s what happens after the Flashblock tool is installed:

The good thing about this tool is that you can enjoy the benefits of Flash and JavaScript without the scrolling texts, rotating banners, flashing images that are so annoying and tend to hurt the eyes. Not to mention the fact that they are a major distraction.

Opera and Chrome browsers may also suffice, although I have not used them much. Google won’t let me download Chrome without JavaScript and agreeing to some “contract”, so I passed. I have not used Opera in a while, although I hear version 11 is good. Internet Explorer is not an option here because of the way access to features are “hidden”. The hassles of turning things on and off in IE are just too much. And the major factor here is speed – being able to turn things on and off quickly.

Better yet, for small and medium-sized businesses, investing in a web protection solution can go a long way in reducing stress and improving employee productivity.

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