How To: Reclaim Digsby

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minimumBS

So let me get this straight... anyone who's not a Digsby fanboy is a Digsby hater in Maximum PC's eyes?   Come on, Maximum PC, in the past this would have been a Watchdog item.  You might still be Maximum PC, but you need to get back a little more of the Minimum BS.  

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dankers

As of 8/14/2009 11:43 EST Digsby has a great big notice about how it remains free and a link where you can click to read more.

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jcollins

In the article: "It also comes with a research module that will use your computer’s recourses while you’re away."   Recourses should be resources. 

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Sovereign

The whole "if it's in the EULA" defense is stupid.  There's a difference between asking to install adware and installing something that uses your CPU at full bore.  If you pay for your own electricity, then they're in my opinion stealing from you.  If you're going to run my CPU full-bore (like F@H does), you damn well better make sure you've thrown a huge box in my face telling me.  The fact that it sneakily runs after your PC has been unused, then shuts itself off when you get back is even worse, since you wouldn't even notice it unless you heard about it.  All you would possibly see is a higher power bill.

Just because you can hide things in the EULA doesn't mean you should.  It may be "legal" but it still strikes me as wrong--many companies take advantage of the fact that Joe and Jane Public don't read EULAs becaues they're long, full of legalese and impossible to understand. 

If Digsby is also starting to follow this trend then it's just shameful.

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DogPatch1149

Easy way around the bloatware - don't click the big Download button.  Use the optional click here link to download the installer...the only things I had to uncheck were the set of search pages to Digsby Search, and that was clearly marked.  Didn't ask me for a toolbar, another program, or anything else.

I do agree that they don't make it obvious that the program will use CPU cycles when idle, but it is clear when you read it...though it's a bit of a pain to find.  Of course, as others have said, how many people actually read EULAs?

So far, it seems to work on my machine, but time will be the judge.  I was soured on Trillian, so I'm leery of this one too, but I'll give it a fair chance.

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jwalch.hawk

Thanks for this tip, Andy.  I've been having issues with Digsby locking up when coming back to my computer after being away for any amount of time between 5 minutes and whenever I have suspend set to kick in (I know this because my screensaver also happens to be at 5 minutes).  I also really like what Digsby has to offer and hope that this will fix that problem as I'd really prefer to keep using it.

As for the rage about how they snuck it in there...  I agree that it's on the shady side.  However, if this is the sort of thing that really, really bothers you, then I think you should be reading the ToS, in which case you would have seen the clause stated in a comment below.  I'm willing to admit that I am too lazy to read the ToS or EULA for this and most other software, but I'm also willing to give a little leeway in terms of crap they like to sneak in there.  Yeah, I'm not okay if they try to claim my first-born in the EULA, but to me this hasn't crossed the line.  I feel like anyone who is really into preserving their rights should be active in protecting them.  To me, that means you have to read the ToS/EULA.  Ignoring them just to install your software ASAP is waiving those rights. 

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Cooketh

It's kind of sad that people like to cry like this. Even if you don't like the fact that programs and developers do these things consider reading your rights agreements before accepting a FREE program! And aside from all that, now that you know you can disable the troublesome feature, keep the version you have and enjoy the service it provides which, again, is free! Don't sit here and cry telling me that "Oh no my CPU isn't going to fully idle so my temps are going to be 5c higher and it's going to use more wattage!" Jesus, stop looking for reasons to cry. In terms of wattage, your CPU will use 50 watts because of this program. Just shut the hell up and enjoy the program. Any free software always has a catch. Whether it's decline the yahoo search bar or using your extra cycles for research depends on the program, but it's up to you to decline, accept, enable, or disable those addons. It's either that or enjoy Pepsi adds popping up while you web surf.

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jwalch.hawk

But technically speaking power consumption is a function of both the processor and the load, so that it makes it a lot tougher to say how much power consumption would increase as a result of this.  I am with you in saying it probably isn't that much (compared to how much you could save by doing a thousand other things), though the temperature thing might legitimately be an issue for notebooks.  Most notebooks I've worked with get pretty toasty if they're under heavy load for a large amount of time.

Mostly, though, yeah...  It's just anger on the Internet.  Lol. 

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MeTo

With todays computers running 300 to 500 watts i want no part of such garbage. Oh its in the 15th paragraph you accepted the terms of service. Poppycock stop trying to slip this stuff UNDER the radar to steal CPU cycles. Our kids do not read TOS or EULAS they just install this stuff thinking there getting Yahoo tool bar or IM or what ever.

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Craigg

It's kind of sad that MaxPC is glossing over this.  It is a big deal.  Sure, you can avoid the issues, but it's still low.  Bloatware issues aside, burying the option to turn off the module under Help->support digsby is just nasty.  And that blog post you linked to (which is from Dec last year!), was only posted after they had already snuck the feature out and people stumbled across it (from memory it was initially buggy and was causing issues for some people).  I remember back then they said they would move it to the options menu, I guess given all the sudden bad press they have gotten they must not have.

So guys seriously, stop sucking up to them and putting down the people 'on the hate bandagon' because they have the nerve to be alarmed. 

Actually now that I think about it, on the podcast you guys are always chucking off at people that don't agree with you?.

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jkpwnster

Anything that's been using my CPU cycles without my specific consent won't be trusted again.

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andysalisbury

Technically, it does ask you when you approve the TOS.

 

15. USAGE OF COMPUTER RESOURCES.

You agree to permit the Software to use the processing power of your computer when it is idle to run downloaded algorithms (mathematical equations) and code within a process. You understand that when the Software uses your computer, it likewise uses your CPU, bandwidth, and electrical power. The Software will use your computer to solve distributed computing problems, such as but not limited to, accelerating medical research projects, analyzing the stock market, searching the web, and finding the largest known prime number. This functionality is completely optional and you may disable it at any time. 

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mesiah

Not having installed this program myself I can not say wether there is any REAL warning about resource usage while idle, but if what you listed was the only warning, burying it in the 15th paragraph of the terms of service is just bad form. Its no worse than shady car dealers and con artists hiding behind the fine print. If I used the program with a bandwidth cap or on my laptop with a wireless card I would be furious to find out I was having bandwidth used up by a program because I didn't read the fine print. If they don't openly state their policy and give you the option of disabling it up front in their install program (not burried in terms of service) then I think everyone has the right to be upset and should find another program to use until this company cleans up their act.

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I Jedi

@ lol

 He got you there, jkpwnster... I find it interesting, though, that MaxPC, a professional tech magazine, feels the need to personally protect some program out there. As pointed out by our good friend, Craigg... Whatever, though... Keep the good articles in the magazine rolling. 

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minimumBS

Posting the current disclosure statement or any part of it is no proof whatsoever that was the same verbiage that was in place at the time that the user installed the software.  Companies can and do change these things all the time.   Maybe it's always been there, maybe it's not, but like you I'm sad that Maximum PC folks are going into defensive mode.  It's sadder still that they're not only siding with the software companies, but are actively dissing the users who say they've had problems with the software.  The Watchdog seems to have been replaced by that little yappy monstrosity in Paris Hilton's purse that will do any trick for a treat.

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Craigg

A cynical person could probably say that MaxPC is protecting digsby
because it has made it onto a few of their recommended programs
features.  If digsby were to be revealed as having turned evil, MaxPC may be concerned
it would make them look bad for recommending it.

But I'm probably just being bitter and cranky because I just came back
from the newsagents and MaxPC is now $18.50AUD here in Australia :)

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I Jedi

Well, that's what I got too, but to be completely fair... MaximumPC shouldn't be held reliable, as they continue to state on the disk they send out that they are not liable for damages, etc, caused by the programs they give out on the disk they send with the magazine subscribers.

The fact of the matter being is that while MaxPC is protecting itself, it shouldn't have to. They should merely drop all further recommedations for the program until such time that certain program no longer does shaddy things, as displayed here today. If users ask why the magazine advertised such a bad program, they should take it to the forum here and have an official article for the subject. Not blatantly go out on their website and parade around to the whole community saying,"Hey, look over here! We're not bad guys because we're showing you how to shut-off this feature that makes the bad program turn good, again!"

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andysalisbury

I want to come right out and say that this is in no way protection for Digsby. Sure I'm a big fan of the program, but when I see information as lopsided as that given in the cited article, I can't help but want to let people know the facts. Yes, it does come with bloatware and it does come with shady background processes, but it does tell you about them, and it does give you a very accessible way to turn them off.

I've simply listed the facts, and the only shred of opinion in it is at best an anecdote at the end.

 

Merely trying to help, that's all. 

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minimumBS

Bloatware is an opinion, not a fact.  Avoidable is an opinion, not a fact.  There are people I know who love Weatherbug, for example, and the only way they know how to install programs is to click Next and trust that the good people who recommended them the program would not lead them to a program that contains something bad.  I would no more recommend Digsby to someone than I would recommend them to a sandwich shop that routinely does "avoidable" bait-and-switch advertising or that uses "avoidable" but rotten ingredients.  You know, go to this shop to get the $2 sandwich, but don't buy any fries or drinks while you're there, because they'll cost you an extra $6... or, go to this shop, but after you get the sandwich, make sure you look it over really good because they often use moldy bread and rotten tomatoes, but the sandwich is reaaaallly good if you just pick the bad stuff off.  You're getting downright nasty with the readership, not scoring any extra points at all when you say we must be "hopping on the hate bandwagon" if we disagree with your opinion.  And then when people are offended by your labeling and name-calling, you think it's cool to get all stuffy and pull out the legal verbiage to prove that your opinion is right.  Do you even know if the verbiage you're referencing is the same as it was when the user originally installed the program?  Will, I know times are desperate and maybe you're desperate for volunteers to fill the blog, and maybe he's a great guy that everyone around the office loved when he interned there, but if this is the way he treats the readers, don't be surprised when people simply quit reading.

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Craigg

I can't see what you are talking about in the other article?

The other article actually gives exactly the same information for how to
disable everything that you have written about in this article.  They seem
to go more indepth about the whole thing overall, (the bloatware etc), and end
with the recommendation that they don't think you should use it.

Where exactly is their article is lopsided? Their language is a little more
doom and gloom with the dark side references, but they kind of have a point
don't they?  Are you talking about the whole $1 per user thing?  I did feel that wasn't really related to the overall issue.

But as for telling you about the hidden process.  Paragraph 15 of the
TOS and a blog posting from last year? Really? And accessible?  Hidden
under the help menu instead of the options page?  And with one of those annoying toggle switches where you don’t know for sure if it is telling you it is disabled, or
you have to click on it to make it disabled. (I haven't used digsby for a few months so I don't know if that has changed.  If it has I take it back)

 Anyways.  I'll still be listening to the MaxPC podcast on the way home from work today, much to my wifes annoyance.  She does think the rant guy is funny though.

edit* whoops.  Sorry about the rogue html formatting.  That's what I get for using an MS product to spell check and then cutting and pasting into the comment box.  For some reason Firefox spell check isn't working on this page for me.

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andysalisbury

Hey Craigg, 

 Good points, but I feel that it's up to the reader to decide what to do. In the cited article the last two words are "Uninstall Digsby." -- I don't feel this qualifies as unbiased reporting (and I'm not saying it was claimed to be). I'm not looking to contribute to the pool of opinion, simply providing a platform for understanding.

 Now, I'm not saying that people don't have the right to uninstall the program and feel however they want to. I'm not coming to the defense of Digsby, and I'm not discouting that hiding a background process like that is shady. However, I just want to illustrate that it's only what you make it -- if you want a bloatware filled computer you can do that. If you simply want to install Digsby that's easily accomplished as well. 

 Too, if the information has been available since last year, there's really no excuse on the part of the end user to claim as if they've been duped. Afterall, it may be far down in the TOS, but it's not completely hidden. It's our choice to not read the TOS. I'd suggest starting up Digsby and seeing how difficult it is to really turn the process off. I was able to turn it off with three clicks (the Help section is in the main bar of options). 

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MeTo

At the vary least it should be a default to OPT in. Instead of OPT out. This is what erks me. They ask you do you want to do express "easy" install or install with full control which takes a rocket scientist to figure out. The last sentence was not about Digsby per say but programs all together. Stop with differant installs when i am installing a program "ask" me do i want to install so and so tell me what it does and "let" me decide if i want to. Do not automaticly install and enable stuff with out explict consent. Don't tell me you gave consent in the 15th paragraph of the EULA.

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mesiah

Unbiased and refusing to form an opinion are two different things. The fact that MaxPC pretty much gave the program a pass really annoys me. We all know there is good freeware and there is bad freeware. The good stuff still comes packaged with all the bloat ware, but you have the option up front of not installing any of it. The bad freeware installs the bloatware without as much as asking, and sneaks in some spyware and malware while its at it. This program is somewhere in between. Be you can't tell me that burying this in the ToS, and placing the button to turn it off in the help section instead of options is not being disingenuous. If this were microsoft the media, you included, would be preparing for a good ole fashioned lynching. If you love the program so much that you still have to use it, thats fine, but don't pretend that stuff like this is fine and dandy. You give one company a pass and they will all start doing it.

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Craigg

Hi Andy.

I don't think a user should be punished for not reading a years worth of a developers blog for the program they want to install :)

And the last words of the article are actually "We're not necessarily the definitive voice, and your feelings may differ, so feel free to air your thoughts in the comments." ;) But I do take your meaning.  You're right, both sides do need to be aired.

Like all forum debates this can go round and round and round.  I'm just happy that it is now being talked about and making people think more about the TOS they are agreeing to and what is and isn't allowable on their own computer.

I've successfully procrastinated on working on this program I'm coding and can go home now.  On the way home when you start talking on the podcast I can say, "Hey, I annoyed that guy today".  My wife will probably just say, "I get to pick the next podcast".

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I Jedi

If anything, reading such things, as this, will make me more likely to at the very least "skim" through ToS on programs that I download. I doubt, though, that it will ever become a habit. Unfortunately. Like another user said, they're long and take time to do. Perhaps skimming near the end where they think by then the user feels it's time to just say okay is where I should put my interest at looking.

And allow me to be perfectly clear on this subject here today. I wouldn't mind giving up CPU cycles while I was AFK in the name of advancement in medicine, gene research, etc, because, hey, I'm not using the power atm, anyways. However, when a company feels it is necessary to try and hide this from me, then that is where I would get upset. After all, they are using our hardware and power to promote their own interest and the interestof others. It's not as if I get paid to allow them to use my hardware,electricity, etc.

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mesiah

I'm also willing to give up cycles in the name of science if I know about it. But honestly, if you read their disclaimer, we are researching stock market trends and download algorithms. I don't mind supporting freeware, but using my computer to do companies dirty work for them is a little much for me to swallow. I'll help cure cancer, but UBS can do their own number crunching :P

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