Sunday, 26 January 2014

What is Java anyway?!?

I've just installed Update 51 of Java 7 on my computer.  It's been bugging me for about a week to be installed, so I finally gave in.

But the messages it pops up with during the install always irritate me.  The first window:

Java is found EVERYWHERE?!?  And I can experience the power of Java!  Wow!  Am I excited or what?!?

And installing it comes with a requirement to think, for instance it asks:

Yep, it asks if I want the Ask Toolbar installed.  Why the Ask Toolbar?  Does Java work better with this toolbar?  Or with Ask set as my default search provider?  No, I presume that they have some sort of deal with Ask to stick this into every installation of a Java update in the hope of attracting a few more users.

In any other piece of software, I'd call this malware trying to get permission to slow down my PC.  But because it's Java, it's an additional service offered, because they're so helpful.

And it does, by default, have these boxes ticked.  So anyone not particularly IT-literate, or maybe just in a hurry, may well click Next and not realise anything is amiss until a new toolbar appears in their web browser.
No, I don't want Ask as my default search provider.

But hey, 3 billion devices run Java!  No statistics though on how many of the devices actually need Java, and how many just have it installed because a bloody update popped up and users accepted it.

Needless to say I haven't noticed a single thing to be different on my computer now that the latest Java update has been installed.

You see, once upon a time Java really was needed on your computer.  But Java use is waning.  Users should consider whether to keep Java installed on your computer, and if you so, whether you have it enabled in your web browser (basically, there are two purposes for Java - one is to run java applets on the web, and the other is to run Java programs on your computer).  I'm certainly tempted to disable it and see how I get on.

And confusingly, Java and Javascript are two totally different things.  Javascript, again used in web browsers - absolutely fine.  No need for Java to be installed for Javascript to work.  Because that makes sense, right?!?

To be fair, I'm sure all the folk at Oracle who put this stuff together are doing their best.  I understand how large organisations work, and how organisations should be differentiated from the people working inside them.  I'm sure if I sat down with one of their developers, they'd blow my mind with how clever they are and be really nice and friendly, and may even agree with me on some of the points I've complained about.  But nevertheless, I like to complain.

So there!

While I'm blogging, I've made a new video on my YouTube channel - it's actually an advert for my channel which is to be used in the YouTube Fan Finder programme (basically free adverts for me about my channel).  It's pretty short (30 seconds) so if you have half a minute to spare, do please watch it, and if you like what I do, maybe even head over to my channel and subscribe!


  1. Hey Mike, Thanks for this interesting introduction. We have some interesting tutorials on Java that your readers may be interested in at

  2. When I worked in business, we had constant updates for Java. What an intrusion. I LOVED the promo, Mike. Original!

    1. Thanks Susan :) I don't seem to get Java updates any more. Can't say that I miss them though!


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