GlimmerBlocker: great idea in theory


GlimmerBlocker error message
Aww shucks :(

While I prefer to use Firefox and Camino on my MacBook Pro and iBook G3, my sister still prefers Safari on her pretty white MacBook because she says its faster and looks better. I'm under the impression Sharon in Singapore uses all three in different capacities too (I think!). Each to their own, right? ^_^

Well this morning I finally got around to installing a new hard drive in her MacBook and installed Mac OS X Leopard fresh for her. While searching for the usual plugins she uses for Safari I came across one that looked so interesting and useful I was about ready to go onto my own Macs and install it myself: GlimmerBlocker.

GlimmerBlocker is an advertisement filtering system that uses a proxy server on your Mac, which means it filters ads on every application you launch (very cool) and as a bonus it doesn't need to hack anything to work (it's not a haxie to use the Mac lingo).

While it seemed like a great idea, upon installing it on Elke's MacBook and my MacBook Pro (my iBook couldn't use it because it has Mac OS X Tiger), the internet connections on each machine failed and we were presented with the cryptic error message shown above upon entering our System Preferences screens.

As it turns out, when the application activated itself it changed the proxy settings on the machines automatically, so when it failed it blocked any internet network requests. By doing so, it seems it also blocked its own attempts to connect to its own server to download the appropriate files. A Catch 22 perhaps? I'm not Bill Kurtis.

The only way to get internet back on our Macs was to uninstall this plugin and restart Mac OS X. Fortunately the GlimmerBlocker folks had good instructions on how to do so on their Trac wiki.

It's a shame, the premise for GlimmerBlocker was intruiging and the features looked promising. Perhaps the next release will work, but I'm somewhat nervous about trying again considering it failed so verbosely on two seperate machines.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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