The other night, Halfling took a break from our AIM conversation for a bit so that he could run a spyware-sweeping program on his PC. I checked out the site myself and decided to use the program as well. While it didn't run on mine for nearly as long as it did on his, I decided to do an experiment and have it get rid of all the cookies I had in my browser. I had previously had it set to accept all cookies without asking, but as I went about my business yesterday, I changed the setting to where it asks me before accepting them from any site. Even though it took quite a while to get all the passwords reset for the different sites I visit regularly (and took forever to get Hotmail working correctly again), I think I have only the cookies I want on there now.
I had no idea before I switched to "ask before accepting" mode that there were as many potential cookies out there as there are. I wasn't surprised that the sites I visit would have their own cookies, but I was quite shocked to find out that banner ads on those sites--most of which I would never, ever click--wanted to leave their own cookies as well. (Those, of course, were summarily refused this time.)
So hopefully my computer will run even faster now; it does seem to be a bit peppier at this point. And now there won't be sites I don't even do business with tracking my every online move. It's not that I do anything embarrassing online, it's just that these sites weren't invited to the party to begin with, and now I have the means to close the proverbial door in their faces.
Mom and Dad get here for their visit in a few hours; blogging may be sparse until Saturday.