Monday, January 18, 2016

A Bit of Crow for Breakfast (But I'm Gonna Share it With My OS)

So: I'm still personally tussling with the ethics of ad blockers. But you're damn right I'm using one (uBlock Origin) now. Here's why:

My Asus Chromebox only sports 2Gb of RAM and an Intel dual-core Celeron CPU running at 1.4 GHz. Yet somehow it manages to run several open browser tabs (five easily, usually 10 or more) without slowing down for MOST sites. I can only think of two sites that I either stopped using or minimized my use of because they were so full of ad crap that they slowed my machine down or caused tabs to run out of memory when I stopped using an ad blocker. And I probably could have gone back to using them once I installed The Great Suspender, an app that would claw back memory from tabs I hadn't been using for awhile, then reload them as needed.

My MacBook Pro (running MacOS 10.10.5, "Yosemite") came with 8Gb of RAM and a dual-core Intel Core i7 Arrandale CPU running at 2.8 GHz. But let me get more than about five or six browser tabs open (in Chrome or Firefox either one), almost regardless of which sites, even if I've intentionally made sure other apps aren't running in the backgroud, and the thing starts noticeably slowing down. The CPU temperature spikes, too (I use a light app called SystemPal to keep track of this and start buzzing at me when the CPU temp climbs above 90 degrees celsius), and I start getting warnings that this or that script on this or that page is running slowly and do I want to kill it or keep running it.

Some of you tried to tell me this when I started discussing whether or not viewing ads was the honest price of seeing content. I just assumed y'all were exaggerating, because who the hell would put up with that kind of thing? Turns out that y'all put up with it (or, rather, find ways around it instead of switching to ChromeOS).

So yeah, I can't really figure any way around using an ad blocker unless I want to limit myself to one browser tab and absolutely no real productivity. I'm with you now. But I still don't feel good about it.

On the one hand, I'm really enjoying being back on MacOS, even though I haven't done much of the stuff that I can do in MacOS and can't do in ChromeOS (e.g. gaming).

On the other hand, ChromeOS seems to be a mostly functionally superior operating system for those of us who are mostly just using our machines as Internet appliances. It hums right along on stuff that slows down machines with four times as much RAM and double the CPU speeds. From some off-the-cuff Googling, it also looks like my Mac consumes about 20 times as much electricity as the Chromebox at both idle and balls-out usage levels, in order to perform not as well.

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