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The Worst Tech of Q2 2006 106

ClickOnThis writes "CNET has an article on the Worst tech of Q2 2006. Their rogue's gallery includes: Segway Polo, the 'Nyko Intelligent Remote 360', and a dishonorable mention for the HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray format war. My personal (un)favorite is the appropriately-named Pantech 300 mobile phone, which is so small you could almost swallow it. From the article: 'When it's in your hand, you will feel like Gigantor. But it's a trick. You are not Gigantor. And if you're at a monster truck rally, bully convention, or Hell's Angels hangout while you're using it, you'll catch some hell for being Mr. Fancy Li'l Mini Phone. A wedgie, Kick Me sign, or stop-hitting-yourself situation might ensue.'"
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The Worst Tech of Q2 2006

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  • Vista (Score:5, Funny)

    by MarkByers ( 770551 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:24AM (#15682345) Homepage Journal
    I would have voted for Vista...

    But now it looks like we will have to wait until 2007.

    Yeah, yeah mod me Troll, I don't care this time! :)
  • by NexFlamma ( 919608 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:28AM (#15682353) Homepage
    ... and I'll say it again; Nintendo renaming the 'Revolution' to the 'Wii' was one of the most ingenious strokes of marketing I've ever witnessed. Never before has the name of videogame console been so talked about, argued about and generally advertised to the average (read: non-gamer) person.

    I get the feeling that in the upcoming console war this name change is going to be proof of the old adage "There's no such thing as bad publicity".
    • I agree with you, it got about 5 front page /. stories in the first week too... which is pretty impressive. Also they seem to disagree with their own readers (who gave it an 8/10 score) and their decision has nothing to do with "tech"; they don't even mention the technology that is inside it... still, what do you expect when they say how bad that little phone is but the editors review gave it 6.6/10 and a "good" rating
      • The whole list is fluff. Heck, the whole story is fluff! Some of these actually are products that were designed badly (the Kodak camera, for example), but mostly this is a list of products with poor marketing (Wii) or not-products (polo is an event, not a product, and the product in question is fine as far as technology goes).

        The list should be renamed: Things this editor stumbled into 1Q 2006 that he doesn't like, all of which employ technology in some vague way.
    • Wii is a great name. It's all about ease, and identity. No one wil have troubles saying it in any English-speaking market. It is also easy to say in any Asian and Indo-European language market. Can you imagine how the Asian market would pronounce Revolution (engrish)? And in English, it has the connotation of I+I (i.e., we). Moreover, no other product sounds like it.

      It's a brilliant name.

      Cnet's article is rather flippant, and is certainly light-hearted. For these reasons alone, I would not put any stock

    • but I'll say it now; The name change might be good for publicity, but I still find the new name retarded.
    • Shouldn't we wait to see how many people actually buy it before calling it ingenious marketing?
    • "I get the feeling that in the upcoming console war this name change is going to be proof of the old adage "There's no such thing as bad publicity"."

      Oh, I dunno. Sony's rushed controller addition plus their price tag has got a lot of people waiting and seeing.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "There's no such thing as bad publicity".

      That might explain Microsoft's success.

    • Whether "Wii" is a good name or not is debatable. But "Revolution" is a terrible name. It's very 1990s, like a Pepsi "X-treme" advertisement. You'd have to be pretty dorky and unfashionable to find the name "Revolution" enticing.
  • by Umbral Blot ( 737704 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:30AM (#15682357) Homepage
    It's probably a bad sign when gadgets nowadays are so stupid that we need quarterly reports to mock them.
    • On the contrary, I think it's a good sign. Because it means there are now lots and lots of gadgets, equally many of which must be good.
  • Small is bad now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:36AM (#15682368)
    My phone is smaller than most, and it's still too damn big. I don't use it for anything other than calling people and checking the time, and I don't need it to be big enough to have other functions (not that I don't understand people that do need features and bigness that I don't). I have a lot of crap I need to carry in my pockets, and I don't like having huge, bulging, jagged thighs all the time. I'd pay quite a bit for a truly miniscule phone. Not the one from the article, though, because it's still too big.
    • Re:Small is bad now? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JanneM ( 7445 )
      The review was shorthand for "Pantech didn't send us swag or phones on 'indefinite' loan so here's the payback". The inclusion in the worst list is "They not only didn't send any swag, they even accused us of wanting bribes when we called and complained about it".

      Cnet used to be decent a few years ago; now it's frankly best ignored.

      Oh, and I'd say the Nintendo name change is probably one of the better PR coups this year. Perhaps the reviewers didn't get a free DS Lite either.
      • by wizzat ( 964250 )
        Seriously, this article is kindof pathetic. I normally don't comment, but wow. The Polo thing.. maybe a bad idea, but hardly a technology. It sounded more like they were petulantly crying over things they simply didn't like. For instance, there's nothing wrong with a small phone. So your camera takes 8 seconds to boot up... that would hardly make it the WORST tech of Q2 2006. Hey, that wouldn't even get an honorable mention from me! Ah well. At least most of the other articles have been interesting.
        • The Polo thing.. maybe a bad idea, but hardly a technology.

          And to top it off, it's years old instead of "Q2 2006". The first hit on 'segway polo' on Google goes to www.bayareaseg.com/Polo.htm [bayareaseg.com], which explains in its History section that they weren't the first to do polo, but their own first match was in July 2004.

          (saturday night and making this point on Slashdot - check, still in the target audience...)

        • So your camera takes 8 seconds to boot up... that would hardly make it the WORST tech of Q2 2006.

          Actually, I would argue it does. 8 seconds is about 7.5 seconds too long. My two year old Minolta 4MP camera boots in well under 2 and it's hardly state of the art today. (Slide the shield open and by the time I can get the camera lined up it will shoot.)

          I have two young kids- getting a decent photo really is a matter of seconds. An absurdly long bootup time indicates the people who designed the camera r

    • Re:Small is bad now? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:54AM (#15682409)
      How about "worlds smallest mobile phone"
      http://www.vkmobile.com/uk/product/gsm_spec.jsp?pr oduct_idx=322 [vkmobile.com]

      I bought mine a month ago and love it. Only 48g, very thin. Easily fits comfortably in shirt pocket or suit pants. And rather cheap also!
      Only con - shorter than average battery capacity.
      • Wow, thanks for the tip! I did some research and just bought the VK2020 from http://www.wapzon.com/web/prodetail.asp?Pid=8497 [wapzon.com] . Main improvement over the 2000 is the longer battery life (also it has Bluetooth and MP3 player features, but that doesn't matter to me). I like the idea of having a tiny phone that just works as a phone -- no space wasted on cameras and other rubbish. The main drawback to this phone seems to be that the firmware isn't very refined, so there are occasional random glitches. See htt [howardforums.com]
    • Re:Small is bad now? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Onan ( 25162 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:57AM (#15682415)

      Yeah, I'm totally perplexed by this. I looked at their "review" of the phone, which is really just a couple of sentences inexplicably listing its smallness as "con". Did they forget about the ability to duct tape bricks to the phone if they have some bizarre desire for it be larger?

      And yes. The phone--not that small. Not nearly small enough.

      The US cellphone market seems to be plagued by two awful things:

      • Carriers have mostly succeeded in tying phone hardware to phone service. So you can't just go out and choose the best phone and then choose the best carrier; you need to try and find some not-awful intersection of the two, and end up with a phone that has had many of its abilities intentionally disabled by the carrier.
      • Once they wrangled phones out of the separate market, carriers decided that they could only advertise ones with lots of features, not just ones that are good at being phones. So they're only selling huge monstrosities with nonsense like cameras, video and audio recording, color displays, multiple displays, games, web browsers, calendars, hard drives, laser printers, and whathaveyou. And they seem completely unwilling to sell something that's just a telephone, which is all I want. As small as humanly possible while still retaining good battery life, and none of that other cruft.
      • Re:Small is bad now? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 )
        Carriers have mostly succeeded in tying phone hardware to phone service. So you can't just go out and choose the best phone and then choose the best carrier

        Assuming you have a GSM carrier (Cingular or T-Mob), you *can* move the SIM card to another phone. And there's a glut of "unlocked"[*] phones available on EBay and from online retailers, which will accept any SIM card. With CDMA that Verizon uses, of course, you actually have to *tell* the carrier that you're changing phones, since there aren't swapp

        • Another option is to modify the phone to re-enable the disabled features.
          Motorolas in particular are good for this, you can often find "SEEM" edits that re-enable disabled features.
          Or you can sometimes find (and load on) a "generic" firmware image that will remove all the carrier specific stuff.
          Even for CDMA phones you can often find such modifications.

          Bear in mind that making such changes to the phone will probobly void the warranty and may violate aggreements with carriers.
      • As far as I could tell from the pictures on the review of the phone, its no smaller than mine, Audiovox CMD-8910. At least the width and hight look almost the exact same. If it is any flatter than my phone, I would love to have it. Even mine, for being rather compact, is still bulky sometimes.
      • And they seem completely unwilling to sell something that's just a telephone, which is all I want

        The margins are better and the sales are better on the multi-function phones.

        Even a prepaid phone may have SMS, music, games, a camera, a color screen. You have a closed market, a very profitable market, in after-market sales of ringtones, etc.

        This isn't unique to cellular:

        When was the last time you saw an add for a single-function scanner for home use?

        • The margins are better and the sales are better on the multi-function phones.

          I'm not sure that either of those needs to be true. I and a substantial portion of my geek friends would pay more money for a version of one of the current bloatware phones that just had all the crap ripped out and was thus smaller and lighter. (Are you listening, Nokia/Motorola/Sanyo/Samsung/Sprint/Cingular/Veriz on? Yank out all that shit, cut the size of the phone in half, double the price, and I am there.)

          This isn't u

      • Yeah, I'm totally perplexed by this. I looked at their "review" of the phone, which is really just a couple of sentences inexplicably listing its smallness as "con".

        Yeah, I don't know of any positive reason for a phone to necessarily be big. Screen size might become a factor if it got ridiculously small, but some of us don't need fancy screens with Nvidia graphics and the latest games - we want a telephone that is easy to carry around. However, if the mentioned phone's battery life is in fact below averag

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I don't like having huge, bulging, jagged thighs all the time.

      You're American. Get used to it. It's part of your culture.

    • Re:Small is bad now? (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'ts more that Tim Moynihan, David Rudden, and Karen Spiegelman think that people at monster truck rallies, bully conventions, and Hell's Angels hangouts don't appreciate small technology. How many people who go to monster truck rallies actually own monster trucks?
    • You'll never see a European or Japanese review complaining that a gadget is too small, only US reviewers (although certainly not all.)

      I think it has to do with finger fatness among certain American reviewers, reminds me of that Simpsons episode...
    • On the one hand I want to have a small phone since I do want to keep it with me easily on those days I want to be contacted.

      On the other hand phones can be so small they are painful to use for some things. For example my previous phone had a keypad which was so small it was physically hard to press the buttons with my big thumb! Not a big deal for dialling simple numbers, but a real pain when it came to sending text/sms messages.

      So yes, I can see that a phone being too small could be a con, but I guess

    • I don't like having huge, bulging, jagged thighs all the time.

      Maybe you should ease up on the steroids a little?
    • Okay, here's reasons I dislike small phones as a counter point:
      * Screens are too small and unreadable
      * Battery life is reduced
      * Antenna size reduced
      * Cost more
      * Usually don't have bluetooth

      Actually, I'm one of those people that actually e-mails people on my phone and likes features.
      • That's all well and good, but some of us don't care about bluetooth, would rather not even have a screen, don't care about battery life as long as it lasts more than a day with moderate usage, and don't want something that needs a holster or takes up too much space in the ol' pocket.

        Fortunately, there isn't just ONE phone design, so we can all be happy.

        Except me for a little while. When is my voice-controlled over-the-ear phone going to come out?
    • *falls over laughing*

      I was shopping for a new phone a couple days ago and almost bought the Pantech 300. Thank God I saw the Samsung D807 and the drool factor kicked in before it was too later. :)
    • there's a new samsung phone, credit card style:

      http://europe.samsungmobile.com/eng/mobile_phone/s gh-p300/specification.jsp [samsungmobile.com]

      maybe a bit wider than other models, but most probably the slimmest one around.

  • hm.. dont let ballmer join the segway polo team. that'd be one expensive chair when he loses.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That article was so badly written, I thought it was a digg posting. Is there any journalism left in the eletronic age?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:38AM (#15682373)
    360 Red Lights of Death

    I think the record is up to someone who is on their SEVENTH!!! 360 replacement unit.

    It is bizarre to see 360 owners talk about how lucky they are with only have to have gone through one or two replacement 360s. Or how 'impressed' they were with how quickly Microsoft sent the delivery truck to pickup their dead 360. Boggle. It's like airline passengers bragging about how a certain airline has the best bodybags when confronted with the abysmal safety record of the airline they are flying on.

    The failure rate of the Xbox 360 hardware is so beyond any other piece of electronic hardware it has to be costing Microsoft insane amounts of money to keep the 2 million or so poor sods with 360s from storming the Redmond headquarters. Free games, waving fees for out of warranty failures, insane amount of money on shipping units to and from Microsoft for replacement.

    What is funny about the whole Xbox 360 hardware failure fiasco is after the first Xbox marketplace failure this was the one where Microsoft was supposed to get things right and take over the console world.

    Heh, so much for that plan...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:45AM (#15682512)
      The 360 isn't the worst tech of 2006 because of the absurd hardware failure rates.

      It's the worst tech of 2006 because it is a massively overpriced 480p gaming machine that Microsoft is trying to use for 720p. The fucked up 360 graphics system has only 10megs of EDRAM - which is exactly how much you need for 4xAA 480p screen - meaning that developers are forced to either go with almost no AA and have jaggies everywhere(like most 360 games) or implement a tedious to write custom tile renderer just for the 360 version of their game that drags down rendering performance due to all the redundant rendering from overlapping geometry on tile boundaries.

      The 360 is a nightmare for developers.

      It's like Microsoft told ATI, take one of your stock pc graphics cards and fuck it up and make it as difficult as possible for developers to work with.

      * Lack of decent AA - jaggies everywhere
      * Miserable framerates - due to the system trying to render at 720p when it really is only powerful enough to handle 480p
      * Screen tearing - due to developers not being able to maintain a decent framerate at 720p
      * Texture filtering problems - there is an almost complete lack of AF in 360 games - something even old lowend pc graphics cards can handle without a sweat

      You just want to smack your head and roll your eyes and have pity for the poor sods that have to do 360 development.

      • Thank you for the insight.

        I was wondering, as a generic consumer, what the extra 10MB will do to 360. now it doesn't seem like an advantage, but a serious disadvantage...

        Are you also aware of any of Original Xbox's faults?

        I noticed that PS2 was better at producing smooth framerates when watching both games run side by side(Burnout 3).

        Is there a specific hardware disadvantage that will lead to this?

        Because this is what's bothering me... non-smooth framerate... I can sense it very easily, and with HD definiti
      • by Anonymous Coward
        You have been grossly mis-informed. The embedded memory within the GPU itself a massive benefit to developers. It allows the GPU to do extra graphical work (such as Anti Aliasing) without moving the data back to the GPU's memory (in the case of the 360, the 512MB system memory) - this saves system bandwidth, data retrieval time, and system memory usage. The 10 megs of embedded memory should not be considered a framebuffer. The only other system I'm aware of that has a similar setup is the Flipper in
      • What a load of shit. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Corngood ( 736783 )
        They never assumed you would have to fit your whole framebuffer in EDRAM at once, that's why they have predicated tiling. I'm not going to go beyond what info is publicly available, but you clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

        Predicated Tiling [google.ca]
        • I second this. Most of the graphical issues you're seeing today are game teams doing ports of last-gen games or getting used to the hardware. Wait till PS3 comes out if you want to talk about underperforming hardware!
      • The 360 is a nightmare for developers.

        You won't know the meaning of the word 'nightmare' until you start facing down a PS3.

        Schwab

      • Which is interesting, because all the developers I've spoken to (and yes, I do know some actual game developers actually working on these things) rather like the 360.
      • Such "lack of programming" disturbs many people around the world; it's the "quick" way of writing stuff without thinking about later consequences like user input/output. Why program lazy and not use the real ways; which will take some more time to complete the project but it will sure be double as steady and reliable; let not mention it'll make your life easier for later adjustments to it.

        640k ought to be enough in that time; when floppy's where 5/14" 360k and 3.5" 720k; harddrives where a luxe and the code
    • FUD. It's been stated again and again by MS that the failure rate of the 360 is comparable to other consumer electronics devices, i.e. in the 3-5% range. Sure the forums are full of people complaining, but you should know better that to look to forums (particularly gaming ones) for reliable information. Just to present the other side of the picture, I know 7 people with 360's and not one of them has had a single problem.
  • by tsa ( 15680 )
    I laughed my head off. This is one of the funniest articles I read in a long time. Maybe the fact that I love lists like this added to the fun. BTW, it seems many people like to be annoyed or we wouldn't have lists like this :-) I can't wait for the Worst tech of Q3 2006!
  • by __aalwyc6372 ( 443153 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:01AM (#15682424)
    "Have you swallowed your mobile again?"
  • wow zonk :) up all night after a long stint on the bottle?
  • by FractalZone ( 950570 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:23AM (#15682470) Homepage
    "It's a series of tubes. This amazing network technology enables you to get email from associates in as little as five days! Thankfully, Mr. Stevens is yet-another-confused Congresscritter more interested in pork than in sound public policy.
  • by w4rl5ck ( 531459 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:25AM (#15682474) Homepage
    back in the 19th century.

    I think, the Segway will be my relief when I get old and can't walk as good as now. It should be a nice replacement for those grandma walking aids that must be used these days.

    So, I don't think the segway is a bad thing at all. looks stupid, but hey... %)
    • by mjeffers ( 61490 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @07:37AM (#15682640) Homepage
      I think, the Segway will be my relief when I get old and can't walk as good as now. It should be a nice replacement for those grandma walking aids that must be used these days.

      Now it makes sense. The Segway's market is that large group of elderly people who can't walk long distances but are able to stand for long periods of time.

      "Somewhere between mobility and the Rascal Scooter [rascalscooters.com]? Consider Segway!"
    • Segway... hey, they laughed at bikers for YEARS... back in the 19th century.

      Hey, I still do, because it's so easy! They're riding those bikes while rubbing their genitals against the saddle, wearing those ghey tight shorts (or moronic baggy ones) and stupid fugly helmets, taking up space on the roads for no reason at all.

      I hope by "bikers" you meant the people riding bicycles, not motorbikes. Those guys would kick my ass.
      • Hey, I still do, because it's so easy! They're riding those bikes while rubbing their genitals against the saddle, wearing those ghey tight shorts (or moronic baggy ones) and stupid fugly helmets, taking up space on the roads for no reason at all.

        I commute around NYC by bike, so "no reason at all" isn't always true. It's faster than walking, driving, or taking the subway; better exercise; and doesn't get you any parking tickets ever.

        I hope by "bikers" you meant the people riding bicycles, not motorbike

        • I used to think motorcycles were "scary" and "lame", but then I decided to get one. I found out they are cool and awesome. Riding a motorcycle is totally fun. Plus, most bikers are really nice. In fact, I have found that motorcyclists pretty much usually wave to each other as they pass. Sometimes when I am in my car, I want to wave to bikers, but I think you are only supposed to do that when you are actually on the bike.

          Also, side car bikes rule.
    • So when you're too old to walk, you won't be too old to withstand the forces of falling off a segway?
  • by Darundal ( 891860 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:41AM (#15682508) Journal
    An article with next to no content, that doesn't even stick to the tech like the headline states...so-so reviews...and an annoying convoluted site design.
  • Ultra Mobile PC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:46AM (#15682515)
    Recently I have noticed that a lot of review sites review hardware with a specific purpose in mind. The Samsung Q1 UltraMobile devices are great in an educational setting as well as for mobile employees previously tied to a Tablet PC. Still, the complaints from many review sites is basically "This device is not good for this purpose" instead of a simple "The battery options limit the usable time to 2.5 hours". Explore the specifications and any limitations exposed beyond simple spec sheet and leave us with enough knowledge to determine whether the devices will work in our specific situation.

    BTW, a name change is not "worst tech".

    • But the Q1 is terrible executed. It's controls, materials, even the box it comes in shows an obsession with making a really big black iPod. Even though they had Apple to copy from, it's a hodgepodge of styles. The ports are scattered around the edge of the device, making it seem like it's a development board wrapped in a plastic shell, with no thought put into how it feels in the hand of the user. That shiny black plastic might look good when you take it out of the box, but it quickly gets nasty with finger
  • That mention of that small phone reminds me of the Family Guy episode where Peter, after going over a bump in his car while talking on his cell phone, swallows it, without pushing 'END' first.
  • Am I the only one who misread it as Segway Pogo? I thought that maybe they went one-stick because two-wheel wasn't going far enough. That would certainly count as one of the worst tech...
  • Okay, am I the only one who thought the video of Woz was ridiculous? I mean, of course it's ridiculous, but more specifically he goes on at limited but noticable length about how he's so good at this that they keep having to change the rules to minimize his dominance. The interviewer goads him on a bit, but really, he seems pretty conceited throughout the whole interview. I haven't had much experience watching him in the past, so it could be that he's always this way. But good God, the man is playing a full
  • Killer App (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mignon ( 34109 ) <satan@programmer.net> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @10:24AM (#15683213)
    Not to take article this seriously, but hopping land mines [slashdot.org] get my vote for worst tech.
  • Hey, get with the program, everyone is over the name change now and actually thinks it's a good idea, plus Nintendo got a mass of publicity over the device for it into the bargain.
  • What I find interesting is that if you click the links for the items you get the CNET reviews for the same items. In several cases CNET gave an item a positive review only to include it on the list of "Worst Tech". Now I know they say there is no such thing as bad press but this seems like a case of social engineering on the part of CNET using /. to drive people to a questionable article. That being said I did go read the article and the linked reviews so I guess as sheeple I cant complain to much (doh!)
  • Man, I just don't understand why so many tech journalists are such lapdogs who trot out this same lame line about how terrible a format war is. The real problem is that there aren't enough competing candidates. As it is both main candidates have similar user hostile lock down technology. Imagine if we simply had to accept whatever is annointed and brought down to the masses from the mountain. When only insiders get to make binding design choices that means your likely to get devices that have less than opti

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