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AdBlock Block

adblock-icon-512Today I’ve stumbled upon an article on Medium (which is getting to be an extremely popular platform), about bypassing AdBlock.

The idea is pretty simple, using PHP (or any other programming language actually) one can generate a base64 string of the image file:

$url = 'image.png';
$result = file_get_contents($url);
echo '<img src="data:image/jpeg;base64," . base64_encode($url) . '/>';

The article also shows how to load the images via JavaScript instead of directly with HTML, but while testing it didn’t seem that AdBlock detected those ads either way.
In fact, the entire thing can be done via JS, if one creates a canvas, loads the image, and grabs the URL (complete solution here).
This is an interesting idea, and I’ve seen this before in the form of using eval(base64_decode()) to hide copyright lines for plugins/scripts (sometimes for viruses ;) ).

The major issue I see with it, is that most websites are using 3rd party services (Adsense, Chitika, Bidvertiser), in which case there’s not much they can do.
Another problem would be that most of what made AdBlock so successful was the community help with updating the Filter Lists / Rules for every popular website known to man.

Even if there’s a potential way of hiding your ads, it’s very tricky to do it in such a way that would dynamically change their location on the page, as well as have dynamic selectors (because AdBlock blocks using CSS-like selectors), to avoid the AdBlock community from blocking your base64 ads.

Another option I’ve seen for fighting AdBlock is blocking the user completely until they disable their plugin.
I find that a bit too aggressive, not to mention at the end of the day it’s a cat and mouse game: there’s already a Hide My AdBlocker plugin, or my favorite: Anti Anti AdBlock.
What about AdBlockUnBlockBlock ? Catchy, I know.

There’s a balance that needs to be achieved between people who don’t want to see the internet filled with Ads, and bloggers who want to make a living writing.

AdBlock Usage Statistics

So what are the numbers? It’s difficult to say, the only solid report I’ve seen about this is from 2012 (not THAT old):

  • 9.26% – Overall ad-blocked impressions in the US & Europe
  • 17.79% – Overall ad-blocked impressions on Tech websites (makes sense – savvy users)
  • 22.5% – Average Ad-Blocking rates in Austria, number one in the world (Germany 19.44%, USA 8.72% & UK 7.61%)
  • 17.81% – Average Ad-Blocking rates with Firefox, number one browser (Chrome 10.06% and surprisingly Safari 11.3%)
  • 29.04% – Average Ad-Blocking rates on Linux (shocking.. 9.25% on Windows)

The full report can be found here

I’m just thankful I don’t have to make my living only by blogging, it’s not easy.

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Posted in Technology

Why Pinterest is an asset for Web Developers

pinterest_thumbnail
Back in 2012, I signed up for a website called Pinterest.

It was a very visual website that seemed to be full of mostly Jewelry and Clothing,
so immediately I started wondering if there’s something, anything, that might interest me on one of those pins.

I tried to search for “Web Development”, curious to see some graphs, charts, or perhaps cheat sheets about an interesting new web framework I might not yet be aware of.
Sadly, that didn’t work out, all I got was a bunch of irrelevant pictures (even some pics of shirts with a spider web on them). I assumed it wasn’t the search’s fault – the site simply lacked the content that I was looking for.

Whatever the reason was, I can now honestly say that in 2014, about 2 years after my first experimenting, the search on Pinterest is AWESOME.

This is what you currently get when searching for Web Development on Pinterest:

pinterest

As you can probably see, LOADS of amazing graphs, charts, and basically exactly what I was expecting to get on a Pinterest search!
Read more ›

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The new Inbox by Gmail

google-inbox-gmail-logo-icon
Recently I’ve received an invite to Inbox, Google’s new email interface that will likely replace Gmail in the future.
The new Inbox also comes as an App, and is currently invite only.

The service is a mix of things that have been introduced to Gmail recently.
Here are some highlights:

 

Inbox Zero is the goal

done_snooze

The new inbox lets you mark things as

  • Pin – for important things, similar to Stars
  • Snooze – clear them from your inbox until a date in the future (Tomorrow, Next Week, etc.), this is a very cool feature and helps users to actually address important email, so they won’t be forgotten in the abyss of low-priority.
  • Done – similar to Archive

To me it seems that the Inbox is more like a To-Do list, where you make sure you don’t miss anything.

Design revamped for Tablets/Mobile

image00
Even on the desktop, Inbox looks like a tablet app, this is of course part of the Material design concept coming with Android 5.0 (Lollipop).

Tabs are called Bundles
image02

Bundles help you group your emails into groups (Purchases, Travel, Promos, etc.).
This is very similar to the feature that was introduced to Gmail not long ago called Tabs.
Read more ›

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The Web Summit 2014

This week I had the chance to join The Web Summit in Dublin.
With 20,000 participants, coming from all over the world (even got to see startups from Malaysia, Japan & Australia!), I’d say it’s one of the most international tech conferences out there.

The event was very well organized, splitting to 10 Stages (Center, Enterprise, Marketing, Builders, Machine, Library, Music, Sport, Food, Cinema), most people moved from Center, Enterprise, Marketing & Builders.
Obviously at lunch time everyone was moving towards the Food stage because they had the grub!

The stages were split to 3 places:

The Town, which had everything but Center, Enterprise & Food.
The Village, which had Center & Enterprise (very good idea because most of the Press was on Center stage anyways, so it avoided overcrowding).
The Food stage, which had lectures about food & tech and had our lunch too!
I’ve mentioned it in a tweet as well, the food there was quite possibly the best food I’ve ever had in a conference, let’s hope the rest will follow the new standard.

There were incredible individuals, such as Urs Hölzle (senior vice president of technical infrastructure at Google), Mark Pincus (founder of Zynga), David Karp (founder of Tumblr), Adrian Grenier (The Entourage) and of course Bono (U2).
Some pictures:

Bono talking tech and music

image

Peter Thiel talking investments and Europe

image

Mark Pincus talking about startups at 1994

image

Adrian talking about tech & music

image

Until next week !

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Posted in Technology

SlideNSwap Gallery plugin for WordPress

SlideNSwap-logoThis week I’ve released a new plugin for WordPress called SlideNSwap Gallery.

The plugin itself is pretty simple, it lets you create image galleries that have the effect shown in this video (kind of like the Ken Burns effect):

The admin panel is rather simple, I’d say a bit too simple, but it’ll do for now:

screenshot-2

 

This whole thing started with a small jQuery plugin I built a few years ago,
and I decided to make it available online.
I just thought a jQuery plugin is not as useful as being able to install it on WordPress and get it up and running with images from the Media section.

So this is the result, enjoy!

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Posted in Technology

AgriCatch source released

AgriCatch-logoHello everyone!
Today is a great day to release some projects to the wild!

AgriCatch is a data aggregation tool I’ve built on top of Django.
What AgriCatch does is pretty simple – it lets you grab data from wild and disorganized websites (talking about the HTML of course).

It supports

  • XPath – use XPath to find different fields
  • Pagination – if you’d like to grab a list of things that are paginated, that’s also possible
  • Custom functions – if you’d like to do something special with the fields before saving them to DB
  • Leftover event related functionality – originally AgriCatch was designed for events, because of that there’s some leftover functionality in that matter:
    • days_on_page – you can give the timespan within the events of a single page are included (for example if it’s a weekly page – 7)
    • start_day & num_of_days – you can give the importer a default starting day, it will then attempt to replace the url with a timestamp (according ot a format mentioned in the website template). Example:
      http://www.example_events.com?date=%m-%d-%Y
      Would then try to move forward days_on_page days until it reached the limit (num_of_days).
  • HTML & XML support

Most of the useful documentation for building importers is found in the Repository under agricatch/website.py
To import you simply run the command:

python manage.py doimport website_name --days=7

website_name refers to the name of the website in lowercase!

More info to come..

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