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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 1:15 am   

Google Updater? The future is looking pretty dim
 
OK, I've never been a big Google fanboy, but I've always appreciated their different attitude, and it's nice to have someone to stand up to Microsoft. But today I'm pretty annoyed at them.

Google Earth has been crashing a lot on Vista. Seems to eat up all of my memory and then just freeze. So I checked for updates and there was a newer version available.

But no...you can't just download Google Earth anymore like a normal piece of software. No, you have to download their new "Google Updater" program, and then let it download and apply updates.

You know, I'm getting REALLY TIRED of all of these updater programs. I've got Windows Updates, Window Defender Updates, Avast Anti-virus updates. OK, those are updates for the OS and serious anti-virus and security software. I can deal with that, even though they all throw their own icon into the system tray.

Then there is Apple Updater, Adobe Updater, Java Updater, and now Google Updater. In the past I have already removed RealAudio updater and Logitech's updater. I don't want all of this crap running on my computer all the time! If I want to update a piece of software, I'll check for updates myself, thanks.

On top of that, the Google Updater didn't even work. It just kept saying "retrying". Didn't say *what* it was retrying. The software itself is pretty poor looking...like something thrown together in a weekend. Looks like an embedded HTML page (which is probably what it is), rather than a Windows application.

I don't mind software that has updates. I understand the need for updates these days as software has become more complex. But I want the software to check for updates when I run it...not sitting in the background all of the time when I'm working on other stuff.

Now, on top of that, Windows Update has run, and is now giving errors again. Same with Windows Defender. Must be time to reboot again. These cryptic hex-code error messages from Windows Updates are for the birds. And their online "troubleshooter" is worthless.

I've had more trouble with Windows Update over the past 2 months then in all of the years ever using Microsoft Windows. I don't know if it's all of the authentication crap that they keep adding, or what. But the next thing you know, we will be installing the Windows Updater for Windows Update!

Come on companies, stop installing all of this crap on our computers! And if you are going to make an updater program, be sure that it works first!

Btw, if you want the direct link to download the latest Google Earth, here is it: http://earth.google.com/tour/thanks-win4.html
Bypass their Updater junk until they get it working.
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 1:35 am   Re: Google Updater? The future is looking pretty dim
 
Zugg wrote:
You know, I'm getting REALLY TIRED of all of these updater programs.

QFT. God. I tried to downloaded the latest episode of Have I Got A Bit More News For You (Brian Blessed is a GOD :D) from BBC iPlayer (what's with iEverything these days, anyway?) the other day because the streaming version wasn't working, and it demanded I install some of their software first. It's not downloading a player, it's just downloading some software to let me download the normal .wmv of the show. Balls to that.

You're right that programs should only ever be updated when you use them. There're some programs that you use in the background all the time like AV and firewalls that it's nice to know are always bang up-to-date. And patching windows would be far too complex without windows updater. But programs also need to know that while I'm doing other stuff, I don't want them popping up and demanding things. It's especially bad when you're playing a game and something decides to start patching without ever asking you, slowing you to a crawl. I have Windows Update set to always ask first now.

One of the programs you moaned about (Java) I've actually never had a problem with. Don't know if I checked the right box when I installed it, or if I disabled something a long time ago and forgot about it, but it only ever tells me about updates when I use something that involves Java.

The one thing I wish would offer updates are drivers. I hate when I encounter a problem with drivers (eg, any number of problems with nvidia drivers) that I put up with for ages, only to find a patch was out a month ago.

Oh, and by far the most annoying thing: programs that won't stop bugging you to install updates, even after you've told them not to. Perfect example being the "please reboot" dialogue that Windows XP pops up by default. I know I've just installed updates, and I knew the last 20 times you prompted me! Doing it again won't help! Similarly for programs that I don't want to patch for whatever reason (the new version of my torrent client of choice is banned on some of the sites I use, for example) but that won't stop bugging me to update no matter how much I try to tell them I don't want to.
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Rainchild
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 2:35 am   
 
Yeah, these updaters are crazy. Sony's working on a new updater that runs all the time for their online games too.

And then you get the updater for the updater which likes to update itself when there's updates to the updater that will make your update experience more updatery... bleh.

And then you have to pick between windows update or microsoft update, which do the same thing but for extra programs (eg office updates).

It would be much nicer if every update - drivers, zmud, virus, google, apple, etc all bolted into the microsoft update suite, so you can pick which updates you want, when you want to install them, etc from a single interface.

Since I have a number of PC's at home, I actually bought the corporate version of norton av. At least when you run a corporate product it will update itself without rebooting or having annoying extra icons in the tray, so that is one less frustration I have to deal with, but I hate having to go in and clean out my hkey_local_machine / run registry keys to get rid of all these updaters.

From a Real Audio/Media perspective, I use the "K-Lite Mega Codec Pack" which includes the "Real Alternative" codec instead of having to install all of their overbloated crap. There's a separate "QuickTime Alternative" codec pack too, but I don't have any QuickTime movies so don't need it.

Slightly off-topic, but slightly related (in that it does away with the Apple updater)... I read that Winamp now supports managing of the media library for iPods too, however haven't looked further than that (don't own an iPod). If I did have an iPod I certainly would not be installing iTunes, that's one thing for certain. It also sucks that there's going to be a big DRM format war coming up (eg AAC vs MP4 vs WMA etc), ultimately someone will win and like HDDVD vs BluRay if you back the wrong horse, time to re-buy all your collection again.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 2:57 am   
 
I actually would *never* want my drivers to automatically update. At least not until all of the supposed software people who work for hardware companies somehow attend some sort of class to prove that they can actually program. Honestly, drivers are some of the buggiest pieces of software on the computer (which is sad since it's the software that we really rely upon the most).

Imagine, for example, getting automatic updates for NVidia video drivers? Half the time we'd be lucky if our computers till booted. Seriously though, you'd be running an app and boom, BSOD, because of a recent driver update.

No, I like to mess with my drivers, and then get the system rock solid, and then not touch them unless I really need to. Yes, that means I often don't have the "latest" driver, but in many cases the "latest" driver isn't necessarily the best. Although some hardware is better than others and we've already had a blog about NVidia drivers ;)

I actually don't use iTunes directly anymore. I have a nice widget in my ObjectDock desktop (from Stardock) that controls iTunes, shows me the album cover art and currently playing song. It sits on the right edge of my second monitor along with the clock, weather widget, and my CPU monitor and network monitor widget. Sort of like what Vista sidebar does, but better (and not Vista). But with that widget I can select a playlist and just hit play and never need to maximize the iTunes interface.

Yes, iTunes is still sitting in memory. But it's pretty unobtrusive and doesn't use much resource. I used to have horrible trouble with WinAmp taking too much CPU. Maybe it's better these days, but I just never fell in love with it.

Good tip on the RealPlayer stuff. I think I installed that Codec Pack on Vista because Vista didn't come with hardly anything for media playing (at least not Vista Business edition). I don't actually have RealPlayer running anymore (I got annoyed at all of the crap that it installed), but it's good to know about that Codec pack in case I ever need to play a file.

I keep trying to get rid of Quicktime, and it keeps coming back. I turned off the Apple Updater service, but I'll admit that I'm a bit more lenient with the Apple stuff because my iPod has just worked and kept working and I don't want to mess with it. Fortunately, NONE of my music is DRM. It's all ripped from real CDs that I actually own. I don't buy stuff from iTunes...at least not till they get rid of DRM. I've been following Amazon music with great interest. They might have the cloat to go head-to-head with Apple. But I don't really see the DRM war (at least not compared to HD-DVD vs BluRay...another war I'm glad I waited on). With DRM, the winner is going to be NO-DRM...eventually. I'll never buy DRM music...I'd much rather buy the whole CD and then rip it, knowing that I always have the CD as a backup.

Now I'm off to run the WoW-updater...
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 3:02 am   
 
Oh, Btw, I meant to talk about Mozilla. Now there is a GOOD EXAMPLE of how things should be done. If there is an update while you are running Firefox, you get a popup (which you might be able to disable). But you can tell it do update Later. Next time you restart it updates. It checks all of your plugins for updates. And it just works. Very little hassle. I like that. I don't mind it downloading in the background when I'm actually *running* Firefox...that makes it quick and easy to apply the update the next time I run it. But it doesn't leave any sort of "service" running in the background.

Same with Thunderbird. I'm really hooked on Mozilla stuff these days. It just keeps getting better and better. But their update model is something that I'd like to emulate in the future with my own products. Other companies really need to take more notice and stop trying to emulate Microsoft instead.

I was *very* surprised to see Google go the "Microsoft route" for updates, rather than the "Mozilla route". As I said in the title, I'm not sure that bodes well for the future.
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Rorso
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Joined: 14 Oct 2000
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 5:54 am   
 
Zugg wrote:
Oh, Btw, I meant to talk about Mozilla. Now there is a GOOD EXAMPLE of how things should be done. If there is an update while you are running Firefox, you get a popup (which you might be able to disable). But you can tell it do update Later. Next time you restart it updates. It checks all of your plugins for updates. And it just works. Very little hassle. I like that. I don't mind it downloading in the background when I'm actually *running* Firefox...that makes it quick and easy to apply the update the next time I run it. But it doesn't leave any sort of "service" running in the background.

Firefox update works pretty poorly if you run a non admin account, because then it will download the new update to your writable setting folder. Then once it is time to install it will fail to write to the Firefox directory as you aren't running as admin. That means every time you start Firefox it will complain that the update has failed.

So you start Firefox as admin to correct the issue. It autoupdates and the new version is installed. It is just that the download done as non admin is still there, and when you run as non admin again it keeps trying to install the latest version even though it is already installed Shocked.
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 11:30 am   
 
But, pff, who cares about non-admins? ;P

Quicktime is the herpes of media players. I refuse to ever install it now - it was just like that a few years ago, impossible to get rid of, so I don't use it any more. It kept doing something annoying, like bugging me for updates or something, and refused to leave, so now it's gone forever. I just use QTA (I actually just install all the codecs in the k-lite pack, just to make sure I can always play stuff). The fact you need iTunes (or, rather, the fact that I haven't looked into alternatives to iTunes) is one of the biggest things keeping me away from iPods.

Also, I know it was probably a joke, but the WoW updater's not that bad - it does only run when you start the client. The annoying part is that it uses BitTorrent, so it demands you forward some weird port range (3118 or something) or your download goes at the speed of my granny carrying heavy shopping. I just cancel their updater and use FileFront these days.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 4:50 pm   
 
Hmm, I am on Vista and I don't run Firefox "As Admin" and I never have any trouble with the updates.
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Rorso
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 5:06 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:
Hmm, I am on Vista and I don't run Firefox "As Admin" and I never have any trouble with the updates.

Maybe Firefox has fixed it since I changed my account to admin on XP, or there are applications that work better on Vista :).

Edit: Just wanted to add a note about Fedora LinuxRolling Eyes. It uses Yum to download updates/software to the OS. The interesting thing is that you can add software repositories to it. For example Adobe Reader is available through a Yum repository. So you just install that into Yum, and then you can download Adobe Reader. When the OS checks for updates it includes that repository so it reports updates avaible for Adobe Reader too.
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 5:15 pm   
 
Rorso wrote:
maybe... there are applications that work better on Vista


Shocked
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Taz
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 6:40 pm   
 
Fang Xianfu wrote:
Rorso wrote:
maybe... there are applications that work better on Vista


Shocked

Yes indeed very unlikely! Far more likely is that while running as a normal user in Vista the install detects that it has no rights to Program Files and installs to the users Application Data directory instead, I know other apps that do this in a corporate environment.
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Rainchild
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 12:17 am   
 
Yeah, if you disable UAC it goes back to XP-like permissions on the Program Files directory/Registry/etc which is probably why Zugg doesn't have the problem. Either that, or Firefox now prompts for elevated privvies when it needs to update itself.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 2:00 am   
 
It's definitely doing something "magical". I have UAC enabled and Firefox never prompts me to elevate it. I double-checked and it's not set to Run As Admin, nor is it set to run in any sort of compatibility mode. So on Vista, at least, Firefox knows where to put the files and knows how to update itself without ever needing to elevate it's privileges, which is actually rather amazing the more I think about it.

I guess that's one advantage of the cross-platform nature of it's technology. It's not using COM, so it doesn't need to register any COM servers. Whoever did their Vista support knows what they are doing.

And yes, I even have Firefox installed in Program Files, so it knows not to put any files there.

Interesting that it seems to work better than on XP. On XP I *always* ran from my Admin account, so I would have never run into any issues with the updater.
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ralgith
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 5:55 pm   
 
I'm wondering if he means different FireFox user levels instead of OS levels? Because you CAN use multiple Firefox accounts too, and THAT is what his issue sounded like to me. And yes, that IS a problem with FF. Except you can (and should) disable updating for FF itself for non-admin FF accounts. I say only for FF itself, because each user can have separate extension setups. And those do install properly.
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