Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Nondescript Little Program: NoScript

Occasionally, I blog about software programs I have recently found that I think are useful for writers.  Well, this next program is by no means limited to writers. Anyone who spends time on the net researching, shopping, or just wandering about the internet, will find NoScript a useful program.  Like the other programs I have talked about, this is another freeware program, which, of course, won't turn away any donations.  I actually have been using it for many years, and it's one of those things that you only know you need it when you don't have it, kind of like parents or breathing or an opposing thumb.  That's what NoScript is.  It's an add-on for Firefox.  (I have only used it with Firefox and cannot say if it will work with Opera, Linux or Explorer.) 

This nondescript (no pun intended, well maybe it was intended) program hides behind your activities and only becomes apparent when you go to a new website.  Then it stops all the script activity from loading until you give permission.  When this happens, I just click on which permissions I want to give the site I am visiting. So I don't get those annoying advertising boxes popping up over the page I am visiting. And no other little activities are going on that I am unaware of.  I can even give a site temporary permission and exit out immediately if I need to, knowing if I go back again, NoScript is keeping everything under control.

Sure, I occasionally find myself wondering why something isn't working on a site I have gone to numerous times, but I come to my senses, click on the NoScript icon right next to the web address at the top of my screen and add whatever permissions are needed to get it all back to normal. It is not NoScript fouling up.  The site must have changed a process and added another script.  For example, there is an online vitamin site I go to every three or so months to get new supplies. One day I found I could no longer arrange payment. They had changed their payment process.  It was the first time I had been going to a site on a routine basis and couldn't do what I was used to doing. It took me a few days to figure it out. I went back, checked NoScript and sure enough had to add a permission.

Sometimes, I have had to experiment a little giving permission for this and not for that until the right things are active and only what I want is active at the site.  Having the option to temporarily allow something comes especially in use then though you can disallow any script at any time. Sometimes I am uncertain what the item is used for, but over the years of using this program, I have learned a lot and usually recognize what needs permission and what I would rather not have active.  The program updates regularly without issue.  Overall, it is pretty simple and just like breathing, something I only think about when I need it.

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