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The 87 Lamest Moments In Tech, 2000-2009 328

Posted by kdawson
from the where-to-begin dept.
harrymcc writes "The last ten years have been an amazing era for tech — and full of amazingly dumb moments. I rounded up scads of them. I suspect you'll be able to figure out which company is most frequently represented, but Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Sony, and many others are all present and accounted for, too."
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The 87 Lamest Moments In Tech, 2000-2009

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:45AM (#30522136)
    Wouldn't that be the "first post" ?? :)
  • sony rootkit (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:51AM (#30522164)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/sony_rootkit [wikipedia.org]

    never forget, never forgive

    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      The /. ponies day. I thought Taco had lost it completely then.

      On the other hand, it was also one of the greatest moments of the decade too.

  • obligatory (Score:3, Informative)

    by farlukar (225243) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:52AM (#30522168) Homepage Journal

    decade = 2001-2010

    But at least they didn't make it a 87-page article.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Well doh, they say so on page 1. But I still think it's a little wierd since say "the 60s" for me naturally go from 60-69, so we are at the end of the 00s, which somehow sounds incredibly lame.

      • by MrMista_B (891430)

        Yeah, how /do/ people pronounce this decade?

        The 00's - the 'ohs', 'double zeros', 'aughts', 'zeroes'....

        I'll just do my best not to refer to it.

        • by Mononoke (88668) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:21AM (#30522266) Homepage Journal

          Yeah, how /do/ people pronounce this decade?

          The naughties.

          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            Yeah, how /do/ people pronounce this decade?

            The naughties.

            Leaving aside the jokes, has anyone else noticed that "the noughties" as the supposed name for this decade only seems to have cropped up- or at least been "standardised" on- in the past year or so.

            For most of it, there didn't seem to be any strong name, though IIRC "2000s" was possibly the most common. Of course, while that name may have been fine when we were within the first ten years of the millennium (*), it's possibly less precise once it has two potential meanings. Though it didn't stop the "1900s" be

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Saint Stephen (19450)

          The lack of a trite name for this decade has been the coolest, because people haven't been able to call something the "blank of the blank", mimndlessly.

          The next decade is even better!

        • by GrahamCox (741991)
          Yeah, how /do/ people pronounce this decade?

          The noughties (or naughties). What I want to know is, what the hell are we going to call the next one?
          • Brit here. Parallel with "Cool Britannia" (remember that?) I saw a lot of use in the press of the "Naughty Nineties" (modelled on the "Swinging Sixties"). So if the astonishingly imaginative trend continues, I imagine the next decade will be christened the Naughteens.

        • auts
        • by asylumx (881307) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:57AM (#30523060)
          Seems like this problem would have been solved a hundred years ago...
    • Re:obligatory (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:29AM (#30522284)

      technically a decade is any ten year period, doesn't matter when it starts

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ren Hoak (1217024)

      decade = 2001-2010

      You aren't a coder, are you? If so, I envision many off-by-one errors in your work.

      • Re:obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dkh2 (29130) <.moc.hctIstiTyMoDyhW. .ta. .2hkd.> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @07:28AM (#30522538) Homepage

        Actually, he has it right. Our modern, western notion of a calendar is marred by the fact that the Romans had no concept of zero until the conquest of Spain and the ensuing interaction with the moorish people who lived there. Thus, we start counting dates with 1, not zero. Therefore, the '60's is the decade beginning immediately after the end of year xx60 but a person "in their 60's" has completed 59 years of life and not 10 more.

        In our Christian era calendars you do not find a year zero. To our modern, mathematically educated minds that would have been the year before Jesus of Nazareth was 12 months old.

        Of course, our calendars, while allegedly based on the birth date of this man Jesus, are flawed by many other issues. Among these are:

        1) We don't actually have agreement about the precise year of Jesus' birth.
        2) The 25-December customary date is a fabrication. Jesus was most likely born in the spring based on accounts of what was happening at the time.
        3) Our calendar system has been changed a few times over the past two millennia.

        • 2) The 25-December customary date is a fabrication. Jesus was most likely born in the spring based on accounts of what was happening at the time.

          Even the Bible supports this.

          Shepherds out and about in deep Winter? Hmm... even in Israel you get snowfall in Winter. Not the time to have sheep and lambs around.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ari_j (90255)
          Don't get too hung up on all that. Most of the people I know get confused when they celebrate their Xth birthday and I tell them that I hope their newly-begun X+1th year is as successful as the last. I literally went back and forth with one person for over an hour on her birthday this year, with her repeatedly insisting she had just turned X and not understanding why that makes the year she's in now X+1.

          I've all but conceded defeat on the millennium issue. I'll never, of course, admit to having been w
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by skeeto (1138903)
          I don't know anyone who would say "July 10th, 1990" is in the 80's. (Picked that date at random.)
      • You aren't a coder, are you? If so, I envision many off-by-one errors in your work.

        Surely a coder would have to be more mindful of the correct definitions of things like a decade. Otherwise if they moved between languages that had either 0 or 1 based arrays then they would constantly make errors.

  • The 360 for its inexcusable failure rate, then in the wake of Microsofts competitors constantly revising their models and offering updates Microsoft declares they will not create a version two or revise their hardware.

    Then - while XBox 360's were new and failing in droves, Microsoft not only decides the old model will no longer be supported with new products they recall as much existing stock of the old model as they can and do their best to make it got away. Sort of like they wanted to do with XP when Vis

    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      I dont think Xbox 360 was really lame. It was actually pretty good. Granted, I only bought mine in 2007 but it has worked great and so have my friends ones too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pecosdave (536896) *

        I'm not calling a working XBOX 360 lame. I'm calling a 54.2% failure rate [consumerist.com] and no plans to revamp the hardware lame.

        • by Macthorpe (960048)
          Such a survey is inherently inaccurate because of selection bias.
        • by timmarhy (659436)
          let's examine the data behind this shall we. they surveyed 5000 people which is just 0.0178% of the total units sold, so statisticly it's a worthless sample size. They also don't give any clue on how they selected these 5000 people, for all we know they picked people with rabid MS hate.

          i'd say the only thing lame here is your claim of 54% failure rate, it just doesn't sense check.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TapeCutter (624760) *
            "they surveyed 5000 people which is just 0.0178% of the total units sold, so statisticly it's a worthless sample size"

            The statistical power [wikipedia.org] of a survey does not depend on population size, a sample of 5000 is more than sufficient to get a very good estimate of the real failure rate, (assuming the real failure rate is not extremely small).

            However a failure rate is meaningless without considering length of time and under what conditions. And as you imply the sample must be random, self selecting readers
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timmarhy (659436)
      the xbox had a failure rate of between 3% and 5% in line with industry norms (MS claim). while it's not a stellar performace it's nothing special. typically when you dig into the claims of 50% failure rates, they are either online polls or of limited sample size (in other words fucking worthless).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RogueyWon (735973) *

      Video gaming in general could have used more prominence in TFA. After all, it's undoubtedly a part of the tech sector. Thinking of 10 examples off the top of my head, in no particular order...

      - The Red Ring of Death: as you say, should absolutely have been in there. Cost-cutting decisions lead to major customer frustrations. The issue is then compounded by lies, obfuscation and, once the problem is acknowledged, a massively slow response.

      - The Gamecube: everything about it. A nasty, tacky piece of junk with

      • by Again (1351325) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @11:00AM (#30524410)

        - The Gamecube: everything about it. A nasty, tacky piece of junk with no games worth looking at that was put out with the intention of being a serious contender and rightly consigned to third place.

        The Gamecube sold 22 million units and the original XBox only sold 24 million. Nintendo made money off of every single unit sold. I wouldn't call it a failure.

  • by assemblerex (1275164) * on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:02AM (#30522188)
    "If anything it's too cheap" That didn't go over too well did it now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'm a little surprised that didn't make the list. It still irritates me, every time I look down at the PS2 I still have hooked up next to my PS3. Looking at the eBay listings for a $400 used 60 Gig console next to a $300 shiny new 80 Gig console just reinforces it.

  • I guess that's only because you're limiting yourself to actual tech decisions, not including tech companies litigating [sco.com].

    (Oh wait. Let's make that "litigation companies litigating." I don't even know why I brought it up.)

  • ... wtf is a scad?

    • by cdrudge (68377)

      Dictionary [merriam-webster.com] - learn how to use one

      • by aaaurgh (455697)
        Perhaps what the poster was trying to say was...

        How does "any of several carangid fishes (especially of the genus Decapterus)" act in the role of a numerator in the context.

        Perhaps the OP should also learn to use a dictionary too, I also thought WTF when I saw "scads" used as it was.
  • Nice find. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by upuv (1201447) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:07AM (#30522212) Journal

    Ah that was good for a Laugh.

    Steve Ballmer on stage at any time is always funny. :) Developers Developers Developers..... bahahahahahahaha

    Sony root kit. I'm still finding PC's infected with this beast.

    Zune. Do they still make this thing. I actually saw one in the wild once. Man that thing is UGLY.

    The Kindle the most pointless electronic gizmo ever. It's not a laptop, phone, or book. You don't own the content. and it's UGLY. You want how much??????

    All in all a good read. Thanks.

  • First Paragraph (Score:5, Insightful)

    by datajack (17285) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:11AM (#30522222)

    When clocks struck midnight on January 1st and the dreaded Y2K bug turned out to be nothing but a mild irritant, it proved once again that the experts often don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.

    No. The Experts were the ones working many, many hours in the preceding years fixing and updating things so that when the clock did turn, the problems were - for the main - no longer present. A job damned well done and the people fixing it should be praised, not ridiculed.

    The people who don't know what the heck they were talking about are the media types like this guy who are quick to jump on catastrophic failures but rarely (if ever) give due praise when things are planned and done right. "Everything's fine" doesn't make good headlines for these people.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by silentcoder (1241496)

      Mod parent up, I was just on my way to come post the same thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iamapizza (1312801)
      Mod parent up to 6.
      #88: Also note that Google's multiple outages this year (and last?) don't get a mention.
      #89: No mention of Windows Mobile 6.5 and how MS threw away its last chance of ever competing with the droid/iphone.
      #90: TFA
    • by crivens (112213)

      I believe you just posted the singularily most intelligent and correct response on Slashdot. Congratulations!

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      "You should use my dandruff shampoo."

      "But you don't have dandruff."

      "Exactly."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smpoole7 (1467717)
      To this (and the other replies here): he's not referring to people like you. Don't think that for a minute. I was a Y2K Fear debunker myself, and I assure you, I NEVER attacked people like you who WERE working around the clock to ensure that the transition was smooth.

      What I attacked -- and what he's clearly referring to -- were the outright fearmongers. "We CAN'T fix it all in time, buy beans, bullets and head for the hills!" ... and ... "embedded systems are the great unknown, we're all going to die, so bu
    • by gsslay (807818)

      I suggest that all slashdotters join me in ignoring this article, since the first paragraph makes if clear it was written by a fool who knows nothing of what he speaks.

      Anyone who actually worked in a Y2K project knows that if the problem had been ignored then the consequences would have been disastrous.

  • by jault (147271) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:16AM (#30522246)

    You know, if that number was smaller, I might actually click through & read the article. But 87? Really? A number that large makes me think that you just wrote down every single lame thing you could think of & didn't edit at all.

    Personally, I'd prefer a much shorter list which someone made some effort to pare down to the moments that were genuinely the lamest.

    • by pecosdave (536896) *

      The Slashdotters will prove to you that we can come up with WAY more than 87 - you just watch. So many of them neck and neck it's hard to narrow it down.

      • by jault (147271)

        No doubt. I just have a pet peeve with huge lists like this. A lot of the value in coming up with a list is how & why you decide to either include a particular entry or leave it off. The longer the list gets, the more it appears that the author didn't put any hard thought into it, and the less value it has (for me anyway).

    • Yes, but my list would be different than your list. And thus...
  • Y2K (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ernst_mulder (166761) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:44AM (#30522338) Homepage

    From TFA: "When clocks struck midnight on January 1st and the dreaded Y2K bug turned out to be nothing but a mild irritant, it proved once again that the experts often don't know what the heck they're talking about."

    Well, that kinda hurts.

    I was responsible for a newspaper ordering system that definitely would have stopped processing orders in 2000. Cost quite a number of man hours. The majority of the Y2K my team had to solve weren't for the year 2000 but for passing into the year 1999 because many ordering systems had stupid (year+1) counters internally. It was a very stressful period and I very happy it went the way it did without major disasters.

    The experts that didn't (and don't) know what they are talking about are the ones thinking you can upper-limit a year counter at 1999 (or 2039).

    • Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Viol8 (599362) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @07:11AM (#30522434)

      At the company I worked in at the time there were double digit year records used all over the place. If we hadn't fixed the code the whole system would have falled over come the millenium.

      All these arsehats who go on about the Y2K being a load of scare mongering paranoia are the ones who don't have a clue about just how much work went on in 1999 trying to sort the issues out!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by crimperman (225941)

        > All these arsehats who go on about the Y2K being a load of scare mongering paranoia are the ones who don't have a clue about just how much work went on in 1999 trying to sort the issues out!

        Hear hear!

        I worked at a large manufacturers during 1999 and was tasked with the Y2K stuff. This basically included six months worth of work fixing the stuff that would have an issue followed by six months of sending replies to customers who were told they had to be concerned by the media and the industry that rose u

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Heck, I worked at a museum that ended up spending 6 figures to wholesale replace their IBM System 36 accounting system with an AS/400. (Including having developers completely rewrite the RPG code...)

      In 2001 we had several companies that wanted to donate System 36's to be museum displays. We ended up telling them that we already had 2 of our own!
    • Newspaper? What is that? Wait a sec, I think I remember those. Newspapers were those paper things that had funnies in them. Yeah. Good thing you saved that newspaper thing so that it could go bankrupt a year or two later... that's practically the same thing as all the hysteria that centered on Y2K. :eyes rolling:
  • ...among the /. comments. Despite Apple's blunders in this list being few and not really noteworthy, it naturally does not discourage the "grannies of /." to leap out from under their stones with their tag-sticks.
    • by comm2k (961394)
      Too bad they did not mention the MacBook Air...
      I don't have any problems with the MBA but saying you don't need a DVD drive to watch DVDs because you can just rent them from iTunes - wow that was good. Especially with those exorbitant prices.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gadget_Guy (627405) *

      If you see a lot of Apple hate among these comments then why didn't you post your message as a reply to one of them? Oh, maybe because there isn't a lot of Apple hate here. This just goes to prove what we have all been saying about you: you're paranoid!

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:59AM (#30522382) Homepage Journal

    KDE was flying high with its well regarded 3.x version, and then its developers disappeared with lustery promises of how great KDE 4 would be, and emerged to ship a completely unfinished product. Things are better with KDE 4.later, but, KDE 4.0, wow, you are rough. Meanwhile KDevelop 4 still doesn't work, and has been eclipsed by, well, Eclipse.

  • by pthisis (27352) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @07:17AM (#30522456) Homepage Journal

    From TFA:

    83. And Taco Bell was never a taco company.
    In an interview with the New York Times conducted in the wake of Yahoo’s decision to outsource its search features to Microsoft, Yahoo boss Carol Bartz says that Yahoo has “never been a search company.”

    Carol Bartz is correct--Yahoo started out as a link collection, then a hierarchical directory (basically like http://www.dmoz.org/ [dmoz.org] then added a lot of portal services (including email, stock quotes, etc).

    The thing that they never had, until 2004, was a search engine; Yahoo put other company's searches on their site (including Inktomi for a while, and then Google up until 2004). Doing that with Bing is just returning to what they've done historically.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ari_j (90255)
      I don't know much about TFA's author, but I definitely got the impression from reading his damn multi-page blog post (thanks for posting another one of those to the front page, kdawson) that he didn't actually know much about the technologies he was ridiculing. Yahoo was the most obvious example - anyone who started using the web when commercializing it was a novel idea will remember finding web pages not with an indexing search engine but with Yahoo's topical hierarchy of links. It was well-organized and
  • #88 (Score:3, Funny)

    by jolyonr (560227) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @07:24AM (#30522512) Homepage

    Slashdot Idle

  • I'm surprised that Google sending a C&D letter to CyanogenMod didn't make the list. Google had been trying to market its cell phone OS, Android, as an open platform that welcomed innovation and contributions. Then they decided to threaten an immensely popular third party rom that did wonders for Android's performance.

    The official distribution at the time had many issues. Performance degraded the longer you went without a reboot. You couldn't install apps on SD cards, only the tiny internal storage space

    • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot@nospAM.stango.org> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:00AM (#30523084) Homepage Journal

      Meanwhile Microsoft actually has a good reputation for turning a blind eye to people making roms for Windows Mobile.

      Turning a blind eye to piracy and other stuff you'd expect them to fight against is a standard Microsoft tactic in markets they want to take over. In their mind, as long as you're using a Microsoft product, even if you stole it, that's better than you using a competitor's product.

      Once they are the de facto standard in a given market, that's when they begin finishing off their weakened competitors and turning the thumbscrews on their users. That's why you could pass around Windows install keys for years with impunity, and then XP got activation. Once the activation-free corporate XP keys got out, they had to turn the screws some more, and now even corporate copies of Vista and, I presume, 7 require activation of a sort. People might find ways around that, but the point is Microsoft is making it more and more difficult to avoid paying them for Windows now that they've sewn up the OS market.

      Of course, I could have made this post a lot shorter by comparing them to drug dealers: "First one's free," then once you're hooked, up goes the price.

      ~Philly

  • AOL Search Logs? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by a0schweitzer (1702404)
    No mention of the publicly available AOL search logs [somethingawful.com]? I thought that was fantasticly funny. Stupid, but funny.
  • 42. They should have stuck with the "Windows Vista Inadequate" ones.
    In the face of Vista's delays, Microsoft encourages PC manufacturers to slap "Windows Vista Capable" stickers on XP machines. The stickers turn out only to mean that the computer can run the lower-end versions of Vista, and don't guarantee they're able to use the new OSes' signature Aero interface. Legal hijinks ensue, and internal Microsoft documents suggest the company knew it had a problem on its hands even as it was egging on consume

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:42AM (#30523482)
      The issue was MS told hardware makers for a long time what the minimum spec for Vista. So they designed their PCs around it. The minimum was going to be more costly if they didn't use Intel's GPU. However at the last minute they changed their minds under coaxing from Intel who would have a large inventory that wasn't compatible. This infuriated hardware makers as their plans were suddenly changed. Internally some MS employees knew this a huge mistake but no one with any authority did anything about it.
  • 7. Audrey heartburn

    Bought two for my kids. Sold them on ebay *three years* later. I made $30 on the deal!

    ebay rocks!!!!!

  • Twitter (Score:5, Informative)

    by jo42 (227475) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:18AM (#30522804) Homepage

    ##. Twitter

    Nothing else need be said.

  • by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage@praecantator . c om> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:28AM (#30522862) Homepage

    I for one want to celebrate the anniversary of the Y2K Bug's passing by thanking all the people who's hark work kept it from being far far worse than the few mild annoyances we experienced. The word I saw was some gas pumps that were locked up, and it could have been far worse if a whole lot of coders and analysts hadn't spent a ton of time pouring over reams of old code and fixing problems. Double thanks to all the Grampa Geeks who came out of retirement to show the kids how COBOL was done and why it's still so important even ten years later. A nod goes even to the suits at the top who looked beyond next quarter's numbers and funded the stitch in time would save nine.

  • Meta-answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:30AM (#30522884) Homepage

    #88 - the point when every news organization feels compelled to make really long lists of the top ____ of the last decade. It's like the annual "top ____ of the year" lists, only 10 times as lame.

  • from the article: 39. Unpronounceable but catchy. At the Consumer Electronics Show, Intel gets Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, and Danny DeVito to help it roll out Viiv, a new platform for media-savvy home PCs. Consumers have trouble figuring out what it is (and how to say it); PC vendors don’t jump on the bandwagon with great abandon. By 2007, the press is referring to it in the past tense. I've long suspected that unpronounceable names (merkur from ford) are really bad for a product.
  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:06AM (#30523128) Homepage

    Marissa Mayer explains that someone accidentally added a slash mark to the list of risky sites, prompting the search engine to mistakenly believe the entire Web is hazardous.

    Wait, that was a mistake?

  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @10:26AM (#30523974) Journal

    ...but Verizon's decision to make Bing the only allowable search provider on Blackberrys on its network would have made 88 easy.

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