Archive for November, 2009

AOL Is Malware/Spyware/Bloat/Etc.

Monday, November 30th, 2009

I’ve spent the week leading up to Thanksgiving, and the few days after, on Long Island at my parent’s place.

My mother is a typical 60+ year old in that she cannot fully understand the Internet or computers. My sisters and I have bought her computers over the years so she can use “the emails” and go to Marc Anthony’s web site (she’d leave my father and never speak to us again if Marc asked her to).

To make it “easy” for her to use the Internet we set her up with an AOL account. This is years ago when AOL was in version 6 or 7. I’ve been sans work laptop during this trip and have been using my mom’s computer.

One word. Wow.

I cannot believe AOL’s software install isn’t flagged with the Federal govt’s cybercrimes division. I did a bit of a test with it, just for sh*ts and giggles, and here’s some of the results.

First, my mom’s machine’s specs 1GB ram, 2.5Ghz processor.

AOL 9.1. I uninstalled, then re-installed it. Upon the install I answered a million questions and waited for a good 1/2 hour for it to download a bunch of stuff. What the software DID NOT DO was ask me questions about how I want AOL installed. For instance… it put AOL launch icons in:

  1. The systray
  2. The programs menu
  3. The start menu
  4. My desktop
  5. As a right-click option
  6. In the IE browser favorites
  7. AOL added an AOL search bar to IE
  8. The install changed the IE home page to AOL.com
  9. Lastly, AOL has no setting or option/config menu to keep it from running in the background. If it’s on your machine, it’s running. End. Of. Story.

It’s insane how much AOL does to almost completely takeover someone’s experience with their computer.

Oh and the second phase of my test… I did a little alt+cntrl+del and viewed processes. AOL was absorbing, even when it wasn’t running (other than in the systray), 45MB of memory and putting CPU usage at a minimum of 25%!!!! WTF?!?

When I removed AOL and used IE-only, no CPU spikes, no screen drawing, no clicks that took 25 to 30 seconds for a system response.

I want to cancel my mother’s AOL subscription but I don’t have 2 free hours to try to get through their tangled web of customer “service” numbers and prompts.

It’ll be a good day for the Internet when AOL shuts down as a faux ISP and focuses only on the aol.com portal and content.

Until then AOL, expect your business to continue to dwindle. And ffs, can’t you see why?

We’re Not There Yet

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

This is going to be a little bit of a rant that hopefully turns into an enlightened moment.

For a little while there today I was blaming everyone else. Older people, the media team, my agency’s culture… all of them. I was raging today because of several things that just continued to show me “people just don’t get it.”

The “it” in this case is “Interactive” or “Digital” or “the Web”. Choose any one of those words or phrases to describe. You know what I mean. The situation has got to be the same in other agencies. The team works so hard to put a lot of work and thought into some ideas and concepts that are so on point and so strong strategically that you feel proud to have been a part of it. The work gets packaged up with everything else that is going to go in front of the clients and then…. BLAMMO! The agenda is:

1) TV

2) Print

3) Some more TV

4) Let’s revisit strategy

5) Wait, what’s the objective? It’s NOT ______??? It’s _____?!?!!?!?

6) Let’s revisit TV

7) This meeting is a disaster… oh yeah, let’s see the digital stuff…

8) Actually, we’ve run out of time. Tell the digital guys they just need to mimic the TV.

Why is digital work still such a fight? Why, despite all of the measurements and accountability, does it still play 3rd and 4th in agendas? How is it that despite all the mainstream media coverage and acknowledgement of the changing landscape of consumer behavior, media consumption, and near constant connectivity to the Internet, marketers and advertisers STILL DON’T GET IT!?!?

Something obviously happened today that has caused me to go damn near psycho about my agency and this industry.

But after a half day of being angry I had that moment of enlightenment that I so desparately needed. I blame myself. I blame anyone who reads this and is in the industry as a digital professional. Whether it’s in Account Management, Creative, or Media, if you aren’t working to convince those who don’t understand, that they should understand, then you’re to blame.

Too many times I can remember sitting in meetings thinking to myself, “no no no, it’s not only about _____ it has more to do with this _____ because that’s where the people are spending their time,” only to sit there and continue listening to old solutions trying to solve today’s problems.

Jerry Maguire. He had that moment of clarity late one night. I arrived at mine today through a fit of rage. A last straw if you will. He wrote a mission statement (it wasn’t a memo, remember?). I wrote a blog post. Jerry placed the mission statement in everyone’s mailbox. I’m going to speak with the people in charge.

Why? Because a good friend here at the agency told me people around the office “seem to just be waiting for someone else to do something.”

Isn’t that when someone should? Isn’t that called leadership?

Yes and Yes.