Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Self Important Programmers

The most irritating products come from Apple and Real Networks.  I give a shit to these two companies. They think their products are so damned important that they have a god given right to interfere with our daily lives. They sit on your taskbar and smirk at you in a way  which reminds me of watching George W.Bush on television. Whenever you are doing something important, up comes an irritating popup howling:
              " DO YOU LIKE TO UPDATE NOW?"
Even worse, you wont be able (atleast easily) to disable the damned thing once and for all. You just start the damned apple quicktime and up comes a message"

I just want to play some old pesky movie on my hardrive, but Quicktime does not allow me to do it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I just raped the Queens English. I meant Quicktime was "pesky", not my movie

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I found Quicktime annoying too.  There were some properties I wanted to change or disable, but couldn't.  I can't remember all the things that I found annoying about it, but in general it just seemed to insinuate itself in ways that were intrusive.

I solved this problem by uninstalling Quicktime. If something requires Quicktime, I just don't watch it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Thats what i plan to do too. Uninstall both the damned things

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Quicktime requests your connection speed so it can properly buffer streams and determine what feed to download (if the Quicktime Streaming Server has different feeds for different connection feeds).  It is actually an intelligent thing to do.

Is it asking you for this every time?  Have you ever filled in the information or just canceled through?  I don't think I've ever had it ask more than once.

As for asking if you'd like to update, if you mean update Quicktime to the latest free version - would you rather be unaware of codec updates?  If you mean the upgrade to the Pro version which pops up, there used to be a way to disable it by setting your clock forward more than a year, starting it, quitting it, and resetting your clock.  I'm not clear if that still works as I haven't had cause to check.

Best of luck.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Quicktime is a !(@*(&* ai'nt it?

On the Mac, anytime you go to open a movie or song in the Quicktime you get "DO YOU WANT TO UPGRADE TO QUICKTIME PRO? [LATER] [NOW]" before you can watch it.

Isn't Quicktime part of the OS? Why do I have to pay extra for it? Not only that, even if you pay for it once, they make you pay for it again when they come out with the next update.

Switching to Windows May Make My Life Easier
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Disable the "Upgrade to QuickTime Pro" message.

It is very easy to disable (this works for both Windows and Macintosh): Set your system date to 1 April 2030 (or any other date in the distant future) and start QuickTime. When it gives you the message, click "Later" as usual and then quit. Reset your system date to the current date and QuickTime won't ask you again until 2030.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

In the old days 'very easy' meant it was self-evident and obvious.

Switching to Windows May Make My Life Easier
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I agree that this behavior is annoying, but don't blame the programmers. 

You can be sure that these "features" are things that were demanded by management and marketing folk.

John Rose
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I'd like to nominate those two programs (QT and RealPlayer) as the Worst Widespread Programs Ever.  These are examples of programs, due to marketing or other (unimportant for this discussion) constraints, that get progressively worse. 

WinAmp3 is considerably slower than WinAmp2.

Half-Life (yes, the game) has released Steam, the content-management system that takes a 700MB file to install, several patches to get running, and must authenticate with the central server before you can play...single-player.  LAN gaming is disabled under Steam.  Cheating is still rampant, even with Steam, so there is actually no benefit.  In-game menus have disappeared, I don't know how to mute other players, and it crashes out of a game about 50% of the time between level changes.  Connecting to a server works 60% of the time or so.  Oh, and Steam doesn't necessarily tell you when it's using the Internet--it just does.

Virus scanners went from command-line executables to a conglomerate of taskbar programs in the early Win95 era.  I still don't like any virus scanners because of some 'incidents' involving McAfee Anti-Virus.

Taskbar programs in general - I hate all taskbar programs that lack a "Shut this process down" feature built-in.  My new "Linksys Wireless USB" taskbar program has no such option.  Virus scanners NEVER let you shut them off completely, even if their virus definitions are two years out of date.

Outlook always bugs me--it takes too long to boot up and get my mail.  Outlook Express is much better in this respect.

Netscape/Mozilla's "set user preferences" dialog on your first use has probably caused me the most red anger.  I only see this when in a computer lab, when (somehow) I click on a Desktop URL icon and am prompted for a thousand details I do not care about.  It always catches me off-guard, but not for long--(so far) I've always just shut the thing down and opened up MSIE.

Huge, clunky websites that take a full minute to load bother me.  My best example is which I check for movie times.  It takes three large pages for me to type in my ZIP code and (finally) get the movie times.  Actually, no, I use which loads in 10% of the time and takes exactly one form submit to get me where I want to go.

Companies that update programs from freeware to payware (or whatever) and "hide" links to their free version should be spanked.  An example:

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Don't use Quicktime or RealPlayer for playback. Download Media Player Classic. It looks and feels just like WMP 6.4 and supports other media formats as well.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

These companies that give me the product of (perhaps more than) $5M dollars of effort for free deign to remind me that they sell a version each time I use their gift.  Those bastards.  And how dare they alert me to an available update every few months.  Boo hoo.

Sometimes I wonder if this is really a programmer forum.  Don't you people consider programming to be valuable work?  Keep thinking that all this work should be given away with no strings and the only lucrative skill remaining will be bank robbery.  Tear open one of your confirmation envelopes and spring for the $30, you cheapskate.

Real Network's problem isn't popping reminders, but rather the spyware "I own your private information now" ethos of the creeps who run the company.  Now there's some code that will never run on my machines.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003


Firstly, Quciktime comes preinstalled most of the time as in Apple computers along with the annoying "Upgrade to Pro?". Secondly, it wants to update itself with a new product almost everytime. Thirdly, as you mentioned , giving them personal information is annoying. Fourthly, most download quicktime  as part of some website they are viewing. Lastly, there are decent ways of advertising than forcing users to click on a button always.

Joel sells a free version of citydesk too. I dont recall it being annoying or intruding.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I just paid Apple the $27 dollar (or whatever it is) fee. I feel I get some value from that. Real is so bad that I just avoid installing it.

Brian Johnson
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I think blaming the programmers is incorrect. In most product companies, programmers are the tail wagged by the marketing dog. Whoever developed these products almost without a doubt had absolutely no say in these design decisions.

The constant, in-your-face reminders to pay, to upgrade, to subscribe, etc are initiated by marketing and MBA types who have utter contempt for end users and who realize full well that they are creating an aggravating user experience. That's the point. They are creating pain of use in their freeware utility so that you will pay them to remove the pain.

The reasoning is that if you had a pleasant and unobtrusive experience in their free version you'd never pay nor upgrade.

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

The term for this is "nagware".

I'd have no objection if things were labelled correctly:
"trialware", "shareware", "freeware", "crippleware", "nagware", "adware", "brandware" .

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Yes, even though MS sucks in many ways, at least when they give something away for free, it is really free!  Hell even if they're only giving it away to illegally exploit their monopoly, seeing those stupid RealPlayer and QT reminders makes me hope they succeed!!!

So why can't MS just put support for real video and quicktime in MP... that would be sweet.

I use WMP 6.4, and I don't think it supports those at all.  It is probably a licensing issue.

Thursday, January 1, 2004

"The reasoning is that if you had a pleasant and unobtrusive experience in their free version you'd never pay nor upgrade. "

And I can certainly understand and sympathize with that line of reasoning when the software is shareware that I have downloaded from a website.

But I paid $5500 for this new Mac system with Quicktime Nag Plus when I could have gotten a $400 machine that would be far less aggravating.

What the marketers don't realize is that the only value I would get from forking over their 'protection' money is less nags. The stupid quicktime player doesn't have $29 worth of additional functionality. Excellent media players are free on every other platform. So the result of the nag campaign is to convince me that the people at apple are a**es and someone else should get my money next time. Somebody who is willing to stoopd down low and provide a pleasant customer experience for their $5500.

Getting So Ready To Switch
Thursday, January 1, 2004

What pisses me off the most about Quicktime is that I regularly use a piece of software that relies on the QuickDraw libraries to export graphics.

Upgrading QuickTime magically deletes the old QuickDraw DLLs, but does not install the new ones.  There is no way to install new QuickDraw DLLs with the fancy internet installer.  The only way to do it is to download the standalone installer and just check everything, although Apple does not indicate that the standalone installer and the web installer are in any way different. 

Of course, I could just keep using the Quicktime 4.0 that comes with the software, but this cuts into my enjoyment of online video files.  Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, January 1, 2004

Do you still get the permanent remindiers with slightly earlier versions?

I run earlier versions of some programs just to stop the annoying traits they put in with later ones. I have a version of Get Right that shows no ads because when they switched ad provider they gave you a program to clear out the old ads until they got a new partnership. Obviously, I never click to upgrade it :)

Stephen Jones
Thursday, January 1, 2004

GetRight no longer contains ads (and apparently hasn't for a long time):

Thursday, January 1, 2004

Perhaps he nevwer got another ad provider! Thanks for the info. I might accept the update next time.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, January 1, 2004

"I'd like to nominate those two programs (QT and RealPlayer) as the Worst Widespread Programs Ever. "

Add ICQ to make that a full top 3.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, January 2, 2004

I like ICQ. I only stopped using it when the Sri Lankan mobile provider stopped letting ICQ send it free messages.

What about win amp, which sticks three entries in the right click context menu. It doesn't seem to understand that I do not want to queue my system files in winamp, however avant-garde they may sound.

Stephen Jones
Friday, January 2, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home