I’ve blogged before about how much I dislike Adobe’s arrogant use of popups that take over your computer while you are trying to do something else.
This morning, I set up the computer my kids use so that my son would be able to follow the simulated progress of Apollo 11 on wechoosethemoon.org. That meant upgrading to Flash 10. I made a mental note to make sure that the upgrade didn’t overwrite my attempt to disable Adobe’s auto-update feature (which pops up an aggressive, sticky box that demands far too much attention… I don’t want my kids getting in the habit of clicking “Yes” to every box that pops up while they’re on the computer), but I was on my way out the door to go to work, so I didn’t have time to do check to make sure that Adobe hadn’t reset all my preferences to “By all means, feel free to interrupt me as often as you like.”
Taking a break at the office just now, I watched the simulation of the lunar descent and landing, and found the experience very moving. (“Tranquility base here… the Eagle has landed.” I did a fist pump and posted “W00t!” to my Twitter feed.)
As I was still poking around the site, listening to the audio from the surface of the moon, the phone rang. It was my 11yo son, his voice quavering. He had been sitting at his computer, watching the same thing I’d been enjoying. But on his computer, one of those intrusive, annoying, evil Adobe pop-ups had appeared, blocking the actual lunar landing.
I had maximized the browser window (following the advice on wechoosethemoon.org), so it’s probably the case that neither my son nor my wife knew that I had set them up to watch something that was on a website. My son does know enough to “cancel” out of a dialog box, but the Adobe popups don’t function like normal creatures.
On the phone, he says he tried closing the box, but it wouldn’t go away. When he sent his sister to explain the problem to my wife, a miscommunication happened, and my wife ended up thinking that my son had closed the web browser himself, and thus was responsible for the interruption. My son isn’t very articulate when he’s upset, and my wife is not exactly a techno-troubleshooter. So, according to Peter, there was shouting and consternation, and what should have been a powerful educational experience was ruined.
Thanks a heap, Adobe.