Well, Gator has changed its name to Claria. The company that brought you those wonderfully useful applications, Date Manager and Precision Time(SM), has changed its name but not the products. These products purport to be valuable to users and offered free of charge, "in exchange for displaying online advertising based on your online surfing behavior".
Let’s face it – these applications are completely worthless in most cases. Here are brief descriptions of the applications taken directly from the Claria website:
Date Manager – Date Manager shows today’s date in your system tray and allows you to quickly pull up a two-month calendar and set reminders.
The last time I checked, every version of Windows since 95 has had a built-in clock and calendar in the system tray. The ability to set reminders is included in many popular time management applications, some of which are truely free or are shareware with no additional ad-supported component.
Precision Time – Synchronize your computer clock with one of the world’s most precise timekeeping devices – the U.S. Atomic Clock.
Again, there is a standards-based free service called NTP (Network Time Protocol) that allows users to synchronize their clocks with many pulbicly available time servers, including the US Naval Observatory. Most versions of Windows support this standards-based service.
Claria (formerly Gator Corporation) has also taken umbrage with people who have called their applications spyware by suing them. Their applications are installed many times without users full knowledge of what is going to happen. Yes, the license agreements and warning boxes that pop up before install provide the details of what is going to happen, but most users don’t bother reading them. Further, these applications can be installed as a download that starts automatically as part of any web page, some of which exist only to propagate the software (though I don’t believe Claria actually operates these websites).
The lesson here is this – don’t say yes to install any application that is provided at a web page unless you FULLY understand what is happening. I know the little ActiveX warning boxes pop up frequently, and it is easy to just hit the yes button and move on. DON’T DO IT! Read what is on the screen, including the license agreement. Don’t install anything you don’t ask for, unless you are sure you want what it has to offer. If you aren’t clear, wait and ask someone you trust.
If you don’t follow this advice, you are likely to find an ad for Delta popping up when you visit US Airways’ website because they are paying Claria to push their product. (Neither of the airlines mentioned are known by me to be in a relationship with Claria, and their names are used only as an example of what might be experienced.) Gator was even sued several times for providing ads from competitors when users visited their sites.
Be careful, it’s a dangerous web out there.