Sanding our assholes with 150 grit. Slowly. Lovingly.

Google PC Part 800

OK so Google didn't come out with a PC, but the Google Pack: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/make-your-computer-just-work.html is a much crapier idea IMO. Given that the simplicity and speed of Google is what makes it great, how did they come to assemble this "best of breed" pack containing all the biggest bloatware out there... Norton? Real? Adobe? Common, I at least expected more open source.  And then...

"So we made the Google Pack Screensaver, which is the easiest possible way to make your photos into an animated photo collage. And now the question for you is: what will you do with all that time you've saved?"

Um, you can do this with the Windows "My Pictures Slideshow" screensaver in XP (which is required to run the Google pack). Out of the box. Thanks Google, keep those PhD's busy with more great ideas!
Permalink Phil 
January 9th, 2006
Yeah this was an incredibly stupid move on Google's part. I can't wait to read all the Slashdot articles about how great Real Player is, and the subsequent exploding of heads.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
People are already jumping in air!

http://webmasterspot.blogspot.com/2006/01/google-does-it-again.html

Give me break.
Permalink JD 
January 9th, 2006
Wait, the pack includes the Google IE toolbar, and Firefox?

Duyh?

Also, that blogger doesn't mention Real. :)

Also, I wonder if Google employees have blogs like that. :P
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
"If this is what Google can come up with at the start of 2006, I can't wait to see what they do next."

lol.

BTW is Norton the only mainstream software package that proudly depicts the programmer on the box? I always hated seeing that arrogant Peter Norton giving me that "I told you so" look as he defragged my drive.
Permalink Phil 
January 9th, 2006
Norton is far superior to anything McAfee has ever put out, though. I had a sub for a year but didn't renew it, I never get viruses on my Windows machines.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
"Wait, the pack includes the Google IE toolbar, and Firefox?"

The interesting thing would be to know if the Adobe Reader installer they include has the Yahoo toolbar with it... i havn't been able to figure out a way to update Reader without getting the Yahoo bar to install too.
Permalink Phil 
January 9th, 2006
I am guessing that no sane person will install the pack mainly because it includes the piece of shit that is Real Player.
Permalink JD 
January 9th, 2006
I can't imagine what sort of aneurysm compelled a Google exec to include Real in the pack. They're going to lose SERIOUS geek cred with that move. It's almost suicidal.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
Phil,

Treat your computer and get yourself copy of the Foxit Reader.

http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php

I don't use Windows Media Player, Acrobat Reader, Norton Antivirus.
I think alternatives like BSPlayer/VLC Player, Foxit Reader and AVG Antivirus are much better option.
Permalink JD 
January 9th, 2006
I'm not a fan of using alternatives just to avoid being "mainstream". If it works, I use it.

Personally, though, I much prefer Mac OS' "Preview" app to Adobe Reader. :)
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
BTW, did you guys noticed that on the main page of Google Pack, they don't mention Real Player anywhere. But it's supposed to be included.

Hm...
Permalink JD 
January 9th, 2006
JD, you have to go to the "Add and Remove Programs" link and manually add it to the pack (and Trillian) now.
Permalink Phil 
January 9th, 2006
Trillian is also included?
Permalink JD 
January 9th, 2006
Real Player & Trillian are options and not included by default (at least here). It seems to me that the main advantage to the whole thing is the updater. To the average home user it will be a big help. We're not avarage home users so to us it's not.

More to the point I wouldn't be surprised to find other optional software added to the pack as time goes on...either FOSS like OO.o or like Norton paid for - opening up a nice new revenue stream for a non-evil big business.
Permalink a cynic writes... 
January 9th, 2006
No matter how bad Real is, Real Networks are excellent marketeers and fall over backwards in helping OEMs and others get their player out there.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
January 9th, 2006
They HAVE to be good marketters. Their product is utter shit. It's sort of like how a 3-legged dog learns how to hop or walk on hind legs.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
NAV is infinitely superior at least to Kaspersky, which is mind-bogglingly resource-hungry.
Permalink Flasher T 
January 9th, 2006
...and AntiVir (www.freeav.com) is free (as in beer) and works perfectly.
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 9th, 2006
That blog posting is hilarious. They've done it again indeed.

I used, and hated, Acrobat Reader (the amount of mindspace some trivial app to display a document required was extraordinary. It seemed to always be bring up some non-document related tripe, it would fail to work entirely, it would install update services, etc), until someone on here pointed me to the FoxIt reader. Thus far I've been very happy with it.

http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
January 9th, 2006
Yeah I never understood why Reader needed to install a gazillion plug ins every time I started it up. It just needs to fucking read PDFs. How often does the PDF format change, anyway?

This is why I like Preview on Mac. It JUST DISPLAYS THE FUCKING PDF, WITH LITTLE THUMBNAILS AND ARROWS TO CHANGE PAGES. And that's ALL it does! Imagine!
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
<sigh>...and of all the possibilities that would be reasonable to plonk onto home users drives which one do you think would be willing to put their hands in their pockets and pay for the advertising? Norton might not be the *best* choice ( I use AVG at home) but it's not a bad choice and I'd bet there was a financial consideration.

The result - a lot of people who are nervous about altering their system in any way get a batch of software installed and kept updated without them having to think about it. Our needs are different - or at least the amount of thought we're willing to put in is different.
Permalink a cynic writes... 
January 9th, 2006
You can trim Adobe so it only loads with the minimum necessary and then its a lot faster.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
January 9th, 2006
Looks like our Mr Bayes doesn't like shouting...
Permalink a cynic writes... 
January 9th, 2006
Simon -

Sure you can, but what a pain in the ass.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
And what about Acrobat Reader's insistence on previewing PDF right inside the browser? If the linked PDF is couple of MBs, your browser will hang till Reader downloads the complete PDF.

I wonder why people started putting 'PDF' link warning on their pages!

I HATE Acrobat Reader.
Permalink JD 
January 9th, 2006
Actually you can configure the "in the browser" behavior, but don't ask me how.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 9th, 2006
I know there is an option. But even after I change it, it mysteriously resets it.

BTW, after I started using Firefox, this problem has gone away so no worries. :)
Permalink JD 
January 9th, 2006
If you think Reader is clumsy, you should try Acrobat itself. :)

It takes ten minutes to convert a simple Word file to what is essentially a glorified screenshot, completely taking over all of your system, and occasionally producing the most obscure and illegible prompts. And the one thing that Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional will not allow you to do is to create a document from scratch.
Permalink Flasher T 
January 9th, 2006
Unfortunately Acrobat (the bit for producing PDFs) is generally overblown for most people's requirements, but despite its quirks I find the preflight options to be invaluable in my day-to-day work. If, however, like most people you just want to print to PDF and don't care about colour separations, ICC profiles, PANTONE calibrations, etc., then just stick with one of the many free PDF-creation tools. (Moaning that Acrobat is slow or has too many features is sort of like saying Paint is better than AutoCAD because it loads quicker. :)

(Yes, Acrobat reader sucks, but for the same reasons -- it's too heavyweight an app for most people's purposes, and Adobe should set the default configuration to something a bit leaner.)
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 9th, 2006
Hell, Mat, the only reason I want PDFs is so that the bastard programmers and their OpenOffice release candidates can't mangle my beautifully arranged docs. ;)

But of course this being the corporate world, the entire team got Acrobat Pro licenses. I'd prefer to get the cost of my license as a cash bonus and just use some freeware instead...
Permalink Flasher T 
January 9th, 2006
"The interesting thing would be to know if the Adobe Reader installer they include has the Yahoo toolbar with it."

That's a good question. I've been finding that pretty much every piece of software I download now includes Google spyware, err I mean toolbar. It would be interesting if they managed to take over yet another installer.
Permalink SomeBody 
January 9th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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