The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time: opinions wanted

without hijacking the thread too much, can anybody tell me in one or two sentences why AOL is so terrible? (I’ve never used it, but my semi-elderly parents are happy to use it for simple email and general web browsing).

Oh yeah! Another vote here for Flash. I hate it so much I’ve uninstalled it completely. First, I went with FlashBlock, but I ended up with hundreds and hundreds of blocked URLs. I got tired of that crap, so I searched for a tool to remove it, and I won’t have it on my computer. If there’s one thing I hate worse than being bombarded with ads, it’s being bombarded with animated, moving, colorful ads.

How do you play the cool little Flash games and watch YouTube clips?

Rambus The whole thing was a debacle from the beginning, greedy bastards trying to lock us all in to one propriety technology which was expensive, power hungry, complex and even though the clock speed was higher than SDRAM, the latency more than made up the performance gap.

Add to that RAMBUS tried to claim it owned patents on technology it certainly did not, it was just a bunch of greedy bastards who came up with a crap idea, and tried to hijack everone elses memory technology patents.

Their practice of shredding crucial documents prior to court hearings so as to prevent discovery is another plank in the gallows that should hang these greedy bastards.

Itanium It never performed well, was crap at 64 bit processing, and even worse at X86 emulation, it basically broke away from established IT industry mainstream, only tocome up with a far worse alternative, the only reason it lasted as log as it did was Intels dominance, equally mixed with its brass neck cheek and embarrassment over such a load of rubbish.
The fact that Intel was forced to try keep pace with developments from AMD using X86 architecture seriously undermined the Itanium, especially when it brought in the high end and horribly expensive Xeon.
Intel was again trying to force the industry over to its own patented technology in a bid to lock everyone else(AMD) out with an expensive and useless alternative.
No wonder it gained the soubriquet Itanic

The ones I nominate are more concepts rather than single products but they had huge buzz in the mid to late 1990’s and were supposed to revolutionize the PC world. Countless magazines had them on their covers.

The “Push” web - Companies saw the web take off and how people loved just pointing and clicking in amazement at all of the information they could summon from their mouse. Many people in the industry declared that simply wasn’t good enough, controllable enough, or efficient enough. They said that people would do better if they abandoned “pulling” the content from the web by their own actions and had it “pushed” to them instead. It will be just like TV where you just sit there and stare at the monitor while things just appear and the user doesnt have to do much except stare at the content other people think that they should see. I wonder why that one did not take off :rolleyes:

"Dumb" computers - maintaining PC’s for everyone was just too expensive, problem prone, and inefficient especially in the workplace. Dumb terminals from the 70’s and earlier didn’t have those problems. The proposed solution was to build PC’s without a hard drive, peripherals, or any fancy hardware at all and just pull run the software remotely where things are carefully controlled. That didn’t seem to work out that well at the time for that specific idea. Oddly, the isea itself isn’t horrible for some applications with today’s networks. I have several virtual desktops and application suits that I use everyday at work that run remotely and they do it pretty well. However, people still need there own PC’s with full hardware even if they use these types of things so the premise to the orginal idea is still crap.

I don’t.

The reason why I thought “AOL” when I first saw the article is because it is the most popular, albeit consistently buggy piece of software in existence. I remember the thrill of AOL 5.0, knowing that I would be able to browse the Internet and AOL’s message boards at the same time without invoking a BSOD.

Just for the record, I think you would have loved the gas gauge on my 1964 GTO. It started going down almost linearly right from the fill-up. And, if the needle ever touched the “E,” well, that was why you were coasting to a stop with a dead engine!

Not sure if that was a characteristic of all '64 GTOs, but it was the only car I ever owned to this day that did not have a gas gauge that behaved like you said.

Apologies for the slight hijack.

Actually, the “push” web is represented on the list by number 12, Pointcast Network.

For those dissing the Zip Drive, do you remember what it replaced? You think Zip disks were unreliable? I can’t remember how many SyQuest disks tanked simply because someone looked at them the wrong way or said a harsh word in its vicinity. Those were horrible. At least a Zip disk could withstand being dropped. Hell, I have some Zips from the 90s that are still operative (though I have transferred the info to CDs.)

Ah yes, the IBM PCJr! It was one of those mysterious things that nobody had, but somehow everybody was sure it sucked.

Didn’t everybody hate the Newton? Why didn’t that make the list?

It was a (dis)honorable mention.

Quicktime’s always worked great on my various Macs, and on my work Win2K PC. WMV and WMP have always worked terribly on my Macs, and it barely works on the PC. It’s to the point where if something is in WM format (or, god forbid, RM) it’s just not worth watching.

Was there not a tech product made prior to 1984 or were they all universally good before then?

Sigh. See my post, #8, above.

Is it really that surprising that a PC magazine, when doing a list like this, would select from products that fall within its range of expertise, and within the ambit of its normal product coverage?

I guess they could have put UNIVAC I in there for weighing 29,000 pounds and costing about a million bucks, and still having less computing power than my Palm. But that’s not really the point of this particular list.

Well, i have no trouble with either WMV or RM, but that could be because i don’t use Windows Media Player 10 (another candidate for Top 25 honors) or Real Player to view those files.

Circuit City DiVX DVDs (1998):

How about the Flexplay self-destructing DVDs? The concept was a non-returned rental - buy the disc for three bucks or so and when you’re ready to watch, break open the package and play the disc. Hurry though, the data layer will corrode in 8 to 48 hours, depending on how generous the movie studio is with that title.

Once the disc kills itself, all you can do with that chunk of unrecyclable polycarbonate is cram it into the landfill.

A sad note - the quite useful site www.howstuffworks.com is owned by the same people that own Flexplay.

You’d might imagine so, but in fact, WinME was a rush job, slung together and thrown out the door in an attempt to provide a ‘home’ OS counterpart for Win2KPro - of course it was based on Win9x, but it tried to mimic the look, feel and some of the features of the NT line/Win2K. It failed miserably; it was a buggy piece of crap; definitely less stable and less functional than Win98SE.

Is Microsoft Bob really worthy of inclusion? It was a complete non-event, wasn’t it?

Quicktime should be in joint equal place with RealPLayer, for definite.

Windows Media Player should be in there somewhere; bloated, frustrating POS.

And I think the Sinclair C5 is a more worthy candidate than some of the others that made the list.

Microsoft Bob was packaged with the PC my parents bought in 1996 to replace their typewriter. Thoroughly useless. There are far more deserving products out there that could have been on the list.

For instance, two-way pagers is my suggestion to replace it.