Phone Software WTF



  • Hi!

    This is a minor WTF, but something that is generally annoying:

    I got this new cell phone from that well known northern-european manufacturer, installed the software on my computer and played around with transferring some jars onto it. There are some really nice apps out there! Anyway, today I got time to do some coding and tried to start my text editor, which is jEdit. But no jEdit for me this time, the phone's jar-file transfer software starts. WTF? Tried it again, same behaviour. Is the link broken? Nope, it's alright. Started explorer, went into the application folder, started the jar-file directly. Again: The phone software starts. Then I understood what had happened: The cell phone software installer registered all jar-files with that jar transfer software. Changed it back to the jre, and this time jEdit starts - finally.

    The thing that bothers me is: Why does that installer do that without even asking if it should, making it virtually impossible to run any java apps when the phone software is installed? How should any non-tech person find a solution to this? And why do the developers think that loading a java app onto a cell phone is a more common task than running a java app on the computer directly?

    And I also hate it when printer or camera software steals all jpgs without asking. Why? Why? I use XNView, it's a nice little program to cut and convert images for website use, but then I install a printer driver and suddenly all images open in a retarded application that lets me share them online, send them to a printing company and scan them in from a wodden table. Why? Why? Why?

    Sorry for the rant, but it had to come out.

    -Mike



  • Yup, I feel your pain.

    You might like this old article from Raymond Chen's blog:

     



  • Softwares from hardware manufacturers suck systematically. The common problem is: bad integration. They act like they're the only software on the target system : wizz-bang interface with plenty of ugly customized buttons instead of standard ones, installing in system tray and startup menu without asking, changing file type associations ... I installed the drivers for my n* cellphone recently ; I hate having to install those random-quality stuff which pollutes nice installations but are absolutely necessary to connect the device on the computer. All I want is a "virtual drive" like USB memory keys, and that's it ! Instead of that, first thing I see when I put the install CD : the ugly setup program is a Flash application ... ! ( nothing against flash but this one is definitively not where it belongs .) And the localized labels don't even display correctly. That's a real shame.

    I think it's a cultural problem. Hardware manufacturer write 100% of the software that resides on their machine, they never face any kind of integration. They think they own the computers on which we must install their import software, which is, indeed, the big mistake. We don't want any cellphone interface on our computer, it sucks!



  • Or why:

    * Any and all multimedia players try to associate everything that's even remotely sound- or video-related to itself.
    * Any and all CD/DVD burning software try to set up their own autorun feature that launches their software when you insert a disc.
    * Any and all compression tools try to associate themselves with anything that could even remotely be construed as an archive/compression format.  Didn't WinZIP at one point try to associate itself with JARs as well?  And WinRAR with ISOs, etc.
    * Every application under the sun tries to install a system tray icon for god knows what reason.



  • Not to excuse the automatic association in the installer, but most "non-tech" people wouldn't be working on jars with jEdit.



  • Oh, yeah, I totally forgot the CD burning softwares that install their own crappy picture viewer and associate themselves with .wav and .aiff files. If you're composing music and generally working with a lot of audio (like me) that's a real PITA.

    I generally hate every release of every CD burning software more and more (Alcohol is probably the only sane one). The options for copying or creating CDs are hidden somewhere in all those useless Media Center, Cover Designer and Audio Editor icons, the option to turn the wizards off is nowhere to be found, so that the only way to start the burning software is to manually browse the programs folder (at least that was the case when I tried to burn a CD on a friend's computer the last time). Pure featuritis.

    Funny thing is that every power user/developer I know starts to use the same programs at one point: Winamp, VLC, an old copy of Nero, Real Alternative, Foxit Reader, etc.


    -Mike



  • In my opinion, this borders on criminal.  (At least in “MarvinLand” it would.)

    I’m a heavy Visual FoxPro user, so I work with .dbf files constantly.  (And keep your “that’s the real WTF” comments to yourself!)

    I installed a (no longer current) version of Act! contact manager, and it associated all .dbf files with Act!  It can’t even OPEN a friggen .dbf file, except for its own specially structured main contact database, and that has to be opened from inside the program.  So why steal my association????

    There is a problem with the culture.  It’s easy to just set everything to the new application’s liking, and not worry about anything that came before.  “Your java program no longer works?  Sorry, not our problem.  The phone software works fine.  Contact the other program’s maker to fix it.”

    I say that it is, furthermore, an Operating System issue.  Who is the OS serving?  Me or the installer designer?  It shouldn’t be possible for an install to hose all my other software, at least not without permission!

    I literally SWEAR at the system when I’m installing, for example, an old game that I feel like replaying.  At the end of the install I get a nice friendly message, “Please wait while we install DirectX 6.”  No confirm option, no cancel button… Nothing!   

    Thanks, you’ve just broken 9 out of 10 games on my system.  Is it the installer’s fault? Yes.  Should the OS even ALLOW that to happen?  NO!!



  • I just installed a Photomanager that hijacked wav files. 



  • @marvin_rabbit said:


    I literally SWEAR at the system when I’m installing, for example, an old game that I feel like replaying.  At the end of the install I get a nice friendly message, “Please wait while we install DirectX 6.”  No confirm option, no cancel button… Nothing!   

    Thanks, you’ve just broken 9 out of 10 games on my system.  Is it the installer’s fault? Yes.  Should the OS even ALLOW that to happen?  NO!!

     Does that really break things?  It always seemed to me that the most recent version always took precedence.  I've run into the same situation many times, and never once actually had it result in a directX downgrade, AFAIK.

    Granted, it should just skip that step entirely.

    With you all the way on the "the OS should manage this shit" thing, though. 
     



  • These things happen because marketing and management only hear one part of the story. Before they make a decision to implement something like this in their software, they get phone calls from customers saying, "I don't know where the application I bought from you got installed on my machine. I paid $129 to burn CDs and now I can't do it because you had the nerve to install it in the Applications folder where I can't find it." So some genius decides, "Hey, I know, let's just put an icon for it on their desktop, put it into their start menu at the top level, make it auto-launch when a blank CD is installed, and have a tray icon for it, too, just in case the other 3 ways are still too hard." Then some idiot implements all of those things poorly - taking over other more sensible application associations, etc. (And that doesn't even deal with the case where 2 companies are actively fighting with one another to hurt the other's marketshare - where they do things like "the last one installed wins the association of your MP3 files," because they want to force you to use their player and typical users have no recourse.) 


    And of course, marketing and management never hear the other side of the story. When all of your aiffs are being opened by photo editing software instead of by your audio editor, most users will call up the makers of the audio editor and say, "Hey, you're software is broken! I can't edit audio files anymore!" Or, more likely, they'll throw their hands up in disgust and say, "God I hate computers. The people who make these things are friggin' idiots," and just give up. And the cycle continues because nobody at the CD burning company, or the audio editing company, or the photo editing company, or the OS manufacturer knows anything about what went wrong on the user's machine. They assume it was probably a virus.

    Oh, and to actually fix these things would require the price of software to rise, and we can't have that!



  • @merreborn said:

    @marvin_rabbit said:


    I literally SWEAR at the system when I’m installing, for example, an old game that I feel like replaying.  At the end of the install I get a nice friendly message, “Please wait while we install DirectX 6.”  No confirm option, no cancel button… Nothing!   

    Thanks, you’ve just broken 9 out of 10 games on my system.  Is it the installer’s fault? Yes.  Should the OS even ALLOW that to happen?  NO!!

     Does that really break things?  It always seemed to me that the most recent version always took precedence.  I've run into the same situation many times, and never once actually had it result in a directX downgrade, AFAIK.

    Granted, it should just skip that step entirely.

    With you all the way on the "the OS should manage this shit" thing, though. 
     

     

    Yeah, everytime I've done this it has simply started and then stopped, saying that I have a more recent version. 



  • Yeah, that stupid plug-and-play frenzy is just evil - and some people even advertise how intrusive their software is ("all you've got to do is run the CD...").
     
    My worst experience was with a British ISP (an ISP! What's an ISP's business on my system?!) that rhymes with Yahoo. They would send us a modem and a CD, and a manual that basically said: run the CD to configure the modem).

     The CD -  which was supposed to "set up the modem" and nothing more - did the following:

    • Install Outlook Express and make it the default email client
    • Set up the email account provided with the Internet connection in Outlook Express
    • Make IE my default browser (and add the line "provided by ..." to the title bar)
    • Make their homepage the start page
    • Install a browser toolbar
    • Pollute any thinkable screen estate with their stupid icons
    • made their connection the default Internet connection
    • ... oh yeah, and it actually did configure the modem, what a surprise

    Additionally, they were the only ISP I ever had that did not allow SMTP relay and even though having a download limit would not give you the possibility to monitor your current traffic volume.

    It was the equivalent of calling a plumber to fix a boiler just to find out afterwards that he has a.) done a half-assed job (no SMTP relay?!) and b.) re-arranged all the furniture in your living room, eaten the pizzas in your freezer, replaced your TV with a different one, tried on your underwear and eventually urinated on your carpet.




  • I bought a new Linksys router recently.  Since it was a replacement for our existing router, I figured that I could just plug it in.  Well, the packaging department seems to disagree with me - when I went to open the box, there was a BIG RED LABEL that told me to "INSTALL THE SOFTWARE BEFORE PLUGGING IN THE MODEM".  I tore the label off, and pulled the inner box out.  I tore through another label that said the same thing, this time in orange.  Next, I pulled the router out of the box, and noticed that it was neatly packaged in a bag.  With another of the labels to cut.  So, then I put the router on the shelf, and went to plug it in, only to find that there were 5 MORE LABELS, one on each Ethernet port cover, each insisting (in all caps) that I HAD TO INSTALL THE SOFTWARE.  I pulled them off, plugged the router in, and it worked fine.

    At least I didn't have to buy any more pizza for my freezer :)



  • @spittman said:

    Not to excuse the automatic association in the installer, but most "non-tech" people wouldn't be working on jars with jEdit.

    Somebody doesn't know what a .jar file is.... A .jar file is a self-contained archive containing a java application (it is actually a .zip file containing a bunch of .class files and any resource files that may be needed).

    You don't work on a .jar file with jEdit, jEdit is a .jar file.

    As for non-tech people, there are several Java apps out there that non-tech people might use (e.g. several popular file sharing programs are Java-based). Stealing the .jar association will prevent these applications from working (unless they have a special launcher).
     



  • Nokia PC Suite, I guess. That's the least of the WTFs I had with it (most installers suck). Look in your processes tab and marvel at the new and exciting startup processes you've gained (with such glorious names as SERVIC~1.EXE).




    It's far, far better than Sony Ericsson's offering at any rate.




    Are there really that many Java applications out there? The only ones I can think of off the top of my head are Java development tools. I've never used a Java application outside of my mobile phone...




    My biggest annoyance with installers is their abuse of my Start menu. (NSIS is the worst for this, I've found). I keep all of my applications in tidy directories in the All Users group. NSIS does prompt you where to install the shortcuts, which is nice of it - so I go and point it at my "Development" directory, which it detects. However, rather than install in that directory, it creates a new "Development" directory inside the local user start menu, so I need to go and manually shunt it back afterwards.



  • Its the same thing in almost every aspect of our PC life: Powerusers cant poweruse the PC anymore, because they have to spend all their power on restoring their pc to a usable level after almost every action they didnt perform themselves. Companies are apparently not satisfied anymore with producing software for BDU's but for SUPER-BDU's... I really wonder why people think I need:

    • A daemon app that checks for updates on my BIOS
    • An item in my context menu (!) to start the importer for my camera
    • A system tray icon that lets me acces the zips I last used (they arent called 'archive' because I use them daily...)
    • A certain game that has a single .avi file (the intro menu) and associates all the .avi's with itself
    • My Windows(tm) hiding half the content of almost any menu from me because i didn't use that particular item during the last five minutes
    • A separate Sound/Volume Controller for each and any friggin app that is remotely related to sound
    • A six-step wizard to print a simple picture from a certain rather well-known application to a simple sheet of paper once. I could have drawn it faster by hand
    • An mp3 player that just opens like a virtual disk where i can put my mp3s on, unplug the device and start rocking instead of fighting through wave after wave of CD burning apps, iTunes, WMP, several oter sound apps, the sound app specially developed for my mp3 player (because just moving the files to the player would be waaaay too hard) and windows autoplay requests (I DONT want to autoplay it, I DONT want to get some friggin license out of the web, and I DONT want to synchronize anything)
    • Google, Yahoo, MSN or any other Toolbar I didnt spend at least 5 minutes deliberately looking for.



  • @mallard said:

    @spittman said:

    Not to excuse the automatic association in the installer, but most "non-tech" people wouldn't be working on jars with jEdit.

    Somebody doesn't know what a .jar file is.... A .jar file is a self-contained archive containing a java application (it is actually a .zip file containing a bunch of .class files and any resource files that may be needed).

    You don't work on a .jar file with jEdit, jEdit is a .jar file.

    As for non-tech people, there are several Java apps out there that non-tech people might use (e.g. several popular file sharing programs are Java-based). Stealing the .jar association will prevent these applications from working (unless they have a special launcher).
     

     

    Actually I do know what a .jar file is. I have done some Java development in the past (though admittedly limited). I did however misunderstand the problem as stated. I assumed he was trying to update a jar file with an updated class and got the phone software. Having never used jEdit, I didn't realize it was a java based text editor (ie a .jar itself). So, yes the fact that the phone software took over RUNNING .jar files as opposed to the JRE is definitely a WTF.



  • @sycro said:

    @merreborn said:

    @marvin_rabbit said:


    I literally SWEAR at the system when I’m installing, for example, an old game that I feel like replaying.  At the end of the install I get a nice friendly message, “Please wait while we install DirectX 6.”  No confirm option, no cancel button… Nothing!   

    Thanks, you’ve just broken 9 out of 10 games on my system.  Is it the installer’s fault? Yes.  Should the OS even ALLOW that to happen?  NO!!

     Does that really break things?  It always seemed to me that the most recent version always took precedence.  I've run into the same situation many times, and never once actually had it result in a directX downgrade, AFAIK.

    Granted, it should just skip that step entirely.

    With you all the way on the "the OS should manage this shit" thing, though. 
     

    Yeah, everytime I've done this it has simply started and then stopped, saying that I have a more recent version. 

    Like you say, I have seen some installers simply stop and report that I have a newer version installed.  However, I have also had some that happily installed away in blissful ignorance.

    For full disclosure: in answer to  "Does that really break things?  It always seemed to me that the most recent version always took precedence."  I have to acknowledge that my first action when that happens is to reinstall the latest DirectX, grumbling the whole time.  So I never actually tried to play a (more recent) game and had it break.  But it sure looked like it installed an old version.  Even managed to fool the DirectX detection steps that I found somewhere in the netherworld of MSDN.



  • Phone software sucks :(  Does anyone else have a phone that literally crashes when you pick it up?  Seriously - the screen goes completely white and then I'm looking at the reboot screen (it hangs when it's trying to connect to the network so I have to shut the phone off to get it working again).  I wanted to get a new one, but this one actually works sometimes so I figured I'd rather not take my chances.

    I dunno - I tried playing around with J2ME and decided that phone software just isn't my game...

    DirectX will take one of two actions:
    1)  It will error out informing you that a newer version is installed already.
    2)  It will take no action and update no files but appear to have done something.

    Nothing should be broken or damaged by installing any version of Dx on your system.  As a test, Install DirectX 8 on your system with Windows XP SP2.  After that, run any game that requires DirectX 9.  Things work!  DirectX has also published APIs for quite some time on how to detect what version is on the system, but they officially reccomend just launching the redist and letting it error out or take no action.  Based on Microsoft's statements on the topic, it looks like there shouldn't be any way to downgrade from one version to a previous version of DirectX.



  • @ShadowWolf said:

    2)  It will take no action and update no files but appear to have done something.

    Based on Microsoft's statements on the topic, it looks like there shouldn't be any way to downgrade from one version to a previous version of DirectX.

    Hmm, that does ring true.  (Poor choice of expressions, based on your phone.  Sorry.)

    Next time I think I've hosed DirectX, I'll actually check it out.
     



  • Yeah - we had to look up all that DirectX info to see what was going on behind the scenes...



  • @ChrisF said:

    Yeah, that stupid plug-and-play frenzy is just evil - and some people even advertise how intrusive their software is ("all you've got to do is run the CD...").
     
    My worst experience was with a British ISP (an ISP! What's an ISP's business on my system?!) that rhymes with Yahoo. They would send us a modem and a CD, and a manual that basically said: run the CD to configure the modem).

     The CD -  which was supposed to "set up the modem" and nothing more - did the following:

    • Install Outlook Express and make it the default email client
    • Set up the email account provided with the Internet connection in Outlook Express
    • Make IE my default browser (and add the line "provided by ..." to the title bar)
    • Make their homepage the start page
    • Install a browser toolbar
    • Pollute any thinkable screen estate with their stupid icons
    • made their connection the default Internet connection
    • ... oh yeah, and it actually did configure the modem, what a surprise

    Additionally, they were the only ISP I ever had that did not allow SMTP relay and even though having a download limit would not give you the possibility to monitor your current traffic volume.

    Comcast is worse.  Three years ago, when I set up my account with them, the install CD did all of the above, except that it [i]didn't[/i] configure the modem.  They'd changed the setup procedures, and the old CDs they were still sending out could no longer configure the connection or set up an account.

    They've got a download limit, and won't tell you what the limit is -- just that you've gone over it, and if you don't reduce your usage next month, they'll cancel your account.



  • @ShadowWolf said:

    Nothing should be broken or damaged by installing any version of Dx on your system.

    I wouldn't force an old version to install over a newer one. It's defiantly possible to mess up your directx installation to the point a windows reinstall is the easiest fix.

    Running the redistributable installer for any version on the other hand is fine. It should always do the right thing and not leave the system in a mess. Running the redist as part of the installation is the easiest and recommended method to ensure a suitable version of directx is installed.

    For example there are several directx9.0c versions that microsoft decided should share the same version number and are instead identified by the month they where released. A PITA to detect and an absolute nightmare when it comes to customer support. 



  • I worked around the Comcast Crap (or Comcrap) by just calling them and telling them that their CD didn't work.

    They happily configured the entire thing in less than the 5 minutes it took me to wait in their queue. Hmm....15 minute installer that pooches my system or a 10 minute phone call that doesn't...boy, tough choice there. Comcast was also looking in to charging per-machine instead of per-household. That company is just a load of hogwash.

    SBC isn't much better - they lie to you over the phone that the software is necessary to make the modem work and install their own stupid Yahoo! Browser.



  • @ShadowWolf said:

    DirectX will take one of two actions:

    1)  It will error out informing you that a newer version is installed already.
    2)  It will take no action and update no files but appear to have done something.

    Nothing should be broken or damaged by installing any version of Dx on your system.  As a test, Install DirectX 8 on your system with Windows XP SP2.  After that, run any game that requires DirectX 9.  Things work!  DirectX has also published APIs for quite some time on how to detect what version is on the system, but they officially reccomend just launching the redist and letting it error out or take no action.  Based on Microsoft's statements on the topic, it looks like there shouldn't be any way to downgrade from one version to a previous version of DirectX.

    I'm pretty sure I've seen DX3 install itself over DX5 (or 6) once, any idea how happy I was when the next version was released? (Win95 or Win98)



  • @ShadowWolf said:

    Phone software sucks :(  Does anyone else have a phone that literally crashes when you pick it up?  Seriously - the screen goes completely white and then I'm looking at the reboot screen (it hangs when it's trying to connect to the network so I have to shut the phone off to get it working again).  I wanted to get a new one, but this one actually works sometimes so I figured I'd rather not take my chances.

    I dunno - I tried playing around with J2ME and decided that phone software just isn't my game...

    DirectX will take one of two actions:
    1)  It will error out informing you that a newer version is installed already.
    2)  It will take no action and update no files but appear to have done something.

    Nothing should be broken or damaged by installing any version of Dx on your system.  As a test, Install DirectX 8 on your system with Windows XP SP2.  After that, run any game that requires DirectX 9.  Things work!  DirectX has also published APIs for quite some time on how to detect what version is on the system, but they officially reccomend just launching the redist and letting it error out or take no action.  Based on Microsoft's statements on the topic, it looks like there shouldn't be any way to downgrade from one version to a previous version of DirectX.

    Microsoft specifically made it so you couldn't downgrade. i remember the reasoning being something like "HEY NT4 USERS, GET WITH THE GODDAMNED PROGRAM"



  • I once installed some stuff on a laptop before handing it over to a friend. It was a Toshiba. I must say they have the worst power management and Bluetooth software there is:

    • Power management software takes over the standard power management properties dialog and whenever you try to run this, it pops up a message box saying something along the lines of "use our software instead or it won't work"
    • There is an option to enable hibernation support (WTF???? I thought it's supported by the system...), but it does nothing - you can't hibernate
    • Power button settings take no effect - any option different than shutdown doesn't work
    • The Bluetooth software is completely useless, kewlish, and it installs a shell extension that lets you to send ANYTHING (it registers itself as a ShellEx in * class) over Bluetooth. Using this extension is the ONLY way to use that software - you can't send files by running the executable and then choosing some option in it (like "Send a file"). The shell extension renews itself whenever the software is run, and it's in startup of course... This is criminal!


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