The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time: opinions wanted

So, PCWorld magazine has produced an article on the 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time. The title should really also say services, as it’s not just products on the list.

I’ve produced the list in a spoiler box below. You can find out more details about each item, and why it was included, by going to the article linked above. And here’s where you come in:
[li]if you haven’t already read the article, see if you can guess what made the list[/li][li]how many of these products or services have you owned or subscribed to?[/li][li]do you think that any of them don’t deserve to be on the list?[/li][li]what products or services aren’t on the list, but should be?[/ul][/li]

1. America Online (1989-2006)
2. RealNetworks RealPlayer (1999)
3. Syncronys SoftRAM (1995)
4. Microsoft Windows Millennium (2000)
5. Sony BMG Music CDs (2005)
6. Disney The Lion King CD-ROM (1994)
7. Microsoft Bob (1995)
8. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (2001)
9. Pressplay and Musicnet (2002)
10. dBASE IV (1988)
11. Priceline Groceries and Gas (2000)
12. PointCast (1996)
13. IBM PCjr. (1984)
14. Gateway 2000 10th Anniversary PC (1995)
15. Iomega Zip Drive (1998)
16. Comet Cursor (1997)
17. Apple Macintosh Portable (1989)
18. IBM Deskstar 75GXP (2000)
19. OQO Model 1 (2004)
20. CueCat (2000)
21. Eyetop Wearable DVD Player (2004)
22. Apple Pippin @World (1996)
23. Free PCs (1999)
24. DigiScents iSmell (2001)
25. Sharp RD3D Notebook (2004)

Well, I read it and agree that AOL is quite bad. On the other hand, my Father signed up in 1994 and it was my first email, first online experience, and the first place I used the internet.

I owe a lot to it. In fact, it even was where I first joined the Straight Dope Message board and the first place I read the archive.

It was ok in the early 90’s. Today? Useless.

I always figured I was just too dumb to get RealPlayer to work right.

What a piece of crap that is. I don’t think I ever got sound or video to play using that.

And, it seemed like years after I hadn’t thought about it, I’d get some media file and it would try to launch. STILL, today, I find video can be very annoying. . .although it seems to have gotten better over the last year or so.

I lost a bunch of stuff thanks to an Iomega Zip drive. That piece o’ crap definitely belongs on the list.

I’d say CueCat, Itunes, and QuickTime.

Actually, Quicktime—or at least Quicktime for Windows—is one that i thought should be on the list. This media player allegedly works fine on Macs, but on Windows it’s an annoying piece of shit that wants to install a whole bunch of crap that i don’t need.

I use QuicktimeAlternative instead.

As for products on the list, the only ones i’ve had are:

Real Player: deserves to be on the list. It’s been replaced by RealAlternative on my computer.

Windows ME: absolutely fucking awful OS; can’t count the number of times it gave me the BSOD.

IE6: if you have XP, you can’t do much about it, as the browser can’t be uninstalled. But at least i don’t have to actually use it.

Hnm, the list isn’t bad, but the title is awful. There’s more to “tech” than computers.

Yeah, the title isn’t really great, but given the source (PC World), it’s not surprising that they focused on the type of products that tends to appear in their magazine, or that they focused on products released during the lifetime of the magazine.

The radio station where I work is the only place I’ve ever seen a Zip drive, and I have to use them every day. The engineer who wrote the automation program absolutely would not allow the station automation computers to be on the company network. So the only way to put sound files on them for playback on the air is via a Zip drive. In my five years here, I’ve seen about a dozen of them die. I’ve seen Zip disks become unreadable.

We have a new automation system in the building stages, and when it’s fully operational, we will never have a use for Zip drives or disks again. Can’t wait!

I haven’t used anything else on that list, though, and I read the whole article.

I had forgotten all about cometcursor. I had to format my damn harddrive to get that damn thing off. I’m getting angry just thinking about it.

Regarding Quicktime, it must just be for Windows b/c I have Pro for Mac and it’s the only media player I use if I can help it.

There must be something wrong with me, I kind of liked dBase IV, but preferred dBase III Plus.

Then again, I thought the early Lotus 1-2-3s were great too. :smiley:

Going waaaay back, Wordstar was pretty horrible.

I’ve skipped the ones that don’t apply to me or that I cannot sufficiently comment on.

1. America Online (1989-2006)

I used it for about three years, dumping it around the time it was cool to hate AOL.

2. RealNetworks RealPlayer (1999)

I avoided using RealPlayer as I found it slow, cumbersome and buggy, a real resource hog. The video image being the size of a postage stamp didn’t exactly wow me, either.

3. Syncronys SoftRAM (1995)
Having worked in the electronics department of OfficeMax, I recognized many of the items on this list. When this arrived in our store I was skeptical. I knew there was no way you can get extra RAM without physically adding it.
4. Microsoft Windows Millennium (2000)

I passed on ME and clung onto Windows 98 after having heard all the horror stories. I skipped over ME altogether when I upgraded my system, which had Windows 2000.

5. Sony BMG Music CDs (2005)
I’ve avoided buying these after reading about all the bad press they have gotten.
7. Microsoft Bob (1995)
When this hit the shelves at OfficeMax my first thought was, “Now who in the HELL is going to buy THIS?!” It was one of the most ridiculous products ever to come out of Microsoft. I would have been too embarrassed to buy it, and I don’t think anyone did.

8. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (2001)
I know I should wean myself off of IE and accustom myself to Mozilla or other alternatives, but alas, I am accustomed to using IE and I am a stubborn creature of habit.

15. Iomega Zip Drive (1998)

I also lost a lot of data to the loathed and dreaded “click of death” that became synonymous with Iomega zip drives. Fortunately a lot of what I had on those disks ahd been copied from floppy disks. Shortly after I ditched the zip drive I got a CD burner.

Items on the “dishonorable mention” page:

Circuit City DiVX DVDs (1998):

I think this should have ranked in the top 25. When I heard about these I knew it was going to be a big flop. I don’t know what marketing executive at Circuit City ever thought this could possibly be a good idea.

Timex Data Link Watch (1995):

Another item I recall from my days at OfficeMax. Did anyone ever actually use this? Did it work? Even for the time, the technology behind it seemed so antiquated.

WebTV (1995):

This made AOL users look good in comparison. At least they used real computers.

I actually liked Comet Cursor…thought they were cute for a while when I was a teenager. They had this little parrot that moved its wings…

But, I agree with RealPlayer being one of the worst. And I can’t see anyone getting much use out of something called “iSmell”

1. America Online (1989-2006)

Hear, hear!

2. RealNetworks RealPlayer (1999)

I can’t think of another piece of Windows software I’ve had more trouble with. I stopped trying to use it a few years ago when it turned into nagware.

4. Microsoft Windows Millennium (2000)

Windows Me worse than Win98? I don’t know about this one. Win98 was an absolutely awful mess. At least WinMe fixed a few bugs and added a few useful drivers.

5. Sony BMG Music CDs (2005)

Is malware a “tech product?” :smiley:

15. Iomega Zip Drive (1998)

I have to disagree with this one. I used the 100Mb Zip drives for years and never had a problem. They were a great alternative to floppy drives back when the state of the art in CD-burning meant that 60 to 70% of the CD-ROMs I burned wouldn’t pass a validation test.

Let’s add a few to the list:

The integrated satellite controller/DVR from Dish Network

I’ve gone through three units in three years, one of which was DOA. Another was a hard disk failure and the third just plain died. They crash regularly, requiring hard reboots (power cycling), and I’ve had all of the programming erased more than once. It’s a frustratingly unreliable implementation of some great concepts.

Almost every automotive gas gauge out there

Can’t anybody make a gas gauge that’s linear? All three of my vehicles still read “full” (or higher) after driving 50 or more miles. The distance between 0 and 1/4 is nowhere near the same as the distance between 1/2 and 3/4. The values change radically depending on whether I’m going uphill or downhill (my Jeep’s gas gauge fluctuates by 3/8 of a tank).

I disagree on iTunes. I’ve been using it for three years on different computers, and never had a crash, lockup, or data loss. On Windows, it’s a bit different from the standard interface, true. On Mac, the drag-and-drop integration into the OS is absolutely awesome. The playlist structure is powerful, and my only objection to it is that you can’t do complex nested and/or logic. Overall, though, I’ve never tried to do anything with iTunes that it couldn’t do.

I’m not thrilled with QuickTime, but it’s not as bad as RealPlayer, and Microsoft’s player isn’t exactly reliable and cross-compatible, either.

Zip drives certainly were horrible, but is there any room on this list for the infamous “Net computer”? Remember when Larry Ellison was going to drive Microsoft out of business selling computers without hard drives? Corel got into it too, and it killed the company.

Given that they included Windows ME, how the heck did OS2 not make the list?
Now THAT was a piece of crap!

Here’s a tough one: which is worse, Comet Cursor or Bonzi Buddy? Hard to believe that one can be on the list while the other is not…

Nobody could get it to install to find out if it was a peice of crap. :slight_smile:

What, no hate for Macromedia Flash. After RealPlayer and dBase 1V, that’s the nastiest crap I’ve ever encountered. And my employer makes us install it for training.

The Cycleops PowerTap.

You folks just trust me on this one, alright?