Friday, July 18, 2008

 

Yahoo™ toolbar Piggy-backing on Sun™ Java™ Update: Obnoxious

Yahoo!™ using push rather than pull to deploy its browser toolbar projects the image of an entity in peril. If the toolbar were desirable, and actually satisfied a consumer need, why would they resort to this almost Trojan piggy-backing effort to get it installed? And why the Sun™ Java™ installer?

Java™ updates from Sun™ [on the platform Sony™ sold me] already left a lot to be desired: they nag to be installed with almost as much insistence as anti-virus updates, which is absurd since we all have known ever since Java™ was invented (by someone at Sun™) that it is designed to be safe(™?). How could an update, which could only be to benefit from improved functionality, be so urgent? Second standing pieve: they don't replace or uninstall the previous version, they just install another one: I had to go to manually remove updates 2, 3, & 5 after 6 moved in.

The installer showed, after the usual EULA, the announcement that Yahoo! Toolbar would also be installed, and recommended reading its EULA, too. I read as far as "to really read the full EULA, go to this URL. If you click on 'J'accepte' it means you accept the conditions..." or something very similar. I clicked on "next" (there was no "j'accepte" button) and witnessed Sun™'s Java™ installer install the unwanted toolbar.

Sure enough, when Firefox opened, another tenth (or so) of what could be displayed of a page had disappeared. The value of each of the buttons and other controls it offered could take a while (why Babelfish? and not Flickr? nor del.icio.us?), but offered little if any advantage over what the Firefox search engine selector, coupled with Netvibes as a homepage, offers. Nevertheless, a critique of one Yahoo! toolbar element: the preferences setting. A click on the "modify toolbar buttons preferences" loaded a "login to Yahoo!" page. Why? Why is this toolbar not a workstation installation, but a workstation plus Yahoo! on the Internet set-up?

Now, how to tell whether the uninstall actually does uninstall, or merely removes visibility of processes which continue to monitor my activity? I did not agree to install a key-logger, even if it is for a noble enterprise like Yahoo!(TM), so I sure hope Sun(TM)'s Java(TM) did not do so.

Yahoo! has an interesting collection of service offerings. However, they could improve their integration, or at least interoperability, enormously. Navigation from myYahoo! to Flickr (for the same userid) requires another login (last time I tried), and even navigation back and forth between myYahoo! and Yahoo! mail can quickly open more than two windows or tabs. Then there's the "anti-phishing" shield that stopped showing what it was supposed to show when something ate its cookie.

Yahoo! news has a button to post to Buzz, but not to del.icio.us. In fact, del.icio.us hasn't developed noticeably since Yahoo! bought it. Too bad, I really like del.icio.us and could like it more. The "subscriptions" are not as useful as they could be, and there are no tools to help find others with similar/overlapping interests, and that hasn't changed in the two or three years I've been hoping. It was not designed to be multilingual, or at least not to make multilingual tagging easy to manage, but that could be fixed if they wanted to. Maybe I should download and back up my bookmarks more often to avoid the panic when they announce its termination.

Bottom line:
  • Shame on Sun™ Java™ for their role as a vector.
  • Imagine life without del.icio.us sometime too soon
  • Is there really no other Java™ run-time than Sun™'s for a machine running Microsoft™ Windows™?




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Comments:
Today I installed the Java Update and... surprise! The yahoo toolbar appeared in Firefox?!?!
What the hell??
Now, updating Java installs unwanted 3rd party stuff?! [and don't tell me i have to uncheck that box...]

Sun... what are you doing?
 
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