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rick752 dies

Easylist and Adblock list maintainer “rick752” died today at 56 after a recent stroke. Most know him thru the Washington Post profile last year… but his image understates how much a frontline figure he was, even as a “blue-collar, data scraping guy”, in the undetermined present, as forces of economy and scarcity confront forces of free-electrons and abundance of subjectivities… along with Wladimir Palant, a software developer from Cologne, Germany, who put Adblock Plus together, and a whole slew of unknown contributors, he spent time doing software battle against ad companies (and theyre hosts) by scraping together locations and means to get around ads on the interwebs. [get easylist] [get adblock] [adblock memorium] [forum]

“I started it because I was frustrated with getting my computer infected from ads — malware and spyware and all that stuff,” he said. “I kind of went overboard with it. But you have to admit, it’s pretty amazing, right?” [WP link]

Now if we could only get a social networking blocker. The conundrum is that advertisers fear they cant make money if theres no outlets; and outlets, like, who rick752 was working on, cant make money off their advertisers. its like, suddenly, the technology is saying, unless people want it, and go find it, they can avoid seeing it. But like the difference between physical libraries and internetweb-libraries like netflix, many studies of which have as of yet reached absolutely no conclusion, what does the imperative of technology in this way actually look like? For example, check out just one of many examples of a discussion, about rick752, which is almost completely unreadable, because everything is an ad.:


Either way it turns out, he was active in-the-moment, and what he represented will clearly continue. Much like the manned mars mission, perhaps.

“A machinist and self-described “blue-collar guy” in his mid-50s from upstate New York, Rick752, as he’s known online, spends most nights upstairs in his den assembling a list of Internet ad sites and related data. That work, dubbed EasyList, enables millions of Web surfers to filter and freeze out nearly all advertising that would otherwise appear on their screens.” […] “Moreover, the idea that a guy working in his den at night while his wife watches TV downstairs can so easily allow people to block most ads reminds some of how fragile Web profits may be. The global Internet advertising industry is estimated to bring in more than $40 billion annually.” [Wp link]

April 6, 2009
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