Here's what's going on.
Many, or even most of you, run an ad blocker or some other software in attempt to keep your machine safe and secure - or maybe just less annoying. My wife runs Adblock Plus - ABP. Instead of that, I've been running an MVPS hosts file since the early '00s. Let me clip their explanation, for those unfamiliar with the concept.
Example - the following entry 0.0.0.0 ad.doubleclick.net blocks all files supplied by that DoubleClick Server to the web page you are viewing. This also prevents the server from tracking your movements. Why? ... because in certain cases "Ad Servers" like Doubleclick (and many others) will try silently to open a separate connection on the webpage you are viewing, record your movements then yes ... follow you to additional sites you may visit.
In the last few weeks, I started to notice that the links that are sent in the daily or weekly newsletters don't work - the pages won't load. It started out with just those news site, but now I find virtually every magazine/trade site I go to won't load.
- Microwaves and RF Magazine - http://www.mwrf.com/
- Electronic Design - http://www.electronicdesign.com/
- Machine Design - http://www.machinedesign.com/
- EETimes - https://www.eetimes.com/
- Design News - https://www.designnews.com/
Lacking their help, I asked the MVPS Hosts file guys if there was software I could run that would tell me what the magazines are doing. We exchanged details including some sites I sent them to try. I got this reply:
They also recommended a free program they use to track these things, Fiddler.After visiting those sites ... what a (coding) mess!Even after renaming the HOSTS file ... the site failed to load properly ... seems I had to turn off my ad blocker too just to get the page to load.Here is the list of the 3rd party trackers/advertisers:If you disable all those ... they are disabled on all sites ... I would recommend renaming the HOSTS file instead ...
Naturally, I commented out all of those sites and tried to load the pages. That didn't work either.
What to do? Disabling the hosts file by renaming it, or having different versions for more safe/less safe browsing, is just that: less safe. On the other hand, I've been reading these magazines for years - decades in most cases - and I tend to trust them. I don't care if they serve me an ad for the latest silicon from Analog Devices or the latest amplifier from Mini Circuits. I don't, however, tend to trust that list of 13 ad servers (or trackers), and I especially don't trust their security. It seems to me that an effective way to target the magazine's readers would be through those ad companies.
I'll keep poking away at it, but that's why the latest post I had about some new technology was February 11th.