"Real" has done it again.
May 22, 2000 9:48 AM   Subscribe

"Real" has done it again. For the third time they've embedded surreptitious monitoring capability into one of their programs.

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." What do we do for the third time? (A tactical nuke seems indicated.)
posted by Steven Den Beste (16 comments total)
Please make it a small nuke, my apartment is just down the street, and as much as they deserve some sort of slappin-around for this, my cats are innocent. Well, as innocent as cats get.

This sort of thing begs 2 questions in my mind. First, is there a free or pay, download manager which doesn't do usage reporting? Both popular ones I'm aware of(GetRight and GoZilla) do some sort of reporting. Even when you've upgraded from the free versions. Second, for all the talk about customer-backlash, has real actually seen any lost business because of this stuff? One's choices are pretty limited....as far as I know, there's not a real-compatible alternative....and thanks to the infamous DCMA, there's little chance of providing open-source solutions to closed-protocols.
posted by nomisxid at 10:18 AM on May 22, 2000

I use a program called filehound for d-loading. I think the Company, Albino Frog, is no longer around (404 on their page) but there is a place to get it.
posted by Mick at 11:25 AM on May 22, 2000

I swear, Real makes without a doubt the most intrusive and annoying software known to man. RealPlayer is a hideous piece of software...it overtakes your entire desktop.

To me, this is the pinnacle of rudeness. Don't these software engineers actually USE their own software? Apparently not.

I hate Real.
posted by Succa at 11:42 AM on May 22, 2000

a) I find it funny that on the top of that page there is a link to another page full of Real Audio files and with an advert to "Get Real Player Now!"...

b) I just downloaded Real's new Real Entertainment Center, that includes the Download thingy... During installation it did put out a list of file extensions that Real Download would take over and it did ask what information, if any, to send back to Real. Plus, the feedback info is also set from the Preferences option in all the applications bundled in REC as well. So, unless they're sending out other info that they're not telling us, this article is totally bogus.

BTW, I am not a big fan of Real either...
posted by costas at 11:55 AM on May 22, 2000

the article is not bogus seeing as the same exact thing occured to me. it installed itself with realplayer without asking and took over everything and was a bitch to find an uninstall. i however knew nothing about it logging downloads, but it doesnt really matter since i never used it.
posted by sikk at 12:24 PM on May 22, 2000

You know, I ranted about Real a few months ago...

and then I grabbed RealPlayer 7.. and wasn't nearly as annoyed. That Flash User Interface thing is a pain... and the fact that it can't dither videos to 8-bit, but it's better than WMP.

At least it works.

WMP. Gee, that's awful close to EMP, isn't it?

(Thanks for posting this, Steve; I'd meant to, and forgot.)
posted by baylink at 12:57 PM on May 22, 2000

I'd complain but the fact is I'm gonna have to put up with WMP or Realplayer until a there is a defacto standard for video on the net. I'm gonna have to use both...poor me...
posted by neo452 at 3:19 PM on May 22, 2000

My stupid real player flashes an icon in my taskbar which drives me crazy. When I click it, a window pops up informing that I can upgrade to a new version. It takes about six mouseclicks on various close/yes, i'm sure/finish buttons get the player to shut up. So it doesn't surprise me that Real is developing new annoying features.
posted by grumblebee at 5:22 PM on May 22, 2000

"It drives me cra-a-a-azy
I just can't sleep!
I'm so exci-i-i-ted
I'm in too deep!"
sorry, grumblebee, your post got that song stuck in my head...
posted by premiumpolar at 6:50 PM on May 22, 2000

I just recently (days before this story broke) helped my Dad install RealPlayer 7 G2, the shareware version. For some reason he had downloaded not the "basic" version but the "standard" version, which includes not only RealPlayer but NetZip and a couple other useless creampuffs. Running the install forced him through a NetZip install, and while there was a boilerplate legal statement with an I Agree / I Disagree, who reads those?

Apparently, we all should, now.
posted by dhartung at 8:06 PM on May 22, 2000

I wonder what the mechanics of the monitoring component are? Would it be easy to crack and flood Real Networks with bogus information, like gazillions of downloads from rubberducky originating from IP At least then they'd know what we really want.
posted by PaperCut at 9:22 PM on May 22, 2000

I don't really like Real's stuff at all. Their products are nothing to write home about, and the flashing icon in my system tray is annoying too (always think I have an ICQ msg)... This is just the icing on the cake. I think I'll uninstall RealPlayer now.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 1:03 AM on May 23, 2000

Note, Justin, that the blinking icon can be configured not to blink...

Look through *all* the setup stuff...
posted by baylink at 7:34 AM on May 23, 2000

Ummm, I have RealPlayer and I don't have all these annoying flashing icons! I'm jealous! Okay, not really, but my point is, somehow or other, I installed it in such a way that I didn't get subjected to all that, so it is possible to use RealPlayer without the annoyance.
posted by daveadams at 8:42 AM on May 23, 2000

Be very careful about RealPlayer... I noticed while viewing the source code for the salon.com page, that Real is putting some link-checking mechanism into your browser ... I disabled the NetZip client and browser integration, but I'm not sure if their "spying" is still there. I probably have to reboot my computer before I notice the changes. Ugh. Those slimy bastards...
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 12:14 PM on May 23, 2000

My very first bitch with Real was how (in RA 6.0) they replaced my selected "home page" in Netscape with Real.com. What nerve. I checked for a preference that would override this, but found none. This happened on both my Mac and my PC.

It doesn't surprise me at all to read about this spying stuff. I have kept my computers free of Real Audio since my annoyance with them over the replacing of my homepage. It causes me to miss a lot of content, but with the Windows box especially, I really don't want to wrangle with something so invasive.

posted by monde at 10:23 PM on May 23, 2000

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