An open Letter to all SAAP, Software and Some Hardware Vendors.
From: Jim Forbes, Retired Demo Event Producer
Subject: Opt-in,Opt-Out and My Willingness to use a Hatchet
I”ve agreed to test a lot of new software in the last three decades. Mostly, it’s been a rewarding experience.
When a new company asks me to participate in the testing of anew application or service, I take the challenge seriously and I try to be as honest as possible about my experiences with the application—or hardware. In fact I make a point of testing applications on what I define as “my everyday machine” or in “common usage scenarios” when I agree to test something.
I am intensely interested in several emerging categories ofapplications. Some of these include note taking (or outlining), mobile commerceand consumer group conferencing applications, web-based office productivity and other packages.
I recognize most new software developers don’t have deep pockets and are under enormous pressure from investors to initiate revenue streams. Unfortunately some developers have resorted to partnerships with bloatware providers to trickle coins into their purses.
If someone agrees to test any company’s software, the developer should never assume they are also explicitly agreeing to install some lame ass, second string search toolbar dredged up from the Nineties. I’m perfectly happy using Google or Microsoft Bing.
Moreover, many of my primary apps are video intensive, so I do not want to waste valuable memory assets with some silly software that was selected for extinction by consumers 14 years ago.
My recent experience with a consumer video sharing application is one example. I installed the host based kernel and bigger than life, an Ask.com toolbar obnoxiously attached itself to some of my primary apps. Damn it! If I wanted to use Ask.com, I’d consciously install it. Not directly asking my permission to install it is a violation of my trust. And that’s something that makes me question
the competence and integrity of a company’s management all the way up to its Board of Directors.
I absolutely hate bloatware in all its sundry forms. My computer is my property and I deliberately choose how and what programs I install and use. Because I agree to test an application doesn’t mean I’m opting to also use a dinosaur from Computing’s Triassic age. In fact, all three of the
most recent problems I’ve had with my computer have been caused by bloatware that’s accompanied new software I’m testing.
Opt-in,Opt-Out is an ongoing marketing strategy, yet again.
SO here’s the deal, I will savage any application that doesn’t allow me to easily opt-out of companion installations. Given the maturity of technology, any assumption by a developer that my testing of a program constitutes an axiomatic agreement that I’m opting in forces me to question a
software company’s understanding of its user base. And when I go down that road,
I am forced to look at the experience of that company’s management, its board of directors and all its investors.
My screed isn’t limited to software. Once again, bloatware has become a huge problem in hardware.
I have a nicely keened Fiskars hatchet I’m willing to use on any product that violates my beliefs in opt--in, opt-out. I also have a strong hand that’s willing to use that edged instrument.—Jim Forbes on 12/07/2012.