Net Xpress: Adware and spyware can be OK, but you must be careful

April 04, 2004|SHEILA J. CLARK

Adware/spyware software have certain degrees of acceptability. Some are not harmful, nor do they invade your privacy, while others may perform activities that are not acceptable. In my opinion, if a computer user's input or acceptance of a performed activity or installation is left out of the equation, that falls under unacceptable.

Keep in mind that no company wants to be associated with the words "adware" or "spyware" because of the negativity they suggest. Furthermore, those companies would never admit to producing such a product. However, if you read the definitions of adware and spyware (see Net key below), you will be able to place software such as this in their proper genre.

It is extremely important to read the privacy policy, and Terms of Use and End User License agreements thoroughly whenever you install new software. There, you will find what you are opening yourself and your system up to when you install the software.


Net key

* Adware: Software supported by advertisers, usually installed without the knowledge of computer users, which generates ads, pop-ups and other undesirables. See more definitions at

* Spyware: Software that tracks and reports information about a users' online activities for advertising purposes. See more definitions at

Hotbar clarification

In my last column, I offered removal help for Hotbar, an adware/spyware program. This help was directed toward anyone who unknowingly had Hotbar installed on their systems, not at anyone who had purchased the software. Your purchase affirms that you have agreed to anything they plan to do in regards to tracking, receiving pop-ups or anything else that is associated with the installation of Hotbar. If you paid for Hotbar and enjoy its features, then good for you.

MSN Live online events

April 5: The Pop Star winner LaShell Griffin and eight semi-finalists from Oprah's Pop Star Challenge chat at 7 p.m.

April 6: Actress Linda Cardellini chats at 8 p.m.

Linux tidbits

Did you know that major Hollywood companies, including Disney, DreamWorks and Pixar, have chosen Linux as the operating system of choice for their desktop rendering computers? Yes, it's true! In fact, awesome movies such as "Shrek" (, "Lord of the Rings" ( and "Spirit" ( all were created using Linux. This speaks volumes about this open source operating system and the powerful impact it has made in recent years.

Net buzzz

* The well-known search engine Google is beta-testing its upcoming free Webmail service. The service will be called Gmail and it will offer its users 1GB of storage space. One of the unique features of the service is a search capability that will allow users to search among every e-mail the user has ever sent or received. No released date for the service has been set. Read more.

* Wal-Mart now is selling Microtel computers with Sun Microsystem's version of Linux as its operating system. This offering joins three other Linux-based Microtel Linux systems featuring Lindows, SuSE and Lycoris operating systems. Learn more

E-mail me at; fax me at (859) 236-9566; or write me snail-mail at The Advocate-Messenger, P.O. Box 149, Danville, KY 40423-0149.

Central Kentucky News Articles