You know, Real seem to have some pretty decent technology in terms of audio and video compression. It’s a pity that they can’t contain their urges in other areas, such as intrusiveness, taking over your computer, and pimping their premium service.

I installed RealOne on my media box a few weeks ago, and it still keeps on annoying me. The ’message center’ application keeps on popping up, while the main application offends at intervals by reminding me that I haven’t registered, and then denying me the pleasure of entering wantonly incorrect data into the registration form by failing to connect to their server. At last, I managed to find a way to enter my registration details. If they ever use the data they collect, they’ll wonder why someone claiming to be in Albania connected from Japan and asked for emails in US English. Those emails by the way, are to be delivered to an email address The first part is so obscene that I’ll refrain from writing it here, but it implies necrophilia... Should make for some interesting reading in the error logs!

While I’m ranting about this, what’s up with this “free as in crack” business model? Sell the encoding and server tools, and give away the player. Reasonable enough, considering that their competition is Apple’s Quicktime (nagware) and the impossibly-deep-pocketed Microsoft’s Media Player (free as in selling your soul to Satan). And that’s what Real do, except that they cripple their free player (no EQ? A few FFTs that any undergraduate could write? You’re taking the piss!). That in itself would be cause for minor irritation, but they then leave in options for these features that, when you try to enable them, invite you to give Real your money for the privilege. Sounds like, “Here kids, your first hit’s free!” to me. No wonder they have such an awful reputation.

Anyway, back to the plot—I think that I’ve got rid of ’Message Center’. I replaced the ’Message Center’ application ( evntsvc.exe) with a do-nothing stub application. I did the same with their dodgy background task ( rndal.exe) too, with no ill effect. That should hopefully stop it from auto-updating.

The do-nothing program is a tiny file that has served me well over the years in taming the exuberance of software producers to take over my computer. I have uploaded it, and you can find it here.