[EAS]WebWasher Utility

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Tue Apr 2 22:00:00 EST 2002

Mail*Link¨ SMTP               WebWasher Utility

Dear Colleagues -

Recommending software is even more risky that recommending
restaurants, given the many risks of things not working in a given

But I have now used WebWasher, a utility for both PCs and Macs to
suppress pop-up windows and ads, since TOURBUS (issue forwarded
below) first brought it to my attention, and am quite pleased with
it. It works for me as described, and I can only hope it works as
well for you.

All best,  --PJK

                TOURBUS Volume 7, Number 58 -- 24 Mar 2002
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   WebWasher (Take Two)

Blah blah blah Orange Curtain blah blah blah blash largest strawberry
blah blah.  :P

TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors.  Please
take a moment to visit today's sponsors and thank them for keeping our
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On with the show ...

There is an old rule in show business that you should never follow an
animal act.  The reason behind this is self-explanatory: no matter how
hard you try, you'll never be able to top a wombat playing "Lady of
Spain" on some bicycle horns.  [And, like Joan Rivers, animal acts are
also known to poop all over the stage.]

There is a similar rule in online newsletter writing: don't write
about software.  The reason is a little less self-explanatory (and
much less gross): you can't guarantee that a particular piece of
software will work on everyone's computer.

Two years ago I wrote about a wonderful software program called
"WebWasher."  Unfortunately, WebWasher didn't work on everyone's
computer.  And for that I am TREMENDOUSLY sorry.

The smart thing for me to do would be to put this whole sordid episode
behind me and move on.  But the fact that some of the people on our
little bus of Internet happiness had problems using WebWasher has
bugged me ever since.

So, I am going to break the "don't write about software" rule and take
another stab at WebWasher.  Hopefully it will work this time.


The three things that annoy me the most are banner ads, javascript
pop-up windows, and Joan Rivers.  I don't think I can do much about
Joan, but I have found a way to deal with the first two: WebWasher.

You've probably already heard of WebWasher.  Originally developed by
German electronics giant Siemens, WebWasher is a free filter program
for both the PC and Mac versions of Netscape Navigator and Microsoft
Internet Explorer.

You heard right, folks.  WebWasher works on *BOTH* PCs AND Macs!

Now for the bad news.  WebWasher works only with Netscape Navigator or
Microsoft Internet Explorer.  It does *NOT* work with AOL's built-in
browser (but you can always connect to AOL, minimize AOL, and then
launch a WebWasher-enabled version of Netscape Navigator or Microsoft
Internet Explorer installed on your computer.)

Once you install WebWasher on your computer, the program automatically
blocks unwanted Web content like banner ads and pop-up windows.
Instead of the ads, all you see is white space -- the ads aren't even
downloaded!  :)

Why would anyone want to block out banner ads?  Well, some banner ads
are offensive to children (I did a Yahoo search for "Patrick Crispen"
while I was at a local elementary school, and a banner ad for Playboy
appeared.  Granted, it was funny ... just not appropriate.)  Also,
cutting out banner ads and pop-up windows speeds up your Web surfing
(one less thing to download).  Finally -- and correct me if I am wrong
-- I think blocking banner ads also solves the DoubleClick "tracking
cookie" problem we talked about a couple of years ago.  Aren't
DoubleClick's cookies served with their ads?  Block the ads, and I
think you also block DoubleClick's cookies (but I could be wrong).


What is most amazing is that WebWasher is free for non-commercial
(home) users.  You heard right, folks: IT'S FREE!  To download it,
point your Web browser to

<A HREF="http://www.webwasher.com/en/products/wwash/download_license.htm">
http://www.webwasher.com/en/products/wwash/download_license.htm </A>.

Now, this is where things get confusing.  The top of this page
announces that

     You can test WebWasher with a free 30 day evaluation.  If you
     would like to purchase the software, please purchase either
     directly from a WebWasher Sales office, or from our secure

A *BUNCH* of people are going to read this and think I am lying when I
say that WebWasher is free.  But notice that the 'WebWasher is free
for 30 days; after that you have to buy it' quote is located under the
section "Commercial and business users."  Chances are you are neither
a commercial OR business user, so this section doesn't apply to you.

If you'll scroll down the page a bit, you'll see a second section --
"Home and educational" use -- that says

     "WebWasher is available for home and educational use (schools and
     Universities) for free."

Remember, despite what the WebWasher page says about licensing for
commercial and business users, WebWasher is free for non-commercial
(home) and education users -- US!

Getting WebWasher

To start the download process, click on the "I agree" button at the
bottom of the page.

On the next page, choose the operating system that you are running --
Windows, Linux, or MacOS.  This takes you to the download page.

You will then be given a choice of whether your want to download
WebWasher from an HTTP (Web) server or from an FTP server.  Choose
HTTP.  The link to begin the download isn't the greenish-blue
"Download" button but rather the non-underlined link to the right of
the button.  [You'll see what I mean when you get there.]

By the way, there are two versions of WebWasher for the Mac: an
English version and a German version.  Choose the one written in your
mother tongue.  There are also two versions of WebWasher for the PC:
version 3.0 and version 3.2 BETA 3.  Unless you are feeling
particularly adventurous, choose version 3.0 (and ignore the "$19.00
per license" note at the top of the Windows download page -- again,
that is for commercial users, not for us.)

I'm going to assume you know how to download files.  If not, take a
look at

<A HREF="http://download.cnet.com/downloads/0-10000-7-1526174.html">
http://download.cnet.com/downloads/0-10000-7-1526174.html </A>.

Our friends at CNET have written a wonderful, free tutorial called
"The Beginners Guide to Downloading" that shows you everything you
need to know to download stuff on both a PC and a Mac.

Installing WebWasher

Once you have downloaded WebWasher's installer file, double-click it.
The first screen that comes up lets you choose the language you would
like to use during the installation: English or German.  Again, choose
your mother tongue and then click on OK.

The next screen is a welcome screen that tells you to

     ... Klicken Sie auf die Schaltflache Weiter, um mit der
     Installation fortzufahren ...

Oh, wait.  I clicked on the wrong button.  That should say

     Click on the Next button to continue with the installation.
     Click the Cancel button if you want to quit the Setup program.

Click on the "Next" button.  The next couple of screens are identical
to the screens you have seen when you've installed other programs: a
license agreement, a destination location chooser, and an icon group

Eventually, you'll see a "Start Installation" screen that asks you if
you want to start WebWasher when your computer starts.  UNCHECK THIS
BOX!  You do *NOT* want WebWasher running all the time.  (As for
adding a shortcut to the desktop or adding a shortcut to the
quicklaunch bar, I'll leave that up to you.  I unchecked both).

Click on the "Next" button to begin the installation process.

WebWasher should install pretty quickly.  The last screen you'll see
asks you if you want to view the readme file and if you want to launch
WebWasher.  Uncheck the readme file -- does anyone EVER read those? --
and leave "Launch WebWasher" checked.  Then click on the "Finish"

Configuring Your Browser

Now for the fun part.

Once you have installed WebWasher, the program's Browser Configuration
screen will appear.  You'll see a list of the browsers on your
computer and underneath those browsers will be a list of ways that you
connect to the Net, one of which will be in bold  Chances are
WebWasher will automatically find your default browser and your
default Internet connection.  If you want to change what WebWasher has
chosen, just click somewhere else.

For example, I use Internet Explorer 6 and connect to the Net through
both a LAN and, in case of emergency, a dial-up connection.  The word
"LAN" under Internet Explorer is in bold, meaning that WebWasher will
work with IE when I am using my LAN connection.

Beneath the configuration screen are two checkboxes:

     1. Always use these settings and don't ask me again; and

     2. Start the selected browser.

Check "always use these settings" and UNCHECK "start the selected
browser."  Then click on OK.

Configuring WebWasher

The final thing you have to do is tell WebWasher what you want it to
block.  Open WebWasher (by double-clicking the blue "W" icon in your
task bar in Windows, launching the program from the Start menu, or
double-clicking on the WebWasher program icon on your computer.)

WebWasher's configuration screen appears.  This is where you choose
what WebWasher will and will not block.  The choices are completely
up to you, but there is one thing you need to remember:

     EITHER CLIENT OR SERVER.  You just don't need it.

So, UNCHECK both "Client" and "Server" under "Proxy Engine."

What about the rest of the checkboxes on WebWasher's configuration
page?  If you want to learn more about each of WebWasher's functions,
check out

<A HREF="http://www.webwasher.com/en/products/wwash/functions.htm">
http://www.webwasher.com/en/products/wwash/functions.htm </A>.

If you want to know how *I've* configured WebWasher, here is a list
of the stuff that I have checked:

     Standard Filter
        Dimension Filter
        URL Filter
        Popup Windows
        WebBugs Filter
        Cookie Filter
        Prefix Filter

Everything else I left unchecked.  When you check Dimension Filter,
URL Filter, Scripts, and Cookie Filter, WebWasher shows you a bunch
of options on the right side of the screen.  I trust WebWasher, so
I didn't change any of these.

Click on "OK" and you are done.  :)

Using WebWasher

Your browser should now work both with and without WebWasher.  To see
if WebWasher is working, point your browser to

<A HREF="http://www.yahoo.com/">
http://www.yahoo.com/ </A>

and look directly under the red Yahoo icon.  If all you see is a blank
space, WebWasher is working!  If not, well ... um ... I can play "Lady
of Spain" for you on some bicycle horns.

Disabling WebWasher

To turn off WebWasher, right-click on the WebWasher icon in your task
bar and choose "Close WebWasher."  I haven't used a Mac in a while,
but there is something on the top right side of the Mac screen that
lets you see which programs are open.  You should be able to close
WebWasher from there.

And, since we chose *not* to have WebWasher automatically load every
time we start our computer, another way to disable WebWasher is to
simply restart your computer.

Killing WebWasher

If WebWasher isn't your cup of tea and you want to nuke it
permanently, remove the program from your computer.  Then,

     1. If you have IE, go to Tools --> Internet Options.  Click on
        the Connections tab.  Then click on the LAN Settings tab.
        Finally, uncheck "Use automatic configuration script."

     2. If you have Netscape, go to Edit --> Preferences.  Click on
        the plus sign next to the word Advanced.  Click on Proxies.
        Choose "Direct Connection to the Internet."

A Final Word

Gosh, I hope this works.

That's it for today.  Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again
soon!  :)


KERNT (adjective).  Belonging to the present time.
Usage: "Bubba, you know nothing about no kernt 'fairs!"

[Special thanks to CJ Stanman for today's wurd]

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