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The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time 497

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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The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time

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  • Zip Drive? (Score:4, Informative)

    by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <> on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:32PM (#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:Bad tech? Nah... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jomegat ( 706411 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:39PM (#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... (Score:3, Informative)

    by SlayerDave ( 555409 ) <> on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:07PM (#15412575) Homepage
    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.
  • The actual list (Score:2, Informative)

    by Spez ( 566714 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:10PM (#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)
  • Re:Zip Drive? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Onan ( 25162 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:15PM (#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.

  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:18PM (#15412655) Journal
    I was online with pictures, multiuser chat, news, message boards, and email in 1981, on both CompuServe and GEnie. AOL invented nothing. You have no idea what you are talking about.
  • Re:Missing entry (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:21PM (#15412685)
    > Good list... where's X10?

    Lousy nasty sleazy company, but their product is cheap and works as intended. What's wrong with the product?

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

    by docyahoo ( 864256 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:22PM (#15413081)
    I'm not real good with ages, but I don't think the author [] of TFA is 16...18 maybe.
  • Re:Bad tech? Nah... (Score:2, Informative)

    by mikefrommcmurray ( 817962 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:26PM (#15413101) Homepage
    I ran one app more useful than any other on 3.1 -- WordPerfect 5.1.
  • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:30PM (#15413120)
    I used to be 72310,272, and "cgremlin" on the CB Simulator. I had my CIS account from 1986 (starting with a 1200 baud VenTel modem) until 1998 when they attempted to double-charge my account and got unreasonable about it. I really miss the '80s and early '90s - the online experience was totally different then, even though we all had dog-slow modems and almost everything was text-based - I don't expect the kids today that have only experienced the Internet in its current form could understand the appeal. Hell, I even have some old CB Simulator friends that I still exchange Christmas cards with.

    And I live 40 miles away from my parents' house. :-D
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:38PM (#15413162)
    See r/shoe.htm []

    "According to Williams (1949), 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."

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

    by lunatik17 ( 91135 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @07:20PM (#15413373) Homepage
    There's a Firefox plugin [] that takes care of that.
  • Actually, the Zip drives were fantastic in the beginning. I ordered one the same day I got the first MacWarehouse catalog pimping them, in spring of 1994 or 1995, IIRC. It was still going strong when I decommissioned my last SCSI-equipped Mac, in early 2003.

    Zip drives only got shitty once they got really popular and Iomega started selling them by the boatload. They cut corners to pump them out faster and cheaper, and product quality suffered as a result. I didn't encounter my first Click of Death-afflicted drive until probably 1997 or 1998, and I saw a lot of Zip drives because I worked in the creative industry in the mid and late 90s-- Zips supplanted 44/88MB SyQuest drives there with amazing speed and became a defacto standard for shuttling files back and forth from service bureaus.

  • Re:Bad tech? Nah... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @10:59PM (#15414188) Journal
    I had a very brief employement with AOL last fall doing their tech support call center.

    ITs not in the past when things they did were rough. Today they are worse as they are freaking out how to keep their 7 million customers that are left and leaving by the day.

    Its not billing problems. Its intentional fraud that we are supposed to do to prevent you from leaving and charging everything for. If I recall the most cancellations an hour you were allowed to do was 4 an hour. (I could be off? ).

    Bad was not even the worst. They treat their employees and their customers as capital and objects to squeeze for maximum profit rather than people. Management brain dead to anything else with a strict bean counter mentality. THey dont need to know what they are doing. Just fire fire fire and if someone meets insane handle time then keep them.

    The culture inside is just hostile as day 1 when you are threatened to be outsourced to India during your orientation if you dont perform and how we are all overpaid at 9/hr. so do your job or else bla bla bla.

    Then on the floor on the first day we are reminded how quickly each of one us are about to be fired and perform or ELSE! People get fired within the first few days and are made light about it on purpose to set examples to meet handle time requirements.

    Maybe I am just bitter but AOL is well deserved to be labelled low and I wonder how legal it is do things like prevent cancellations and intentionally be overly aggressive with marketing lies? For example they have subsidary names for certain call centers and they keep changing their name every year because they keep getting sued by former workers and states. Makes you wonder?

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.