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The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the i've-used-1-2-4-7-8-15-and-20 dept.


Khammurabi writes "PC World compiled a list of the 25 worst tech products of all time. From the article: 'At PC World, we spend most of our time talking about products that make your life easier or your work more productive. But it's the lousy ones that linger in our memory long after their shrinkwrap has shriveled, and that make tech editors cry out, "What have I done to deserve this?"' Number one on the list? AOL."

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Bad tech? Nah... (5, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412297)

AOL was (is) bad, but they really missed the boat on a lot of these. These aren't the worst, these are just some of the bigger failures...

Let's start with "popup ads..."

Or maybe we should talk about "DRM..."

Or for those of us who appreciate irony, how about "breaking your article up into many pages in order to increase page impressions and ad revenue?"

Now that's bad tech.

Re:Bad tech? Nah... (2, Funny)

Jonny Ringo (444580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412327)

You're just saying that because I signed up with AOL under you, and you got 10 free hours.

No, no... free iPod!!! (4, Funny)

Alaren (682568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412356)

10 Hours? What a ripoff! I signed up under my buddy and he got a free iPod... now, where did I put that referral link...

Re:Bad tech? Nah... (5, Informative)

jomegat (706411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412361)

I always look for the "Printer Friendly" link when I run into an article like that. It generally renders the whole article as one continuous chunk, but it doesn't print it. That's a tip kids. Write it down.

Re:Bad tech? Nah... (3, Interesting)

Onan (25162) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412550)

Yes, it's amazing how often "printer version" means "sane and less offensive to actual humans version."

And if it's a site from which you read content more than a couple of times, there's a better solution than manually clicking on the printer version each time: use the uri transmogrifier of your choice (I love Pith Helmet [] .) to automatically turn urls into their printer-version form.

Re:Bad tech? Nah... (4, Insightful)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412462)

I couldn't agree more. Already reading many comments on this article in other locations that are crying foul over AOL. Not that AOL was the best thing since sliced bread. But before other dial up ISPs, they were the only bread in town, unless you logged in to text services or one-at-a-time BBSs. Looking at AOL then, you see where the leap was made from online computing before 1989 and after. Color, pictures, multiuser chat, news, message boards, and email.

Strange, that's pretty similar to what we have now. If you read what they complain about, it is painfully obvious that the writer is either some 16 year old AOL basher without a clue or worse, an old elitist that wonders, "Didn't we all have private (D)Arpanet connections?"

Here's their complaints about AOL:

"How do we loathe AOL? Let us count the ways. Since America Online emerged from the belly of a BBS called Quantum "PC-Link" in 1989, users have suffered through..."

1. awful software
2. inaccessible dial-up numbers
3. rapacious marketing
4. in-your-face advertising
5. questionable billing practices
6. inexcusably poor customer service
7. enough spam to last a lifetime
8. more expensive than its major competitors

"This lethal combination earned the world's biggest ISP the top spot on our list of bottom feeders."

It goes on to say:

"AOL succeeded initially by targeting newbies, using brute-force marketing techniques. In the 90s you couldn't open a magazine (PC World included) or your mailbox without an AOL disk falling out of it. This carpet-bombing technique yielded big numbers: At its peak, AOL claimed 34 million subscribers worldwide, though it never revealed how many were just using up their free hours.

        Advertisement (This is an actual paste... sorry, PC world gave me IN-YOUR-FACE advertising.)

Now, there are some valid arguments. For instance, they are notorious for screwing up your billing and not cancelling accounts properly. On the other hand, this article is targeting the original AOL. In your face advertising? Nobody but geeks knew what the net was in the early 90s. In the 90s, you couldn't exactly download the AOL client (more evidence this guy is 16). But let's go back.

Awful software: What did you expect, it ran on Windows 3.1. It was probably the only useful thing a home user ever ran on Windows 3.1

Inaccessible dial-up numbers: I had about 4 numbers locally, and most problems were because I screwed with my modem baud trying to squeeze out top speed.

Marketing: Back then, you had to convince people that they had a reason to even buy a computer, let alone get online with it.

Spam: We're placing the blame on AOL for this now?

Expensive: That's certainly true. I remember a point when they charged over $6 an hour or there abouts. Let's just say that you used your AOL time wisely (downloading all the porn you could within an hour), hehe. Yes, it would be considered highway robbery these days. Then again, so many out there are willing to pay $2 for a tv show (free to watch on your very large TV) to play on a itsy bitsy iPod screen. I'd rather pay $6 an hour for my Internet connection.

PCWorld probably made hundreds of thousands of dollars from AOL to carry their CDs for them. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Re:Bad tech? Nah... (1)

ItsIllak (95786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412496)

If they put AOL as the worst - they're going to have to condemn all the latest raft of sites such as YouTube, MySpace etc - the only reason that AOL got a bad name on the Internet was because it flooded a bunch of morons into Usenet and IRC - these are now very much back seat technologies. The latest bringers of idiocy (and lots of great content, but generally idiocy) just haven't got the means to shove it in your face!

See: []

Ehm you are wishing here (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412512)

Popup ads, the worst tech ever? Hardly, they are very succesfull, in fact this article had one. Well a DHTML popup but that is the same thing right?

As for DRM, well that is still around and doing a brisk trade. Expect to see a lot more of it in the future.

I think you and the article author mean two different things. He means tech that was a failure. Not tech that is hated.

Big difference.

Yes on a list of most hated tech DRM and popups would be serious contenders but that is a list for another time. Granted, IE would again be high on the list. Bill Gates must be so proud.

Re:Bad tech? Nah... (1)

captaineo (87164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412554)

Yes, I think AOL is out of place on that list. From the perspective of a hard-core internet user, maybe they are a bad influence. But they picked their market and served it well. And unlike most products on that list, AOL was a smashing financial success. (RealPlayer and ZIP drives couldn't have done too bad either)

Re:Bad tech? Nah... (2, Informative)

SlayerDave (555409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412575)

Uh, you complain about the article, but apparently failed to read it. The article is not about bad technology (who could deny that pop-up ads and DRM are terrible), but about bad technology products, i.e. discrete items and/or services produced and marketed by individual companies. The article discusses specific products, not general trends in broad sectors of industry.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412298)


Windows should be number 1... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412302)

..this article is suspect!

Missing entry (3, Funny)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412304)

Good list... where's X10?

And, if you include Windows ME, where's Windows 3.1? Actually, it might not be a bad idea to have an honorable mention "collection" entry and include all of the horrible Windows versions.... (95, CE, ME, NT)

X10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412398)

Do you mean the wireless video maker? If so, they're actually great for the extremely low price. We still use them in our store after 5 years.

Re:Missing entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412425)

X10 is great. I've used it (off and on, no pun intended) for many years to turn lights on and off remotely. One of the X10 sellers (I don't think it was X10 itself) years ago even sold a 'starter pack' for like $10 that had way more than that worth of stuff in it.

#1 on the list should be (4, Funny)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412305)

Windows ME

Re:#1 on the list should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412322)

Well, it's at number 4.

Re:#1 on the list should be (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412372)

It's in the top 5, so you can't complain about that. After all, that's some pretty stiff competition.

Re:#1 on the list should be (0)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412454)

the band Ah-a never allowed anyone in their recording studio to use windows millenium edition... they just weren't willing to "take on ME"

winme: not that bad (1)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412473)

Yes, I know it's a dead-end. I know it's not gonna be the most compatible thing in the world. I know it has buggy shell-extensions that crash.

But, my parents use Windows ME with no problem at all. They didn't buy it separately or anything, it came preinstalled, and it's actually much better than Windows 98.

Since i've installed Firefox as default browser, AVG Antivirus and AdAware, there have been no problems at all with spyware, crashes and slow loading times.

I run Win2000, and consider myself to be very security conscious. (I'll leave the obvious joke-line open.) I'm always up-to-date patchwise, but I've had at least two or three viruses just from being on the net (this was with dialup).

WinME runs Word, Excel and Firefox, and let that bitch of a Kodak program pull pictures off their camera. It does everything they need to do.

Would I use it? No. But i'd take it any day over win98 or even winXP!

Who has actually used it and found it to be shit? It sounds like most people just spread the goss about how crap it is, without actually trying it. I don't advise trying it... but really, give some evidence if you're gonna bitch about the OS.

Re:winme: not that bad (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412627)

I had an entire office running on it (installed prior to me coming there). It never worked reliabl, and not at all in terms of being a Domain member.

I couldn't get them onto W2K fast enough. Once that was done, all problems (except the self-inflicted "must have porn email from friends") were solved.

Zip Drive? (3, Informative)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412316)

I had a zip drive and at the time it filled a large gap between the floppy and CD rewriteable (which was very costly).

It was good in my opinion, it just never developed fast enough in terms of capacity.

Re:Zip Drive? (4, Funny)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412350)

It was good in my opinion, it just never developed fast enough in terms of capacity.

And it made cool clicking sounds after extended usage...

Re:Zip Drive? (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412418)

Yeah, I had to disagree with that one too. I had a SCSI ZIP drive, and it was fast enough (on a 450MHz P-II mind you) that I could work on it directly (as opposed to just copying files to/from). 100MB was plenty of space for my projects, and it made it easy to swap them with my cow-orkers.

Hmmm, that reminds me, I'd better back up all those old disks before I decomission my old PC and can't access them anymore....

Re:Zip Drive? (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412447)

I agree...Those things were great for back-ups, especially when you didn't have a CD RW drive. I've heard a lot of stories about them dying, but both of mine still worked the last time I used them (around 2001-2002).

I still have one and yes it was good (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412545)

It was just to expensive and never really adopted as a standard. Meaning you had to bring your drive with you. Handy for downloading at work and then take it home where you were on pay by the minute dialup. Far superior to anything else at the time.

The advance of cd burners (and later usb drives) coupled with the click of death and the high cost of zip disks and their small capacity just made them obsolete.

It wasn't bad tech. Just had a very limited lifespan.

Re:Zip Drive? (2, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412551)

I had a zip drive and at the time it filled a large gap between the floppy and CD rewriteable (which was very costly).

Yeah, the list in question is hugely suspect, and many of the entries are inane. They jump between truly terrible tech, to products and companies that just didn't change with the market. The Zip drive was hugely important and successful (even if the "Clik!" had some technical faults). PointCast was a great solution as well, opening up a lot of people's eyes to the multimedia potential and information sharing of the Internet (and it caused all of the browser makers to focus almost entirely on push for a while).

Re:Zip Drive? (1)

Spez (566714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412584)

By the way, ZIP drive is in the list, position #15

Re:Zip Drive? (5, Informative)

Onan (25162) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412631)

I also used and loved zip drives for a while, but their fatal flaw was what came to be affectionately known as the "click of death"; the head becoming so far misaligned that it would slide off the edge of the disk with a loud repetitive clicking sound.

And if that was just the way old drives failed, that wouldn't have been such a big deal. The problem was the that click of death was, quite literally, contagious: the drives used tracks on disks to recalibrate their head placement.

This meant that one bad drive would write disks with misaligned tracks, which could then be put into a previously-healthy drive, causing it to misalign its heads to the bad tracks, at which point it would write bad tracks to other disks, which when put into other drives would misalign their heads...

You get the idea.

PC Jr. was bad but... (2, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412320)

But the "chiclet" keyboard should've been listed separately. When I saw the new MacBook laptops having a similiar design, I freaked out until I tried it out at the Apple store. You can count on Steve Jobs to re-invent an old technology dog.

Re:PC Jr. was bad but... (4, Interesting)

random_amber (957056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412416)

I personally loved my PCjr. It was my first computer and I waited anxiously for months on preorder for it! The keyboard actually didn't bother me at all, since half the computers we had had at school were Sinclair 1000s (and a fancier Sinclair, which also had a strange keyboard, though not as awful as the flat laminated Sinclair 1000 style).

It also had more colors and a much better sound chip than the regular PC.

IBM replaced the chicklet keyboard for free within 6 months or so with a regular one. and dont forget they were wireless keyboards! Pretty cool for 1984!

Over all, my PCjr was a joy, and I loved it up until I got my Apple ][GS (which I loved, but a lot of others hated as well)


worst tech product? (1)

TREETOP (614689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412328)

I was going to say "the Virtual Pet Rock" but then you said "technical".

Packard Bell (5, Insightful)

CPIMatt (206195) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412329)

I am surprised that Packard Bell didn't make the list. They made some pretty crappy computers in the late 80s.


Re:Packard Bell (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412479)

It's quite funny that my longest-lived PC was a packard bell pentium 166. Ran for 10 years until I ran out of excuses to keep such an old machine sucking juice.

All I had to do was replace the fan once, and replace the memory when it was new. (grr)

The service sucked, the machines were subpar in general, but this one was like the gremlin that hit a million miles.

Re:Packard Bell - Durable P166 (1)

UnderC0ver (920560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412558)

Dude! Same here! The first Pentium machine I bought was a used PB Platinum 166. It ran and ran - I finally donated it to a school where I used to work. I know they had a horrible reputation, but this thing would not die.

Re:Packard Bell - Durable P166 (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412611)

I'll continue the "Me Too!" posts. I've got a PB 166 too...though I stuck an 'overdrive' chip in it so it's a whopping 233 now. It worked very well for me for a long time. Now, its a foot rest under my desk.

what about..., (4, Funny)

madnuke (948229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412339)

The Apple laptop that boasted about its internal wirless card but was made of titanium and so there was no signal?

Omnireader (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412340)

The Omnireader OCR. An early OCR scanner that read one line at a time, manually operated.

OQO (1)

iPodUser (879598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412344)

I don't think that the OqO should be rated so poorly, there were lots of products that were not so great the first time around, but got better in subsequent versions. It's far from the only portable computer that runs way too hot.

Re:OQO (4, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412417)

I would say that the (seemingly) years of hype and vapor leading up to the release of such a so-so product is what clinched it's spot.

Kind of like your first sexual experience...oh, sorry, this is slashdot...well, let me just say - don't set your expectations too high.

#1) Lotus #2) freaking #3) Notes (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412346)

Lotus Notes has got to have a place on that list -- hell, it should be on the list of The 1 Worst Tech Product Of All Time. And if you weight items by the number of people forced to use them, it'd be even more dominant.

Microsoft Bob continues to take a beating that I think is unfair. (I wonder how many of the people who talk about it have ever seen it.) It was pretty useless, true, but it was also an attempt to be genuinely innovative, and deserves credit for failing while trying to do something really new.

Re:#1) Lotus #2) freaking #3) Notes (2, Insightful)

Ekarderif (941116) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412432)

Nintendo Visual Boy was also trying something new. It also sucked big time. About as much fun as sticking lasers in your eyeballs.

Re:#1) Lotus #2) freaking #3) Notes (0, Troll)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412514)

It's currently only #3, vote for it! [] . Peregrine deserves #1 though.

Wholeheartedly agreed (1)

gid13 (620803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412354)

AOL, Realplayer, WinME... These people know what they're talking about.

Realplayer?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412459)

I hate Realplayer as much as I hate everything else.

But then, why do you forget that Apple Quicktime has the same habit of installing itself as part of the startup on Windows, and it can not be removed - even if you set the option not to start at the startup of machine.

Yes, registry hacks work, but then whats the difference between Real and Apple?

Re:Realplayer?? (1)

gid13 (620803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412643)

Heh, I was not saying anything good about Quicktime, believe me. Shudder.

You guys are slacking (5, Funny)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412357)

You get lobbed a Slashdot softball like this, and it takes until the SECOND post to suggest that every Windows version belonged on the list?

Soon MS bashing will be 3rd or 4th post on every thread...then where will Slashdot be?

Sorry... (1, Funny)

Alaren (682568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412393)

/me turns in his geek card

Can I have it back if I promise to start using "M$" and referring to average citizens as "sheeple?" d^_^b

site (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412376)

Dugg! ;)

of ALL TIME? (5, Insightful)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412390)

pretty myopic and self flattering of this age - I could pick up a 1950's copy of Popular Mechanics and find lots of stupendous techno-flops. One that comes to mind is a TV set with a built in 35mm slide viewer. You guys have no idea.

Re:of ALL TIME? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412444)

One that comes to mind is a TV set with a built in 35mm slide viewer.

Quote prophetic really. My TV takes memory cards from cameras for slideshow viewing.

Re:of ALL TIME? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412456)

I could pick up a 1950's copy of Popular Mechanics

I think they are kind of thinking of stuff invented after the microprocessor was in use. I mean, the rotary phone is kind of bonehead idea now, but back in the 1950's it was about the best the average Joe could hope for.

Re:of ALL TIME? (1)

Deinhard (644412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412539)

I'll see your rotary phone and raise you the fake rotary phone with touchtone buttons where the holes are supposed to be. Talk about completely and utterly useless.

Re:of ALL TIME? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412555)

Dude! I use to have one of those! It was so totally 80's! Totally.

What about CGA monitors? (5, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412401)

I was tired of the old amber screen too, but CGA was just not what I thought of when I thought of a "color monitor"

I mean look at this crap. []

I grew up playing King's Quest and think he was just sunburned, or embarrased all the time.

Re:What about CGA monitors? (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412433)

Oh come's better than monochrome! Look at the bright vibrant colors. With Monochrome you wouldn't even be able to tell who your character was vs. the tree!

Re:What about CGA monitors? (1)

Andrew_T366 (759304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412516)

At least the mushy blurriness of CGA monitors helped somewhat to disguise the jaggedness of the 320x200 or 640x200 resolutions. :-)

Re:What about CGA monitors? (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412540)

It's strange, the c64 had 4 bit color and 320x200 graphics too and it looked much better.

EGA, now that's just cool.

Re:What about CGA monitors? (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412549)

wow, good call.

Yup, CGA should have made it somewhere. Never actually had a CGA monitor, it looked just as good emulated to monochrome :( Gee i wish i could still trade half my screen resolution for a couple more colors..not :)

Re:What about CGA monitors? (1)

random_amber (957056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412553)

*cough* the PCjr had 16 colors, and of all the original versions of King's Quest it by far looked AND sounded the best on a PCjr. Sorry you played on a computer that did not make the the Worst List (and which had a much better graphics chip than yours).


Apple puck mouse (2, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412403)

Ahh, the Apple puck mouse. What a pity it didn't make the top 25. I used one for a day. Instant RSI that thing will give you. Kudos to the person who designed that; you have to be really good to design a mouse that is SO bad.

Number one on my list... (2, Insightful)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412406)


The reason? It has trained at least one, and probably two, generations of computer users to expect the computer to be fragile. It has made those people afraid to simply experiment with the computer because they might do something to "break" it.

This is a big reason there are so many people who don't want to learn how the computer works. By training at least one generation of people that computers are fragile, Microsoft has in a single stroke managed to limit people's willingness to learn about the computer they use every day, and thus limited their effectiveness with it.

That Microsoft also tends to (or has tended to) write their software in such a way as to hide the details of errors that occur only exacerbates the problem. And the constant stream of critical security flaws only serves to hammer in the final nail in the coffin.

Hence, I have to nominate Windows as the worst tech product of all time.

Re:Number one on my list... (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412464)

If we didn't have windows we would likely still be paying 2k for a decent machine*. And not like anything below OS X was any better. I still have nightmares of mac error popup screens.

Linux is nearly usable for the mass market now; much less 10 years ago.

* We would be left with apple and *nix vararies, and face it, much of the world isn't ready for linux yet (I still can't get linux to work on my laptop properly), and without competition macs would be even more expensive.

Re:Number one on my list... (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412624)

Sure, the MacOS pre-OS X was pretty unstable, but it was almost always more stable than whatever the current shipping version of Windows was.

More to the point, in the absence of Windows, we might well have a whole bunch of computer makers still duking it out. It seems people have forgotten what an explosion of PC (in the general sense, I mean) makers there was in the 80's -- more diversity than we've ever seen since. Apple is just the only one that survived the "IBM compatible" onslaught. Imaging what the computing world would be like if DEC, Commodore, Atari, Wang, Tandy, and who knows how many others were still making their own machines. There would be more competition, more pressure for open standards, and better computers at better prices for everyone.

Re:Number one on my list... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412585)

Oh, I'm SO shocked that one of the Slashdorks figures that Windows is the worst technological product of all time. Oh, heavens, who could possibly have guessed that Microsoft would be singled out for creating software that allows non-nerds to use a computer?

Fuck off, fanboy.

AOL? Come on, it's all about your target market. (2, Insightful)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412412)

Seriously, AOL shouldn't be #1... They just got in really good with the 90% of non-tech savy Internet users from the beginning, and gave them a nice little interface to the Internet, making it easier for them to move around.

Doesn't matter if it costs 2x as much as any other ISP, or that the interface is so kludgy that you need to upgrade your video card, or that they censor the Internet to conform to it's mass majority of users' tastes, or that the "You've got mail" sound that hasn't changed...(ever?) makes most people want to wretch all over their keyboards, or that their spyware/virus "protection" is a miserable failure and should be uninstalled, or that their "Here's your 20th CD-ROM this month" ad campaign is probably the worst landfill culprit since the pet rock, or.....

Yeah, I guess they deserve it. =p

My list of the 5 Worst Products Ever... (0, Offtopic)

jo42 (227475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412419)

1) SUVs
2) Minivans
3) Pickup trucks
4) Cell phones
5) iPods

Guess why...

Re:My list of the 5 Worst Products Ever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412463)

because you are a communist?

Re:My list of the 5 Worst Products Ever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412565)

Maybe he's a cab driver.

Realplayer (1, Flamebait)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412453)

I agree with their bashing of Realplayer — except they only criticize its current flaws. They forgot to mention the buggy releases that would grab all available CPU cycles and render the machine unusable. They're also guilty of starting a nasty trend that every other media player feels compelled to follow: using fancy "skins" that make the app look cool, but much harder to use.

WinME was secure (0)

OffTheLip (636691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412468)

Not to troll but WinME was immune to many of the problems which plagued later versions of Windows. Does that not count for anything? Of course, it rarely stayed up long enough to be useful as a bot or much else for that matter...

Re:WinME was secure (1)

Sloan47 (977340) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412569)

Exactly, it was immune because you could never keep the darn thing running. Though there was a bright side... I made quite a bit of money fixing Windows ME machines.

Use VMware (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412622)

Just for fun, get all the versions of windows and install them with Vmware. I swear to god even the biggest MS fanboy who will happily lick Bill Gates toilet will turn into a MS basher after doing window 3.1 through Windows 2003.

To be fair, XP and 2003 are easier. In roughly the same way that the last guy in the prison gang rape will probably be easier to take (if you catch my drift).

I was amazed by how many crashes I got. Granted linux gives me troubles during installs too but at least they are crashes I can work with and fix. How the fuck can Windows XP crash on a vm setup? It is not like it has any exotic fucking hardware to mess it up?

The funny thing, windows ME was not that bad. Not anyworse then windows 95 really. In fact that whole generation was the same, random crashes during install for no good reason and taking centuries just to get the files on to the fucking HD.

People who say Windows is easier to install then linux have never installed windows.

Next excersise, Install Slacw 1.0, anyone willing to take bets on when my head will explode?

Bonsai Buddy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412489)

How could they forget Bonsai Buddy. Actually I liked the guy, he was a steady stream of income for me during high school and early college. Removing him and spyware was good business for myself and I'm sure plenty of you as well.

Wasn't this just on digg? (1)

GrendelT (252901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412493)

I'm pretty sure this was on digg a few hours ago. Anywho, this is what I posted there:

Some of the items on here, while they suck in retrospect, they were awesome when they came out, but you can't judge the past based on today's terms. The impact of some of these spawned new products and ideas.
I disagree with some of their inclusions to the "Worst Tech of all time". Especially the items listed in the (dis)honorable mention category. True, some of the products sucked, but I can think of worse offerings.
What they got wrong:
- AOL "was" cool before there were many dialup ISPs... most of you have been AOL users at one point or another.
- Real "was" cool before they started hi-jacking the system and changing codecs nightly.
- The IBM 75GXP was an awesome hard drive for some. (I still have mine) It never cratered on me...
- The Timex Datalink watch was awesome. Period.
- The Newton was cool before Palm.
- Motorola Rokr. Was there a better alternative at the time?
- The Zip Drive held more than most people's HDs when it came out. If it weren't for the low price of CD-R/RW drives, more people might still be using them.

Some products were cool, but their exection was poor. In this category:
- 3Com Audrey it does have broadband support, you need a USB network adapter. I have one here.
- PointCast had a great concept. Poor management and marketing.
- CueCat sucked in reality. The plan was awesome, and they're a helluva lot of fun to play with now! (thanks eBay!)

I also don't like the use "of all time" in all of these online "Top/Best/Worst ___" Lists. I especially don't like how they sensationalize a short list of items that one guy dislikes... and "of all time" goes back to 1989? Is the author 17 years old?

IE 4 should be on the list! (1)

Andrew_T366 (759304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412499)

I'm surprised Internet Explorer 4 and/or Windows 98 didn't make it to the list. It introduced the concept of "web integration," and that was a disaster by any account: It slowed performance down to the bone, replaced the Windows shell with itself, dropped advertising right on the desktop, brutally ironed over DLLs as if there was no tomorrow, and (especially at first) introduced a ship full of bugs, all while adding no functional benefit. Almost all of this made its way into Windows 98, which immediately cursed that version and everything since then.

Unfortunately, with Windows 98 and later versions having phased out earlier versions over the years, a lot of people have gotten used to this stuff by now.

MS is the greatest company on Earf (0, Troll)

gelfling (6534) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412507)

and all their products are dropped from heaven itself. There ya happy now /. modders? moo moo moo moo.

Somethings missing... (1, Insightful)

Chris Bradshaw (933608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412510)

Where's ADA?

Re:Somethings missing... (1)

udoschuermann (158146) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412572)

ADA? The American Dental Association?!

Re:Somethings missing... (1)

bsandersen (835481) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412644)

"Where's ADA?"

Did you mean ADA, the "Americans with Disabilities Act"? Or, did you mean Ada, the programming language first designed in the late 1970's and early 1980's? Ada, the programming language, was actually an important step towards many of the things we take for granted today. It is still used in many safety-critical environments and is a workhorse for military and aerospace applications development.

Many of the complaints about Ada in its formative days were about its size and ambitious charter, both of which seem quite modest by today's standards and language designs. Finally, most who complain about it most have used it least (or not at all). Or, they don't have a good understanding of the history of the development and evolution of programming languages over the last 30 years and the role that Ada played in shaping it.

Wait a minute! (2, Funny)

FrankieBoy (452356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412523)

I use AOL. It's great! I also own a Packard Bell PC computer running Windows ME with 64MB RAM. I'm l337 as well and oh...I work for Radio Shack.

Friday! by Ashton-Tate c. 1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412529)

Hi -

I know it is now long forgotten, but I remember making many jokes about Friday! back in the 1980's. As I tell people, it was kind of the Microsoft Bob of it's time...

(Friday! was an early PIM, or Personal Information Manager written in dBASE II. The name came from Robinson Crusoe's helper who was named Friday)


Microsoft Bob (1)

dudeX (78272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412538)

The PC World article should have mentioned that Microsoft Bob was spearheaded by Melinda French (now Melinda Gates, wife of Bill Gates)...

I guess Microsoft loves to reward failures :p

Re:Microsoft Bob (1)

One Louder (595430) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412637)

The PC World article should have mentioned that Microsoft Bob was spearheaded by Melinda French (now Melinda Gates, wife of Bill Gates)...

I guess Microsoft loves to reward failures :p

You certainly have a curious definition of "reward".

Bad article... (1)

talkingpaperclip (952112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412544)

Clearly the article is flawed, neither Windows Vista nor Clippy appear in the list.

useless list whining (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412556)

count me as part of the absolute smallest minority But i had very very few problems with ME. Of course, I never had to roll it out into a corp. environment (thank god) but at least it wasn't vulnerable to blaster and sasser. Also, I had great luck with Zip drives. I owned a parallel port 100 meg that's still working, and had a ton of zip disks that were a decent way to move files until CD-R's came down in price. Both products got a bad rep, but probably weren't as bad in practice as advertised.

On the other hand, the honorable mention list has some stuff that should have easily been top 25. The Hockey puck mouse? how many bong hits did those engineers do? That thing was useless for fine control. DivX? Way to almost spend yourself into bankruptcy Circuit City. WebTV? yes, let's confuse people even further. All three of those products were bad ideas from start to finish. At least ME and Zip drives had some sort of market. WebTV, Divx and the hockey puck were examples of the "they'll buy it because we say so" school of marketing.

Zip drives... (4, Interesting)

linebackn (131821) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412560)

The original Zip drives were really pretty nice. The SCSI and IDE 100 meg drives were relatively fast too (for the time). People remember those drives as being painfully slow because many people had the external versions that connected via the *parallel port* (shudder). They managed to get a lot of Zip drives pre-installed in to machines but then they came out with a Zip 250 meg drive and several other variations. Of course the newer media didn't work on the older drives, but the worst part was the old 100 meg disks worked slow as heck in the newer drives because it had to do something special to write to them properly. What I think really killed them eventually was that the Zip disks were very expensive and the prices never went down!

They really could have replaced the 1.44 floppy disk if they had tried hard enough. I still have my old blue iomega 100 SCSI zip drive chugging away but I don't use it as much any more now that USB flash drives are almost everywhere and can finally run on everything short of DOS.

Just wait a gosh darn minute, here.... (4, Insightful)

jemenake (595948) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412561)

Some of the items on the list, although we love to hate them, are things that really did help the tech world make strides forward. For example, say what you want about AOL but, if it weren't for them, I still probably wouldn't be able to send email to my mom. Zip disks? Yes, they had click-of-death but, at the time, a portable 100MB for $10? That was unreal. PointCast? PointCast was the first time where you could have your very own, customized scrolling ticker on your screen... just like the ones on the CNN screen... but it only had the stuff *you* wanted. When it first came out, it was a marvel. All of these items changed the way that people thought about what they could do with computers when they first came out.

Contrast that with some items on the list that were complete disasters from the moment they were launched: IBM PC Jr., CueCat, Microsoft Bob... THOSE belong on the list. The list probably should have included some other items that had lofty ambitions but just never "took" (like OS/2). But, like I said, some of the ones on the list, I feel, aren't getting their due. We look at them now and see how worthless they are by today's standards (you can probably get any of these items on eBay for $5, now), but that ignores the impact they had when they were first released.

How about the segway? (5, Insightful)

joebooty (967881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412563)

Perhaps the overhyping has forever biased me but the segway has to be the most absurd tech product.

2k for a bizarre scooter that was supposed to change my life forever? huh?

I still use my CueCat! (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412564)

I don't actually use it for... well, what the hell was it supposed to be for? But my theater troupe uses an online ticketing service, and it's kinda nifty to be able to just scan the bar codes when they present the tickets. And all it took was a trip to Radio Shack and a downloaded driver.

SPOILER Warning please! (1)

billdar (595311) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412586)

Have a heart and tag spoiler warning!

There is a reason top 10/25/100 lists count down to 1. Now where's the anticipation?

PC World's website should have made the list (3, Funny)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412587)

+1 Flamebait... I know.

Datalink is WHAT?!? (4, Interesting)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412593)

They dare? They DARE?!? They dare to disparage the Timex Datalink?!?!?


I wore the crap out of my Datalink until it finally died in a pool in Arkansas of H2O exposure. Show me another watch that could sync up phone lists, memos and TIME to a PC and under linux no less (yes sir!). Not too bulky and had all the needed features. I'm talking the blinkly light version here, not the USB.

Consider today's watchscape, the best that's out there are the "atomic" (*cough* radio sync) watches and for the most part none of them work quite as well or have the anywhere near the feature set of the Good Old Ironman Datalink.

The best part was holding your breath long enough for the watch to finish the transfer without crapping out. Good times, good times.

The actual list (2, Informative)

Spez (566714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412604)

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)

Lack of news (or writer's block) (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412608)

Inability to come up with something meaningful to write ineviably always leads to "Best ... of all time" or "Worst ... of all time" babbled passed off as articles. Editors (of "professional" publications, no less) should've seen this kind of busy-work garbage from a mile away instead of running'em...

Xray shoe fitter has to be on the list. (5, Interesting)

joebooty (967881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412610)

The shoe fitting fluoroscope was a common fixture in shoe stores during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. A typical unit, like the Adrian machine shown here, consisted of a vertical wooden cabinet with an opening near the bottom into which the feet were placed. When you looked through one of the three viewing ports on the top of the cabinet (e.g., one for the child being fitted, one for the child's parent, and the third for the shoe salesman or saleswoman), you would see a fluorescent image of the bones of the feet and the outline of the shoes.

The machines generally employed a 50 kv x-ray tube operating at 3 to 8 milliamps. When you put your feet in a shoe fitting fluoroscope, you were effectively standing on top of the x-ray tube. The only "shielding" between your feet and the tube was a one mm thick aluminum filter. Some units allowed the operator to select one of three different intensities: the highest intensity for men, the middle one for women and the lowest for children.

Naturally children loved this gadget and kids were getting months of radiation exposure every chance they could get! I know the list is all modern technology but this product is so magically horrid it should get honorary mention...

Left out a few. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412613)

1. The IBM PC. It was slower than many CP/M available at the time that cost less. It uses a brain-dead "16" bit cpu called the 8088 that was used a night mare of an addressing system. The default operating system was this bad copy of CP/M from Microsoft. And it didn't even follow the standard for the gender of the printer port or the serial port! What made it a total nightmare was that it sold in HUGE numbers and created a standard that sucked and managed to kill off better machines.

2. The IBM AT. Just when you thought their couldn't be a CPU worse then the 8088 Intel creates the an addressing system that makes the 8088 look good. Then IBM creates new standard based in this nightmare did I mention that they created an even less standard format for the RS-232 comport? But wait there is more Microsoft creates a now OS that has a bad habit of crashing hard drives and prevent you from creating any hard drive partition bigger than 33 megabytes.

And the ever popular Disk-doubler! A great program from Microsoft that they included with MS-DOS 6. Not only did it contain code stolen from Stac but it also could lost vast amount of data on your drive!

There are so many others that should be on that list.


Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15412640)


I blame Cantor and Siegel...

Curses unto them until the end of time!

My nomination (2, Insightful)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15412645)


Circuit City DiVX

How could they forget???

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