The NBA season kicked off last night, and while my hometown Golden State Warriors quite probably will be awful this year, I am nonetheless stoked that the season is here. HD telecasts, fantasy hoops and NBA League Pass are the kind of things that make my week go by just a little faster.
This year, I decided to check out NBA League Pass Broadband, the online equivalent of the subscription service I sometimes get through Comcast. At $85 for the season, it seemed like a no-brainer to get the subscription over the PC this year. I can watch three games at once (and track how my fantasy squad is doing), and it didn't seem like I needed to install anything additional (other than Adobe Flash and a browser).
After signing up for the free preview, however, I discovered there was software to install—a plug-in for Flash called Octoshape Grid Delivery enhancement. And that plug-in has the following nugget in the terms of service:
"You hereby acknowledge that the Software utilizes a grid streaming technology. With grid streaming technology, parts of the video and audio stream you watch may be delivered to your personal computer system via the personal computer systems of other end users of the Software, and the personal computer system on which you install the Software may also be used to deliver parts of the video and audio stream to other end users of the Software.Accordingly, you hereby grant permission for Octoshape and other end users of the Software to utilize and share the processor and bandwidth of your personal computer system for the limited purpose of facilitating the communication between you and other end users of the Software, including Octoshape.You are responsible for any telecommunication or other connectivity charges incurred through the use of the Software."From a technical perspective, I like the cool use of peer to peer for streaming purposes, but as a network admin, I'd be more than a little concerned with this popping up on my network and chewing up both network and computing resources.
And admins should be aware that standard desktop security procedures aren't going to thwart this thing from showing up. I operate my Windows Vista-based laptop as a limited-rights user, so I have to input system administrator credentials whenever I want to install something (yes, I use UAC and I don't mind it all).
But I never got a UAC pop-up when I installed the plug-in, nor when I uninstalled it from the Programs and Features Control Panel. At least it was easy to uninstall. And apparently easy to update because Octoshape will take care of that itself:
"When installed on your computer, the Software periodically communicates with Octoshape. Octoshape reserves the right to remotely provide updates or upgrades to the Software installed on your computer. Octoshape has no obligation to make available to you any subsequent versions or updates of its software applications."