OS/2 Fixpacks On CD
Kill The Banners - by Robert Basler
OS/2 e-Zine!

Go to a Printer Friendly version of this page

Robert Basler is President and CEO of Aurora Systems, Inc., a leading edge developer of software products for people with speech, language, learning, and physical disabilities. He develops games in hopes of striking it rich one day.

Blast Back! Send a private message directly to Robert Basler with your thoughts:

Contact OS/2 e-Zine!

Sponsored links:
The OS/2 Supersite

Summary: Use the "poor man's ad blocker" trick in Warp to speed up your net surfing without loading any new software.

Tired of having to wait to download ad banners for junk you aren't interested in at the top of every web page? (Of course the ad banners here are very interesting so we'll leave them intact ;-) There's an easy way to get rid of many of them with OS/2 Warp, and you don't even have to install any new software to do it.

When TCP/IP needs to load a graphic, like a banner advertisement on a web page, quite often those graphics will come from one of many standard sites that service web sites throughout the internet. One such site is "ad.doubleclick.net". With a couple of simple configuration changes you can make OS/2 not be able to find those sites and thus not be able to load those banner images. All it takes are a few tweaks to your "\MPTN\ETC\HOSTS"file.

The HOSTS file is used when TCP/IP needs to look up a computer (a host) like www.os2ezine.com on the internet. Usually with OS/2, the TCP/IP stack looks to your ISP's domain name server (DNS), then if that doesn't have the host you are looking for (or the DNS is unavailable), to the HOSTS file. This is bad if you don't want to load banner ads because your ISP's domain server usually knows where these hosts are. Fortunately there is a way to change this behavior so that OS/2's TCP/IP always looks into the HOSTS file first, then to the DNS server last.

We set OS/2 to look at the HOSTS file first by adding the following line to OS/2's CONFIG.SYS file:


Now, once that's done, you can get down to the business of eliminating those nasty banner ads. All you have to do is add some lines to your HOSTS file as below (I've given you a few to start but feel free to add your own.) The lines start with an IP address, in this case the "self" IP address, and then a domain name. This way, your browser will not be able to find the referenced graphic and will display nothing or one of those "broken link" graphics. Either way, it's much faster than downloading them. ad.doubleclick.net ads.zdnet.com ads1.zdnet.com ads2.zdnet.com ads.x10.com promotions.yahoo.com ad.usatoday.com ads.lycos.com ads.cmpnet.com ad.preferences.com adforce.ads.imgis.com

After you reboot, you will find that you now see fewer banner ads at some of the sites you visit. Unfortunately this doesn't work if the ad graphics are loaded from the same domain as the site you're looking at, since you don't want to add a domain like www.os2ezine.com here or you won't be able to read these articles either!

If you are so inclined, you could also use this technique as a poor-man's site-blocker. Just add the sites you don't want your children to see to the list, such as: www.barney.com

Then they won't be able to access any information or pages served from that domain.

There are two last things to make sure: the last line in the HOSTS file must be terminated with a CR/LF pair, or OS/2 will ignore the last host you add, and you have to reboot for these changes to take effect.

Copyright © 1999 - Falcon Networking ISSN 1203-5696
June 1, 1999