Somehow, a lot of the technologies that wore out their welcome a decade ago have managed to stick around long after they should have filled digital mass graves. They're less "programs" and more "computer fuckers," and they need to just goddamn die already. Especially these ones ...
Close your eyes and attempt to remember the most helpful internet toolbar you've ever installed. Having trouble thinking of any? I think that's pretty par for the course for toolbars as a whole, because they have literally never been useful to anyone.
This is what internet browsers look like in hell.
A browser toolbar is kind of like the Mark of Cain in regards to technology, a label telling the rest of the world that you don't know how to use a computer. Here's the problem with any browser toolbar that has ever existed: No one has ever started out a day of internetting by saying, "Let me make sure I have the latest EZ Search toolbar installed on my computer." Instead, users are typically tricked into installing a toolbar because they made the mistake of trusting an installer as a legitimate and necessary piece of software. Take Java, for instance -- a programming language and platform with its own history of major vulnerabilities. The program boasts its presence on over three billion devices in big, giant letters right in the installer window.
But what you may have missed during Java installation, in slightly smaller letters, is the prompt to include the Ask Toolbar with your installation.
If you're a normal person who runs an installer and just clicks "Next" through each prompt, you would totally miss the part where you agree to install this garbage. You can find this same kind of behavior in programs like Skype, which installs the Skype Click-To-Call toolbar, as well as several Microsoft products that will assume you want a Bing toolbar on your computer for some fucking reason.
You may have noticed a common theme with these examples: The user never sets out to download a toolbar ... ever. It's almost as if nobody wants them on their computers. So why in Bill Gates' asshole do they exist? Why does a program like Java, used on more devices than Android, iOS, and Windows combined, feel the need to slip in a useless toolbar under your nose? The answer is probably related to money, and I would really love to confirm that for you, but a Java update just changed my fucking search engine to Ask, and now all the results are fucking sponsored ads.
So I fucking can't.
If you grew up in a world where high-speed internet was the norm, you cannot begin to fathom the horror that was dial-up internet. You would generally log online, make yourself a cup of coffee, read through an entire newspaper, and then maybe your internet would be connected. And this is if the dial-up number wasn't busy at the time. This was in the dark ages, when instead of Google Fiber, FioS, and Xfinity internet, we had Erol's, Prodigy, and AOL. Actually, believe it or not, there was a time when the word "internet" was pretty much synonymous with the words "America Online."
And these free trial CDs were synonymous with playing Tron in the Blockbuster parking lot.
Back in the day, if you weren't on AOL, you just weren't keeping up with all the rad fuckin' kids. Don't believe me? Just watch these rad fuckin' kids.
As cool as AOL was, 1996 was a long time ago, and the internet has come a long way since then. So you can understand my surprise when I learned that 2.3 million people are still relying on AOL's dial-up for all their internet. Somehow, AOL -- the company that released a ridiculous amount of user data, the company that made it notoriously difficult to cancel services, the company that we all thought was dead and rotting in a pile of its own labored start-up beeps -- is still providing terrible internet to 3 percent of the population. That's some Mad Max-level insanity.
Complete and utter bonks.
Aside from being a terrible way to connect to the internet, dial-up companies like AOL are hampering progress for the rest of the country. Pretty much the only reason anyone is still stuck with dial-up is that the big providers can't be bothered to extend their service to rural areas. And why should they, when just about everyone has a phone line to plug into? It also doesn't help that companies are offering dial-up for next to nothing, making it seem like you're coming out on top in the deal, when that simply isn't the case. After ragging on them this whole time, I would really like to provide some words of comfort to our AOL readers, but I think the Cracked logo at the top of the page might still be loading.
They're all probably accessing Cracked the old-fashioned way, anyway.
#4. Bundled Vendor Bloatware Bullshit
Buying a new computer can be a stressful endeavor. You want something fast and easy to use from a company that can be trusted to field all your porn, and even your non-porn-related computing needs. These days, you can purchase a Dell, Lenovo, or HP computer at pretty much any store that has an electronics section, and they're considered to be some of the highest-rated brands.
Meanwhile, Gateway is only sold in Circuit City and RadioShack.
Buying a top-rated brand of computer will guarantee a machine that does what you need and fast! That is, once you remove all the pre-installed garbage. You know the stuff I'm talking about.
What you're looking at is about 15 apps that come pre-loaded on a brand-new machine. A machine that you pay upwards of $300 for, only to have HP fuck your computer's memory up and down the street. Which is exactly what those programs are doing. At least half of those programs are triggered to run when your computer boots up, and usually chug along in the background without you realizing it. If you've ever wondered why your system is running slowly even when you don't have a lot of programs opened, you can blame nonsense like this. But it's not just HP. They all do it! New Lenovo PCs are just lousy with this junk.
Meanwhile, ASUS must stand for "Always Slowing Users' Systems," because they're clogging your shiny new system with, among other things, a screensaver -- something no one has used since monitors came in giant 20-pound cube form.
"ASUS FancyStart" had better involve a top hat and monocle.
You can look up every one of those programs and find that your computer doesn't need any of them to function. And sure, you can uninstall all of them, but you have to do it one by one, with many of them asking you to reboot afterwards. That's time that could be spent setting up programs you actually need, trolling people on Facebook, or blowing out the whole Windows installation for something that doesn't drown your system in bloatware.
Fuck you, ASUS, and the FancyStart you rode in on!