So IE finally has an integrated pop-up blocker!  This is great news for the millions of PC users that had not yet downloaded the google toolbar.  I believe that it finally became OK for web browsers to do this because advertisers already have alternatives that annoy users more than pop-up ads.  What am I talking about?  Go to weather.com and try and get your local weather.  Go to news.com and try and read the top story.

These new pop-ups are much more annoying. They float across the screen essential raising the stakes in the ongoing game of “whack-a-mole” as you try and hit a 4x4 pixel “X” that's now moving with your mouse.  One miscue will open the floodgates for the real pop-up ad that's not blocked since you did the clicking.  They come complete with sound effects and sometimes short video as well. 

What browsers have always needed is a way to prevent any sound from playing from their process.  We need this now more than ever.  It' so frustrating to be listening to music on my computer while web browsing and mis-click onto a site that blares sound at full volume.  I only listen to music from my Ipod now since I have to leave my computers on MUTE.  It won't matter how cool windows media on the PC becomes if I can't use it while have a web browser open.  Of course this also means I miss out on important chimes from Office or an IM client because I have the sound off. 

I actually think the best improvements in XPSP2 is the combination of the IE Add-On manager that lets me easily see what add-ons have infested my computer and the new “default to no“ dialogs that prevent the user from inadvertently installing more of these because they aren't paying attention. 

I know I should go enjoy the Seattle sun and stop complaining, but unfortunately, I've been struck by some sort of nasty spring virus that leaves me with just enough energy to type up these entries I've been meaning to write.  In the meantime, does anyone know of a browser or add-on that prevents these new distractions?