Posted by: bhalley | 06/16/2011

Beware Angry Birds Help and Other Apps

One of the plus/minus points for the Android platform is the ability of anyone to create and make an app available compared to Apple where it must be approved before it is available to users.  With this freedom comes the potential for individuals to do bad things.  This is the case with today’s post.  Some one posted an Angry Birds help that had some malicious code in the back end.  I am sorry I didn’t get this posted when it first came out.  But this is a good opportunity to remind you of few rules for downloading and installing software, whether it be on your smartphone, and/or computer.  If you follow these few simple rules than you will have a much better computing experience.

1.  Free is usually NOT FREE.  When someone is offering a free software package it is a good rule of thumb that there will be an additional add-in or app that is gathering information on the back-end.   There are few products that this is not the case.  For those who follow my posts you know I recommend AVG Free for protecting your computer.  They also have paid products and services and the free software is to interest you in their product and buy the upgraded product.

2.  Just because it is Free doesn’t mean get it.  If don’t need it, don’t download and install it.  I can’t number the machines that I have had to go in and clean out because the computer is running so slow.  Many programs, and this includes paid programs, have agents that load to aid in their application, but do nothing to help you overall computing experience.  Adobe does this with their acrobat reader.  They have 2 or 3 programs that will run in the background and take up the precious and limited RAM your computer has to load and run applications.  This not only slows the machine but pushes it to the limit where it has to start swapping memory and that is when things can really slow down.

3.  Uninstall those unwanted items you have on your computer.  If you have already installed quite a few software packages go through your Programs and Features (Windows Vista, Windows 7), or the Add/Remove Programs (Windows XP).  Sorry, I don’t know what the MAC equivalent is as I do not own one.  After you have done this use a free tool like PC Tune-up from AVG to clean out your registry and remove all the keys that were left by the software.

4.  Check Reviews of the Software/Company.  All you have to do is a Google Search of the software and/or company and see what kind of reputation they have.  If you see a lot of negative reviews than I would look for another solution/product to meet your needs.

5.   Just because it is included with purchased software doesn’t mean your should install it.  Some software will come with additional apps/packages, either free or trial versions.  If you don’t need it, don’t install it (see Rule 2).  There are some companies that can offer their software for a lower cost because they include free software from companies that are paying them to include it.  Even hardware manufacturers are doing this.  When you buy a new computer, look at all the free and trial software that is included.  They aren’t doing this because they care about you, they are doing because those companies have paid to have their software installed so that when the trial expires you might purchase their product.  First thing I do when I get a machine is to uninstall all the free stuff and install what I need.

You have a great day and happy computing.

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