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Educational Software Thread, Sparklebox Toolbar in Technical; Hi there, Has anyone been asked by teachers to install Sparklebox Toolbar on to machines? They want is because you ...
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    Sparklebox Toolbar

    Hi there,

    Has anyone been asked by teachers to install Sparklebox Toolbar on to machines?

    They want is because you need it to get "free" resources off Sparklebox now. I tried installing it and looking for MSI files in the temp folder, but only a few random files appeared.

    To save me going round 80PCs in 4 schools, I am thinking of giving them a temp login name to install it, that runs the setup automatically and logs them off in 5 mins if they dont log off.

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    Domino's Avatar
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    Could try using winstall le to make an msi for it...?

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    Doesn't extract to an MSI... The downloadable exe unpacks to

    %ALERTDLLNAME%.ocx
    %BRANDDLLNAME%.ocx
    %TOOLBARHELPERNAME%.exe
    toolbar.cfg
    UnWise.exe

    Looks like you'd have to make your own wrapper

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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danielson81 View Post
    They want is because you need it to get "free" resources off Sparklebox now.
    Sorry to hijack the thread but we've noticed our access the sparklebox website has become really slow today and staff have been complaining they couldn't access the downloadable resources?

    Do you know if the requirement for the toolbar to download resources is a recent change? I'm wondering if this is why their website's running so slowly today?

    **** Update ****

    Just checked their website and noticed they're in the process of changing servers which is presumably the cause of the technical problems on the site?

    SparkleBox Blog
    Saturday, September 06, 2008
    We've moved!
    After hours and hours of work, we've finally moved server! Most of you should now be able to access SparkleBox without difficulties and downloading should be back to normal - no site crashes!

    N.B. Some people (particularly those outside the UK) may still not have access to the site - please be patient whilst the change of server filters out around the world. Give it time, and you'll be able to view the site again.

    Thank you to all for your patience and understanding whilst we've been resolving this. With nearly 60,000 visitors a day the site was struggling to cope. We should now be able to offer a much more reliable service.

    UPDATE 06/09/2008: These things never quite go to plan! The site is now experiencing further difficulties. Please bear with us whilst we work to resolve these.

    The SparkleBox Team
    Posted by The SparkleBox Team at 8:57 AM
    Last edited by flyinghaggis; 8th September 2008 at 02:26 PM.

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    its slow here too! I think some of the resources that you previsouly had to pay for require the toolbar to be installed.

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    Our LEA has blocked any access to Sparklebox for reasons I'd rather not go into publically PM me if you want to know why.

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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danielson81 View Post
    its slow here too! I think some of the resources that you previsouly had to pay for require the toolbar to be installed.
    Just managed to get one of the pages to load and it looks like as you say they've doctored most of the resources on their site so they now need the toolbar installed to download
    I'd be seriously reluctant to install some dodgy third party toolbar in IE. I've seen tool-bars and IE plug-ins break so many fundamental things in windows that there's no way I'd risk it TBH.
    If I were you I'd refuse to install it because of potential future compatibility issues. If they force you to go with it I'd suggest maybe installing it on one PC so staff can download resources there. Chucking random toolbars on all your networked PCs is asking for trouble IMO.
    Especially if staff start asking for toolbars from other websites to be installed as you wont be able to say no if you install one for somebody before as it sets a precedent

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    .. or take a close look at the URL when previewing the resources and use a little lateral thinking

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    Third party browser extensions are often the reason I get summoned to PCs because "the internet's not working"
    Google toolbar in the past, but since coming back from the summer break Sparklebox does it as well.

    I was wondering why teachers have started installing it, now I know. I'm not happy with this and a Group Policy to stop them being installed may be the way to go.

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    I find browser toolbars especially offensive If only because of the space they take up on screen.

    Can't understand why everyone seems to keep bundling them in with various apps.

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    Thank you

    Hi All,

    Thank you for your opinions and suggestions regarding our website.

    Our apologies for any problems caused by the SparkleBox Toolbar - it has only been tested for home use and we would recommend that, if it causes difficulties on school systems, to block access to it.

    There is only a tiny selection of resources that require the toolbar to download - we have over 2000 products and only 60 of them require the toolbar.

    The toolbar (which is free) is one of our only sources of income and is what helps us to offer all our products free. However, if anyone would prefer to pay rather than installing the toolbar, we will be more than happy to send them the resource by email in exchange for a small payment (in the same way we used to). We find that most visitors prefer to use the toolbar and access things for free.

    Our apologies again for any inconvenience.

    SparkleBox

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    Our LEA has now blocked sparklebox as well....how frustrating!!

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    the toolbar is ugly and too 'busy' not forgetting it sparkles! - a waste of space

    sparklebox on the other hand is a valuable resource which nearly all the teachers in all my schools use, if the toolbar needs to be installed for it to be free then so be it, end of the day nothings free, at least sparklebox say its for generating funds and not trying to wriggle out of it!

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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddcmp View Post
    if the toolbar needs to be installed for it to be free then so be it, end of the day nothings free, at least sparklebox say its for generating funds and not trying to wriggle out of it!
    I'd have no qualms about paying for access to a website. However being forced to install dodgy 3rd-party IE toolbar plug-ins isn't something that should be done on a network for the sake of access to a single website. The risks of it causing issues are too high IMO.

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    To be honest I reckon the Sparklebox folks could do with a rethink on this toolbar and perhaps come up with a more forthright approach.

    In essence, provide a specific charge for access to their newest content in a way that schools can work with... ie: invoice, payment, login information... The woolly "contribution" approach won't work too well as schools have no direction on what's appropriate and finance will breath down the teachers necks when they present their receipt.

    At least this way there's money in the kitty, the teachers are happy, finance have a standard invoice and we're not worrying about a toolbar crashing everything. Just a thought.

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