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The Software Hall of Shame!


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#1 OFFLINE   Scot

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 12:48 PM

At one time or another, most of us have run into an application that is just plain terrible. There are many bad actors out there (and also some great apps). My intent is not to beat up a long list of lesser-known software products. Instead, I want to shine a little light on applications many of us use -- and hate. Especially those many of us are forced to use, as well as programs that are widely used, even though they're awful.First Nominees to the Software Hall of ShameThis can be a very controversial and subjective topic. So I'm nominating some to get the ball rolling:RealNetworks RealPlayer and RealOneMicrosoft Windows Media PlayerMicrosoft Outlook ExpressMicrosoft OutlookMicrosoft MSNAmerica OnlineLotus NotesJasc Paint Shop ProISS BlackICESharman Networks KaZaAStreamCast Networks MorpheusClearly not everyone is going to agree with some of these (Outlook, Outlook Express, and BlackICE come to mind, for example ;) ). And there are several notable bad guys I haven't put on the list.  :D Nominate others in return, or make a (friendly, constructive), impassioned plea for why any nominated application doesn't deserve to be in the Software Hall of Shame.But, what do you think?-- Scot
Scot Finnie, Editor-in-Chief, Computerworld.com

#2 OFFLINE   Prelude76

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 02:05 PM

first off, i put in a request to un-nomiate Paint Shop Pro.  I loads fast, has tons more options than even Gimp, has a slick interface,  and unlike other paint programs (like fireworks), it does NOT steal away your image associations unless you tell it to.  scot, unless i'm missing your reasons for its nomination?  as for the others, i agree with the rest of the list, though i use half of them.new nomation:  ICQ  (the worst setup/config/interface i've ever witnessed) and MSN Messenger (auto-loaded on every default computer)

#3 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 02:21 PM

I definitely agree Prelude! I vote for the ever present, sits in your system tray (notification area or whatever XP calls it now), no matter what, whether you use it or not, whether you say don't load it or not, until you just get so sick of it and rename the folder, program: Microsoft Messenger/MSN Messenger (whatever they are calling it today). LOL!Actually both that, AND the stupid Microsoft Messenger broadcast service as well for that matter. ;)There are others too...GATOR comes to mind rather quickly!
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#4 OFFLINE   Scot

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 02:28 PM

I own Paint Shop Pro 7.0. Bought and paid for. I don't buy a lot of software as you can imagine. I've been using the product for almost 10 years now. It has *the* worst interface of any program I think I've ever used. It still takes me half at least half an hour to apply a transparent background, for example. Earlier versions were *much* easier to use. This version has a lot of "features." But the organization, lay out, pop-up everthings in your face ... they're trying to be Photoshop without delivering fully on the professional aspects that Photoshop brings to the party. I think PSP has grown into the worst of both worlds. The only thing good about it is the price: $100. Oops. Wait a minute. That's about $100 more than you used to have to pay for it. Nevermind. ;) Could not agree more about MSN Mess. I gave up on ICQ years ago when the network screwed up my user name and refused to fix the problem, telling me to go create another one. I said the heck with it, and have never gone back. Reminded me of my first AOL experience. Bye. Funny, thing. AOL now owns ICQ. Poetic justice.On the other hand, I use AOL Instant Messenger (Windows Client) because I'm forced to by my company. We could probably nominate that puppy too.-- Scot
Scot Finnie, Editor-in-Chief, Computerworld.com

#5 OFFLINE   nlinecomputers

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 02:35 PM

Scot,Please explain your gripes about Paint Shop Pro.  I'm not a graphic user but the one or two times I've ever used it it has served me well.  But I am not a big enough user to really know the program or it's faults.I am also a big fan of Outlook.  It really is the only program that I can use to manage Mail, Contacts, and Scheduling.  For my needs it is very good. HTML and attachments are a pain but there are free work arounds for that.
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#6 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 03:16 PM

I would also heartily second the nominations for:RealNetworks RealPlayer and RealOne (particularly RealOne, I still occasionally use the G2)ICQ - Started using it when it was the only kid on the block for regular internet users. I loved it. But got rid of it the first time it got hacked and caused problemsMicrosoft MSNAmerica OnlineJuno - ad ridden and installs newdotnetKaZaA and other File Sharing networks (they punch huge holes in firewalls and open your system up to network 'sharing' enabled threats like Trojans, etc. Not to mention many are ad and spyware driven and often buggy and cause system instability (but not all).AOL IM (the web based AIM Quick Buddy only - limits its vulnerability to port 80 only) - it is the only IM I will use these days. IM punches large holes in your firewall like File Sharing networks do.ISS BlackICEAlready mentioned MSN Messenger/MS Messenger and the MS Messenger serviceGator - invasive spywareAlso on the list for a second but not as stringently:Microsoft WiMP (version 9 in particular)Outlook Express ... although I love the convenience and versatility of Outlook Express and I do enjoy using it. I still second its being on the list due to its lack of security (despite their changes in 6.x) and email format/handling choice options. Plus its lack of one click button bar buttons for the following: toggle between plain text/html viewing of email, enable/disable attachments, view message source (which is right click and two step tab and then a button currently).  Plus its inability to disable loading of images and scripts within base 64 encoded attachments.(I don't use the memory hog Outlook although I have it. I open way too many memory hog programs to have that hog running in the background all the time.)There are many, many more but I can't think of them right now ;)
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#7 OFFLINE   Prelude76

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 03:23 PM

Scot, i can't say much about PSP v7, as i jumped from v6 to v8.  I tried the demo of v7 and i also hated its pop up interface. the interface in v8 has been revamped all around, maybe check out their try&buy version to see if the same gripes exist in v8.in terms of touching up pictures, i've tried Adobe Photoshop and I couldnt get around the interface.  I'm also having real issues adjusting to Gimp's interface, but at least that program is free.maybe judging software solely on the interface might be too much to put it into hall of shame.  because if it were just interface, i'd even throw my trusty ZoneAlarm 3 into that category  ;)

#8 OFFLINE   Prelude76

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 03:26 PM

lil' Bambi:Kazaa + other file sharing:  a necessary evil thats is almost a necessity for high speed users  ;)   i just use it real quick, and disconnect, and then disconnect again from taskbar  ;) WMP9 <--  actually its an improvement over WMP7 and WMP8, and better than Winamp (we like going backwards) 3.0 then 2.9

#9 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 03:36 PM

I hear ya Prelude on the filesharing programs. Many folks use them. Kinda like playing with fire ... sometimes you get burnt.  ;) WiMP9 - Runs great, don't get me wrong, in fact I use its codecs in WiMP8, but I am referring to the intrusiveness here and DRM crapola and that's very subjective ;)You are right about ZA and AVG's interface too ... LOL ... but I never look a gift horse in the mouth ... I am very thankful for them ;)
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#10 OFFLINE   Cluttermagnet

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 05:31 PM

Hi, Scot-I will have to think a bit about my 'unfavorites' list, but I had the same kneejerk reaction as others- I think PSP, though far from perfect, is getting a very bad rap here that may be undeserved. Bear in mind that I learned on PSP 5 and now have 6. I know what Adobe Photoshop is, and that it is considered the best and a standard, but I have not yet learned it. I still just can't help feeling that PSP doesn't deserve full 'Hall of Shame' status. I find it to be a pretty capable and fully-featured utility. I have yet to fully learn all of its capabilities. That being said, if they have migrated the latest versions towards those oh-so-helpful popup animals or windows you encounter in a lot of Microsoft software (Word, etc.), I would be a little more understanding of your criticism of PSP. I detest those stupid things! My so far limited time with XP also indicates that  Microsoft has added in a whole bunch more of those annoying help popups than we ever saw in Win98. I hate them passionately, and will disable them in a heartbeat if I know where their preferences are hidden. If PSP now has this junk _but_ it can be disabled, then I would see your criticism as unjustified.

#11 OFFLINE   greengeek

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 05:55 PM

;) Windows.

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 06:32 PM

I would request Outlook Express be taking down from the list. Many of you think it is very very insecure, and that's because the server doesn't supprot security. All my engineering network server supports secure POP3 and secure IMAP, which works excellent on Outlook Express.  The only thing is that it doesn't remove the little 1k web bug when you open up junkie emails. Outlook 2003 does fix that problem though.As for me Windows 95 and Windows Me, Red Crap Linux are the worst OS that I have used in the past so far.  Netscape Communicator 4.xx...4.08 is bloatedKazaa is a nice program that's filled with tons of spyware, trying to making your system as unstable as possible.Juno/NetZero, their software is lousy, and filled with programs that can make your system unstable as well.Jassc PaintShop 8 Premium - filled with lots of feature, but I like photoshop user interface better.. I value pro over con, so I request it taken off the list as well.Windows Media Player 7 and 8 are the worst player ever, but version 9 is very very nice.

#13 OFFLINE   Prelude76

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 08:06 AM

ThunderRiver, on May 26 2003, 05:32 PM, said:

Kazaa is a nice program that's filled with tons of spyware, trying to making your system as unstable as possible.
to avoid Kazaa's spyware, I use kazaa lite (google it, can't remember the link).  it taps into kazaa network, but has ZERO spyware and tracking.  but you can still catch kazaa viruses if you're not careful what you download.another shameful program:  StarDock's cluster of endless customization software (icon packager, cursor XP, visual styles, windowblinds, object desktop, webblinds, etc, etc....)  want to make an athlon feel like a 486?  then load ALL of their programs at once.  :D   (note:  i use Style XP , MUCH faster than windowblinds, but i do load Cursor XP by itself because their mouse animations are sweet)

#14 OFFLINE   Jeber

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 01:14 PM

I bought a copy of PGP six months ago and  have not yet figured out how to make it work properly in all cases.  I like the concept (what can I say?...as ex-NSA I love encryption :blink: ), but I'm sure they could have done just a little more work and created a program that is totally impossible to use.  As is, it's nearly there.
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#15 OFFLINE   nlinecomputers

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 01:33 PM

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----Hash: SHA1

Jeber, on May 27 2003, 11:14 AM, said:

I bought a copy of PGP six monthsago and  have not yet figured out how to make it work properly in allcases.  I like the concept (what can I say?...as ex-NSA I loveencryption :blink: ), but I'm sure they could have done just a little morework and created a program that is totally impossible to use.  As is,it's nearly there.
I'm not sure which is scarier:  The fact that Jeber is ex NSA andcan't figure out an encryption program or the thought that he wantsus to THINK he can't figure out an encryption program.    Hmmm.... :lol:Actually I'm with you.  I use PGP but it IS a pain in arse to use.-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----Version: PGP 8.0 - not licensed for commercial use: www.pgp.comiQA/AwUBPtOhVNumFBzYf2LjEQJIhACfSsty7nHQGrUWQ5NXpByf7yUUNIMAoNjeShIN8Kjhqur1k2mR4OUn8nhZ=OkM5-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Nathan Williams, N-Line Computers

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#16 OFFLINE   nlinecomputers

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 01:34 PM

Whoops don't try to vailidate that key.  With the HTML rendering that sig got botched.... :blink:
Nathan Williams, N-Line Computers

How to kill a programmer:  Give him a shampoo bottle.  Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

#17 OFFLINE   SocBum

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 02:14 PM

My addition to the list is M$ passport.  After the latest Gartner statement recommending companies to not use the service due to the security holes I wonder what M$ will do next.

Quote

Security Flaw Shows Microsoft Passport Identities Can't Be Trusted 15 May 2003   A serious security flaw shows that Microsoft Passport identities could be easily compromised. Financial institutions and other enterprises should replace or augment Passport until at least November 2003.
I also agree with adding M$ Messenger.  The pesky little program invades the computer and than bothers you all day!! (Especially if you don't create a passport account!!)

#18 OFFLINE   teacher

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 02:31 PM

Quote

I'm not sure which is scarier: The fact that Jeber is ex NSA andcan't figure out an encryption program or the thought that he wantsus to THINK he can't figure out an encryption program.
Having Jeber as former NSA makes perfect sense.  When I was in an intelligence unit in the AF in Germany, we used to go out and run or walk on our lunch breaks.  The linguists would wear shirts that said in Russian "Don't shoot, I know secrets."  The scary part is I would go with them to exercise.  .  . Knowing my NSA-type friends, Jeber has the perfect sense of humor! :blink: Keep it up Jeber....
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#19 OFFLINE   Jeber

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 02:46 PM

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"Don't shoot, I know secrets."
How funny, Teacher...Marty (my room-mate, best friend and also former ASA/NSA dude) and I were just trying to recall where we'd heard that before.  We had a class at the annex taught by a former Russian military intell. officer, and we think we remember him sharing that tidbit with us.  nlinecomputers, the problem is that PGP is not very similar to the types of encryption algorithms I'm used to, so I'm in effect trying to achieve a familiar end by unfamiliar means.  Maybe I'll just go back to A=1, B=2... :blink:
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#20 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 03:25 PM

How could I have forgotten Quicken! LOL!  After all the 2003 version's hoopla! But then we haven't seen where they will go with this yet for 2004 edition. If they go back to some form of DRM ... they're definitely on the Software Hall of Shame list (at least in my book. :blink: )Maybe we shouldn't take Outlook Express off the list ... instead we should put every email program out there ON the list for one reason or another!   LOL!
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#21 OFFLINE   Hawkfan

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 05:00 PM

LilBambi, on May 27 2003, 02:25 PM, said:

How could I have forgotten Quicken! LOL!  After all the 2003 version's hoopla! But then we haven't seen where they will go with this yet for 2004 edition. If they go back to some form of DRM ... they're definitely on the Software Hall of Shame list (at least in my book. B) )
Makes me glad the last version of Quicken that I bought was Quicken 98...and it does everything that I need for a program of that type.  Even then, though, you still had to go through an activation process...a harbinger of things to come, perhaps?

#22 OFFLINE   teacher

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 05:40 PM

Color me embarrassed but I still love Quicken.  Of course, it is a love/hate relationship.  I would be lost without my daily downloads of my bank statements and the transferring to turbotax.  However, Turbotax definitely earns top billing on the Wall of Shame.  I still can't believe what they did this year.  It will be a tough decision to decide what to use next year....  Just to get back at them, I have not upgraded anything this year.  See if they miss my few dollars.   B)
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#23 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 06:15 PM

Intuit's Quicken itself is pretty nice and many folks have been using it and really liking it.It was actually Intuit's TurboTax 2003 that was the undisclosed DRM culprit. They said they were removing it for now in TurboTax, but they also said ominously that they would continue to look at other ways ...
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#24 OFFLINE   RobertM

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 07:48 PM

I would actually propose to nominate Internet Explorer! While previously probably one of the best Windows browsers, it has failed to keep up with the times and Web standards. We could probably shove Netscape Communicator 4 in here, too (featuring no doubt the worst renderer in the world plus tons of unneeded bloat, like AIM, and touted as a "new version" just for that). But I don't think many people use this as IE, which many use just because they're sucked into it. In fact, thinking of Netscape 4 makes me think of just how good IE is, but  when Geckos are crawling around and Operas are being sung, I really wish IE would improve it's CSS 2 support--and make a probably easy change for XHTML, too (you must use the *wrong* content type).Just my thoughts. What do I know, anyway. :-)

#25 OFFLINE   Jeber

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Posted 27 May 2003 - 08:17 PM

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