Category Archives: Computer Bytes

Ad Blockers, Security Questions, Spam and SEO

by Bill Scobie

The ad blockers are coming! Google will activate its built-in ad blocker for its Chrome web browser on February 15. This is great news if you use Chrome – yet I would pay attention to what might happen with third-party ad blockers like Ad Block Plus or ublock Origin. There may be issues.

One small but potentially useful trick for all those extra security questions you have to set up with many online services is to make up answers to questions such as “What is your mother’s maiden name?” Those services don’t check that your answer is correct for you, just that you type in the same thing. You could set up the answer to all those questions with something like “purple,” if you want.

If you are feeling a little annoyed about spam and have wondered how to “punish” those who send it, try wasting their time by replying through the services of Spamnesty. All you need to do is forward a spam email to Their service strips out your email address before their bot tries to engage the spammer in a time-wasting back-and-forth exchange. Read more at They do remind you to strip out personal information from any email you forward to them.

There are so many different places on your computer and on the Internet for you to hear security advice, but not all may apply to you. You might find it useful to look at the Security Planner put out by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab at It is comforting to see that they continue to update their advice as best practices change.

Email tracking can be made more difficult by turning off loading of tracking images and resources. Many email senders use the display of tracking images or even a one-pixel dot with a custom file name to determine if you have looked at an email. Most email programs let you turn off that display of tracking images, which are images loaded off the web. My credit card company keeps telling me that they need me to update my email address even though their emails are getting to me. That’s because they don’t “see” me reading their emails as I don’t allow the “loading” of tracking images.

I may have mentioned Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide before. It’s finally beed updated, and has wonderful info. Google that name or visit: You’ll still need to keep interesting content frequently updated.

Bill Scobie fixes computers and networks for small businesses and home. 628-2354 or