Aladdin Software Updates: sheer idiocy

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 18th, 2003 • 2:26 am

Today when I decompressed a file StuffIt Expander stuck a dialog box in my face announcing that a new version of the software was available. Since I am a StuffIt Deluxe user (not for much longer, I can tell you), I went to the Aladdin web site to download the full StuffIt Deluxe 7.0.3 update. (I have 7.0.1 installed.)

You would think this would be a pretty straightforward thing: a link to the updater, et voilà.

But no… Aladdin Software has to make life difficult for us. Just to get access to this free updater that can only possibly work if you have a copy of an earlier version of StuffIt Deluxe installed, you actually have to go through Aladdin’s online store pages and fill out a form as if you were purchasing something!

Aladdin warns you that you will be subjected to this and explains that, since the UPDATE is free, you won’t have to enter any credit card information. Then you go to this form page, fill out all the information… and it asks you to assign yourself a password.

I use my password software’s password generator to get a random one, paste it in… and it’s rejected because it contains characters that are not letters or numbers. Right.

Then I put a “proper” password (featuring a nice plain English rude word and a few numbers) and… I get a warning asking me to make sure I entered the proper credit card expiration date!

See, in this form, since the item is free, there is no field for entering your credit card number, but there is still a field for entering a credit card expiry date, with two popup menus (one for month, the other for year). And since Aladdin people are plain stupid, they have kept whatever script that they had in their form active… and it detects that you have not modified the two popup menus, which, in a normal purchase, would be an indication that you have forgotten to enter your expiry date. (Shit happens.)

The thing is, this is not a normal purchase. The bloody updater is free! Geez.

I changed the expiry date to something else than the default and finally — ten minutes later — got access to the download page.


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