Monthly Archives: September 2011

Nokia Ovi Suite: Update Now or Drop Dead!

Update (2012-02-06): It appears that Nokia has fixed this issue. Nokia Suite 3.2.100 (the successor to Nokia Ovi Suite) now allows the users to work with the program without forcing them to update, although it does notify them. Excellent

The Offender

I do not want to turn my blog into a nagging website, but do like to alert the developers of the mistakes that they must avoid.

Case scenario: My mobile phone crashed! I need it now and my only chance is to hard-reset it and restore it from backup. (Fortunately, I make weekly backups.) So, I start Nokia Ovi Suite 3.0 to restore my backup when I am stopped dead in my tracks:

Screenshot: Update now or exit

The message basically says: Update now or exit. I neither have the ability to update (as I am in the middle of the road with no Internet access) nor I want to exit! I want my backups back! Now!

But Nokia Ovi Suite is unrelenting. It is either update or drop dead! A freemium product literally holds me hostage! (Nokia Ovi Suite is freeware but it is useless without a Nokia phone.)


I could work around the problem two days later by deleting the following registry key and all its subkeys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Nokia\Nokia Ovi Suite\{55C272E5-541F-406b-A458-5149CB9715FB}

This made Nokia Ovi Suite forget that a software update is available. Until I get access to an Internet connection that is fast enough to download 70 MB updates, that will do.

A message to developers: It is possible!

Please do not hold your users hostage! They use your software to tend to their own business, not to your software. Whenever you think “there is no higher priority”, be sure that there is! Whenever you think you must deny some or all of your users of a certain features to avoid a certain pitfall, be sure that 90% of the times there is a way to grant them that feature while avoiding that pitfall; it just takes a bit of thinking outside the box.

Let us take a look at some cases in which it is possible to grant the user the feature that they are not granted.

Case #1: Nokia Ovi Suite — Take the same approach that Microsoft, Adobe and Mozilla Foundation have taken: Download the update in the background, then install it once the user closes the software product. Do not bother the user when he does not have an Internet connection; if there is no connection to network, then the whole point of preventing hackers from hacking the user is moot.

Case #2: Adobe Reader — Users cannot add comments to the PDF files that are not Reader Enabled. However, I believe it is technically possible to grant users the ability to comment on PDF files, even Password-Protected PDF files. The trick is store the comments outside the main PDF stream. One way of doing so is to store the comments in a side-car file. Another is to store them at the bottom of the PDF file without altering the main PDF stream.

Case #3: Windows Live Hotmail — Windows Live Hotmail team orchestrated a survey to decide whether to add a mail archiving feature (similar to that of Google Gmail) or not. They asked users whether they archive or delete their mail. As a result of the survey, they did not implement the archiving feature. This, in my opinion, was a very illogical course of action. It was possible to satisfy both group even if the losing group was a very minor minority: Simply implement the feature but ask them whether they want it enabled or disabled in their first visit; allow them to change decision later via the Options menu. Alternatively, simply implement the feature; a single “Archive” button won’t hurt anyone. 100% satisfaction is always better than 99%.

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