Top 10 Stupid-in-Tech: Things that Shouldn’t Be but Are


Seriously, how the hell can anyone read that?


Text messages.
Okay, text messages aren’t all that stupid. Their excessive use, however, is. What’s worse is that young people–sitting next to each other on a train–are increasingly more likely to text each other than to simply turn their heads and talk.


Text messages part two
The rates are absurd. Providers charge in upwards of $0.20 per text message for standard plans. Considering each text message can only contain a maximum of 140-160 characters, it’s about 0.125 cents per character. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but if e-mails were charged at this rate with about 1.5KiB per message (1,500 characters), you’re looking at about $1.88 per e-mail or $812,500 for a single CDROM ISO. Transmitting a DVD ISO would cost a little over $5 million.

But hey, who’s counting?


Twitter Social Networking Sites
Useful, but I’m afraid people obsess just a little too much over them. On the other hand, it’s a great way for companies to advertise, bring in revenue, and make grossly obscene profits, which is awesome. Okay, so it’s not really the fault of the social networking sites. It just annoys me every time I hear from someone “Hey, do you have a ${currently_popular_site_of_the_moment} account?” Bonus points if that same person asks me about a new service once a month.


Wireless Speakers
I’m not going to say anything else. I don’t need to.


Windows Powershell
Seriously, Microsoft, there are plenty of good shells available. The verbose horror that PS is should never have been born into the world.

That’s okay, though–I usually just install Cygwin.

(Okay, I confess that being able to query things like WMI from PowerShell is really useful. I hate the syntax, though.)


I hate Flash. The only good use of Flash is for video sites like Youtube (with one exception, see #1). Purely Flash driven sites are and have always been a disgrace to web designers world wide. Please, learn how to use HTML and (maybe) CSS. There are even applications that will do it for you. It’s not hard.

Thankfully, there’s only one thing worse than Flash-driven sites. Unfortunately, that one thing happens to be broken Flash-driven sites.


Electronic Arts
Your site sucks. Thanks to #4, I can’t even navigate it unless I have Flash installed. I was browsing it about a month ago so I could look up information on a game you published. I finally gave up and went to Wikipedia.


I’m only posting this to insight and inflame my beloved Mac users. I’m not worried, either. Since you guys still can’t right-click out of the box, I’d imagine you probably can’t carry a pitchfork in one hand and a torch in the other when you come to lynch me.

He who cannot right click cannot dual wield; see but cannot stab, stab but cannot see. ‘Tis a disastrous predicament, is it not?


How-to Videos–for Programmers
I’ve never understood this one. Don’t believe me? Do a search on Youtube. You’ll find how to videos for just about every language out there. Oh, and good luck reading the text. It’s like posting a “how to drive a car” video taken of only the vehicle’s exterior. Given the screen capture and compression quality imposed by Youtube, you can imagine then that this video might be taken of a car while it maneuvers in a region occluded by trees and from an altitude of 3 miles. You can’t see the car. You can’t really even see the road. Heck, it might even look a little like what you ate this morning as it greeted you on the way back up because the bus driver for your Big City Transportation Company happens to believe that his multi-ton monstrosity was just entered into the Indianapolis 500 the moment you stepped on board. It doesn’t work.

How to videos have their place in life (Blender comes to mind), but for the love of all that is holy please, please, please don’t post “how to program in $lang” videos on Youtube. You can achieve the same thing with about 10-20 kilobytes of text on a hosting provider elsewhere. Best of all, you can copy text tutorials and their example code!


4 Responses to “Top 10 Stupid-in-Tech: Things that Shouldn’t Be but Are”

  • Jonah H. Harris writes:

    As I work for the 5th ranked social network in the US, I wanted to give my perspective on #7. While I agree with you in that there is a bountiful supply of rabid social networking crazies, I believe that social networks are a good thing for several reasons. First, social networks can keep you well-connected assuming you use them wisely (Dunbar’s Number isn’t just a number, it’s the law). Second, social network engineers are innovative bastards that push the boundaries of computational optimization, storage, and performance. For example, look at the number of open source tools, utilities, and patches Facebook has released. FB’s tools can be used to build anything, not just social networks. Not only that, but their tools are known to be reliable because they’ve been battle-tested on one of the largest high-volume, high-transaction environments in the world.

  • Benjamin writes:

    It’s important to understand that most of these points were written with the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm you know and love. While I do understand the merits of social networking (including the technological aspects), I still consider them to be of tremendous annoyance. This, in particular, is one of the reason I find certain articles vaguely amusing. I may not necessarily agree with the article’s premise, but I do believe that the always connected nature of our society may be damaging.

    In either case, point #7 served its purpose; although, I was anticipating that a latter point would have been much more likely to trigger a response from my Apple-loving friends before any of the others were to draw attention.

  • Yamin writes:

    I was with you until you go to powershell :P

    I’ve been using it fulltime at work now. I actually use the ISE as a tabbed console window.
    It takes some time to get used to the syntax, but I think they finally have a decent cmd shell.

  • Benjamin writes:

    It’s really a personal preference. I dislike powershell immensely.

    Having said that, it does have its uses, and it’s sometimes the only way to muck about with Windows’ internals in a fairly straightforward fashion. In that regard, it is really quite awesome.

    It still makes me want to murder kittens, though.

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