The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You have an update waiting...

Every so often, my little PCs get a notification of a Java platform update. Simple little thing and Java is a useful platform for various things which I enjoy... like those daily crosswords and jigsaw puzzles online.

But each time these updates arrive, a part of it attempts to install a "Yahoo Toolbar" in my browser. I have to UNcheck the box which gives the Java update installer program permission to add a feature which I do not want.

Why is that?

Simple. If the user is not paying close attention (and most of us aren't), we just click on the "continue" button so we can get this update stuff out of the way and move on to the truly important things in life... like solving those crossword and jigsaw puzzles.

It is much later that we realize we have a new toolbar add-on that we did not want nor will likely use.

And Java is not the only one that does things like this. Many useful programs and utilities do the same, or similar, thing during updates or installations.

For instance, after setting up Frances' new computer, I added the common printer for her. That printer is one she must access through our home network and my machine. It is an HP printer/scanner/copier. To install this, of course, one needs the drivers for said printer/scanner/copier installed. I download these from HP's support site (because I long ago lost misplaced the CD which came with the printer/scanner/copier) and dutifully install them.

In doing that, I also added in two extra useless utilities. Useless to me and Frances, not to HP. One is a quick link to shopping at the HP site and the other is an HP update utility. The former can be ignored, it's just an icon on the desktop, after all and the icon can be deleted. The latter is actually a utility that goes out behind your back and checks for any possible update HP might have that even remotely has anything to do with your machine. That one must be uninstalled through one's Control Panel.

I use AVG Free currently as my virus checker. It's a nice program which apparently works well and doesn't cost me anything. I appreciate that Grisoft makes it available to me and anyone else who is too cheap to pay for some bloated virus checking suite that does more than you really need.

The only beef I have is that they upgrade the version from time to time and act like you are about to be invaded by Viral Aliens from another dimension who gobble up all your valuable data if you don't do the upgrade. And, when you do try to upgrade, they make it very difficult and/or confusing to find that Free version. You can easily find yourself loading up that Not Free, bloated, version which you do not really want for your little personal computer and sending off your credit card number out into the ether.

It takes careful reading and an agile mind to circumvent these cyber-marketing tricks.

At least, I like to think so.


Michael said...

It certainly does. I can totally relate as I use AVG, Java and an HP printer myself. As I was reading, I thought to myself, "Boy, this is mundane, but so true." The little annoying things we encounter on the computer...

Do you hate it too?
"If you're going through Hell, keep going."

Gregory said...

I have been asked to 'fix up' computers from time to time, most of the time the yahell tool bar is right there I ask, 'do you even use this waste of space on your screen? most say no, a few say thats how they get their mail.
you can uninstall the yahoo mail in the add/remove, now called features and programs on vista, and still get all the junk mail you never wanted on yahell, just a waste of hd space, some 26 megs if I remember right, no wonder so many are confused with computers.

Charlotte Ann said...

I use Avast and it's free..and wonderful. Every year they notify me that it is time to re register. It was recommended by Doghouse Commuters (my pc doctor here) and a reputable Electronics Magazine. It isn't sneaky. The Google toolbar tries to sneak by me when downloading something...I watch for it...and check that little "no thanks, FO,