There was a time when going on the Internet through a web browser was just about getting your email or checking out the weather. Now it’s a vertical cornucopia of possibilities from shopping to research that drives a person to go online. But thanks to the same improvements that make the browser more competent, companies and organizations who want to know who is going where and why now proliferate. This makes it nearly impossible to avoid being tracked and beset upon, even for those who know tricks for concealing their identity. But that doesn’t help us non-hackers, non-programming geniuses who just want to see things without being bothered. And without having to go to all kinds of tech-related trouble. So for most of us the eBlocker Pro is to be welcomed to our home.
The eBlocker resembles a block (hence the name) and the $199 retail paid for it is all about the electronics found inside as opposed to it having some kind of high-end decor. Setting it up is even easier than that of a VCR where no one could get the LED clock to stop flashing “12:00” — because it’s a physical installation only. That’s right, there’s no need for “plug ’n play” because no software or computer drivers are involved. Right off the bat this makes eBlocker workable with any computer or web browsing device’s operating system. What makes this good is the fact that mobile devices and “Internet of Things” devices now populate the home — there’s no reason that a SmartTV’s or tablet’s web browser should fall victim to the same annoyances that one’s computer was once prey to.
So all that can be ignored as eBlocker gets placed next to the router driving the home network. Connect a cable from one of the router’s Ethernet ports into the Ethernet port on eBlocker’s back and the included micro-cable into the AC outlet on the device’s back and then into a wall outlet for power (requiring an AC USB adapter). The company says that a USB powered port might not be powerful enough to use with eBlocker, so availability to a wall outlet is the most sensible way to proceed. But with this caveat, that’s the extent of the installation because it’s all automatic from there.
Using a browser doesn’t bring up any special messages from eBlocker, but having online ads and pop-up annoyances suddenly gone might bring up a smile. What is happening is that eBlocker is letting you surf anonymously, blocking ads, stopping ad trackers and hiding your IP address (if you want – this goes through the Tor network and might possibly affect browsing speed, which is not the case when using eBlocker otherwise). So you can do what you want without others snooping into it because profiles about your online habits are no longer being generated. So yes, it’s too bad that data about you can’t be collected anymore by the ad networks. It also means an end to “dynamic pricing,” which is where seeing items for sale at prices is adjusted for you at what you might be willing to pay (as opposed to those items at a more reasonable price). Too bad but that’s gone now too. Basically all the bits that advertisers can use about you as you travel online has been removed from the equation. None of this affects you adversely of course.
Of course if you want to allow some bits to “slip through,” it’s just a matter of configuring eBlocker to allow that and you’ll do it through the web browser (makes sense, right?). A small icon appears at the top of the browser and when clicked or touched, brings up the various configuration options, such as “whitelisting” sites or enabling/disabling trackers, etc.
All this means is that while the device by default will do its job of protecting, it doesn’t treat its owner as an idiot who can’t be trusted to make any decisions on their own. But the Pro model must be updated to the Family Plan (retailing at $249) if multiple users are to be included in the protection. Also those with small children benefit from the Family Plan due to the parental controls that eBlocker can put into place for blocking out adult content. In order to keep eBlocker updated, there is a yearly subscription fee (first year waived), but that’s to be expected ($59 for Pro/$99 for Family). Also in the works is a system to put in place which will allow the user to enable the functionality of the eBlocker on his/her mobile device, despite not being directly tied to the home network.
And in the spirit of full disclosure, the eBlocker Pro first available to users comes at a smaller price but with a caveat: the block is transparent and so makes watching the insides more entertaining than staring at a plain cube. Not that it changes the operation in any way.
Online data collection may be useful to those who can profit from it, but what say do you have about what is being assembled about you? With the eBlocker Pro you not only have a say but can choose to be left alone.