WordWeb - I think this is unethical!

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by HandsOff, Nov 26, 2007.

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  1. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Maybe I am over reacting, but when you run their software on your computer you should realize that it has its own agenda. Apparently they are concerned with saving energy, which is cool. However, when I install a program, especially one that goes out of the way to say that there is no adware or spyware in it, then I expect the program to do what it is supposed to do, period!

    When you run WordWeb v5, under some circumstances it will cause a message to appear saying, something like: You appear to have been running your computer for a long time....[bad boy, turn it off, essentially]...the actual message will be attached, so you can see what it actually says. This ticks me off for a number of reasons

    1- If I am in the process of looking up a word, then I guess I am using my computer now, so kiss my...

    2- In order for the program to surmise that I have been running it for too long, would they not have to be...well...spying on processes and activities. Does that not make it spyware? I suppose there is some lame argument that spying isn't spying if they don't report back to the mother ship. Sorry, but that is just semantics. It's spying.

    3- They don't even have the balls to say that they are doing the spying! Instead they create a message box and make an anonymous message, the I suppose they figure people will think is a message generated by XP. Lord knows XP loves to talk!

    Well, that's about it. I'm just putting it out there to see if other people find this sneaky dishonest tactic to be acceptable.

    I've used Word Web for a long, long time. I do think it is good software. But come on WW5 guys, let's not hide inside other people's computers and push our philosophies on them!


    -HandsOff


    I should add, for the record, that it DID show the message again.
     

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  2. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    Not too much different from some ISPs and web sites with "time out" functions: they monitor activity from your computer to the site.

    With ISPs, in the past, you could install a program to send a ping every minute so that you wouldn't get disconnected. Some email programs have that built in (Forte Agent).

    Some financial sites will require a re-login if there is no user activity after a specified period of time.

    In these cases, they are monitoring your activity, but I wouldn't call it "spying."

    Does is happen when you are using the program offline, or only when connected to WordWeb online?

    You say that it happens under "some cirumstances." What are those?

    I would write WordWeb to ask what is the reason for this message.

    ----
    rich
     
  3. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    what happens when you click on "don't show me this message again" ?
     
  4. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Hi -

    It goes away...until next time you see it!
     
  5. steve161

    steve161 Registered Member

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    I would consider it annoying and uncalled for, rather than unethical. As you stated, it is not calling home on you, like many (most) windows programs do. A solution would be to email the company that you are in full compliance every time you get the pop-up..
     
  6. Espresso

    Espresso Registered Member

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    I've used WordWeb for years and I've never seen that message. o_O

    BTW: If they don't report your system activity back to their servers, it doesn't fall under the heading of spyware.
     
  7. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    Somebody SAAAAVE me from bleeding heart do-gooders like WordWeb's proponents. :mad:
     
  8. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Hi, Rich

    -Regarding the above quote, I am surprised you see it that way. The situations you mention involve allocation of resources decisions, and security policies which are clearly related to their function. Does my using hibernate have any relationship to word definitions?

    -Does it only happen when I am online? Under what circumstances? The circumstances that I mention are being connected to their server. WW5 has an offline mode, and an online mode. If you cannot find a word using the installed data base, it will attempt to find the word online (if you direct it to).

    Let me restate my position:
    - I like Word Web

    - I like efforts to help the environment

    - I don't like deception: Does this message window say, "We at Word Web notice that your computer has been on a while..." No, it does not. And why would that be, do you think? Well, does it matter? Whatever the reason, it is deceitful. It's not exactly a lie, you could say. It's not exactly honest either!

    - Not spying, not advertising? If they wanted the message on my TV they would have to pay for an advertisement. In the paper it would be an add. On my computer is is...?

    The worst part about this sort of thing is that "innocent, well meaning" ploys like this open the door (even wider than it already is) for ever increasing abuse. I took them at their word when they said that this was a free dictionary that could be used offline or online. I feel betrayed.
     
  9. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    is this application free?
    i just believe its annoying just like for example the splash screen of antivir free version when you update it. if you dont like it then eiether seek another free alternitive or pay for something which does the same job without annoying limitations.
    in the real world nothing is free.
    since i know nothing in the world is free is also a reason why i dont use linux much yet.
    lodore
     
  10. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    But are they do gooders? We only know that they want us to do good. Nor do we know their motivation. Perhaps they were paid a large some of money from some environmental group to include this message.



    "Hey fellas have you heard the news?
    You know that Annie's back in town?

    It won't take long just watch and see
    How the fellas lay their money down.

    Her style is new but the face is the same
    As it was so long ago

    But from her eyes a diff'rent smile
    Like that of one who knows. "

    ...Led Zeppelin understands!
     
  11. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    Hi Handsoff,

    The reason I mentioned those situations, and asked for your circumstances, is that it occurred to me that if their server detected inactivity while you are connected, that might produce that message. As in the case of my ISP years ago, it's connected bandwidth that is their concern.

    The only way to know is to email them and find out!

    I agree that they should be more up front about it!

    In the case of my ISP, I had to discover for myself why I was getting disconnected after so many minutes of inactivity - they were not up front about their policy. (they no longer have this restriction).

    Let us know what you find out from them. The fact that Expresso doesn't get these messages is interesting...


    ----
    rich
     
  12. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    A lie is a lie, whether the program is free or not!


    "Saw the people standin' thousand years in chains.
    Somebody said it's diff'rent now, look, it's just the same.

    Pharoahs spin the message, round and round the truth.
    They could have saved a million people, How can I tell you? "
    -CCR

    Credence Clearwater Revival understands!
     
  13. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Read the screenshot of the message again. They say my computer appears to have been on for a long time. They do not say anything about a connection. Do stand by or hibernate have to do with connections?
     
  14. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Hi, Rich-

    I guess I could do that. Shall I ask them if they consider it adware, or spyware? My crystal ball says that they will strongly disagree!

    Do they have a hidden agenda? The spirits say they will reply no.

    Will I believe them?


    I'm not sure if Wilders would encourage that. Maybe it is best to just say if it doesn't bother you, fine. It does bother me.


    -HandsOff
     
  15. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    Hi HandsOff,

    Then the only way you will get peace of mind is to ask them!

    Why jump to conclusions? Ask them the reason for the popup you are getting and see what they say. Then you will be in a better situation to draw a conclusion.


    ----
    rich
     
  16. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    I was not going to muddy the waters, however, there is another strange aspect to this. During installation you are presented with a strange parody of the usual eula one encounters. During the installation it puzzled me for a second, but then I thought, being as eulas are all bs, it would seem an appropriate thing to parody, so I shrugged it off.

    As I recall it said something about the program being a trial for the first five uses, and which point it will become freely usable so long as ...and that you do not own a SUV, and do not fly more than four times (two return trips) in any twelve moth period. Man, these guys don't pull there punches. They launch a sarcastic attack at corporate lawyer leagalese, and then more right on to the environmentally insensitive without missing a beat.

    I was actually beginning to like them.

    But then came pop up treachery, and I realized that like so many zealots before them, they had crossed that line that separates people making good points and people being a little out of control.

    I'll email them to see what's up, though I refuse to discuss my cars or flying habits with them.

    -HandsOff
     
  17. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    Well, you've made me curious, so I downloaded the program and worked with it for about five minutes both off- and on-line, then left it sitting connected to the on-line site for 15 minutes. I didn't observe any pop-up.

    Also, I set my firewall to alert|log all connections, and there was no in- nor out-bound connection during this 15-minute period, except for my BBC Newsfeed.

    I notice in the ReadMe file that Wordweb is based on the Princeton project, Wordnet. If the EULA originated there, that might explain the attempt at silliness.

    I'll be interested in their response to your email.


    ----
    rich
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2007
  18. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    UPDATE:

    HandsOff: I've been running this program most of the evening and am so impressed that I'm going to purchase the Pro version tomorrow.

    It's one of the easiest applications I've ever used. In addition to the dictionary|thesarus, having access directly to Wikipedia and Wiktionary on tabs directly in WordWeb is a great timesaver!

    Being able to click on a word in any Windows program - including a browser - and having it open directly into the dictionary is a wonderful feature.

    I'm running it (free version) on both Win2K and WinXP systems and have not encountered the Popups that you have.

    I hope you can resolve your problem.


    ----
    rich
     
  19. TonyW

    TonyW Registered Member

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  20. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

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    I have uses the free version for over a year without any trouble or screens such as has been mentioned.
    I find it very handy.
    Jerry
     
  21. Chuck57

    Chuck57 Registered Member

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    I use The Sage http://www.sequencepublishing.com/thesage.html mainly because I completely forgot about Wordweb.

    WordWeb has advantages in that you can go right to the word. The Sage needs copy and paste or typing it in. I might download WordWeb and use both.
     
  22. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    Well I've downloaded WordWeb, it's been only an hour (maybe too early) and no alerts whatsoever. On the other hand I like the program a lot, and don't own any SUV...
     
  23. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    HandsOff,

    What makes you think this message is related to WordWeb? The message isn't labelled with a WordWeb name. Could it be something unrelated? No-one else sees that message. That's odd.
     
  24. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    I too had been using The Sage and have now switched to WordWeb. IMO, it's much better.

    As for the "green" pop-up, it makes sense that the WW folks might do something like that. To qualify for the free license to WW, we can't have taken more than 2 commercial flights in any 12 month period. Certainly the greenest license I've ever agreed to. One thing we don't know... is WW looking at how long it has been running or is it looking at system up time?

    HandsOff: Do you run WW in the tray? Since I don't need it very often, I am using the WW executable called wwnotray.exe (I launch it from a shortcut in my Quick Launch bar.) When I'm finished with WW, closing it fully closes it. Until we know more though, this may not help with the green pop-up.
     
  25. beetlejuice69

    beetlejuice69 Registered Member

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    I`ve been using WordWeb since it came on the market. From the free version to the Pro paid version, with the upgrades included. It`s the best in my opinion. Of course that`s just my opinion. :)
     
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