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The Most Annoying Software Out There 885

Posted by timothy
from the to-kick-while-down dept.
superglaze writes "ZDNet UK has a very entertaining round-up of the most annoying software out there, and everything from RealPlayer and Adobe Reader to Java and Norton Antivirus gets a kicking. 'The internet has brought us many joys. It's rewritten the rules of business and pleasure. And pain. For it allows what may have seemed like bright ideas at the time ('let's use it to make sure our customers have the latest software', for example) to turn into a stinking pit of misery — usually, but by no means always, after marketing gets its fangs in.'"
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The Most Annoying Software Out There

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:40AM (#23476448)
    Print Version [zdnet.co.uk] (unless you want to click through about 10 pages)

    And I agree with most of these, particularly Apple. I recently spent several hours trying to remove Quicktime from my system and replace it with Quicktime alternative. I had to go in and hand edit the registry. The damn program was incidious about wriggling it's way back into my system tray and running processes if every single reference to it wasn't removed from the registry. That will be the last piece of Apple software I ever install on my system.

    • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:54AM (#23476704)
      Worse than that, actually. If you try to delete qttray.exe, the quicklauncher app that sits in the task tray and eats up memory for no other reason than giving QT a minor boost on startup, the quicktime application will detect this on system reboot (because it is registered as a startup application) and recreate the qttray.exe executable file from a stored version somewhere in its own bowels.

      That's right. If you delete qttray, Quicktime opens its maw and barfs up a new version of it. Then it turns it on and puts it back in the task tray.
      • by tha_mink (518151) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:05AM (#23476942)
        Yeah, and the Safari "update". If I wanted yet *another* browser, I'd have installed it myself. Don't include it as a quicktime update. WTF? Seriously apple, WTF?
        • I like this quote from the article, about Apple QuickTime: "... what is this, Make Microsoft Look Good day?"
          • by tobiasly (524456) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:41PM (#23478834) Homepage

            I like this quote from the article, about Apple QuickTime: "... what is this, Make Microsoft Look Good day?"
            Personally I enjoyed the sentence before that: It spends half its time trying to sell us stuff and the other half trying to stop us [from] using it.
        • by The Great Pretender (975978) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:08PM (#23478184)
          I know that I'm going to get panned for this by the fruit lovers, but here goes:

          Leopard I hate you!

          I have ubuntu at home, I have Vista at home, they make me use a MBP with Leopard at work. Vista, most likely due to it no having to connect to any sort of server, works beautifully. It runs on a many year old Dell 8300 Dimension, streams netflix to the TV, acts as a home office computer and I re-boot it once every 3 weeks, not because it needs to, but because I feel like I should. Ubuntu is on an old Dell 1100 Inspiron upstairs, it acts as my streaming jukebox from my network drive and on-site webbrowser, so we don't have to go downstairs to the mancave or open the work laptops. My work laptop, with Leopard, is the most unstable, constantly updating, out of control, mind-of-it's-own POS that I've ever worked with. Now don't get me wrong, I love the interface, Apple got this OSX thing right, but the machinations underneath the surface just ruin the experience. Most times I 'sleep' the computer I need to restart. Multiple monitors at work? I need to restart. Two days of intense document construction? "Out of memory" and I need to restart. After 2 days the cursor becomes jumpy, I need to restart and the list goes on and on and on. I would like the OSX inteface on a computer that lets me work, using simple productivity packages, day after day after day with no failures - is that too much to ask Apple?

          • by p0tat03 (985078) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:37PM (#23478738)

            Most times I 'sleep' the computer I need to restart. Multiple monitors at work? I need to restart. Two days of intense document construction? "Out of memory" and I need to restart. After 2 days the cursor becomes jumpy, I need to restart and the list goes on and on and on.

            May I suggest that this may be a hardware issue? I run a MBP with Leopard and have had none of these problems. In fact multiple monitors is one of the great things about running a Mac :) It just works, and it remembers all your settings to boot. Connect it to your work external monitor and blam, one desktop, connect to home, blam, another. I've also seen problems on MacBook hinges that prevent proper sleep, maybe this is the case.

            Take it into your local Apple Store, this just ain't right.

          • by Zanth_ (157695) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:50PM (#23479022)
            I use Windows at work, I have a Debian server and a Ubuntu desktop at home and I own a MBP dual booting Leopard and XP SP2. Windows is easily the most frustrating out of the ones I use but my response is mainly an enquiry regarding your mac.

            I run dual monitors (24" Dell) with my MBP, I run VM Ware Fusion with 1 GB of RAM allocated to the machine (I run a 2G MBP so it is capped at 2 Gigs of Ram). I have Fink installed and when compiling I can still have the VM up and all the while not having any stability issues. I hardly have any updates (and I check weekly). I've never experienced nor heard of anyone in my circle (we are about 20) who have had issues with Leopard. Despite it being a bit sluggish compared to a well setup Ubuntu install or a stripped down XP SP2, I would say it is more stable than the other two over time. I do get the "sleep" problem you mention though, but that seems to be endemic across laptops and OS'. For whatever reason, no one has perfected awaking from sleep yet.

            I'm wondering if your laptop might not have some serious issues. What you describe seems out of the ordinary. You might want to send it off for a checkup. Perhaps you have dying RAM? I've never had to restart Leopard safe for a major update (usually a security patch) and certainly never when plugging in a second monitor. I plug it in and it just works.

            Sure, myself and the 20 folks I work with are a small sample size and therefore this is mostly anecdotal, but just in case, you may want to get it looked at.
        • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:39PM (#23478794)
          Safari updates are obnoxious, regardless of the OS. On Windows they sneak them in through the back door, while on OS X Safari updates for some reason require you to reboot the computer.

          Yes, I have to reboot a Unix box because I update a web browser. I don't know what came over Apple to make that decision; the only reason I can think of is that Safari hooks into the kernel - and quite seriously, a kext for a browser is a pretty bad design choice.
          • by ttldkns (737309) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:11PM (#23481466) Homepage
            not a kext, Webkit. When they update safari they also update webkit. Lots of system apps use the webkit engine. Dashboard is the one i think of right away. Mail renders HTML Email using webkit. In fact im sure the QuickLook Server uses webkit to preview web pages on disk. I think they make you restart because they are taking the easy way out instead of calling for a restart for all webkit apps.
    • by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:58AM (#23476772) Journal
      Welcome elrous0, to the 'what were they thinking? anti-software fan club'

      Here we will help you commiserate as you belch out the pains brought to you by software that is premised on the thought that ALL users would surely want this software until the day they die.

      With the mentality (and social skills) of clippy, these coders work double time to ensure that your experience with their software will be never ending. What could possibly be worse than malware you might ask. How about software that has an uninstall feature but won't do so?

      I'm wagging my finger at you AOL, Apple, MS... you, antivirus guy in the back snickering, you can STFU too.

      We're glad to have you as a member, and look forward to your votes in the awards ceremonies next year. Note that Internet infamy is your for the taking if your right up for nominees is both exacting and excoriating.

      I'm still investigating, but the OOo quickstart on XP may get a nomination. HP printer driver division has a place on my list too.

      Anyway, mill around, meet the other members, enjoy....
      • by raddan (519638) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:18PM (#23478400)
        Speaking of Apple, has anyone ever noticed that under Mac OS X, there isn't even a built-in function to remove an application? At least Windows pretends to. And before you mention, "just drag the application icon to the trash"-- what about the dotfiles, preferences, tempfiles, and other miscellaneous shit that applications spew around the system? E.g., Dreamweaver, the only application I've found so far to be completely unmanageable with radmind [umich.edu], thanks to these assholes [macrovision.com]?
    • by RetroGeek (206522) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:02AM (#23476876) Homepage

      I recently spent several hours trying to remove Quicktime from my system and replace it with Quicktime alternative. I had to go in and hand edit the registry.

      You should try to remove Norton virus checker. It has pieces of itself everywhere, and it over writes Windows system files with its own.

      So you get a brand new machine, and during the first login, the Norton installer runs. You have NO choice in this. Some deal was reached between the machine distributor and Norton, and that is just the way it is.

      If you make a mistake, the entire Windows system goes sideways. We alway do an image FIRST, then try to remove it. That way if something blows up you have a fallback. Then we make an image for the rest of the same type of machine, and we re-image every new one that comes in the door.

      Hey Norton: go stuff it!
    • by carpe_noctem (457178) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:21AM (#23477248) Homepage Journal
      (unless you want to click through about 10 pages)

      I hope I'm not the only one struck by the irony of this article formatting given that this it is criticizing bad UI design...
    • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:48PM (#23478974)
      NOT in order of annoyingness:

      Quicktime - It's both a terrible media player and it is insanely unwilling to be removed. Apple's central design concept seems to be preventing the user from doing what he wants. If I delete qttask.exe, it means I don't want that file anymore, not that I want it to be resurrected. If I disable it in msconfig, it doesn't mean that the next time Quicktime runs I want it to get a new startup entry.

      iTunes - ituneshelper.exe is about the same as qttask, and iTunes is even worse at playing music than Quicktime is at playing movies. It's the single most bloated piece of software I've ever used. The iTunes store is another reason to avoid it, not to use it. It also crashes way too much on a new MacBook Pro, and since I don't know what Apple compatible software is a good replacement for it, I can't just replace it for my friend as I would if he had Windows.

      Apple Updater - Everyone I know just installed Safari. They didn't mean to.

      Flash - Thank you, Flashblock, for making the internet useable again. Thank you, bad web designers, for sticking retarded flash "intro pages" on your sites so I can see that they've been blocked and then avoid your company on principal.

      HP Printer Philosophy - Thanks to you, too, HP, for making a printer that needs an IP to be set via a web interface in order to access that same web interface. Thanks to my neighbor for having a parallel cable sitting around so I could access it in a more traditional way.

      Windows Desktop - Why do you lose my icon placement every time your resolution changes? Luckily, there are countless little freeware apps to save icon positions.

      Real Player - You basically invented the Apple "if you uninstall me but I will grow more powerful than you can possibly imagine" routine, so you get extra evil points for originality.

      Logitech Mouse Drivers - My mouse drivers are now 100 megs. Finally they fixed the two year problem of needing to run them manually after booting (running on startup caused them to fail), but they still involve two separate taskbar icons and take up a ton of RAM.

      Word - I know how to make you do what I want, but it took years to learn how to both stop your autoformatting and then put in the formatting I want. I hate the way you place images. I hate the way you resize my stuff after I've already locked it down.

      Verizon Phone UI - My phone had a great UI and lots of nice capabilities when it was made. You removed bluetooth file transfers so I'd have to pay you to get photos off my phone, and you made the interface ugly. You removed the ability to vibrate and ring at the same time. I'm glad my phone was so easily hackable.

      Flash (again, but bear with me) movie players - The only reason you exist is to keep me from saving video to my hard disk. Guess what. I can still do it. Meanwhile, you're slow, often not resizable without using a magnifying tool to manually zoom onto your little box, and you require me to enable flash.

      I know how to fix or replace all of you, but you kill me every time I have to use a new PC and wade through your bloated code again.
      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:13PM (#23482604)

        I think we could distill the kinds of annoyance exhibited by your list and those of others here into a fairly concise list of "bad behaviours":

        • Software that phones home or automatically updates without permission (numerous media players, Java...)
        • Software that installs stuff you don't want, or stuff you want where you don't want it (anything that puts icons on my desktop, new auto-start things that live in my system tray, new entries on my Start menu buried under several layers of company branding...)
        • Software that interrupts what you're doing (Clippy, anything that steals the focus, and especially that damned "Windows needs to be restarted" dialog that keeps popping up and trying to steal a keystroke until either you give in or you happen to be hitting the wrong letter when it pops up and it goes anyway)
        • Games that only let you play on-line if you install spyware pretending to be anti-cheat software (I'm looking at you, PunkBuster)
        • And of course, the one we all love to hate: software that meddles with your system beyond its remit (Why does Adobe Creative Suite need to splat crap all over my boot sector and mess up my dual-booting? Applications have no business doing that, particularly not without warning!)

        In other words, software that can't just do its job and leave everything else well alone.

  • Norton Products... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaRat (678130) * on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:41AM (#23476476)

    The worst has to be the Norton XXXX products. I installed Norton 360 v2 on my laptop as an "upgrade" to Norton AntiVirus 2007, and I think that intentionally installing a few viruses and malware would have resulted in better overall system performance.

    Symantec tech support was, of course, useless:
    "Sir, you have a virus or malware."
    "Yes, I know: the malware is called Norton 360 since my problems didn't appear until I installed your product. What I want to know is how to stop Norton 360 from using 100% of both cores and incessently accessing the DVD drive for no apparent reason."
    "Sir, you need to run a scan for virus and malware."

    At least I got the damn thing uninstalled and got a refund. Never again...

    • Repeat after me:

      AVG Free.
      AVG Free.
      AVG Free.

      You should start to feel better soon.
    • by Richard Steiner (1585) <rsteiner@visi.com> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:47AM (#23476558) Homepage Journal
      The decline of Norton is a sad story. I remember when Norton's Disk Doctor for DOS was cool, and when it was fun to watch Speedisk shuffle the clusters on your FAT filesystem all around. And it actually worked as advertised! :-)

      What was the last good version? Norton Utilities for DOS 6.01?
    • by Hankapobe (1290722) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:18AM (#23477186)
      My brother in law "all of a sudden" lost his internet connection on his computer. After testing the connection, I ran some diagnostics. Guess what? Norton AV was blocking port 80.

      But wait! it gets better. You cannot uninstall it through the remove programs. You have to go into safe mode and uninstall there. Otherwise, you'll just get error messages - regardless if you use Norton's uninstall or Windows.

      What a kick in the balls!

      • by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:00PM (#23478026) Homepage Journal
        I've seen this, and can confirm this behavior, but I think you're a bit mixed up... I work in computer repair, and yes, by default it should block port 80, unless you're running a webserver.

        What you meant to say, is that it blocks internet access- and this is true. Norton Internet Security's default install would block any and all internet access. I think they finally put out an update that fixed it, but during one or two months in 2006ish/2007 we had about 15 computers come in with the same symptoms - no internet. Took us very little time to figure out that it was the NIS firewall's default settings. Bloody stupid if you ask me.
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:24AM (#23477328) Journal
      You haven't seen some of the alternatives, then.

      Some years ago, for example, sick and tired of Norton, I went and bought McAffee's anti-virus. In fact, I figured I'd go for the full monte, including firewall, "privacy" stuff, you name it. I can't be arsed to dig up the CD and find out which year it was, and I wouldn't know if it got any better in the meantime. (Though I would be surprised.)

      The first funny impression was when trying to update it. As is the craze in the last decade, it couldn't just have either a URL to their download page, or a neat little downloader program. It just had to launch an ActiveX control in a browser to do the actual download and install. It launched whatever browser you had configured as default. E.g., for me it was Mozilla. It only actually worked in IE.

      But wait, the patcher was more stupid than that.

      I didn't have too much space left on C:, but I had vast amounts of space on my slower D: drive. So I refuse to install it to the default location, and install it to D:.

      Then I run the updater. It installs the updates to the default location on C:. Literally, it was too fucking stupid to either ask, or figure out where its own installer had put those programs.

      It gets funnier. Presumably because it couldn't figure out where they were, it didn't uninstall or at least disable the origina, unpatched version on D:. It just let it run too.

      If you think one anti-virus is a resource and CPU hog, now picture twice that. It felt like I had downgraded back to my trusty old 486.

      Now I don't know how good their virus protection was, I didn't actually have a virus. Their privacy stuff, though, now that made most sites that required a login, no longer work. And it made some schizophrenic: they thought I was simultaneously logged in _and_ not logged in. It was giving me some insight into what Schroedinger's cat must have felt ;)

      To cut a long story short, and skip over a few more faults, after a few days I uninstalled it.

      The uninstaller, though, only got rid of the new patched copy from C:. It left the one on D: as it was, and loading itself in memory anyway. Trying the uninstaller from D: didn't seem to work either. I had to manually mess with the registry to get rid of it.

      On the whole, it left me the impression that it makes malware look good by comparison. Ok, so you have to mess with the registry in safe mode too, to get rid of it, so it's a tie there. Most viruses don't use as many resources or interfere with your daily use of the computer half as much, though.
  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:46AM (#23476542) Journal
    I've noticed recently it's wanted to update itself about once every two weeks, which would be fine if it was a FireFox type update - nice and clean, restart app & done, but instead the update mechanism is something like the following:

    Click on "omg! Update me!" big window.
    Browse through newly openeded browser window.
    No, just the free one, no shitty MP3's thanks.
    Download. Click install.
    No ffs, don't take control over all my media types.
    No, keep your shitty ad-ware.
    Die Winamp agent; if you're not the default for everything it's for a reason.
    Yeah, same settings as last time (it's an update ffs).
    Oh right, you changed a bunch of setting anyway, thanks.

    There's just a tonne of questions that are so unnecessary for a minor update, which seem to come thick & fast these days. Thanks a bunch AOL; you've created the least smooth updating process i've seen in a while.
  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:48AM (#23476568) Journal
    Adobe Reader - Using open source PDF reader "Evince Document Viewer" instead. Result? Software does not annoy.

    Apple iTunes - Using open source music program "Amarok". Result? Software does not annoy (and works much better than iTunes as well).

    Windows Update - Using Genuine Linux Distro "Ubuntu". Result? No licensing restrictions, no DRM, no repeated system restarts, no service packs to fix the previous service pack, that fixed the previous service pack, that fixed months old critical bugs.

    RealPlayer - Avoiding RealPlayer like the plague it is (using "Amarok" for the same functionality, if not the same file format). Result? No privacy leaks, no ads, no reporting back to Real on what I listen to or where I visit on the web.

    Java - Using Sun's Java without the Yahoo toolbar. Result? Java is reasonably well behaved. Looking forward to truly open-sourced Java in the near future.

    Yahoo - Use Yahoo's maps to check up on Google results. Use Yahoo throw-away email when I need to be a little bit stealthy. Otherwise avoid Yahoo.com like the plague it is. Result? Happy camper.

    Norton Antivirus - Using upgraded OS "Linux" so that viruses are not a problem. Result? Viruses? I don't have no stinking viruses!

    Preinstalled software bundles - Using upgraded OS "Linux" so that preinstalled software bundles are not a problem. Result? Preinstalled software bundles? I don't have no stinking preinstalled software bundles!

    Outlook/Exchange - Using "Evolution". The jury is still out on whether "Evolution" is worth using verses online calendar and scheduling web sites.

    Flash - Using...nothing. Avoiding flash based websites like the plague they are. Results? Fast web page loading, no privacy issues, no vector for malware installation, only see web pages that actually provide links to relevant content.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:55AM (#23476722)

      Adobe Reader - Using open source PDF reader "Evince Document Viewer" instead. Result? Software does not annoy.
      Yeah, too bad nothing other than the Adobe version can support Reader plugins. Document signing, etc.

      Apple iTunes - Using open source music program "Amarok". Result? Software does not annoy (and works much better than iTunes as well).
      You can buy stuff from iTunes in Amarok?

      Norton Antivirus - Using upgraded OS "Linux" so that viruses are not a problem. Result? Viruses? I don't have no stinking viruses!
      Not yet anyway.

      Preinstalled software bundles - Using upgraded OS "Linux" so that preinstalled software bundles are not a problem. Result? Preinstalled software bundles? I don't have no stinking preinstalled software bundles!
      This I don't even know what you are talking about. Hell, Ubuntu comes with a shitload of preinstalled stuff.

      Outlook/Exchange - Using "Evolution". The jury is still out on whether "Evolution" is worth using verses online calendar and scheduling web sites.
      Evolution sucks donkey balls. Thunderbird is better (PKCS#11 support, smartcards, etc). There is no good calendering unfortunately (Sunbird maybe some day).

      Flash - Using...nothing. Avoiding flash based websites like the plague they are. Results? Fast web page loading, no privacy issues, no vector for malware installation, only see web pages that actually provide links to relevant content.
      You would have to be an idiot to ignore YouTube and sites like it. I'm not talking about all the stupid crap on there. I'm talking about the tutorials and such. The instructional value is off the charts.
      • by Digana (1018720) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:35AM (#23477538)

        You can buy stuff from iTunes in Amarok?

        No, but why would you want to? It defaults to Magnatune, which has a much nicer business model than iTunes. No DRM, more formats including patent-free Ogg Vorbis, artists gets half of what you pay instead of only 10% or less, you pay whatever you think is reasonable, and you're allowed, nay, encouraged to share. I think you can also get other music stores like Jamendo for Amarok, but I personally use Gnome's Rhythmbox, which has plugins by default for both of these stores. Sure, you won't find Britney Spears selling her stuff in Magnatune, but the quality of the music is not bad at all, even if it's not what's currently playinig in MTV.

        Personally, iTunes was the biggest reason why I installed Debian etch on my mom's laptop. She doesn't know her own root password, of course; I'm the one adminning it for her. A bit of a hassle for me to set up at first, but now it works fine, and it has the rock solid stability of Debian. She loves it, and in her own words, "a lot less bullshitty than that other thing." She doesn't know the other thing is called Sony Vaio's default Windows XP install with all that crapware it comes with out of the box.

    • by Oxy the moron (770724) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:58AM (#23476776)

      Apple iTunes - Using open source music program "Amarok". Result? Software does not annoy (and works much better than iTunes as well).

      This one needs some clarification... Remember not to buy your music from the iTunes store or using Amarok doesn't help much. Buy from a vendor that does not use DRM-laden music downloads (such as Amazon), use Amarok, and annoyances are no more!

    • by gmuslera (3436) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:59AM (#23476802) Homepage Journal
      Flash- Using NoScript to decide which pages/sites could show me flash content. Only see what i want,
    • Adobe Reader - Using open source PDF reader "Evince Document Viewer" instead. Result? Software does not annoy.

      For Linux, Agreed. But when is Evince going to work in Windows ? Oh. Never ?? So what choice does a person using windows have ?

      Apple iTunes - Using open source music program "Amarok". Result? Software does not annoy (and works much better than iTunes as well).

      For Linux, Agreed. But when is Amarok going to work in Windows or with people's iPods? Oh. Never ?? So what alternateive choice does a person using windows have ?

      Windows Update - Using Genuine Linux Distro "Ubuntu". Result? No licensing restrictions, no DRM, no repeated system restarts, no service packs to fix the previous service pack, that fixed the previous service pack, that fixed months old critical bugs.

      No repeated system restarts, but none ? What about when your kernel is updated ? What about VMWare needing to be recompiled once you HAVE rebooted ?

      RealPlayer - Avoiding RealPlayer like the plague it is (using "Amarok" for the same functionality, if not the same file format). Result? No privacy leaks, no ads, no reporting back to Real on what I listen to or where I visit on the web.

      See above comments for Amarok.

      Java - Using Sun's Java without the Yahoo toolbar. Result? Java is reasonably well behaved. Looking forward to truly open-sourced Java in the near future.
      True.

      Yahoo - Use Yahoo's maps to check up on Google results. Use Yahoo throw-away email when I need to be a little bit stealthy. Otherwise avoid Yahoo.com like the plague it is. Result? Happy camper.
      You are kidding right ? What do you do when you have a company that USES Yahoo for its "approved" IM provider ?

      Norton Antivirus - Using upgraded OS "Linux" so that viruses are not a problem. Result? Viruses? I don't have no stinking viruses!

      True. However if you do filesharing with Windows, you should consider something like Avast which has a free Windows AND Linux version.

      • by unformed (225214) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:14AM (#23477104)
        On Windows, use Foxit PDF Reader. It's not open-source, but they do have a free version for non-commerical purposes. It's fast, it's small, and they have it available in a ZIP so you don't have to run an installer.
        • foxItPDF fixIt (Score:4, Informative)

          by Forget4it (530598) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:08PM (#23478194) Homepage
          Two grumbles for the latest FoxItPDF:
          • the icons don't look red enough to be pdf.
          • It insists in changing the register value for .fdf every time it launches. So if you like to create a new folder by Right-Click N F it no longer works.
          Anyone know how to banish shellNew permanently from the Reg? Temporary solution is (last line sets the icon back to adobe's)

          REGEDIT4
          [-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.fdf\ShellNew]
          [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\FoxitReader.Document\DefaultIcon]
          @="C:\\Program Files\\Adobe\\Acrobat 7.0\\Reader\\AcroRd32.exe,1"
    • by pdusen (1146399) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:02AM (#23476884) Journal
      "Stop using Windows" isn't a bugfix.
    • by theaceoffire (1053556) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:02AM (#23476892) Homepage
      I don't like your flash solution, so here is mine: Firefox + Flash Block [mozilla.org].


      I get all the benefits of no flash, but can still watch youtube and all the rest if I change my mind with no hassle.

    • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:20AM (#23477214)
      Conporate quarterly conference calls are generally available only in Windows Media Player and RealPlay formats. Under Linux, this means RealPlay only. Fortunately, Linux RealPlay seems pretty benign.
  • Bloody Adobe Reader (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tempest69 (572798) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:51AM (#23476634) Journal
    I have no clue as to why this program takes upwards of a minute to read a simple pdf file that is mostly text. It really boggles my mind as to what the computer could be doing with that time/cycles.. Where as foxit can load the same pdf in a blink of an eye.. but microsoft loves to revert the extentions to adobe, unless I march through a convoluted maze to revert it back. never let your well-meaning friend install adobe on your box, it's a nightmare to remove.


    Storm

    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:17AM (#23477166) Homepage

      I've been using FoxIt recently which is quite nice. That said, Reading is an amazing piece of software.

      It's slow. Really slow. Amazingly slow. It uses tons of memory. It's just atrocious. But I was used to it on Windows (before a friend pointed out FoxIt which I switched to immediately).

      Then I switched to OS X and got to use Preview. It's wicked fast. It's like opening a 1kb text file in Notepad on Windows. It's almost instant. It's easy to use, no crazy interface, not 6 updates to the updater each time I open it.

      Then I installed CS 2.

      Soon I tried to open a PDF and thought my computer locked up because the file didn't pop open. After a bit the loading screen popped up and loaded. Then the program, then the document. It was terrible.

      So I went and changed the file association and now Preview handles them again and my system works.

      I remember when I had a full copy of Acrobat (not reader, Acrobat) and it opened about 10x faster than Reader does on the relatively high-end (multi-core, 2GB+ RAM) machines I've been forced to use it on.

      Almost everything on the list was good at one time or another. RealPlayer, while not perfect, was small and fast. Norton (the first version for 95) was quite good, even on my slow 386 (yes... 386). Outlook used to be WAY faster than it is now. On my nice desktop it feels like I'm running it through VirtualWindows on a 500MHz G4.

      Flash it's self isn't bad. But so many people seem to not use delay loops and let it run at 600 FPS and suck up all the CPU. Combine that with the terrible and slow interfaces people use it for and it gets a bad rap. Flashblock is your friend here.

    • by Thaelon (250687) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:25PM (#23478526)

      I have no clue as to why this program takes upwards of a minute to read a simple pdf file that is mostly text. It really boggles my mind as to what the computer could be doing with that time/cycles.. Where as foxit can load the same pdf in a blink of an eye.. but microsoft loves to revert the extentions to adobe, unless I march through a convoluted maze to revert it back. never let your well-meaning friend install adobe on your box, it's a nightmare to remove.
      Foxit has already gone the way of Adobe Reader, updating, slow loading, and a nice little "advertising toolbar" for you.

      The cool kids are using Sumatra [kowalczyk.info] now.

      It's a little sparse on features (like remembering page view settings), but it makes even Foxit look slow.
    • by darkwhite (139802) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:32PM (#23479782)
      Use Sumatra PDF [kowalczyk.info], or kpdf/whatever on Linux. Finally, an Adobe-free existence!
  • by hyperz69 (1226464) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:52AM (#23476654)
    I think they could have just said VISTA... Done! Though seriously this app misses, a few apps. Mainly... GOOGLE BAR? Dear god, does every application on the planet now try to install google bar? Completely removing it requires a virgin, 2 brillo pads, a priest, plus 6 gallons of goats blood.
  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daimanta (1140543) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:52AM (#23476656) Journal
    No Microsoft Bob?
  • by shawnmchorse (442605) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:53AM (#23476686) Homepage
    I'm almost to the point where I want to remove Quicktime from all of my machines, because I'm so tired of being asked to "upgrade" to Safari and iTunes.
  • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:53AM (#23476696) Journal
    Since they were including companies as well as just software I hereby nominate ZDNet for most annoying website. Why can't they stick the 11 short paragraphs making up the article on ONE PAGE!
  • My vote: HP (Score:5, Informative)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:54AM (#23476706) Homepage Journal
    We have one of those all-in-one HP printers at my office, where we're all on Macs. When we first got the printer I installed the disk with the Mac drivers. It also installed a bunch of utilities. Playing around with these utilities I found a tedious maze of buttons and windows. I couldn't even find the most obvious features, like where to see a scanned document.

    But I also noticed my computer was running slower, even when no HP utilities were being used. So I looked at the Activity Monitor and found the HP background applications were permanently taking up 10% CPU, even if nothing was ever printed or scanned. So I removed all of the HP utilities and drivers and found a driver built into OS X which was for almost the same model number. I have no problems at all printing and my CPU is back to normal utilization.

    Not only do these HP utilities suck, but they're annoying when you're not even using them.
    • Re:My vote: HP (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:05AM (#23476946)
      We were on on offshore survey in the Gulf of Mexico when one of our computers died. No problem I thought, I threw in a spare laptop SATA and reinstalled Windows and the survey software. When it came time to download the printer drivers from HP they came in at a whopping 135 MB! For a damn driver! We were on a satellite linkup and downloading that one driver to print out the results cost over $100.
    • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:22AM (#23477270)
      Even though I think HP Printing System for Linux is really rather good.

      I tried to get an HP A3 inkjet going the other day, using an old P4 box as the print server.
      I do not consider 100% CPU utilisation while trying to print a PDF to be acceptable, nor do I consider that having to reboot to clear a stuck job is a good idea. And this from a driver of nearly 100MBytes.

      There are several other recent HP gripes that are causing me nowadays no longer to recommend HP printers. I guess it will take many years to recover from Fiorina.

    • Re:My vote: HP (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:05PM (#23478104) Homepage

      Oh, I really really hate this. When will printer manufacturers learn that I don't want to install your stupid little utilities?!

      Give me plain, unadulterated drivers, not software installs. Give me a PPD/INF/whatever that I can point my OS to and use all of the built-in OS printing functions. That's all I want.

      Same with cameras, scanners, and pretty much any other hardware out there. Give me the driver and leave me alone.

  • Update apps... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@s[ ]hdot.fi ... m ['las' in gap]> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:54AM (#23476708) Homepage
    Update apps are a pain in the backside, but they are a symptom of the way windows and osx are designed...

    There's no question that your system should be aware of what software is installed, and what the latest version is, and make the user aware too and give them the option to install the updates.

    On linux you rarely, if ever, get problems like this because the updates are handled centrally.

    The problem with windows and osx, is that there is no central way for third party apps to register to the automatic update mechanism, the supplied update functions are only for the original vendor's apps, not third parties, meaning every third party has their own update service wasting memory and informing/annoying you in different ways.

    The linux approach is orders of magnitude better, centralised package repositories, a centralised method of informing the user, you can choose how to be informed of updates, and you won't be hassle any other way. To further help matters, the package manager knows of packages you don't have installed too, giving you single click access to the latest versions of a whole host of additional applications.
  • by paradoxSpirit (1172919) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:55AM (#23476720)
    How could they have forgotten Lotus Note?
  • ARGHSFARGH! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aquaseafoam (1271478) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:57AM (#23476766)
    The most annoying thing for me? The stupid little bubble that pops up to inform me that wireless networks are in range, even when I am running through a wired connection. The only way I've found to really get rid of this is to disable the connection, a hassle for whenever I try and go anywhere. Of course, this particular annoyance only really hits me nowadays when I need to boot into my small windows partition. Ubuntu FTW.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:58AM (#23476788)
    I've appreciated that Adobe has provided Reader for Linux for quite some time now. Until I tried their latest a number of months ago (version 8? or 9?).

    It insisted upon putting a bunch of worthless crap in my ~/.kde and ~/.local directories, overriding my MIME types and replacing KDE's PDF icons (which looked consistent with all the other KDE icons) with its own icons, which clearly were out of place.

    Of course, it also decided to set itself as the preferred reader for PDFs, contrary to my preference. It would have been annoying, but bearable, had it asked me about this before it made invasive changes, but simply running the program was enough to wreak havoc.

    So fuck you Adobe, I'll continue to use kpdf, which doesn't feel the need to take over my desktop. As an added bonus, kpdf doesn't have a million worthless plugins that slow down application startup, either.
  • by rocketjam (696072) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:02AM (#23476880) Homepage

    What about "top ten slideshows" on big media websites that present their "top ten" on eleven or twelve separate pages, each filled with more ads and other distractions than the actual "content" you've been directed to via Slashdot?

    Yeah, I know they're not "applications" but, the annoyance factor is right up there.

  • Flashblock FTW (Score:4, Informative)

    by snarfies (115214) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:03AM (#23476896) Homepage
    Too many websites lean on Flash too heavily. You'll have a lot of trouble getting by without it on a lot of websites. Its obnoxious, and what's more, there's more and more Flash-based advertising appearing on various websites (yes, I'm glaring at you too, Slashdot). But there is a way to make Flash be a little more well-behaved: http://flashblock.mozdev.org/ [mozdev.org]

    Best Firefox extension EVER. Works on Seamonkey, too, which is what I use at home.
  • Sometimes it's the exclusive distribution method or the update method that truly irks.

    Google's Sketch-up Pro is available only by download. Not a problem in the US, but on a remote US base in Afghanistan? A CD/DVD option would have been most helpful.

    As already pointed out above, updaters can be a significant issue even if the software itself is acceptable. The status quo should be maintained for settings, file associations and preferences, TYVM.

    Advertise on the web and through the quality of your product, not via the update process.

  • by HungWeiLo (250320) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:06AM (#23476962)
    Look at the top of your window:

    "The Most Annoying Software Out There - Mozilla Firefox 3 Beta 5"

    I didn't say it - the browser did!
  • by schwit1 (797399) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:08AM (#23476992)
    Some of my users' add/remove programs have a half dozen separate Java installs. And they all install in separate folders.


    Java(tm) 5 update 6
    Java(tm) 5 update 11
    Java(tm) 6 update 1
    Java(tm) 6 update 3
    Java(tm) 6 update 4
    Java(tm) 6 update 6

  • by spirit_fingers (777604) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:12AM (#23477062)
    Unfortunately, I'm the IT Manager for the ad agency of one of the most annoying programs mentioned in that article (I won't mention which one). So I'm in the unhappy position of having to install our client's software on all of our computers. Would I use that software if the company weren't our client? NO FUCKING WAY! If there is a hell for IT support people, I'm in it. I not only have to support this crapware, but I have to pretend that it's the greatest thing since oral sex.
  • Right on the money (Score:5, Interesting)

    by H0p313ss (811249) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:16AM (#23477158)

    Usually I disagree with these rather non-technical whiners, but I found this to be right on the money this time. Besides, there's some wonderful British humor there:

    Acrobat Reader
    "a reputation for being as welcome as a flatulent camel in the kitchen"

    Windows Update
    We've been kind and not talked about Vista.

    RealPlayer
    "If this software turned up at your door, you'd call the police."
    "... we were given software to install. 'Disable your firewall', it commanded. 'Drop dead', we replied."

    Java
    "Programming languages are like sewage plants: if the average user becomes aware of them, something's gone wrong."

    Yahoo
    "And yes, when I ask to exit the software, that's because I really want to, not because I'm having a crisis of doubt."

    Flash
    "There's nothing wrong with Flash, provided you don't use it to construct web sites where people want to find information..."
  • Flash! Aaaaaaa! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:25AM (#23477342)
    I'm really glad they mentioned Flash. It's become a horrible malware vector, which is largely Adobe's fault. But worse yet is how some web designers use Flash.

    Flash is too often used for creating website navigation widgets, or worse yet, for encapsulating entire websites. And even worse than that are the horribly annoying Flash version-checker scripts, which demand that you will install or upgrade Flash before viewing this site, because "I spent fifteen minutes on those fancy Flash-based site nav buttons, and you damn well better look at them" even though virtually all of the site's actual content is in plain HTML.

    What's more, I don't need or want a Flash widget to view a series of JPEGs. Just show me the damn images - I'm perfectly capable of clicking by myself to move on to the next one, thanks.

    • Re:Flash! Aaaaaaa! (Score:4, Informative)

      by oahazmatt (868057) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:45AM (#23477734) Journal
      I can only blame the web designers so much for that practice.

      I ditched my last professional web design job. It was for a paintball site. I presented samples of effective navigation from other sites (some related, some not) and had a discussion about directing visitor traffic and what needs to be emphasized.

      Then he starts showing me this flash app that resembles the Windows XP start menu, where all the options are buried. Whenever you click on one, it would just load a different HTML page...in a new window.

      I must have tried to reason with him for an hour. I tried to explain to him how I (in a professional capacity) did not feel it was beneficial and would turn visitors away. He eventually told me I didn't know what I was talking about, and started showing me even more "better-looking" sites, all contaminated with flash menus that didn't even work together.

      I had the chance to walk away from that job. Not all web designers do. If your project manager wants flash, either you can do it, or his nephew can.
  • by Hankapobe (1290722) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:26AM (#23477362)
    Many programs have these resident services (Windows) that sit there and just take up memory and CPU for no reason.

    For example: Quickbooks. Why does it have to have (IIRC) three services running EVEN IF QUICKBOOKS ITSELF IS NOT RUNNING!? One of them is for updates. The other two I have no idea, but all three sure bogged my system down. I uninstalled Quickbooks and it took Registry Mechanic to get rid of everything. I tell you with this and other problems I've had with Intuit, if I see that company's name on something , I refuse to buy it.

    Back in my day, when we had to program in the snow, uphill both ways, we would check for updates upon startup AND allow the user to turn it off.

    Folks, just because there is a feature for programs or cool way of doing something, does not mean it's a good design.

    Now about Windows registry and the fact that it only grows.....Never mind. I need a drink.

  • My vote: The Browser (Score:5, Interesting)

    by postbigbang (761081) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:41AM (#23477638)
    I know the history of it intimately. Because it wasn't well though through, it's a miserable user interface. Yes, it seems flexible, and it's nice that the W3 specs are there, but they're not well thought-through, either. Whether it's Java, php, or another language, the pallette called the 'browser' is the biggest, most anarchistic piece of junk I've ever seen. Plug-ins are great.... there are many good things. But the screen real estate, and the number of ways that it can be buggered are just insane. As a GUI, the browser totally sucks. If you don't believe what I'm saying, try to remember "The Frames Era".

    A good UI shouldn't have to have users embedding markup language manually. It shouldn't have to trouble you about fonts, re-sizing your window widths. It shouldn't have ways that browser makers can bugger up wysiwyg information in so many ingenious ways.

    Mark me as flamebait if you want, but the browser is a disaster, years after its invention, and constant reinvention.
  • SAP? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by satmd (1265572) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:58AM (#23477990)
    I don't see any 'enterprise software' in there. For example: SAP. I've been working 2 years in the software development for business customers at a big German Telco and I had to work with SAP and Java on a daily base - I had to WORK with it, not look at it's "nice" results (which we could have cheaper and quicker otherwise, another story). The SAP suite is built around big interconnected databases with a nice and shiny gui. That's the nice part. For the bad side: Max of 7 windows (regardless of system specs). Slow. Error messages are non-descriptive, the detailed messages a repetition of the error message itself. Sometimes produces non-deteministic (as documented) output. Uses a COBOL like programming language for anything that can't be done by drag & drop, called ABAP. VERY expensive. Needs consultants for maintenance (often because programmers CANNOT guess how to do it right from the docs). Makes dependant (easy to import data, but no way out). In the place I worked, we had SAP for about anything: bills, salaries, configuration of ports/switches/isdn/dsl. My favorite error: In december I was 6 days ill, returned the 7th day. My salary report said: 28 days ill and I got a very reduced salary (Hint: there's no 28 days work in December) My favorite documentation: For OOP there was a section that read like: Abstract Classes and Methods work completely orthogonal. Or very similar. SAP is being sold to big companies, by seducing managers with lies like it would be complete, needs near to no maintenance, ... They do this very tricky so managers don't ever back off until they depend on the software and it's too late. A very successfull concept actually. Managers, ask your employees before deploying this BS in your company. Will save you big bucks. REALLY big bucks. Or at least make sure you have a contract that lets you back off from it if it doesn't fulfill your requirements. Don't be fools: shiny BS still is BS.
  • pages (Score:4, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:12PM (#23478284)
    What's the software that spreads an short article across a dozen, ad laden pages like the site in this story. I vote for that.

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