In today’s DMNews, everbody’s favorite television background noise, the Weather Channel (weather.com), announced that it was partnering with adware company CoolSavings to infest the Desktop Weather 4.0 application with offers to “opt in for samples, trial offers, travel brochures and free newsletters from CoolSavings.”
It’s not clear from the marketing-speak what, exactly, the Desktop Weather application will have in it. For example, it may simply be offering links to opt-in emails. But given the history of CoolSavings as purveyors of unwanted adware, I’m not hopeful.
The real news, however, is that many more companies, including some names you should know, are getting into bed with adware companies like CoolSavings. According to DMNews:
The company signed similar arrangements with RealNetworks, for people who download RealPlayer, and with Netscape, for those who download its Netscape Browser, as part of seven distribution agreements it will announce this year.
As I’ve noted previously, the real and growing scandal in the adware and spyware world is not that these companies are becoming more brazen in their activities. The scandal is the disconcerting number of otherwise upstanding, mainstream companies who are getting in bed with some of the most notorious names in the field.
So what’s one to do if you want your local weather information displayed on your computer desktop, but doesn’t want to risk unwanted adware or spyware? Do what I do: use the Weather Widget, which is included in the free download of Konfabulator.
Konfabulator is a free desktop utility that allows you to plug in a wide variety of “widgets” (yes, that’s what they call ’em) that are created and distributed freely by dozens of dedicated developers the world over. downloads, as easy to install as moving the “.widget” file to your “My Widgets” directory, and let you put lots of useful things right on your desktop. And the “widget” philosophy is one of simple function, simple configuration, and clean and beautiful design.
They have just launched a new version called Konfabulator:2, which is a pay version. But as far as I know you can still use the regular old free version. (Please correct me if I’m wrong…)
I think I’m going to pay for the upgraded version because, a) it’s always the right thing to do to pay for software that you actually use, and b) you have to reward people for making cool stuff… otherwise they might go find other work doing things that you can’t afford! Meanwhile, from what I can tell, the Konfabulator Weather Widget appears to draw its weather data from the same data feeds at Weather.com, and does so without risking installing strange and unwanted adware on your machine.
So give it a try!