Tag Archives: bloatware

Firefox Beta 4.0 Annoyances

Jordan LeBlanc wrote an email to me recently, which appears below. He tried out the beta version of Firefox 4.0 for his Mac, and he wasn’t very happy with the results. He did the right thing in reporting the bug that annoyed him. I’m not sure, though, that I agree with uninstalling and ceasing to use a beta for that reason alone. The whole point of being a beta tester is to continue to update the builds, continue testing it and continue reporting any problems.

Hey Chris:

Just wondering if you have spent any time using Firefox 4.0 beta on the Mac, and if so, what are your thoughts on it?

I took it for a test drive today and I am sad to say that after 5 minutes, I uninstalled the darn thing. It showed promise — it was actually really fast – more so than Safari 5, and perhaps even slightly faster than Chrome. But — and this was the killer for me — it kept placing a 2nd icon on my dock for no apparent reason! At first I thought it was pop ups, but when you click on the icon… nothing happens. When you use dock expose on the Firefox app, it only shows one window. It is just some weird, random and useless icon that keeps appearing no matter how often you close it. After 5 minutes, I decided it was too much of an annoyance, and I uninstalled the beta – but not before I provided feedback about the issue via the “why Firefox made me sad” feedback menu.

It’s sort of sad, because Firefox used to be an amazing browser back in the day when it was designed to be fast, bloat free, and have a small footprint. If I remember correctly, that was the whole point to Firefox! If you wanted something slow and bloated you used IE or Mozilla’s full client. IMHO, Firefox started going downhill when they lost sight of that vision, and began adding all these crazy add-ons and themes. It has become the very thing it had been created to challenge.

Guess I’ll be sticking with Safari and Chrome for the foreseeable future. Firefox just isn’t what it used to be.

Have you tried out the beta version yet? What are your thoughts on it overall? Do you have any specifics praises or concerns that you want to share with the community?

New Motorola Droid X and Samsung Vibrant Full of Bloatware

Recently, we discussed bloatware found on computers. Bloatware includes all of the unnecessarily pre-installed programs that come with your shiny new machine. They take up space and sit there trying to entice you into using them. Over the years, we’ve hardened ourselves to this problem and simply start removing stuff as soon as we hook up our new toy. We shouldn’t have to do this, no. It’s just an annoying fact of life. Sadly, it seems as though many smartphones are now following in their big brother’s footsteps.

The Motorola Droid X and the Samsung Vibrant (both just released today) come with some bloatware apps pre-installed. The problem is, though, that most of them are NOT able to be removed. The Droid X, for instance, sports a Blockbuster video app and a demo for an Electronic Arts game called Need for Speed: Shift. The Blockbuster app includes a store locator and a place where you can download mobile movies from their catalog. You cannot uninstall this app from your phone – you can only remove it from your home screen. The game gives you limited functionality and a nice, big button urging you to buy the full version. This app can be removed, thankfully. Skype is included on the phone and is another permanent fixture. A strange new “feature” called City ID is also included. It gives location information about a phone number on your incoming call screen. It will only work for fifteen days, and then you’ll have to pony up about two bucks per month to use it.

The Vibrant is no less guilty of feeding us bloated apps we don’t need. You’ll find the Avatar movie on your phone, just in case you want to watch it over and over. One cannot help but wonder how much they paid to have that handily included. Another app is a video channel named MobiTV, which is only free for the first month. Third, you’ll find The Sims 3: Collector’s Edition. And last – but likely least – is an OLD version of Amazon’s Kindle app. None of these four applications can be removed from the device.

To me, this is ludicrous. I should have the ability to choose what programs and applications I want on my devices. If you want to pre-load something, so be it. I’m used to that. But you damn well need to give me the ability to get rid of whatever it is I don’t want. Do you agree with me – or not?

How Do You Define Bloatware?


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A caller the other night asked simply: “What is Bloatware?” That’s actually an easy one to answer! Bloatware is when you have a piece of software that should be a certain size. However, due to several unnecessary things being added in, the size of the software increases dramatically. Heck, sometimes companies add so much crap in that the original software ends up being buggy and laggy making it not work properly.

There are some types of software that you can turn off the unneeded services and installed applications. When installing a new piece of software, make sure you actually pay attention and read everything during installation. I recommend never just “clicking through” repeatedly. There are a lot of things that will get installed without your consent… all of which are enabled by default. For example, there are types of software that will automatically install various toolbars unless you tell it not to.

Some people claim that things such as Microsoft Office are bloatware due to the sheer number of features inside. You may want just a good text editor (Word), but instead you’re going to have to install a ton of other things just to get that.

My best advice is just to pay attention to what you’re installing. Make sure you are aware of what comes bundled with each piece of software when deciding what to buy, even. Choose something that works well for your needs and comes with the least amount of “extras.”

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