And What I Think About It...
I think we've had RealPlayer in its various free versions on our computers for about ten years now. It's been a faithful friend until now.
When we got our current computer, I wanted to learn how to record our LP albums and put the music on CD's. In the learning process, I upgraded to the purchased version of RealPlayer because it allowed you to input LP's and cassette tapes and then record them out to CD's.
I eventually learned that Audacity, a free open-source program, did a much better job for me than RealPlayer. For example, with Audacity I could edit out many of the inevitable pops and crackles from our old vinyl.
Since then, RealPlayer has turned into less of a friend. Everytime I run AdAware to clean up the computer, it always finds a tracking cookie from RealMedia. Furthermore, I've had several annonying little pop-up windows out of the blue from RealMedia. Isaac said they pop-up due to shutting down RealPlayer. I'm not sure what he was doing, but I am sure that pop-ups are annoying and unwelcome and the only place I'm getting them from is RealMedia.
I wouldn't be too surprised if the free version produced tracking cookies and pop-ups, but I'm disgusted that a purchased version of the player behaves this way. I paid money for the darned thing so I hate to uninstall it -- but I'm thinking about it.