Adobe: The next hijacker

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PDF is the format of choice for floating around documents. I just got a new system set-up and needed to open a PDF file. So I head over to Adobe’s website to download what I have always known to be Adobe Reader. I have done this countless times in the past over the years, but this time around, I am quite surprised.

  1. I go to download Acrobat Reader 9 at Adobe.com and find this download page
    Download screen
    I have no idea why I should be asked to download the Free eBay Desktop bundled with Adobe Reader, so I uncheck it.
  2. Then my eye wanders up and I don’t know why I am getting a forced inclusion of “Acrobat.com on Adobe AIR”. What does that even mean?
  3. Well, I want to find out, so I proceed by clicking the “Download Now” button.
  4. It makes firefox tell me that it has just “prevented www.adobe.com from asking me to install software on my computer”
    firefox prompt
  5. What the … I think! Why is Adobe installing a firefox-addon to my computer. All I want is the freaking reader so I can view pdf files. Wait a sec, is this just the browser plugin, so that I can view documents inline?
  6. I ask Firefox to allow it to download software and this is what I get:
    firefox addon installation 
    Adobe DLM? Download Manager? Am I on a 33.3kbps serial modem connection? When was the last time I needed a download manager? I don’t want a download manager to download the freaking reader. At this point, I have already decided to blog about how awful this is, so I go on to document this completely.
  7. So I click “Install Now”. Firefox does its thing and asks me to restart my browser.
    firefox restart
    How annoying, I think. I hit the “restart firefox” button.
  8. When firefox restarts, this Adobe DLM addon spawns some executable which is, of course, detected by Windows UAC (yeah, I haven’t got around to disabling UAC yet), asking me if I want to allow the spawned process to do what it wants to do. I allow it.
  9. It opens up a download manager screen
    adobe download manager 
  10. As I wait for this “Adobe DLM powered by getPlus” I suddenly see what I have rarely seen in a RTM version of firefox:
    firefox error
    This is firefox 3. I wonder what the DLM is trying to do, but is has just crashed my firefox
  11. I click on “close program” and the corresponding Adobe DLM window also disappears.
  12. Hmm, so what’s going on here. Firefox is back on but the DLM process is not visible, nor is there any download manager.
  13. Wait a sec, what’s that new link on my Desktop?
    desktop shortcut for adobe 
    Oh, look! It is asking me if I want to continue downloading. So that’s why you have a download manager, because the crappy download manager prevents you from downloading at one go? A very boot-strapped problem this.
  14. At this point. I was going to uninstall everything from my firefox and my computer and go with Ghostview or something. But I just wanted to know where this all goes. So I double click on that desktop shortcut
  15. I again get a UAC prompt:
    UAC for adobe helper
    I allow that and move on.
  16. Finally, when the download manager is at 99%, it spawns the familiar windows installer for Acrobat that I am used to seeing.
  17. However, without any warning, or prompt, it silently exits. Is it done? Apparently so, because I have two fresh desktop shortcuts:
     desktop shortcut final
  18. I know what Adobe Reader 9 will be. But what the heck is Acrobat.com?Oh, that was the AIR version of their site. Let’s take a look. So I click on the Acrobat.com desktop shortcut.
  19. Oh, the Office Killer!
    acrobat.com
    The above window is an AIR window. Not a browser window, nor an application window in the traditional sense.
  20. Here are the other services it is advertising:
    create pdf send files connect nowbuzzword
  21. Of course, clicking on anything makes you register or sign-in

I might have been more receptive to the other services and checked them out if they were not forced to me. I do not think this is any different from what Apple did a couple of months ago when it force-installed the Safari browser on un-suspecting Windows users as a software update for iTunes and Quicktime.

There is a clear line that users don’t expect respectable companies to cross. Adobe has always been a little on the bloat side with it’s reader; but this time it has gone too far. Most users will probably end up with an unwanted Ebay Desktop installation, an unwanted Firefox extension DLM, and an unwanted Adobe.com AIR installation.

Gotta get back and uninstall all the sh** from my computer and go get my Ghostview! If all you want is view PDF files, I recommend that’s what you should do to! Skip Adobe, they obviously do not respect you.

[Update: Corresponding discussion at Mozillazine or the alt.comp.freeware google group titled I installed Adobe Reader 9 – WARNING! ADWARE AND BUNDLEWARE!]

[Update2: You might want to try Ninite to install just the adobe software you care about]

SSDs save battery power, right? Wrong.

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If you were having a hard time deciding if you should opt for a 4,200 rpm drive versus a solid-state drive on your new ultra-light laptop, the decision could be easier as a myth gets busted.

image

Tom’s Hardware has discovered that SSD drives end up consuming more power than even a performance 7,200 rpm drive. The conclusion is that though SSD’s improve performance (read/write throughput), they don’t seem to lend well to “road-warriors” for whom every milli-ampere of battery juice is very valuable.

[via Engadget]

Cross Over – using Windows apps on a Mac

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I have found that the easiest way to run many apps on a Mac is CrossOver for Mac. It’s built on the Wine codebase, but is a much easier and friendly way of installing Windows apps in virtual “bottles” on a Mac. They actively fund the Wine community.

It’s funny that most Mac users don’t seem to know about it. There doesn’t seem to be much need to buy Parallels and have a heavy overload on your system if most of the apps you want work fine here.

CodeWeavers

You can try and give it a spin. Here are the applications that are strongly supported, however, you could probably be lucky if you use any other software as well (Yes, many games are supported).