20 Most Annoying Tech Products Also Most Common

  2007-04-17


I wish I could brag that I’ve never linked to fluff “Top 5/10/20/100” pieces, but something struck me about PC World’s The 20 Most Annoying Tech Products (found via Slashdot):

The Top 10, which were the products chosen by users, is more or less a list of the top 10 most popular software applications.

I agree with most of them as well:

  1. AOL CDs — Definitely most annoying. Yet AOL dominated the ISP industry until broadband decimated its dial-up business.
  2. Windows Me — Ironically I was the only person I knew with a Windows Me laptop that didn’t hate it. It was a terrible product, yet very popular due to the fact there were a couple of years where every consumer grade computer came with it.
  3. Anything with DRMAmen! Yet DRM-laden music services are the most popular. Wise up people: join eEmusic!
  4. McAfee & Norton Internet Security Suites* — These pieces of bloatware are the only products that make Outlook seem trim and sexy. Forget bulky security suites and just get Linux or even a Mac.
  5. RealPlayer — Worst. Media player. Ever. Yet tons of sites choose it for content delivery. To make matters worse its the only major media player to offer an open source version (which is just as terrible as the proprietary version).
  6. Bonzi Buddy — The malware that started it all.
  7. MySpace — A terrible blackhole crushing the souls of our youth into a singularity of narcism. Yet its the only way I can stay in touch with some of my friends… I feel dirty…
  8. Windows Update — Since I’m basically in charge of Windows Updates at work, my hatred for Windows Update runs deep. Whatever software architect thought updating an operating system via an ActiveX control in a web browser was a good idea needs to find a new line of work. Who would come up with such a terrible system? The only way it could be worse is if it used Outlook Express as its delivery mechanism.
  9. Windows Vista — Hey, other people voted for it, not me. 😉
  10. Apple QuickTime — Just as worthless and bloated as all of the other major media players.

With the exception of Bonzi Buddy, the other products all represent industry leaders (or were at some time). There’s plenty of alternatives out there (and not just open source ones), but for the most part users are lazy: they’ll use whatever comes with their computer. And even I’ll admit switching and learning something new is difficult.

* Personal anecdote about Symantec (a.k.a. Norton) products: You can’t use secure e-mail (SMTP/POP3/IMAP via SSL/TLS) with them because then they can’t do their flaky transparent proxy virus scanning. How’s that for security?