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Author Topic: World’s Most Annoying Technologies  (Read 3840 times)


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World’s Most Annoying Technologies
« on: October 24, 2012, 02:45:49 AM »

Most consumer technologies, when wielded correctly, are magnificent. But so are bagpipes. In the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, technology can be an annoyance enabler. The technologies below are not the future we were hoping for.

Camera Flash

Here’s the deal with the flash on your camera: Most of the time it doesn’t help. You’re either too far away from the action or you’re too close. That photo you shot at the concert? Still dark. The flash didn’t help, and everyone within a four-foot radius is nightblind now. That photo from the girls’ night out where your friends were two feet away? The flash made them look like ghouls. Go to your smartphone or camera’s settings and turn off the flash. Do it now.

The Apple TV Remote

I’m pretty sure the Apple TV remote's ability to disappear from this astral plane into a sofa vortex has got to be the number one reason Apple developed the Remote app for iOS. And when they aren’t lost, they’re accidentally turning iTunes on and off, or launching slideshows inadvertently. One place they can be fun? When you’re in the audience and someone else is presenting from a MacBook.


Optical drives are the new floppy drives. The decline of CD and DVD ROM drives is punctuated by the rise of ultrabooks and the MacBook Air. Despite that, some software vendors still insist on releasing updates on optical discs. Thumb drives are cheap and reusable, guys. Can we agree to just use those?

Electric Range

Sure, electric ranges have numeric dials. But with no flame to view, that’s too often a guessing game that leaves your tortilla too white or grilled cheese blackened. Need more proof the electric range is inferior to gas? Walk into the kitchen of any restaurant and you’ll never see an electric range.

Adobe Flash

A long time ago a company named Macromedia released Flash. The tool was used to create low-footprint animations, games and splash screens back when modems were slow and bandwidth was expensive. Flash was amazing and everyone loved it.

Today, Adobe Flash is an over-bloated mess and your computer hates it. It crashes browsers and computers and makes your system's fan blow like a hurricane. Worse, there’s basically no need for it anymore. HTML5, H.264 and a slew of other technologies have made it obsolete. If you’re considering building a Flash-powered website, please stop now.

The Hornit

The Hornit is a 140dB bicycle horn. Like a car horn, it’s meant to be used in emergencies. But just as car horns are too often used as New Jersey brake pedals, so too are Hornits abused by cyclists who use them to say “screw you” rather than “please don’t kill me.” Problem is, they don’t just scare the bejesus out of that motorist who cut you off in traffic, but also every pedestrian, dog, bystander and baby within a one-mile radius.

Bluetooth Headsets

Look, here’s a good rule of thumb: Once you get out of the car, or leave your desk, take off the headset. Nobody wants to hear your end of the conversation. That’s not idle speculation, it’s science! Headsets just make it worse. At least when there’s a phone involved, there are visual cues that say “I’m on the phone.” I mean, other than hearing one end of a shouted conversation.

The Electric Guitar

In the hands of a master, the guitar is an amazing mixture of music, sex and fire-breathing dragons. In the hands of the kid down the street with an amp and a fuzz box, it’s an endless loop of the first three notes of a Limp Bizkit song. Who knew you could make Limp Bizkit sound worse? Are you learning to play the guitar? That’s awesome! Buy headphones.

Leaf Blower

Is your home set on a large wooded lot with acreage to spare between you and your closest neighbor? Did a tornado power through your yard last night, leaving your property covered in limbs and leaves? No? Then get a rake, dude. Leaf blowers are so irritating, they have been been outlawed in some towns. Others should follow suit.

Onscreen Alphabetic Keyboards

The QWERTY keyboard layout has been around since the 1870s. Sure, it’s an anachronism in many respects, but we’re used to it. Everyone knows what a keyboard should look like. So it’s completely confusing that Apple and Microsoft insist on using on-screen keyboards for Apple TV and Xbox 360 that place the letters in alphabetical order. Hey guys, look at keyboard before building on-screen interfaces.

Wall Warts

Wall Warts are the power supplies that hog the space of two outlets on a powerstrip. The problem is easily solvable by offsetting the transformer to the left or right of the outlet. If your product’s power supply doesn’t do that, look for a replacement--or at least don’t bring it to the café and take up two outlets.


We've been hearing for years that wireless HDMI and inductive charging are right around the corner, but cables are persistently necessary to power our devices and deliver media to our giant HDTVs. Wires are messy and need to be eliminated. It won’t happen all at once, but stop teasing us with wireless solutions unless you can deliver.

Phone Voice Recognition

How many times have you called the electric company, the cable company, or customer service only to hear the prompt... 'please say why you're calling...'? This is one thing that infuriates me. Not to mention the dialogue that I know we've all had... 'representative. Representative..... REPRESENTATIVE!... F* this.' Click. Using the voice prompts when you call a company is like direct-dialing into the seventh level of hell. Phone voice recognition systems never understand complex statements, and often even have trouble with simple words and numbers. Oh, hey, it turns out five and nine sound very similar to a computer. My advice is to just keep saying “operator” until an actual human being comes on the line.

Car Alarms

YES I'M USING ALL CAPS BECAUSE THEY ARE LOUD AND ANNOYING! Caps make everything more urgent. Which is funny because the last time someone thought that a car alarm was an urgent matter was approximately in March of 1988. No one cares anymore. We’ve learned to ignore the plaintive wails of car alarms, no matter the time or place, which is pretty awesome for car thieves.

iPad Camera

iPads as cameras. I wish they never put a back-facing camera on them. If you have an iPad, there’s a good chance that somewhere in your arsenal of tech lies a smartphone or a digital camera. So why not use the better camera on those smaller devices instead of looking ridiculous trying to take a photo with what essentially is a really fancy monitor.

Fax Machines

I wish I could forget fax machines. No matter how much we may want to banish the fax machine to the nether world of wind and ghosts, the medical, real estate, accounting, and all those other industries that still require hard copies of our signatures just won’t let it go. Now, whenever you need to fax something to a company that’s based on '90s technology it’s a mad search for a local business that still uses these over-the-phone copy machines.

Touchless bathrooms

The touchless water faucets. Only half work and here you are moving your hands all over the place looking for 'the beam' while everyone else is merrily washing their hands. And on the back end of this task is the hand 'dryers'. You stick your hands in the blowing air only to have to wipe them on your pants after the blowing stops. At some point everyone became concerned with cooties. Touchless faucets do reduce wasted water and air dryers reduce trash. But all this touchless technology keeps patrons in the bathroom longer. Which is bad news for guys and horrible news for ladies. Plus, has anyone ever gotten their hands completely dry with an air blower? Also, cooties are fake. Just scrub well. You’ll be fine.

Credit Card Machines

Credit card swipe machines at grocery stores and drug stores. Somehow, every single one of them is totally different and requires twice as many key presses and screens as should be necessary. Sometimes the “Yes” button is next to the screen. Sometimes it’s on the number pad. Sometimes it’s on a touchscreen that can only be activated with a pen that’s fallen behind the pad and you have to haul up with the cable like a fisherman hauling up a net. The entire time the cashier is staring at you like you’ve never made a cashless transaction. Plus you’re probably also getting cooties from running your fingers all over that dirty machine.

QR Codes

Oh look, a QR code. Well, let me find the app on my phone that I use once every three months so I scan it and see what sort of exciting information it has for me. Oh, it’s a link to a website. QR codes are our era’s AOL keywords. But don’t worry, they’re also just as likely to disappear.

Alarm Clock Snooze Button

The snooze button is a horrible invention for anyone who has to be anywhere on time. As a regular snoozer, I can assure you that getting seven to 10 minutes of extra sleep is not really sleep. It’s sham sleep that leaves you more tired than if you had just gotten out of bed when the original alarm went off.


The sub-woofer, combined with bass...come on--we can hear your stereo from the 12th floor with our windows closed! In the late '80s early '90s filling your hatchback with 12-inch woofers to drop the most bass on your block was all the rage. After realizing that artists used frequencies above 80 Hz for their songs, most people moved on to listening to to music with all the speakers available at Circuit City. If you’re still pumping the bass, you’re a bad person and you’re destroying the artistic integrity of music. Oh, and you’re hassling Lucy.


It does little to stop spam as a ton of services to bypass them, like decaptcher, exist for a very low cost. Captcha is good for exactly two things: stopping really stupid robots and getting frustrated humans to click on a refresh button to show a brand new Captcha that they still can’t read.


For many, Facebook has become a necessary evil. You want to keep up with your old buddies from high school, but why, oh why do you have to update your privacy setting every six months? Now Facebook has Open Graph apps that make you install the app to do something as simple as read an article your friend posted to Facebook. Thanks, Facebook, that's much better than a direct link to the site.

I'm sure I’ve missed more than a few horrible annoying pieces of technology. Share your favorite -- or unfavorite -- in the comments.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 02:53:09 AM by innovator »
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” - Steve Jobs (American Entrepreneur, Apple co-Founder, b.1955)
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