Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Technophobia

 

shutterstock_83454223Do you dream in monochrome? Does the term “manual labor” recall painful memories of assembly or installation? Does the Geek Squad avoid your phone calls? Then this post is for you.

What current inventions do you loathe? What innovations do you fear are inevitable? What old products do you miss and are certain you could enjoy again?

I dread the day that my car requires a poorly timed reboot while it updates its software via on-again/off-again satellite internet. “Please wait while we improve your driving experience.”

Image Credit: Shutterstock user Creatista.

There are 44 comments.

  1. Larry3435 Member

    What current inventions do you loathe? 

    Welcome, to the invention loathing hotline. Please listen to the following message carefully, because our options have changed.

    Para Espanol, toce numero uno ahora, por favor.

    To register your opinion about an invention, please say “hippopotamus,” or press 2 now. To speak to a representative <chuckle> please say “fat chance,” or press zero now.

    Please say or enter your 48 digit account number now. Keep your number at hand, because if a representative ever comes on the line, the first thing she will ask you is to tell her your account number.

    Thank you for calling the invention loathing hot line. A representative will be with you shortly. The current wait time is… Ninety… Three… Minutes… Please stay on the line, as your call is important to us.

    Please select the type of music that you find most annoying, so that we can play that music for you while you wait…

    • #1
    • September 25, 2014, at 7:26 AM PST
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  2. Eeyore Member

    You’re not going to have to worry about this much longer, Aaron. The EMP is going to usher in a much simpler time, technologically speaking.

    • #2
    • September 25, 2014, at 7:27 AM PST
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  3. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    I can’t think of anything.

    Every example I come up with is actually an example of a technology having not yet been invented and/or perfected.

    Prime example: My continued lack of a self-cleaning apartment.

    Almost every example of people being frustrated by modern technology that I come across in my daily life as the “guy who is good with computers” in my professional and family circle is a function:

    1. the end-user not having much control over the technology that is assigned to them, so they struggle with a technology that they either don’t actually need, or is sub-optimal to their job and/or skill level.
    2. the end user failing to think about their actual needs, skill level, and work practices, and failing to adapt the technology to their actual needs.
    3. the end user failing to learn how to use the technology, assuming that all technology “should be as easy to use as a toaster”.

    #3 is often put forward as end-users’ primary failing, but I find it’s often the least concern. More often, I find people who struggle to master business software like Outlook and/or Office, when a paper notebook would serve their purpose much better, merely because the software was issued to them so they think they have to use it.

    • #3
    • September 25, 2014, at 7:37 AM PST
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  4. Jimmy Carter Member

    I miss Underwood Typewriters; specifically the sound of the

    [Ding!]

    keys. As a lil’ kid I would type letters as fast as I could just to hear it.

    • #4
    • September 25, 2014, at 7:53 AM PST
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  5. Jason Rudert Member

    The car alarm has caused much more actual harm in this world than nuclear weapons.

    • #5
    • September 25, 2014, at 8:00 AM PST
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  6. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Post author

    Jimmy Carter:I miss Underwood Typewriters; specifically the sound of the

    [Ding!]

    keys. As a lil’ kid I would type letters as fast as I could just to hear it.

    I don’t know if you’re a gamer, but there was a popular online game years ago called Everquest which capitalized on exactly that. Whenever a player’s character advanced to a new tier of experience, there was a loud “Ding!” to celebrate the achievement. Very loud.

    Peggle took it up a notch. Beating a level results in Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, fireworks, and rainbows. If typewriters did that at the end of a page, we might never have moved on to computers.

    • #6
    • September 25, 2014, at 8:19 AM PST
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  7. Retail Lawyer Member

    The Leaf Blower! In California we sometimes have “Spare the Air” days where the problem is particulate matter in the air. Now, the entire mechanism of action of a leaf blower is to take particulate matter on the ground and make it airborn. It is not an unfortunate byproduct. So are leaf blowers banned on”Spare the Air” days? Of course not, that would be racist!

    They are awful in every way. Its like taking your trash and throwing it into your neighbor’s yard, or on his car, accompanied with a maximum annoying whine.

    I am the kind of conservative who conserves resources when I can. So I bicycle to work, only to breath leaf blower crap and have it coat my slightly sweaty skin. I use a solar clothes dryer (clothes line) when weather allows, only to have clean clothes coated with leaf blower crap. Oh, how I hate them!

    • #7
    • September 25, 2014, at 8:35 AM PST
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  8. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Jimmy Carter:I miss Underwood Typewriters; specifically the sound of the

    [Ding!]

    keys. As a lil’ kid I would type letters as fast as I could just to hear it.

    You need this:

    http://www.usbtypewriter.com/

    • #8
    • September 25, 2014, at 8:36 AM PST
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  9. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Retail Lawyer:The Leaf Blower! In California we sometimes have “Spare the Air” days where the problem is particulate matter in the air. Now, the entire mechanism of action of a leaf blower is to take particulate matter on the ground and make it airborn. It is not an unfortunate byproduct. So are leaf blowers banned on”Spare the Air” days? Of course not, that would be racist!

    They are awful in every way. Its like taking your trash and throwing it into your neighbor’s yard, or on his car, accompanied with a maximum annoying whine.

    I am the kind of conservative who conserves resources when I can. So I bicycle to work, only to breath leaf blower crap and have it coat my slightly sweaty skin. I use a solar clothes dryer (clothes line) when weather allows, only to have clean clothes coated with leaf blower crap. Oh, how I hate them!

    Yes. This.

    I didn’t think of it because I live on the 24th floor and never witness lawn and garden maintenance up close.

    • #9
    • September 25, 2014, at 8:38 AM PST
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  10. No Caesar Thatcher

    What innovations do you fear are inevitable?

    As a Technophilic I proffer Google Brain. It’s only a matter of when Google will have direct neural implants. Then you can “Google” something just by thinking about it. Of course they’ll only show you things paid for by their advertisers. The scariest part is when this becomes a two-way street and they can read your thoughts, perhaps prompting them provide “corrective” feedback if you are drifting down inappropriate pathways….

    • #10
    • September 25, 2014, at 9:10 AM PST
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  11. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    No Caesar:What innovations do you fear are inevitable?

    As a Technophilic I proffer Google Brain. It’s only a matter of when Google will have direct neural implants. Then you can “Google” something just by thinking about it. Of course they’ll only show you things paid for by their advertisers. The scariest part is when this becomes a two-way street and they can read your thoughts, perhaps prompting them provide “corrective” feedback if you are drifting down inappropriate pathways….

    Presumably, however, there will also be open source neural implants available, running on Linux, for the home neural implant enthusiast.

    It is possible to live a Google-free live and still take part in the global computer culture.

    • #11
    • September 25, 2014, at 9:16 AM PST
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  12. Paul Erickson Member

    I hate mobile phones. We’d all be better had they never been invented. Literally, can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.

    To Jason’s comment at #5, mobile phones have caused far more harm than car alarms, nuclear weapons, and home espresso machines combined.

    • #12
    • September 25, 2014, at 10:01 AM PST
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  13. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Paul Erickson:I hate mobile phones. We’d all be better had they never been invented. Literally, can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.

    To Jason’s comment at #5, mobile phones have caused far more harm than car alarms, nuclear weapons, and home espresso machines combined.

    I am being disagreement.

    For one thing, you can turn a mobile phone off.

    You can also set it to vibrate, or silent.

    In other words, you only have to use it when you want to.

    These things are not (generally) possible with a home phone. A home phone is tyrannical. It demands to be answered.

    • #13
    • September 25, 2014, at 10:06 AM PST
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  14. MarciN Member

    Retail Lawyer: The Leaf Blower!

    Agreed on all counts. Plus, they destroy the top layer of the soil!

    • #14
    • September 25, 2014, at 10:18 AM PST
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  15. Paul Erickson Member

    Misthiocracy:

    In other words, you only have to use it when you want to.

    Often said of various controlled substances. The problem with the iCrack and the Samsung Ecstasy S5 is that we can’t put it down.

    • #15
    • September 25, 2014, at 10:30 AM PST
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  16. Ed G. Member

    Aaron Miller:….What old products do you miss and are certain you could enjoy again?….

    For years I had a particular model of alarm clock made by GE (model 7-4612A or B). As far as alarm clocks go it is perfect: display, volume, placement of controls, snooze button (and it’s placement, design, function), and sturdiness. I had my first one for many years until it was damaged in a flood. I purchased a replacement in the 90’s, and it’s going strong today. And that’s saying something considering the force with which I smash the snooze button most mornings. Anyway, I don’t think they make these anymore and I’ll be sad when it eventually fails. When I looked it up online today, I’m seeing the word “vintage” associated with it. When will I learn to always buy at least two of whatever I stumble across as a perfect fit?

    • #16
    • September 25, 2014, at 10:34 AM PST
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  17. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Paul Erickson:

    Misthiocracy:

    In other words, you only have to use it when you want to.

    Often said of various controlled substances. The problem with the iCrack and the Samsung Ecstasy S5 is that we can’t put it down.

    Again with the inappropriate use of “we”.

    1. I have no problem putting down my smartphone (or my tablet, or my netbook, etc). The thing I have the hardest time putting down is Ricochet, which I access mostly from a desktop computer. Should I denounce Ricochet as a technology where I’d be better off if it had never existed?
    2. I find it odd that it would be considered a bad thing that a device is so useful that individuals choose to use it a lot.

    I believe in free will. People choose how to use their smartphone.

    (I’m also in favour of decriminalizing a wide variety of pharmaceuticals, which would actually be something of a return to 19th century mores, an era not generally thought of as being particularly licentious or hedonistic.)

    • #17
    • September 25, 2014, at 10:41 AM PST
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  18. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Ed G.: When I looked it up online today, I’m seeing the word “vintage” associated with it.

    Cracked.com recently had a neat article about things you wouldn’t think of being collector’s items that have now become collector’s items, such as individual Lego pieces and empty toy packaging:

    http://www.cracked.com/article_21498_8-insanely-valuable-items-you-probably-owned-and-threw-out.html

    • #18
    • September 25, 2014, at 10:45 AM PST
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  19. Paul Erickson Member

    Misthiocracy:

    Paul Erickson:

    Misthiocracy:

    In other words, you only have to use it when you want to.

    Often said of various controlled substances. The problem with the iCrack and the Samsung Ecstasy S5 is that we can’t put it down.

    Again with the inappropriate use of “we”.

    1. I have no problem putting down my smartphone (or my tablet, or my netbook, etc). The thing I have the hardest time putting down is Ricochet, which I access mostly from a desktop computer. Should I denounce Ricochet as a technology where I’d be better off if it had never existed?
    2. I find it odd that it would be considered a bad thing that a device is so useful that individuals choose to use it a lot.

    I believe in free will. People choose how to use their smartphone.

    (I’m also in favour of decriminalizing a wide variety of pharmaceuticals, which would actually be something of a return to 19th century mores, an era not generally thought of as being particularly licentious or hedonistic.)

    OK, let me clear this up. Like “you,” “I” also have no problem putting it down, turning it off, whatever. I don’t own one – the one I have is company issued to further minimize my work-free hours, and I forget it and leave it at the office at least once or twice a month.

    By “we” I mean the greater populace, walking along the street and into traffic with their noses in their texts, or worse yet driving like that. Missing out on actual human conversation. Blurting out inappropriate tweets and texts that will embarrass them or make them unemployable in the end. Watching a soccer game during church on a 4.5 inch screen.

    I do believe “I” am better off without it.

    • #19
    • September 25, 2014, at 11:51 AM PST
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  20. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Paul Erickson: By “we” I mean the greater populace, walking along the street and into traffic with their noses in their texts, or worse yet driving like that.

    You’ll have to show me some statistics that justify painting the entire “we” population by the actions of the people you “see on the street” exhibiting this behaviour.

    • #20
    • September 25, 2014, at 11:53 AM PST
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  21. John Walker Contributor

    Misthiocracy: Presumably, however, there will also be open source neural implants available, running on Linux, for the home neural implant enthusiast.

    Yes, but whenever you want to watch a movie, you’ll still get that pop-up about upgrading Flash player.

    • #21
    • September 25, 2014, at 12:17 PM PST
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  22. EThompson Inactive

    MarciN:

    Retail Lawyer: The Leaf Blower!

    Agreed on all counts. Plus, they destroy the top layer of the soil!

    They are the bane of my existence because of one thing- the horrible noise pollution that inevitably begins the moment I invite friends over for cocktails on the lanai or at 7:00 am.

    My second pet peeve has to be he washers that use little water and consequently take two hours to wash a load of towels and never get them entirely clean. I think pioneer women had less trouble doing laundry than I do.

    And third place goes to the fact that car companies have made it impossible to disconnect that persistent and annoying “ding, ding, ding” when you refuse to fasten your seat belt.

    • #22
    • September 25, 2014, at 12:29 PM PST
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  23. Jimmy Carter Member

    And third place goes to the fact that car companies have made it impossible to disconnect that persistent and annoying “ding, ding, ding” when you refuse to fasten your seat belt.

    That’s by law. Thank Yer government overlords, once again.

    • #23
    • September 25, 2014, at 1:01 PM PST
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  24. Paul Erickson Member

    Misthiocracy:

    Paul Erickson: By “we” I mean the greater populace, walking along the street and into traffic with their noses in their texts, or worse yet driving like that.

    You’ll have to show me some statistics that justify painting the entire “we” population by the actions of the people you “see on the street” exhibiting this behaviour.

    No, I don’t. I am not trying to make a statistically valid statement on human behavior. I am giving you my opinion of a technology, which is based on my observations of many people using it. It’s not at all important to me to convince you that my opinion is anything more than… my opinion. If you want to quibble about my use of “we,” quibble on alone.

    • #24
    • September 25, 2014, at 1:15 PM PST
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  25. Brad B. Inactive

    Seat belt alerts. Like a heavy box or the cat in the front seat will trigger it. So I either look like an idiot buckling up a box to spare me from the noise or trying to face the wrath of Mittens by buckling her in.

    Staying with cars, I despise power windows. Oh they’re fine in the summer or in the tropics. But they naturally freeze in the winter making it often impossible to open them. The face Toyota made when I inquired about crank windows on a 2013 truck.

    Most technology I’m fine with.

    • #25
    • September 25, 2014, at 3:36 PM PST
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  26. Percival Thatcher

    I spent 45 minutes trying to convince my various levels of virus suppression that the download of the latest version of iTunes wasn’t some evil conglomeration of squirrelly code bound to do damage to my system and my data.

    The antivirus software’s point is not easily refuted, however.

    When I first started using iTunes it was an acceptable program. It had flaws, but nothing outrageous. The outrages have come thick and fast since then. Obtuse interface mangling, limited update control, boneheaded design decisions…

    What once was a happy little program with which I could buy and manage my tunes and wrangle my podcasts has become an eldritch monstrosity slurping up CPU cycles like lemonade while preventing me from moving that which needs to be moved to its desired destination.

    A pox on the House of Cupertino!

    • #26
    • September 25, 2014, at 6:17 PM PST
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  27. Yudansha Member

    Twitter. The technology that allows everyone’s random bone-headed asinine comment to pollute the interwebs.

    • #27
    • September 25, 2014, at 10:13 PM PST
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  28. Robert E. Lee Member

    I loathe the “all-in-one” anything. I want email, not complete “social networking.” I want separate printers and scanners so if one thing breaks I don’t have to replace the whole thing. I want to be able to pick the features I want and not be bothered by those I don’t. And I don’t want the application to have access to my data remotely or to make in-app purchase without specific permission. I am not interested in sharing my data or putting anything into the “cloud” where anyone can access it or the government can delete it, a la the megaupload fiasco.

    I don’t want things to change just for the sake of change. When something works, keep making it. I hate purchasing the perfect widget then finding out later the thing is no longer available. The world is changing fast and I’m getting old, too old to keep up with everything constantly changing. I want some things to stay constant for me, like typing ribbons for my Brother manual typewriter. (Laugh it up, it works when the power goes out!)

    • #28
    • September 26, 2014, at 6:38 AM PST
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  29. Matt Upton Coolidge

    I’m usually rushing headlong into our technological utopia/dystopia, but there is one trend that must be stopped: The abolition of mechanical buttons, dials, and switches.

    Not everything should be a flat capacitive or resistive touch input.

    Are you making an e-reader, and the predominant action taken by the user is to turn the page? Put in a mechanical button that turns pages. Heck, install one on each side so lefties can turn pages too.

    Making a sleek new television? Don’t make it so sleek that it becomes impossible to distinguish the control “buttons” from each other.

    I for one welcome our new robot overlords. I would just prefer them to have toggle switches.

    • #29
    • September 26, 2014, at 7:02 AM PST
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  30. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Thess: Not everything should be a flat capacitive or resistive touch input.

    Blackberry has heard your cries of anguish:

    But still, they really need to promote the fact that these devices run (most) Android apps.

    If I’d known that BBizzles were Android-compatible, I woulda upgraded to my Q10 ages ago, and I woulda gotten a Playbook as well (in fact, I just ordered one offa eBay for a measly $50!).

    • #30
    • September 26, 2014, at 8:09 AM PST
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