20 most annoying tech products

PC World has their write-up of the 20 most annoying tech products of all time. We’ll just knock out some suspense here – AOL CDs made number one. The rest of the list has some good ones, too, though. There’s also a picture guide to 10 of the worst, but honestly, it’s not worth the viewing time. Just read the full list and you’ll see the same things as hitting the photo guide.

Unlike PC World’s 25 Worst Products of All Time, irksome products aren’t necessarily bad, buggy, or dangerous. But they all have one or two traits that make you want to wrap them in 200 pounds of steel cable and toss them off the side of a boat. From stupid features and rude behavior to brain-dead design and poor corporate policies, these 20 products have truly annoyed us over the years, and some continue to do so.

Here are a couple of the annoying tech products from the list that really bug me, just to give you a sampling.

Adobe (Macromedia) Flash (1996 to present)

Adobe’s animation tool, introduced by Macromedia in 1996, has arguably done more than any other product to liven up our Web browsers. But it’s also the dominant technology behind those running, jumping, spinning, swirling, flashing, dancing, popping, peeling, and just generally irritating rich-media Web ads. We like Flash, but we wish Web designers would use its power for good and not evil.

. . .

Apple iTunes, Microsoft Windows Media Player, Microsoft Zune, Napster (2003 to present)

The media players themselves are mostly fine, but their incompatible digital rights management (DRM) schemes drive us nuts. Despite Apple’s recent decision to sell some DRM-free songs, most iTunes tunes still play only on iPods, a couple of Motorola phones, or a computer with iTunes software on it. (And the DRM-free songs cost 30 cents more.)

Windows Media files are worse–now, two different, totally incompatible DRM file formats use the .wma file extension. So if you buy a WMA file from a service that uses Microsoft’s PlaysForSure DRM (most notably Napster), it won’t work with the Zune (which uses Microsoft’s Zune DRM). Can’t we all just get along?

Microsoft has said it will “soon” sell DRM-free music for the Zune. We’ll see.

Yup. I hates me some DRM. But if you don’t know that by now, you either don’t visit here often or don’t know what DRM is, since I write against it quite often. Hit the end of the article for the list of 14 ways to be sure to annoy your customers. It’s a little treasure trove of sarcasm, too.

[tags]PC World’s 20 most annoying tech products[/tags]