One thing led to another this weekend, and yesterday I found myself playing around with Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1. It had probably been 20 years since I’d last used it. It turned out to be surprisingly nice once I got everything set up, so then I got curious and set up the tile version too. (That’s the Windows RT version, aka the Metro version, aka the Modern UI version, aka whatever Microsoft is calling it this month.) It was actually fairly nice too. I have a few UI quibbles here and there, but that’s true of every app. Generally speaking, it was pretty good.
But. It turns out that the MUI version of IE doesn’t support add-ons. Don’t ask me why. That means I couldn’t install AdBlock. And holy cow: during the hour or so that I spent checking things out I felt like I was under assault. My browser was deluged with gigantic banner ads, flash ads, auto-play video ads, animated GIF ads, ads that danced across my screen, and a relentless series of popup ads that apparently have figured out how to foil the built-in popup blocker.
I’ve spent the last ten years or so browsing with ad blocking of some kind enabled. This was the first time in a long while that I had been forced to spend time on the naked web, so to speak. Have I just lost my tolerance for this kind of thing? Or has advertising on the web really gotten an order of magnitude worse since the early aughts? This is an academic question, since needless to say I won’t be using the MUI version of IE anytime soon, but I’m still curious. What say you, commenters?