Is All Bloatware Crapware?

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If you’re like me when buying a new computer, the first thing you do when you turn it on is start uninstalling all the OEM “junkware” to make space for the programs you want to use.  Upon the implosion of my desktop computer, of which the evidence of transistors and capacitors still litter my desk, I decided to get a laptop as a desktop replacement.  Not necessarily anything super fast, because it would be mostly used for school and work since most run of the mill computers these days can run Microsoft Office and a web browser at optimum with zero effort anyway, but I wanted a large screen that was decently priced, so I settled on the Acer Aspire 7750G-6662.  I didn’t like the price, but it had a nice 17.3 inch screen and I was able to get it on a payment plan through HSN.

Acer Aspire 7750G-6662 Pre-installed Software

  • Microsoft Office Starter 2010
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Adobe Reader
  • eSobi
  • Norton Online Backup
  • New York Times Reader
  • Nook for PC
  • MyWinLocker
  • NTI Media Maker
  • McAfee Internet Security Suite
  • Acer Clear.fi
  • Acer Backup Manager
  • Acer ePower Management
  • Acer eRecovery Management
  • Acer Games powered by WildTangent

As soon as I got it, I began uninstalling the bloatware, but then I thought to myself, are any of them something I could really use?  So, I uninstalled the programs that looked like nothing I would use, like Ebay, Norton Online Backup, McAfee Security Suite, Microsoft Office “Farter” Edition, MyWinLocker and NTI Media Maker and kept the ones I was curious about such as Esobi, New York Times Reader and Nook.  I have had the laptop for 4 months now and this is what I think of the ones I kept.

eSobi newsXpresso

eSobi newsXpresso (yes this is how it’s spelled) is an RSS reading program.   My first impression of the interface was that it was created by a bunch of kids; hated it because it’s too plain and cheap looking.  Not to mention on first launch it froze and I and  I had to CTRL+ALT+DEL out of it.  Once you get into the program, it is pretty straight forward; you subscribe to a news feed via RSS or XML and you can read them collaboratively in the program.  Nothing advanced about it.

I deleted all the preloaded feeds and added tags and RSS feeds I was interested in.  The first one I did was related to Blizzard news; you should have seen that coming.  I was saddened by the look of it actually; it was mostly text since there weren’t many images on the Blizzad feed and it didn’t look as interesting as the preloaded feeds as you can see above.  Nonetheless it serves the purpose of having a one stop spot to read Blizzard news.

Personally I think it was a good idea, but just a bad execution; the interface just looks too juvenile for me.  The articles seem to have no specific place and if the images in the RSS feeds don’t fit the whole window, it appears disorganized like the articles are just thrown on the page.  It’s hard to see where one article starts and the other ends.  But I’m going to keep it anyways because it beats having to search on the Blizzard site for new news and then switching to Reddit when I want to read that; all I have to do in newsXpresso is “turn the page”.  Of course I could always switch it to the catalogue layout to make it look better and easier to follow, but with a lot of feeds it could be frustrating finding what I want with constant scrolling.

Esobi newsXpresso newspaper layout

Esobi newsXpresso catalogue layout

New York Times Reader

Love It. I am bad with keeping up with news. If it has nothing to do with gaming then I overlook it but I like the interface of NYTR; its clean, minimal, modern and simple yet it doesn’t look disorganized, cheap and low-budget like newsXpresso.   Esobi should take some lessons from New York Times. There’s not much to say about it. It’s The New York Times. You read it.

Nook for PC

Nook for PC is an ebook reader.  In case you’ve been living in the ice ages, an ebook is the digital form of written books; you can read it on a PC, a tablet, smart phone, pretty much anywhere.  The ebook’s that we are familiar with and are marketed today, have been around for probably more than a decade; I think I bought my first ebook  Stephen King’s novella Riding the Bullet about 10 years ago on Amazon.  Unforunately, the reason why I never got hardcore into ebooks was because not many books were in digital form yet.  But when they were initially released, they were in Adobe Reader form. For some reason they’ve only become popular within the last 5 years despite how long they’ve been out, thanks to ebook readers such as the Kindle from Amazon and the Nook tablet from Barnes & Noble. There are other readers out there but those two are the giants.

I was kind of disappointed when I saw you actually had to purchase the ebooks (sad I know) from Barnes & Noble, there are two that come preloaded with the program, but I was happy to find on the B&N web site that there were TONS as in tens of thousands of free ebooks as well.  So I headed right to the Scifi, Fantasy & Horror section and got H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds.  Epic reading there and can’t wait to read it tonight.  If you like reading ebooks and love throwing your money at B&N then this is definately a keeper.

As for the rest of the bloatware that came on my Acer, it got uninstalled without even a second thought.  Programs like MyWinLocker I stay far far away from.  MyWinLocker is a program that is supposed to encrypt the files on your computer to keep them safe from hackers or people breaking into your PC or others staying off your files.  First of all, anything that can lock out someone from your  files, can also lock you out as well.  No thanks. I’ll just protect my files the old fashioned way by not letting anyone use my PC.   Anything with Norton or McAfee in the name is like kryptonite to me; I destroy it asap.  And the NTI Mediaware software is nothing but trialware anyways; 30 days free of this, 60 days free of that, then they’re reaching in my pocket for cash … no thanks.  If I need to burn CDs or create DVDs, I still have my old full version of Nero 8 software that came free with my DVD-R drives 6 years ago and still works marvelously even on Windows 7.  You can keep your crapware.

So is everything you get on your new computer crapware?  I’d have to say no.  Next time when you buy yourself a new PC, take the time and check some of it out.  Although 98% of it is hot garbage, some of it you might actually use and be happy with.

 

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