And oldie but still very true… Real Player and all its unholy ilk. If by some grave crime against humanity someone insists on using real player formats (rm, etc) to present their audio or video, several countries allow you to beat them senseless with a large blunt object. No matter what they promise (hidden Atlantean gold, secrets of immortality or your favorite celebrity engaging in unmentionable acts) do NOT install Real products. You have been warned. Every time you install Real products, God kills a [insert favorite animal here]. Its true, I read it in Wikipedia.
The next no-no is lesser known but a mighty crime against software in its own right. Some know it as The Beast, but the patent office knows it as Roxio Media Manager. As good as its cousin product Toast is, Media Manager is evil. That is to say Media Manager will burrow into your operating system with all the enthusiasm of a crack-addled bot fly larva with diamond-tipped mandibles. You might prefer the bot fly larva after a few hours of trying to extract this persistent
virus program. I’m sad to say, I know all to well (glares at RIM’s bundled software).
As a general rule, do not install any program with the word “Toolbar” in its name. Even normally sane and beneficent software manufacturers lose their minds in a maelstrom of pure evil when coding Toolbar applications. I can only assume that its a cathartic act to expulse malice and cruelty that would otherwise have no means of release. Regardless, beware. These “helper” applications rarely do more than help themselves to your memory, processor and hard drive space in exchange for a glorified selection of shortcut icons.
While I’m not going to condemn all Microsoft products because many are debatably fine productivity solutions, Outlook Express is without merit whatsoever, however. It falls in a non-existent category of usefulness between the full version of Outlook (almost unrecognizable from Express) and Thunderbird and similar products. Unfortunately, most users rarely have the chance to decided whether or not to have Outlook Express installed on their computers. It simply materializes like an inexplicable rash on new machines and fresh installs. Although IT professionals and priests working together have outlined several ways to fully remove it, normal uninstall attempts can provide hours of fun watching Windows insist that the world will end if you do not have Outlook Express on your computer and gleefully blocking your attempts to bring about this supposed apocalypse.
While technically useful in many situations I still greatly resent how Quicktime is distributed. Regardless of whether you have it or not already, Apple loves bundling it with each and every iTunes download. Furthermore, once you are forced to install this iTunes symbiont, you stand a better than even chance of having the new Quicktime break all your old custom short cuts and “conveniently forgetting” your preference selections like “don’t bog down my start up by automatically loading Quicktime on boot”.
And finally, in the same vein as Quicktime there is Apple’s iPhone software. Steve is so confident that your ownership of his glorious Jesus Phone is inevitable, that yup, the management software for it automatically installs and launches with iTunes. Sure it can be removed with a little extra effort, but isn’t it ironic to accuse Windows of bloat while causing your share of it with such tactics?