Stuff's gadget gripes: when tech drives us to distraction

1. Ctrl-Alt-Delete

Because finger gymnastics are clearly the best solution to soft-rebooting a PC, rather than a button. 

2. Software authorisation

Lenslok! Stupidly long serial numbers! Online activation! Marvellous work, software companies, for punishing honest punters!

3. Colour-only printing

Run out of colour ink? Want to print a black and white document? How about I, your trusty printer, force you to go and buy a colour ink cartridge for no reason? Mwahahaha.

4. Online doorslams

You visit a mobile site. Immediately: WOULD YOU LIKE TO DOWNLOAD OUR APP? No. Sod off. And then there are the joys of being redirected to the mobile front page when you click on a direct link…  

5. Unskippable content

Yes, your logo is lovely, dear movie studio, but must I really sit through it again? And those three-year-old adverts? And those trailers for other films I already own? And those ads warning of the dire consequences of piracy that, ironically, pirates aren't forced to sit through?

6. Region-locking

Because no-one should be allowed to buy a film or video game in the USA and reasonably expect it to play in Europe. That’s just crazy talk. The worst contenders? Streaming video sites that will happily let you sit through their unskippable adverts before telling you that "This content cannot be viewed in your region for copyright reasons."

7. Forced software installs

Install this toolbar! (We’re looking at you, Java). Install this software you don’t need! (We’re looking at you, Apple — and also quite a lot of other naughty companies).

8. Stupid default save locations

Cheers, expensive piece of software, for assuming that because I recently opened the trash, that’s where I wanted to save my latest work. Or is that a veiled comment on its worth?

9. Bad software defaults

Apple forcing you to manually turn on the right-click button on its oh-so-minimalist mouse. Downloading files from IE in Windows 8 and swapping back and forth between Metro to deal with them. Anything where you manually save – because it’s not the 1990s. Argh!

10. Telephone mazes

Press one for some options! Press two for yet more options! Press three for several more options! Awkwardly say "Yes" and "No" out loud to the automated voice on the other end of the line! Throw your phone out of the window!

More after the break...

11. Faxes

Just because.

12. Captchas

“We need to ensure computers can’t get through this cunning registration form!” And, apparently, 97 per cent of humans, too!

13. Pre-installed bloatware

Everyone loves cleaning their new shiny tech toy of junk they never wanted! Except when it can’t be removed — everyone loves that even more! Has anyone actually used Apple's Stocks app?

14. Dial-up

The magical world of the internet, yours (very slowly) for a monthly fee, the price of a local call, and blocking your phone line. Magic.

15. Browser plug-ins

Sorry, but you can’t expect to watch this amazing content, because we’ve hidden it behind adverts that utilise a plug-in no-one cares about any more! See also: browsing any site that requires Flash on an iPhone.

16. Tuning anything in

In an age of instant access to content, it’s always a thrill to party like it’s 1979. Turn on, tune in, weep.

17. Tape alignment

You wanted to watch this movie/play this game? Nope. Not while your tape heads are a billionth of an inch out of alignment! You’d best wait a decade for shiny discs. And their unskippable content.

18. Having to carefully shut things down

Rather than flicking a switch, which would clearly be too much effort to design for.

19. Password restrictions

"Must contain at least one number, one letter, one capital letter, one symbol, three Shakespearean sonnets, an amusing but subtle reference to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and a picture of an angry ferret." And due to the IT department's requirements, you'll need a new one in 30 days' time. No, you can't use one of your old ones.

On the plus side, it has given us the sublime Password Hints Twitter.

20. Cumbersome charging

Complicated proprietary leads? Absurdly slow recharge? (Hello, iPad!) Inexplicable leather cradles that encase the device’s face? (Yes, we’re looking at you, Samsung Galaxy Gear). Just stop.


Don't you just love it when you sit down to watch one of you're favourite programs on a catch up TV service, have to sit through adverts that you blatantly ignore anyway, just to realise when the show starts that you've already seen that one. You select the right episode and have to sit through the same excruciating adverts again! Suddenly pirating looks like an attractive alternative once again.

You have to login or register to comment.