Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Why I use Avant (updated)

I have mentioned “alternative” web browsers in prior Tech–for Everyone articles and described some of the advantages to you that they offer. And I’ve included some in the “Today’s free link” segment. I also wrote an article, titled “How to block ads” which discussed ad blocking in general and ad blocking in Hotmail* in particular (due to my aversion to a particularly prevalent laser hair removal ad).
There’s a new kind of animated banner ad now. They have little You Tube-like movie screens in them and thus we now have miniature TV commercials on our web-pages. Yuck!

Tip of the day: consider switching to an alternative browser to surf the web ad free. I should iterate, “alternative” meaning “other than Internet Explorer”, which comes as part of Windows. The most popular alternative browser is Firefox. I have discussed this in prior articles, but it’s worth repeating: the trick to getting the most out of Firefox is to use what is called “Add-ons”, which makes sense because they are little programs you ‘add on’ to Firefox.

My focus today is blocking the advertisements, and one kind of advertisement in particular — which is the hardest to block — imbedded flash ads. When you have Firefox installed, you want to add the Add Ons AdBlock Plus and Flashblock… and possibly NoScript.
To install these, go to the Tools menu and click on (select) Add-ons. add-ons.jpg
Now click on “Get Extensions. This will take you to Mozilla’s Add-on website; here you will find a vast array of tools, extension, and plugins to choose from. You will find Adblock Plus under the “Recommended Add-ons” category, and No Script and Flashblock under “Extensions” then “Privacy and security”.
Install this combination and instead of ads, you’ll see clean, blank spaces. If you still see an ad, you should be able to right-click the ad and there will be an option to blacklist the ad’s source. You will also have the option to unblock.

Blocking imbedded Flash ads in IE is possible, but I haven’t found a free way to do this.** That’s why I use the browser from Avant. It has the ability to block Flash ads built into it. When an ad does slip through its filters, a right-click/add to blacklist eliminates the offender. In Avant, my Hotmail looks like this.
Avant claims to be “the fastest browser on earth”, and I am not so sure that’s absolutely true. It is not slow, I can tell you that — it’s faster than IE. It has the features you’ve come to expect from your browser — tabbed browsing, autofill, pop-up blocking, privacy tools — and others that you might find useful; like, online storage for a backup of your Favorites/Bookmarks/etc and important files, and a built-in RSS feed reader.
But for me, the clincher was shown to you in the picture above — the clean Hotmail page. I don’t want, need, or like animated banner ads blinking and flashing at me, and I certainly don’t need miniature TV commercials. Sorry advertisers, but you’ve gone too far for me.

*Please don’t get me wrong. I think Hotmail is a great service. I’m even reasonably willing to see limited advertising there. And I should also point out that all the free emails are supported by advertising.

Today’s free link(s): Don’t tell me you’re expecting another free link here! Scroll up. BTW: there’s a USB thumbdrive version of Avant browser available on the Download page.. just scroll down a little.
** update at the time I wrote this, I wasn’t familiar with SelectView, which is a  free plug-in for IE that simply performs ad-blocking miracles. If you prefer to stick with IE, this tool is for you. It is configurable, and can enable/disable on either a page, or Site basis.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul, All Rights Reserved

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September 19, 2007 - Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, how to, IE 7, PC, RSS, searching, tech, Vista, Windows, XP


  1. Here it is, nearly three years after you posted the above I just stumbled on, and I’ve started using Avant for certain sites because other browsers can’t quite do things right on them. (I use different browsers for different “setups” of sites I use every day.)

    My main is Opera, usually works great and has led the way in browser evolution, but it doesn’t like one of the sites for some reason, so it closes after awhile, not sure why. Firefox hates the flash video stream from one of the sites, so after a few hours it maxes out my CPUs, and only closing FF completely will release whatever it’s doing. Chrome is similar, and too basic anyway. Safari actually works well with the flash/streaming video, but, like Chrome, it can’t tile windows or do some other things, and I hate the tabs if you have more than 10 or so open.

    Not a big fan of IE, although 8 is surprisingly nice. That pretty much leaves Maxthon and Avant, and Maxthon is giving me fits lately. Avant can’t do certain things some of the other browsers can, but for me, for certain sites, it’s doing what the other ones can’t.

    I know your article is about ad-blocking, but, hey, figured a general plug for Avant wouldn’t hurt.


    Comment by Wes | May 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Wes,
      That is a fair “product comparison”, combined with “real life experience”, hmmm.. a “guest” article?

      I stopped using Avant some time ago, having found that the combination of IE 7 (for those certain websites) and Firefox (my primary) served my needs very well.
      Streaming video is not really my priority: security and blocking all the freaking advertisements ARE. (Not only are animated ads annoying as all *heck*, they are an attack vector for malware. Really? Yes!)

      Firefox + NoScript/AdBlock Plus/Flashblock/Better Privacy/WOT/TACO/SiteAdvisor

      (I know many who use Opera. I have some security concerns about it, and haven’t used it in a long time.)


      Comment by techpaul | May 13, 2010 | Reply

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