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PCWorld's 25 Bottom Technologies

Date/Time Permalink: 05/26/06 08:44:45 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

I hardly ever think I'd be linking to a PCWorld article, but here we are. The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time is a stunningly good article - every pick on there that I've had experience with, I can verify is dead-on, and the rest ring true. You might want to browse it with adblock set to "killall" or just browse it in lynx/w3m, however, because it is ad-soaked.

I've got a few anecdotes I could share about this basket of rotten apples:

#2 RealPlayer Oh, yeah. Back when I ran Windows, RealPlayer pretty much decided it owned the whole computer without ever once doing anything useful. It was a delete-on-sight piece of malware after awhile. An enigma, in that it was constantly updating, downloading, uploading, and popping up dialogs in my face, and yet I never once actually got it to play a media file successfully. Movies in RealPlayer format simply became something I'd refuse to even try, after that.

What I'd like to add is that I *have* RealPlayer on my Mandriva machine right now, and it's been a completely different game on Linux! Never gives me a problem, starts and plays and shuts down, never needs an update or a new package... mysterious, isn't it?

#8 MS Internet Exploder 6 Just for the record, I was still dual-booting Windows in IE6's time. It was our nightmare with this beast that finally drove us to delete Windows entirely and become an all-Linux household. I made security my number one priority with it, and *still* had to sit down for six hours every other day and SCRAPE the virii, malware, hoseware, trojans, and crap out of it.
When I checked the Linux system and it reported a continuous uptime of 6 months (indicating that the whole household had happily adjusted to Linux), I heaved a sigh of relief and quietly nuked the Windows partition, which has since hosted everything from file storage to Plan 9 from Bell Labs. So, thank you, Microsoft, for Internet Explorer 6!

# 20 CueCat Yes, but don't forget this hack that allowed one to make some unintended use of the CueCat. I have a special fondness for free tech which can be hacked into something useful; that's Enarchy at it's finest!

Honorable Mention: WebTV I agree heartily, but there's a flip-side: I have actually *recommended* WebTV to users who would fit the profile of "tech support's worst nightmare". For reasons of: (a) having no hard drive, it was impossible to infect with any virus or malware at all! (b) Quite a few people use their computer just like nothing more than a TV, anyway, and as much time as they grumble about all the complicated stuff in their way, one wonders why WebTV isn't revived. (c) The remote could be discarded in favor of a quite sophisticated keyboard, from which you could do everything. (d) It can actually be *faster* than a PC for fetching and playing large media files!

Yes, WebTV would suck for people like me (and, I presume, most of the people reading), but there are some people who really *need* it, if they could redesign it and update the technology for the new millennium... perhaps hanging some IPod-like features on it...

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