Rant the fourth

I love reading blogs. I love how blogs can offer intellectual and creative stimulation. And I love how blogs can point me in directions I hadn’t seen before.

A lot of this pointing takes the form of links. I don’t click through every link I see, but when one grabs my interest I hover the cursor over it and look at the URL in the status bar at the bottom of my browser to see if the link looks clickworthy.

On some sites, though, my placid cursor-hovering is interrupted by a little window that pops up in the middle of my screen: a Snap Shot.

I hate these things. Loathe them.

First, they obscure a good chunk of the surrounding text. Here I am, merrily reading along, when suddenly one of those little windows appears and completely derails my train of thought.

Second, the Snap Shot windows are so small that they’re actually useless. (Note that I am not advocating any embiggening.) Whatever text and images appear in them are barely discernible from the noise in the window. If there’s a link to, say, Matthew Fox in a Speedo*, that little window isn’t going to show much. If I really want to see Matthew Fox in a Speedo, I’m going to have to follow that link.

Third. if I want to know where a link goes, I find it far more useful to just look at the URL. The URL of a blog post can reveal a ton of information, including the website, post title, and post date.

Fortunately, there are ways for site visitors to avoid seeing those annoying windows: by disabling Snap Shots. Apparently, the company has had enough complaints about this product that they’ve included this info in their FAQ; just follow the link in #3 on the list. Unfortunately, this solution requires cookie placement and has to be reactivated whenever your cookies are deleted.

If you’re using Firefox and running the AdBlock Plus extension (which is awesome), you’re in luck: you can get rid of those Snap Shots forever. (Well, for as long as you’re running AdBlock Plus. Which is so awesome that you’ll never want to get rid of it. So yeah, I guess that does mean forever.) Check here for the details. (Opera users will find their solution in the comments to that post.)

*That one’s just for you, Gina!

7 Responses to “Rant the fourth”

  1. Chrison 01 Jun 2008 at 10:35 am

    I hate ’em, too. :) They are SO disabled on my computers.

  2. Chelleon 01 Jun 2008 at 8:33 pm

    I hate them too! Thanks so much for posting on how to get rid of these atrocious and completely useless interruptions!

  3. Jennuon 01 Jun 2008 at 11:15 pm

    I hate them too! Thanks so much for the helpful hint!

  4. MJon 02 Jun 2008 at 5:44 am

    I wonder if it’s a WP feature, since it’s not visible on my MT-powered blog. It’s fairly annoying, isn’t it? The developers should dry-run features with focus groups before releasing them, in my opinion.

  5. ariannaon 02 Jun 2008 at 8:57 am

    Wow, I have to say – I’ve never really been all that bothered by them. I’ve also never really found them all that useful, but I definitely am not nearly as annoyed by them as all the above are! :) Maybe that’s because I don’t see much of them, as I do most of my blog reading in an aggregator. But, I’m glad that you’ve found a way to circumvent them, at least until enough people get frustrated with them and they are removed!

    I guess I’m less angry about them than I am about popup ads and the like – unsolicited advertising is something that makes me really rabid. Unless, are there ads in them? I guess I don’t have enough experience with Snap Shots…which sounds like a good thing! :)

  6. Frankon 02 Jun 2008 at 7:40 pm

    I hate these things too, and it seems like they are usually asking me to take a survey about how well I like the website. I don’t think that’s a good technique for getting positive comments.

  7. Ginaon 10 Jun 2008 at 9:53 pm

    You evil, evil woman for teasing me so! ;-)