Friday rants: RealPlayer is annoying; iPhone-AT&T whining; Watching someone read your blog

Friday rants: RealPlayer is annoying; iPhone-AT&T whining; Watching someone read your blog

Summary: A few odds and ends to mull over as the weekend nears...Why is RealPlayer so #@!

TOPICS: iPhone, Apple, Mobility, AT&T

A few odds and ends to mull over as the weekend nears...

Why is RealPlayer so #@!$#@ annoying?

I've avoided RealPlayer like the plague, but regrettably forgot why until this week. I wanted to view a Webcast that was only available in RealPlayer. Firefox informs me I need a plug-in so I download it and install. Big mistake.

real2.pngFirst up is the screen asking me if I want to make RealPlayer my default for media files. My answer: Hell no.

The other option is choosing what files I want RealPlayer to play. Up comes a list of a few dozen media types. So the unchecking begins--I want RealPlayer to play as little as possible because of ad annoyances in the past. Fifty media types later and a few RSI pains--slight exaggeration there--I get to the part that says I want RealPlayer just to play Real media types. For most players this process is a simple yes and no. RealPlayer obviously doesn't take "no" well. There is a deselect all option but that means RealPlayer won't play Real files by default, which is probably the only reason you downloaded that app in the first place.

I uninstalled. Waah, my iPhone only works with AT&T's network.

Some days Washington D.C. annoys me more than usual--Wednesday was one of those days. This report from's Anne Broache set me off.

Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey and a few pols are whining because the iPhone only works with AT&T's network. Don't these fools have better things to do.

  • Waah, Apple decided to go with AT&T exclusively.
  • Waah, AT&T is evil.
  • Waah, these two companies shouldn't be able to make their own business decisions.

Give me a break. It's called capitalism, but of course Markey doesn't know a whole lot about that--he's a pol. He loves the iPhone though.

Broache reports:

AT&T's exclusive right to sell the Apple iPhone drew complaints on Wednesday from Democratic politicians, though it was unclear whether they were planning to do anything about it.

"The problem with the iPhone is that the iPhone with AT&T is kind of like a 'Hotel California' service," Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey said--in a nod to the Eagles hit, of course--during a hearing. "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

Luckily there are no laws proposed to limit Apple and AT&T.

Memo to Markey: Apple and AT&T are free to do almost anything they want. What's next a Congressional mandate that Apple has to work with at least two carriers? Does it stink that Apple's iPhone only works with AT&T? Sure, but that's Apple's choice. If folks really want to vote on the Apple and AT&T deal they can vote with their dollars. And at last check Apple was winning that vote in a landslide. Perhaps you should focus on more pressing matters.

Watching someone read your blog (while you're there unnoticed) is creepy.

And finally this little tidbit from Dell's Vostro launch on Tuesday.

Dell CEO Michael Dell did his song and dance and I filed a few posts in real-time. As I'm lingering I see three Dell folks looking at a co-worker's laptop, which had my post up in his browser. One person remarks that the report was up quickly. That's good.

And then they click. And then they read. And then they scroll. My hunch is that these folks were sales and marketing types. As they read, I'm watching them in plain sight--I could have elbowed them.

They read a mention of green IT. Then they start squirming over something I quoted Dell saying about Vista. Then I could see agitation. No one murmured anything about the facts, but they obviously disagreed with my interpretation of something in the post.

I walked away unnoticed. I suppose I could have said something, but it was interesting watching the raw reaction. I don't know if anyone else has had that experience, but it's fascinating.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Mobility, AT&T

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  • Waaaaaaa........

    Let's see Apple releases the iPhone and it's specs....yet despite knowing the
    features of the iPhone some decide to go on posts like these and complain!?!
    Why? No one forces them to purchase an iPhone heck many make it clear they will
    NOT be buying one but still there is the Waaaaaaaaaa.....

    Here's my product it comes with all this and not that. Here is the price of said
    product would you like to purchase one? No...fine. So where does the Waaaaaaa
    come in anyway?

    Pagan jim
    • entitlement.

      They are the same people who think Apple should be broken up because they sell OSX only for Macintosh computers.
      • Actually . . .

        The People Complaining like Apple, they just don't like Apple's choice of Carrier. If Apple had chosen Verizon, or T-Mobile (or whomever), they would have been applauding Apple for sticking it to the "big. evil corporations" like AT&T . . .
        • Folks can complain all they want

          But does Congress really have to open its yap?
          Larry Dignan
          • Yes they do!

            I couldn't care less about the iphone, would never buy one (or an ipod for that matter) but the bigger picture of being able to use the devices of your choice from any manufactures on the carrier of your choice is critical as is the ability to put the applications of your choice on them. I don't know how better to say it than the example given at the end of the linked article regarding developing apps for carrier networks without requiring carrier permission. That's how to open the inovation flood gates. There will never be enough carriers to force the carriers themselves to raise the level of inovation to the level this would open up. Public airwaves are for public use. Carriers should be able to charge for bandwidth in order to support infrastructure and should be required to transparently bill for this as a separate line item. Customers should be able to buy bandwidth. Carriers should also be able to separately charge for additional services they provide or give them away for free but customers should also be able to buy their voice mail, text messaging, etc service from any third party they want to. As long as they can charge for the bandwidth they have enough control to ensure their networks reliability. What should have really steamed you was the carrier rep who said that from their customer service logs very few of the incidents have to do with device choice. There are two reasons for that, customers have learned to stop asking, and every carrier has so many other problems that they dwarf this (or any other single issue). It's precisely because they have the other 90+ percent of the problems that we need to open this up to more inovation and better competition. Cripes how mmany people would pay for a 3rd party service over a free carrier provided one just to get a support center that wasn't offshored. I challenge you to put up a web petition where people who want to be able to use any device on any carrier can sign up. Add a field for current carrier and lets just see how many verizon customers sign it. Or iphone/att customers for that matter...

            As for RealPlayer, AMEN! Good ridence to bad trash. Haven't allowed that steaming pos on any machines for 4 years or so. Join me in simply boycotting sites that require it :-) And yes I saw the reply from Real and no it wont lure me back because it wasn't just their crap that put me off. 50% of it was their f'ing cry baby whinning about MS. Grow some stones for god's sakes. The market doesnt care what microsoft gives away for free if you've built something significantly better.
            Johnny Vegas
          • No They Don't

            In a free society, if you are unhappy with a business' offering, you are free to accept the offering of a competitor or if you don't like any of the choices, become a competitor. Government intervention and regulation ALWAYS stifles competition AND innovation, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS.
          • ummmm.... Yeah they do!

            Personally, since I do not use at&t, and have enjoyed laughing at iPhone users that think that their toy is a productivity tool, I have no vested interest in this. That being said, actually yes, Congress does have not only a right but a responsibility to speak up for their constituents (gee... what a concept in this day and age of lobbyist seeming to always get their way).

            People have been clamoring (and even tech journals such as those owned by ZDNet have championed) the opening up of the networks. The making it easier to switch carriers, how stupid an onnerous the lock-in contract is for users. Yet now, on THIS SUBJECT you think they are wrong for sticking up for users that feel they should have the right to use the unsubsized phone they purchased on any network they so choose?

            Wahhhhhh!!! Poor Apple, why are people picking on them for trying to hold the world hostage to their ecosystem.

            Give me a break.
  • Real Player feels is like woman desperate for boyfriend

    I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Real Player. The whole product has this air of desperation about -- at each turn you have to fight the installer to prevent it from taking over your whole freaking PC.. whether it be file associations, or the crapware they include as part of the installation (at least previous version did before I stopped using it altogether). I became so frustrated with previous installs, that I will never try it again.
    • try RealAlternative...

      It's a freeware app that installs the realplayer codecs as a directshow filter, so you can play them in Windows Media player. Additionally, JetAudio can also play realplayer files.

      realplayer lost me way back when we all had dial-up and instead of 200K patches, we were forced to re-download the entire 15MB app so that we could update from version 7.0.3532 to 7.0.3533...that showed flagrant disregard to the customer's time and bandwidth, and to add insult to injury they FORCED us all to update so that we could listen to the audio streams we were perfectly able to listen to last week. then they released RealOne, which was designed to do everything from listen to streaming audio to burn audio CD' one from marketing thought "hrmmm...maybe if we had a product that did ONE thing - play our proprietary formats - and do it fast and reliably, without trying to do things that our customers already have tools for, then MAYBE we could get people to take a second look at us!" Nope, I have come to expect anything but intelligent thought from the people at RealNetworks.

      • Thanks for the tip

        I'll check it out. There are times when I need to see something in a Real format.
        Larry Dignan
  • Get Real

    Realmedia have succeeded in producing 'real' innovation and continue to do so with the distinction of running on any O/S, and many cell phones, including my Symbian-based Nokia N95.

    Real Rhapsody streaming music has the distinction of running on any O/S including my Nokia N800 Internet Tablet.

    So put that in your schmoke and pipe it!

    Thank youz
    D T Schmitz
  • RealPlayer Installations Gone Awry

    This is Ben Rotholtz, General Manager, Web Services & Syndication, Real

    On June 26, 2007 we released a beta of the new RealPlayer - version 11 - that specifically addressed the confusing installation experiences described in this post. We no longer try to take media types that are associated with another player. The new RealPlayer will play RealMedia files and it includes an installation option to enable playback of unassociated media types ? that is media types that are not currently owned by another player.
    The new RealPlayer installation and usage model has been redesigned from the ground-up to enable media playback as quickly as possible with no impediments. We?re very focused on simply providing consumers an easy and rapid means to experience media content. Full stop.
    The new RealPlayer is not the default download at this time and so most partners that link to Real will currently link to version 10.5 (as happened in this post). While the new RealPlayer is in beta, it is solid and delivers a much better experience than previous versions of RealPlayer ? everything from installation and startup to playback performance. As the beta proves itself we?ll increase its presence on Real properties e.g. and it will become the default download.
    The new RealPlayer is our video platform just as Rhapsody is our music platform. The cornerstone feature of the new RealPlayer is a Firefox and IE browser plug-in that enables Flash, QuickTime, Windows Media and RealMedia web video to be downloaded from tens-of-thousands of sites for local playback and transfer to DVD. See a piece of video content playing and a button (of course, it?s optional) temporarily hovers above the video to enable it to be downloaded in the background so you can watch it at a more convenient time, full screen or using other device form factors such as a TV. By the end of the year we will also enable transfer to portable devices, including the iPod. A Macintosh version (with Safari and Firefox browser support) will be available by the end-of-the-year. We have not yet announced a delivery date for our Linux version of the new RealPlayer.
    Downloads are available at and we have a blog at where we would welcome your feedback.
    • Linux version

      I sure hope it is better than the current one. Why is it restricted to one song at a time? No playlist. No wonder I find Amarok so much easier to deal with even with the warts there.
      • Playlist Support in Linux

        This is Ben Rotholtz, General Manager, Web Services & Syndication

        We agree, playlist support for the Linux version is a high priority.
    • Bitten once too often

      Having lived with the pain of RealPlayer for years, I no longer trust any of your improvements. At best it's a marginal player in the free version, ergo, I refuse to "need" to play Real files.
  • Forget the pols

    question Apple's sanity. TCO for their customers on At&T will not just be $ 60 a month for 2 years but also texting, domestic hot spot coverage, intl roaming (99c in most markets, as high as # 2.99 a minute in India with a locked SIM card), intl data plan etc - easily double or triple base service cost (already 3X cost of iPhone over 2 years) for a 2.5G network. Unelss Apple is content with 1-2% market share, it will need to sign up alternatives. For European launch it is supposed to be looking at multiple partners...
  • Missing Something

    [pre]For most players this process is a simple yes and no. RealPlayer obviously doesn?t take ?no? well. There is a deselect all option but that means RealPlayer won?t play Real files by default, which is probably the only reason you downloaded that app in the first place.

    I uninstalled.[/pre]

    I don't understand... I'm not a fan of Real Player either, but couldn't you just check the one square for Real Player to play its own files by default, while leaving the rest for other players?
  • Real player& AT&T

    I hate real player also as it tries to take over your computer.
    Don't care about Iphone as I would never buy an Apple product and dropped AT&T years ago as they do not treat customers very well.
  • Real Alternative

    I have been using Real Alternative for something like four years. It is small, fast, very stable --- and free.

    Ever since Steve Gibson caught RealDownload "phoning home" with data about the user --- and Real Networks denying it despite the evidence right there in the captured data packets, NONE of the systems in my office run Real Networks software.

    I also use and can recommend the other "Alternative" codecs found at or linked to the Real Alternative site, including the one for QuickTime. Proprietary data formats are a thing of the past, perpetuated by marketing people having no imagination. Opt out where you can.
  • And many more

    There are many similar examples.
    AOL, Adobe, itunes, Safari etc which hijack our machines.
    As a result, I avoid them like the plague.

    Interesting how the products which "everyone has" have been completely free and untroubled by such blatant annoyances.
    ICQ, Skype, Google, Firefox.

    Not rocket science is it!!