Reflections on 2020: Summing up an Extraordinary Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, dear readers! Let these winter holidays be filled with joy and glowing warmness of hearth and home, let all misfortunes fade away. Stay positive and enthusiastic.
It’s time for us to round up the departing 2020 and step into the new 2021. Whether you’ve somewhat loved, hated, or just swallowed 2020, no one can deny that it is quite an extraordinary page of life.
– AdLock team

Challenges of Remote Work

The new (by that time) 2020 came charged with plans, ambitions, inventions, and additions to both regular and work lives. AdLock team, refreshed on winter holidays, came back to the office days with renewed energy and a will to reach new heights. The work was boiling: daily meetings, briefings, discussions, lots of coffee, and brainstorming. Yes, we heard of a rapidly spreading COVID-19, but we were not seriously concerned about it — everyone at AdLock was consumed by work turmoil. 

On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. In this regard, governments have introduced quarantine measures aimed at reducing the spread of the virus, localizing existing foci, and preventing the emergence of new ones. 

AdLock headquarters took a decision to have the employees telecommute as one of the simplest yet very effective measures is social distancing or stay-at-home isolation.

And that’s when remote work challenges struck. According to the following graph provided by Statista, one of the toughest challenges of remote work is managing at-home distractions. And yep, Statista is helluva right. Everything and everyone (if you have a family) is going to distract you even if they don’t mean to.

But what we’d like to highlight more than distractions is collaborating with colleagues. We were used to solving issues instantly onsite, and now we had dozens of chats and conference rooms where the solution could take up to several hours instead of 30 minutes.

Nevertheless, challenges are given for a reason. It was somewhat hard to change the “full-time office worker’s mindset”, but as a company acting in an everchanging environment, our specialists are very flexible and the changes were soon adopted. The only thing we started missing was the eye-to-eye contact, collective coffee breaks, and informal share time after work.Challenges of Remote Work

Expansion to iOS and macOS

The spring in self-isolation with its challenges was quite productive. Having full-fledged Android and Windows applications, we were aiming at covering the iOS and macOS devices. 

We started working on our solutions as far as in winter and did great success in development. Shaping AdLock for macOS and iOS stumbled several times across diverse problems and limitations introduced by Apple. We had to elaborate decisions relying on the team’s intelligence and experience. In July, we launched our iOS brainchild, and in August, AdLock for macOS devices was released. These were the completely new products using the new approach to development and a renewed design.

If you missed our release articles, you can find them here and here

Expansion to iOS and macOS

Handling Tricky Twitch Ads

Twitch was always eager to introduce new formats of adverts for viewers to suffer. By autumn, Reddit threads were overwhelmed by hot debates on the latest (at that time) type of ads that became more than frustrating as adblockers failed to remove them. The main issue is that these ads can’t be controlled by the content creator — they roll in completely automatically. Agree, it kinda sucks if you miss a deciding teamfight, a 1v9 carry, or a funny glitch because of some stupid commercial.

Tracing commercials (especially on popular services) and denying their intrusion is our routine, so we’ve been fighting this new ad format since the beginning. It was a hard challenge as the new way of ad delivery was cunning. Nevertheless, while other adblockers were struggling, our bright minds addressed the issue before rivals could say knife.

Completely New Engine

The biggest achievement in 2020 for AdLock was the transition to the native engine. This allowed us to boost the traffic processing, therefore capturing the commercial content and online surveillance scripts much faster. Beyond that, the native engine provides a bunch of additional technical conveniences: it can be compiled for all relevant platforms (M1 and Ubuntu are coming soon), it introduces a uniform system for the creation of content blocking rules, offers a convenient web interface and an API for instant and flexible management, which in its turn provides a possibility of building it into any required environment. Of course, you might say “Whatever, I don’t understand a thing here”, but here’s what you should know: jumping to a native engine allows us to provide a better service for you to experience pure online content without annoying ads. Simple as that.

Eternal YouTube Battle

Just like Twitch, YouTube is constantly developing new advertising types and penetration From two unskippable ads to unblockable video commercials and audio ads — YouTube is restless. Adblockers fighting YT adverts is like a clash between good and evil, where the evil untiredly banes, but in the end, the good wins. More on adverts on YouTube here.

Every time, YouTube brings something extra special, but every time we beat it. We’re sure that they have full pockets of surprises for the upcoming 2021 but you know us — we’re ready and armed.

As to blocking ads on native YouTube application for Android devices, things haven’t got forward an inch. We still struggle with restrictions. What’s good is that our special player has been reworked and now is even better you could imagine. It was introduced in one of our latest updates, so if you haven’t tried it yet (for some reason), then hurry up, you’ll love it!

Eternal YouTube Battle

Covering Edge

Coming up to the end of the year, our recent achievement is the launch of the Microsoft Edge addon. AdLock for Edge is a free lightweight adblock solution that works like a charm. If you love using Edge and don’t need a systemwide adblocking, then you definitely should give AdLock extension a shot. It’s available on the official Edge Add-ons page. To make it easier for you to find our product, here’s the link.Microsoft Edge Extension

Final Words

Undoubtedly, 2020 has messed up our lives. One would call this year a bad year, but we won’t. Indeed, it was a challenging year, it was a year of changes, a year of opportunities. Those who could adapt and play by its rules reaped the fruits of dedication and hard work. We’re sure we did great this extraordinary year, and what we’re confident in is that we have a picture of the upcoming year with respect to its possible surprises. AdLock has many novelties to come and the only thing that can disrupt our plans and intentions is a global catastrophe because we stand ready for anything. 

Once again, we are grateful for your support and trust. Thanks for being with us this year!

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Kostya Shebanov

Kostya Shebanov

Product Owner at Hankuper s.r.o., Proud dad.!!! Led by knowledge, insight, and a pool of fresh ideas, Kostiantyn is a spectacular example of an inexhaustive leader. Outside of business, he is an energetic outdoorsman loving to hang out with family and friends. He doesn’t shirk to share his knowledge in the AdLock blog, so stay tuned.