I have McAfee antivirus software on my computer at work, and every other day I look down at the open programs icons and see that the program has once again burst unwanted from the background. It usually wants me to run some scheduled hard-drive scan (scheduled by whom?) and even gives me the added anxiety of a second-by-second countdown until the scan runs automatically. If that's not what's on its mind, the program is nagging me to register or install another update, complete with a 'remind me later' button but no 'No, not ever' button. When I try to imagine human beings communicating in that way, boiler-room telemarketers and used-car salesmen up against an end-of-the-month quota come to mind.
Adobe Flash Plug-In
The Adobe Flash app is perhaps the most versatile and artistic Web development tool ever. So naturally Web developers love using it. Problem is, if you don't have the right Flash plug-in for your browser, instead of the developer's lovely Flash work, you'll see a big blank space on the page. Flash is so widespread that you're almost required to have the latest updates of the plug-in.
The Flash plug-in story repeats with the Java plug-in, which seems to require a new update about twice a week. When you're moving at Web speed, the sudden roadblock can be a jolt. Stopping what you're doing (and possibly losing your train of thought in the process) to go to some site just to update some stupid plug-in is, well, frustrating. "It annoys me so much," writes Kimbo Fonseca Raz on the Facebook page. "It wastes my time updating them so that I can run the Web sites!"
The ASK Toolbar
"The ASK toolbar that installs itself over and over again on Firefox and can't be stopped from coming back apparently," says PCWorld editor Anne McDonald. "Evil!"
Many PC users have found this out the hard way. The Ask toolbar is bundled with a number of free software packages, such as those from Nero. The toolbar is integrated into the installer software and becomes part of your browser once you install the free software on your PC. The invading app then changes your browser's default home page to Ask.com, and changes your default search engine to Ask.
It's very hard for the operating system to completely get rid of the Ask toolbar. In fact, someone created a special tool to perform that specific task.
McDonald is right: The Ask toolbar is evil, but apparently perfectly legal.