Welcome to the ad-free internet

Something that bugs me about consumer IT gear is that typically all the best features of the hardware get locked down or just plain ignored in the manufacturer’s stock GUI, so the average consumer doesn’t have a chance to mess with it.

For example, if you have a wireless access point (or wireless router) connected to your LAN, that WAP has the ability to increase or decrease its antenna power settings to yield better range.  Many manufacturers max out the power setting, meaning you get good range but at the cost of longevity—the WAP antenna runs so hot that its guts will burn out within few months of purchase.  And the interface that ships with the device doesn’t let you access the antenna power setting feature.  That’s really handy.

This is why I typically junk the manufacturer firmware for many electronic devices, especially phones, routers and wireless access points.  On my router, I run a really terrific 3rd party Linux firmware called DD-WRT.  One of the fun features of DD-WRT is the ability to control your router’s startup script when it boots; my startup script uses this guy’s ad-blocking code.

I know, I know.  You can do that via the browser, right?  Sure, but you’re still wasting bandwidth and retrieval time to collect those ads you ultimately aren’t going to see.  This way the request never makes it past your router, and even clever but annoying contextual ads like Google AdSense get the axe.  Well worth the time to implement.

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