Beware! The Java Updater installs the Ask Toolbar

I had to update Java this morning and I was in a hurry. I clicked through the first page of the install wizard without really looking and then remembered I should have paid attention and noticed it said it would install the Ask.com app. Grrr.

Java Updater
(Here’s a screenshot I captured a few months ago)

I could have cancelled it but I ploughed on. However there was no sign of the extension after the install. When I restarted it, Chrome reported that the extension “Search App By Ask v2” was added!

Search App By Ask v2

I did not enable it of course, and checked my search engine settings. The site ask.com had been added, but was not set as the default engine. Gone with that then!

I hate that Oracle put a browser toolbar in the install of the Java runtime. I wonder how many kids who installed Java to run Minecraft have this toolbar installed now?

Taking Woopra for a test drive

John Pozadzides sent me a Woopra invite several weeks ago and I eventually signed up last week so it’s been collecting stats on this website for a while. John did an interview with Cali Lewis of Geekbrief which goes some way into explaining why Woopra is worth checking out. It was after watching that video that I decided to sign up.

Woopra has a neat Java based desktop interface but initially I only used the web interface. That’s not so bad, but it’s static and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the desktop app. I have to confess, I was slow to install the desktop client, simply because I have a “Oh no, Java is too much trouble” switch in my brain from long ago when I attempted to install the JRE. This time it was much easier, thanks to Ubuntu’s repositories.

$ sh woopra_unix.sh
No suitable Java Virtual Machine could be found on your system.
The version of the JVM must be at least 1.6.
Please define INSTALL4J_JAVA_HOME to point to a suitable JVM.
You can also try to delete the JVM cache file /home/donncha/.install4j
$ rm -fr .install4j
$ aptitude install sun-java6-jre
$ sh woopra_unix.sh

After installing the Java runtime, installation of Woopra was simple. I’ve been looking at it now for a few hours and it’s nice. The ticker tape stats at the bottom are a neat touch, especially the up and down markers that give an indication of how your traffic compares with the day before.

Unfortunately I don’t obsess about traffic stats any more. If I did, I would absolutely love this application. If I was targeting a particular keyword and honing the SEO aspects of my site then I would find this Woopra invaluable. Like Google Analytics, I’m confident Woopra will become a useful tool I’ll come back to when it’s needed. It doesn’t even use that many resources. I barely see it ping home for new data and the Java app is reasonably light.

Oh yeah, I haven’t obscured any of the stats in the screenshots. This blog gets several thousand hits a day if you’re interested, although none from Turkmenistan apparently. I guess if I had Woopra running when Turkmenbashi died it may have showed a blip or two of traffic from that region!