In no certain order, here are 10 things in modern technology that drive me nuts. Most importantly, these are all things that someone, somewhere, should have said, “This is a really bad idea and we should remedy this ASAP.”
Of course, they didn’t, so…
10. Car Alarms That Toot When You Arm Them
I want to find the asshole who invented this and kill him. As if we don’t have enough noise pollution in our lives, this evil little scumbag decided that simply blinking the parking lights wasn’t enough. No-o-o-o-o. Some gormless fuckwit of a soccer mom sometimes can’t see the lights and needs a re-assuring BEEP to remind her that her Dave Matthews CD’s are safe and sound.
Meanwhile, the rest of us have to put up with a startling BEEP just outside our window when we’re busy jerking off to midget porn. It ruins the mood, let me tell ya.
9. DVD’s That Won’t Let You Skip to the Main Menu
This one is the goddamn worst. You PAID MONEY to buy or rent this DVD. You have no interest in watching the previews of other shitty Hollywood movies and you have no patience for advertisements. You’re in your Barcolounger, Cheetos in your lap, ready to go, but NO.
You are forced to sit through two ads for the studio, a “funny” piracy warning video and umpteen fucking movie trailers. You grind your finger into the MENU button but all you get is the “illegal operation” display in the corner of the screen. Why?
Because some drooling fuckstain at the studio thought that buy-through would increase %0.000054 if everyone was FORCED to watch this shit. No matter that it drove 95% of their paying customers into paroxysms of hatred and disgust. After all, they ALREADY GOT YOUR MONEY. So fuck you, Mr. Customer. You have to watch our marketing crap. You fucked up. You trusted us.
8. Endless Software Updates
I don’t mean to pick on Steam. I love Steam, and I love Valve. But Jesus Christ, fellas: can we stagger the goddamn updates a bit? Not only does Steam update almost daily, but when it does, it interrupts any full-screen process you might be doing!
(Yes, I know there’s a setting somewhere to stop this, but I shouldn’t have to find it!)
So, I’m sitting at home watching midget porn on my 42″ LCD, things are getting good because the girl midget just took off the pig costume, and all of a sudden this green box intrudes on my screen, pushes the midgets into the background and insists I pay attention because Steam just decided to upload a bug fix that affects 4% of everyone who plays Stalin vs The Martians. WTFingF?
And then there’s my Firefox plug-in’s. None of those plug-in’s can go four fucking days without delaying the execution of Firefox so they can update themselves and solve a problem that some nerd in Bayonne found when you run it on Windows 3.11 and a Cyrix processor.
Meanwhile, I’m champing at the bit to get online and find out if my monthly subscription to asianmidgets.com was renewed or not. But no. I gotta wait for Downloadhelper to add support for 720p Vimeo files of Justin Bieber. Dammit!
7. Member Cards
Nowadays, every brick-and-mortar business in the country has to have a membership card. Without the card, you can’t get all the sale prices and flyer miles and gasoline credits and whatever else they think will lure you into adding yet another tracking device into your wallet.
Soon, your wallet is bursting at the seams with these things and it takes longer to fish it out at the checkout counter than it took you to rally all your purchases. So you swipe it in the machine and some secret database somewhere has fifteen more points of data that say you’re an easy mark and spend money like a American sailor in a Filipino whorehouse.
You’ll soon receive a 15% increase in monthly email spam and a slight alteration to the twice-weekly coupon books that are mailed to your house and end up right in the trash.
What I find most aggravating about this crap is the fact that market analysts no longer have to gather any data. We do it for them! There are no market analysts anymore. They’re all just database administrators. I hope they all get leprosy.
6. Long-Ass HTML Page Titles
When the hell did it become necessary to have a focus-group-approved marketing paragraph of text in the goddamn title of your webpage? Hello? Bueller?
Hey, Seattle PI: you’re a newspaper. An online-only newspaper after your historic failure in the dead trees market. But that’s what you are: the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, aka Seattle PI. When I visit your website, I don’t need an armful of text scrawled across my browser.
Shit, your title doesn’t even reveal who the hell you are till the very end! I guess some douchebag in your web marketing division decided that forcing everyone to read spiffy marketing text is a great way to “gain eyespace”. Well, guess what, a-hole? When I bookmark your stupid website it ends up reading like “Totally amazing and fully comprehensive solutions for all your-“
Why the hell should I click on that? Who or what the hell are you? Who knows? DELETE.
Hey, SeattlePI: You want a proper title tag? Here it is. Free, no charge.
Seattle PI: News from Seattle, Washington.
5. CD Packaging
Now, I know that CD’s are swirling down the toilet of forgotten technology, but I wanted to show one more instance of marketing scum making technology unnecessarily awful.
CD’s – especially those from Sony Music – cannot be opened by a naked ape. They make damn sure you’ll never scratch that polyethylene wrapper off without gouging the jewel case, and if you should somehow thread the needle, you now have two nuclear-bonded stickers clamping the shell closed.
Why? To discourage theft, of course.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Then, go to BitTorrent or Usenet and pirate as much music as your monthly bandwidth allowance can handle. Fuck these guys. Fuck them with a stick.
4. Battery Meters That Dive In Two Seconds
Finally, something I’m expert on. I understand the difficulty in making a battery meter accurate. It’s especially hard when the battery isn’t manufactured by the device manufacturer. Different batteries have different power curves and different “cutoff” or “final voltage” points.
Guesstimating how much juice is left in a battery is a sketchy business. But if the device manufacturer has engineered for a specific battery, it should be very accurate. I’m looking at you, laptops, iPods and cell phones.
But, no. My fully-charged cell phone will have three battery bars. I’ll have a two-minute conversation with my midget porn supplier, and BAM! One battery bar left. WTF?
Is it really out of juice? Or was it never really fully charged? Who knows? The manufacturer sure as hell doesn’t.
3. Wall Warts
Evil. Pure, preternatural evil.
They hog up receptacles, get hot as hell, fall out of the socket and serve no purpose whatsoever. If your stupid gadget must have DC input, give us an in-line brick. And while you’re at it, let’s winnow down to one goddamn DC jack to rule them all, OK? And let’s all agree that every device should have internal regulators that handle 12VDC input. OK?
Let’s all share one style 2A 12VDC in-line brick. That should be enough to run just about everything, save laptops. We’ll make an 18VDC brick for the laptops.
OK? Now just STOP IT. You’re filling the Earth with this shit, and we just don’t need it.
2. Ginormous Files and Drivers
When did it become necessary for a device driver to be over 1GB? All I want is the core driver. I don’t want your “Command Center Interface”. I don’t want your “Inline Automatic Update Alert System”. I don’t want your 54MB marketing PDF and I don’t want 10 free MP3’s from Goopy Blowhole and the Fuckstains.
And I sure as hell don’t want your stupid toolbar installed in my browser.
Just install my driver, shut up and go away. Is that asking too much?
I guess so. Because every time I update a device driver or software application, I’m swarmed by piles of shit that are larger than the entire hard drive of my first PC.
You can’t tell me it takes more than 200MB of data to update my fucking Ethernet driver. Do us a favor: re-compile the new driver, then grab your marketing manager by the lapels and headbutt him till blood pours out of his mouth. Thanks.
1. Shitty Keyboards
Before this entire thing becomes one long bitch-fest, let me give a well-deserved technology accolade: The IBM Model M keyboard is the finest bit of peripheral gear ever built by any company for any product, ever.
Just look at it. Big, clear buttons that click happily as you type. Each button is spring-loaded for hours of comfortable typing. And bomb-proof? This thing is a 1989 model and many of them are still in business. Neither sandwich crumbs nor spilled beer will affect your Model M. People who own a Model M will never part with them. Never!
Contrast and compare with the cheap, crappy keyboards that litter the market nowadays. If they aren’t woefully crappy and disposable embarrassments, they’re curved, split weird things that fail to improve on the IBM standard bearer.
Nowadays, “chiclet” keyboards, popularized by Apple, are all the rage. I admit they’re better than the awful one-piece laptop keyboards or the metatarsal-mashing cheap desktop keyboards. But they’re so damn wussy and limp. Keyboards for emo-fags.
You can’t improve on “best”. So give up. Or watch as every person on Earth looks at you and says, “What the FUCK?”