Given the current “25 things you might not know about me” craze, there are a lot of people out there who have to tell you all kinds of things about themselves. This whole thing seems a bit nuts to me, after all, if there are things about me that people don’t know, it’s probably because I don’t want them to know these things.
While I’ve tended to ignore these lists as they’ve ended up in my mail or Facebook updates, the one’s I have read tended to be pretty positive and good natured. Again, this seems nuts to me. In my opinion, if you really want to know someone, you should find out the things that they hate, the things that really drive them nuts.
So to put my money where my mouth is, I’ve done just that. Without further ado, here is my list (in no particular order) of the Twenty Things about Technology that Drive Me Nuts.
1) Comment lists that start with the newest comments – You ever read a really interesting online article or blog post and get excited to find out what other people are saying about it? And then, when you look at the comments, it feels like you’ve walked into the end of a conversation? Please, to every blog, Web site or anyone else who has comment lists, order them oldest to newest. You didn’t write your post or article backwards. A comment thread can be just as much a story as anything else. Start it from the beginning.
2) Constant Status Updates – Awww, Maria is tired from her late night. And Jack is feeling stuffed from his big lunch. And Carol is nervous about her big meeting this afternoon. You know what? I don’t care! If I want to know what you’re doing or feeling or thinking right now, I’ll ask you, OK?
3) Creeping Applications – I think I’m going to call Al Gore and ask to borrow his lockbox (I don’t think he’s using it for anything). And then I’ll take it and throw every app on my systems in it and make them stay in their own place. I’m sick of so many apps that I install sticking themselves into all other facets of my system. Hey, I didn’t say you could add an extension to Firefox, or run at startup, or constantly check to see if you have an update available. Just do the thing that I installed you to do and stop messing with the rest of my system!
4) Useless New Versions – In an old episode of The Simpsons, a fake commercial for a gaming systems says, “The new Gamestation 256. It’s slightly faster… to the MAX.” I always think of this when I see new versions of software or hardware products. In most cases, despite claims of the massive benefits that this new version will provide, the update is typically trivial and provides nothing much over the current version. But hey, current users get a 10 percent discount! Weeeeeeee!
5) Wireless Network Carriers – Want an idea of what the Internet would be like if network neutrality goes away? Look at the wireless network carriers. Only certain phones, apps and sites are available on certain networks. Wrong carrier? Too bad, no cool phone, video service or sweet game for you.
6) RIAA – I’m singling out the RIAA because they’re the worst offender but this includes MPAA, BSA and any other group that protects their business model over the interests of everyone else in the world (including the artists and developers they supposedly protect). Through their constant lawsuits and pushing of bad laws, these groups have caused more damage to technology than anyone else. These groups would, if they could, go back in time and stop the Internet from ever happening.
7) Bad Laws – Speaking of bad laws, while the RIAA and their ilk might push these laws, it’s our shortsighted and tech ignorant lawmakers who push them through Congress. DMCA, CAN-SPAM, the whole lot of copyright laws and treaties. Gee, thanks.
8) Techno Lust – AAAhhhhhhhh!!!! Did you see the latest iWhatever? It’s the greatest thing ever! Everyone will want to have one. It will change your life, the world and the future of all mankind! If Einstein was alive today he would totally have 10 of these! Now jump ahead 10 months. The iWhatever? That is so lame. But I hear that the iWhatchamacallit will be totally sweet.
9) Privacy Loss – Yes, people today share all kinds of information that would have remained private many years ago. But you know what? They choose to share that information. That doesn’t mean that they want every detail of their shopping and Web surfing habits in the hands of large businesses.
10) Lists – Ahem, OK, moving on.
11) Spam – Ten years ago I was stunned how much time I had to waste dealing with spam in my e-mail inbox. But I was sure that technology would figure out a way to deal with this. Now, I spend even more time dealing with spam and its spread to other tech areas outside of my e-mail. I can’t even watch that Monty Python skit anymore.
12) Vendor Lock In – Have you seen that really cool new product? It’s really pretty slick. One problem, though, it will only work on one operating system, with one underlying technology and one format, all from one vendor.
13) Hyped Terms – You have to check out our product. It’s Web 2.0 On-Demand SOA SAAS Cloud-based Social Networking Semantic technology. What does it really do? Hmmm, I’ll have to get back to you on that.
14) Business Method Patents – Several recent court decisions have dealt these patents some serious setbacks but they are still out there, driving people nuts with their obviousness and forcing actually innovative companies to waste money defending themselves against this idiocy.
15) Bad Security – I love the whole idea of the master hacker breaking through heavily defended security systems. But in reality most hacking is a matter of walking through wide open doors that businesses and people could easily close if they cared even a tiny bit about good security.
16) Religious Tech Wars – Windows stinks, Macs Rule! Oh yeah, Mac users are a bunch of annoying posers and Windows users just get things done! You’re all a bunch of corporate pawns, only Linux users are truly in control. Whatever. You use what you want to use, I’ll use what I want to use, and everybody shut up already.
17) Perpetual Betas – It’s kind of cute, Gmail has been in beta for years now, but that doesn’t stop tons of people from using it. And this practice has spread to many companies outside of Google. And you know what? This should stop right now. You know what beta means? Not ready for real use! I would never recommend any business use any application that the vendor itself isn’t comfortable enough to call ready to use.
18) Locked Down Products – I mentioned apps that should be locked down from spreading across my systems. But some products go in the other direction and prevent the users from making any kind of changes, customizations or enhancements. New Mac notebooks don’t even let users change the battery. If I want a toaster, I’ll buy a toaster. Come to think of it, my toaster has more customization options than many of these products.
19) EULAS – By reading this post you’ve consented to let me make all kinds of outrageous and legally dubious claims on your rights and I’ll spell out just how I can limit your rights in pages buried deep within my site that almost no one finds or reads. Sorry software user licenses and Web site terms of services. But in my book a contract is something that both parties have to actually agree to.
20) Always On – Woo hoo. Read my Twitter feed, check my Facebook updates, text me, IM me, Skype me, follow me on GPS, I’m connected everywhere and all the time! Now that I think about it, while I love tech, one of my favorite things is that I can turn off my computers, toss my phone in a drawer and go for a nice quiet walk.