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10 March 2005 @ 08:05 pm
Software stalking  
Okay, so, at what point did software begin to emulate the stalker model?

Seriously, I've installed 3 applications in the last week. All three from (fairly) reputable companies...Two messenger apps (we'll call 'em BOL Instant Messenger and Woohoo! Messenger), and a music program (call it uTunes). Variably, among the three of them, they requested permission to do the following:

  • Add a desktop shortcut

  • Add a quick-launch shortcut

  • Reside resident in the system tray

  • Run at computer start-up

  • Install various add-ons and 3rd-party riders

  • Become the default application of their type on the system

In all cases, I went for the minimal install possible. See, I just wanted the Messengers, so I could shuffle and maintain my buddy-lists easily; I actually connect through my mobile device. I just wanted uTunes so I could occasionally buy music online. So I allowed the desktop shortcuts, but disabled all other options.

So, first thing that came to notice was, the installers invariably tried to trick me into re-selecting the un-checked options (or tried to slip them under my radar). Fine, I kept de-selecting them until I was satisfied. But the second part is what really blows my mind.

About 2/3 of the options went ahead and did their thing anyways

Isn't this the kind of crap that got RealPlayer such a lousy reputation? Don't these companies worry that offering buttons to disable the annoyware, but not making the buttons connect to anything, is gonna piss people off more than if they just didn't ask at all?

And my final question...what is supposed to be accomplished by this? Back to the earlier stalker-parallel...Do they think that if they pester you and popup to the foreground often enough, they'll eventually win you over? Do they think that no means yes? I'm sorry, but the application that does what I need it to, and then gets the hell out of the way is the one that gets return business from me.
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Current Music: Mark Knopfler - Sands of Nevada
nyuni on March 11th, 2005 06:05 am (UTC)
I really am ashamed of the tactics Upple are using with uTunes. They don't use these sorts of tatics on the install for Mac, and they shouldn't bundle their Media framework (which shall remain anonymous) with "uTunes". It's embarassing to those of us who use uh.... alternative computing platforms who don't have to put up with that, only to see that they're doing the same thing that every other scum sucking company is doing to our Windows bretheren. Trust me, we feel your pain.
Brendan: Gordon Freeman Annoyedroho on March 11th, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC)
You know, what shocked me was that uTunes was actually the worst of the bunch. It asked to be the default media player on startup; I declined. Guess what it did anyways?

Then, after I'd restored my file associations, the next time I ran uTunes, it popped up a message, "I'm not the default media player. Should I fix this?" I declined, and told it not to ask me again.

Guess what it did anyways? :P

And yeah, the bitch of it is, I've used Macs. I like Macs. I know that actually using one is nothing like the uTunes experience for Windows. But anyone who hasn't already had the Mac experience isn't gonna know that, so I'm not sure why they think having the un-housebroken puppy that is uTunes as an ambassador is a good plan :P