Annoyware neverending story

Liars. How can you otherwise name authors of the following words:

“Click the links below to start download immediately. It’s ABSOLUTELY FREE!”

You download the software and it’s not even named as it was on the page, suddenly it has Professional in the name – and of course… Trial! I wanted free DVD ripper for my Traveling Wilburys DVD bought from Amazon (I always grab my stuff for quite obvious reasons) and I was pretty sure I’ll come to some software like this tonight.

Do you know about any service where one can check the name of the software (or pretended name, whatever) and find out if it’s fake or not? Is it even possible to deliver such a service really credibly? Or do I need to ignore the whole sites to avoid this? Which one then?

Today I tried to find another word than scamware for this type of really annoying software. But as it was with scamware, annoyware also – quite naturally – came to other people’s minds before. Quite naturally.

Adding “free” to search? In vain?

It’s not the first time I’m pretty upset with so called “freeware”. This time I needed DVD grabber (or ripper, whatever) and as I was sure there is some free solution I added “free” to my search. Whether you search for free VSTi or DVD ripper – lately you’re rarely offered the thing you really want directly – especially not for free. There are tons of various syndicate sites or how to call them. Download centralizing solutions. Well I go to one such site with the list of DVD rippers. Most of them were licensed as Demo – OK, I don’t mind, at least I know what to expect – and I can simply skip them.

So it happened that I downloaded some Agree Free DVD Ripper Platinum (“free” is even in the name of the actually downloaded installation file). After all it was mentioned as Freeware on one of those centralized download sites. First the software tells you it can’t process multiple files at once – because that can do only premium version. Ok… but when you really hit the Convert, software finally tells you how much it sucks. It can’t process the whole track. “Go to hell!” I want CDex for DVDs! Something simple and working.

I don’t mind… I really don’t mind that there are softwares I should pay for. What I’m objecting is that they try to cheat me. And I guess it even works sometimes – because there is a lot of poor users who hardly know what to think about this kind of “freeware”. It’s not enough that a lot of “services” offer “free download” of Shareware… like I should pay for the download itself otherwise? There are obviously many ways how to render word “free” in your searches close to useless nowadays. And lies are far from being the least used methods.

Freeware? No, scamware!

I have a bad day today. I pulled SDHC card out of my digital Canon and put it into my Lenovo T500 to move photos on the disk. MOVE. After that I found out that there are some files of various lengths with proper names. But none of them was proper JPEG file. Except one that contained three fourths of some old picture deleted long time ago. In a panic move – those are the worst ones – I copied files back to the card to check them in the camera. No luck. Now I don’t know if they were corrupted before. But my bet is that they had gone wrong somehow before this whole episode happened. I decided to recover any JPEG file on the media on a binary basis. JPEG has its typical header with magic number so maybe, just maybe I’ll find something.

I tried various recovery freeware programs that were simple or lame or whatever. And then I hit Smart Image Recovery – reportedly freeware download. Let’s try it, why not. Uh, the download wants my email to send me the download link (that should be the first warning, I know). Ok, why not, I rely on Gmail spam filter anyway. I downloaded the software and started it. Buy or continue free? What?! How could the word “BUY” find its way into the freeware? Of course I want to continue Free! Ok, paid functions will be disabled. Oh, man, paid functions? You mean you would show me the pictures and I would not be able to recover them, right? (In the end this crappy software found NOTHING on that card although some other free trial found many files – of course, recovery was not for free. :-))

During the scan of the memory card dialog appears: You have some problems in Windows Registry and some temporary files (what a surprise!). Do you want to download our bla-bla cleaning software? You gotta be kidding!!! (I never use multiple exclamation marks, but I just felt like that in that very moment.) This is not freeware at all! I’ll run away if I see anything from Smart PC Solutions (or smartpctools.com) again. I don’t know what “scamware” really means, but it was the first word instead of freeware that came to my mind. Extremely annoying, not giving promised values and I feel safe only thanks to anti-virus solution I wouldn’t dare to turn off. Because you never know. This time it was only annoying software, but what it will be next time?