TiVo for the Web: Content Without the Ads

by Carlos Portocarrero on 6 January 2010 6 comments
Photo: Inju

Sometimes reading online can be a big pain in the butt: there are ads everywhere and the fonts are always different. Some of us don't mind ads if the content we want is really good, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to convert all those pages into a nice, consistent, readable font that feels kind of like a newspaper?

Now you can.

Readability is a cool tool created by the Arc90 Lab that allows you to quickly turn any web page you want into a format of your choice. All you have to do is set your preferences on their home page, add their bookmark, and you're done.

You can choose to make pages look like a newspaper, a novel, or even a computer terminal (not recommended).

Let's say you're over at the LA Times website reading this story:

LA Times Story

The page is very busy and the story starts wayyy down on the page. But if you click on your handy Readability bookmark, this is what it looks like:

Readability Screen

Much better, isn't it?

I don't use Readability on every single page I visit, but it's super handy when I stumble onto a site with too many ads or too much going on, and I just want to be left alone with the content I want to read.

It can save you time and it can save you from some of the ads out there that could wind up convincing you to buy something you really don't need.

 

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Guest's picture

i didnt know about this. its is quite the nifty little tool but the thing is that ads dont seem to really disturb me all that much. call it ad blindness if you will

Guest's picture
Guest

If your using Firefox you can block almost 100% of the ads on web pages by adding the AdBlock Plus extension. I've been using it for years and now it is odd when I see a web page with out it, there are so many ads.

Guest's picture
Deborah

I don't mean to be a party pooper but as a freelance writer with a lot of ad-supported content, I think the use of such a tool is diminishing to an industry that is already struggling. We offer content for free that is supported by ads so that normal people do not have to pay for it and can still get the information that they desire.

If people don't click ads, many of us do not get paid. In fact, my blog is supported entirely by ads because I want to offer quality information to others without having to work for free or charge them. Ads are a perfect solution to that problem.

Carlos Portocarrero's picture

True, but as a reader, I don't want to see ads.

But that's beside the point, I don't mind ads at all. This tool just makes it easier on the eyes to read certain pieces of content.

Trust me, people that use this tool are web-savvy enough to not click on ads.

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Guest's picture

This is one reason I like doing most of my reading from RSS feeds using Google Reader (one of many RSS readers, and my favorite). Pretty much all news sites, blogs, and anything with constantly updating content (funny pictures, joke-a-day, etc.) have RSS feeds, and it allows you to view content usually with a consistent font and appearance. Ads are usually specially designed for feeds, typically at the bottom of the post, and not intrusive at all.

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sylrayj

It's not necessarily the ads that trouble me, it's the page size and the occasional lack of margins. Some pages also won't let me advance by using the space bar, so making use of Readability lets me knit while reading, pausing to hit the space bar instead of grabbing the mouse to scroll. Some ads are troublesome - the ones that wiggle just out of my reading area will catch my attention, so I lose my place and have to try again, only to have that wiggling happen again...

I like Readability. :)