We asked Gizmodo’s readers about their biggest frustrations with technology today. Your answers were smart, poignant, sad, funny, and so compelling that we had to compile them.
The following are responses to my Chatroom rant about people who can’t put their phones down in polite society. I couldn’t stop reading these comments—they’ve stuck with me for days.
Twitter. Very few people are sufficiently brilliant to say anything worthwhile in 140 characters. It breeds an ego that most people are not worthy of. It’s sadder still when politicians use it to make a stand on a nuanced issue.
We couldn’t agree more
Competing standards in emerging categories. I’m super excited about the potential of smart homes and Virtual Reality... but I’m terrified to buy anything until there’s a clear “winner” in either space. I understand that’s how capitalism works... but still... it sucks sometimes.
Differing or lack of standards. Maybe you could also throw in that the standards change every 6 months. 10 years ago every computer had a cd drive and some usb options. Now, we have so many different plugs/voltages/etc.
Also maybe the general “throwaway” or disposable tech. Used to buy things that lasted 10-20 years. My parents finally upgraded the phone in their bedroom after 26 years... But my damn cell phone craps out every 2 as it gets slower and slower. Computers start slowing down the minute theyre made it seems like. And with all the other new things going on, a 5 year old computer is bordering on “old” today.
In the end its all just a horse/carrot thing. Technology will never stop moving, its impossible to ever get ahead of it or keep up with it.
Let’s get lost
This is more about me than about technology, but I hate the crutch of having maps.
I do not have the willpower to learn where anything is anymore. I open maps to go anywhere that isn’t already part of my routine. I could just as easily figure out where something is if I thought about it for five seconds or ask someone and maybe learn a thing or two about them/the place I’m going to/the world around me. There used to be conversations about what route to take and why to take it, now it’s all about Google maps.
The economics of things
What do I hate about Technology?
That I do not have enough money to buy each and every new gadget I want as soon as it appears on Gizmodo.
Of course, I would have about six laptops, and ten HD boxes for TV, and I would need a new shed to store all the games, and I would have accounts with at least three different wireless providers, and.....
I just need to win the Lottery.
Be careful what you wish for. I don’t have unlimited funds to buy anything I want, but I am single and make a good living, so I can buy most of what I want. I have reached techno-saturation. I have made a conscious decision to quit buying new gadgets for awhile. The stuff I have is a huge time suck. Mostly because things don’t work the way they are supposed to. There is always some gadget, some app, my phone, my computer, something, that needs attention. It worked yesterday, but today it doesn’t work for some reason. Always something that needs to be reset, rebooted, resetup. Always something that needs an update. I want to play a game on my playstation for instance, maybe 15 or 20 minutes before I go to bed.
Nope. 15 minutes of dicking around with a playstation update, then 10 more minutes with an update for the game. Fuck it, I just did this 2 weeks ago. I’m going to bed. I’m always on some forum or website looking for directions because I forgot how to set it up. Of course, I have to look up my password to do that. Stuff in my car. Stuff in my house. Stuff at work. For the most part, none of these things are overly intellectually taxing on an individual basis, but taken together, I feel like I am at saturation. Too many gadgets, too many passwords, too many directions and instruction and operating procedures to remember. And stuff should just work. There are no moving parts. There is nothing to break. If it worked yesterday, it should work today, but it doesn’t, so this thing that was supposed to make my life more convenient is sucking time from life.
Pending Approval wrote:
I hate how people look down their nose at you if you don’t have the latest and greatest piece of tech available. How does my flip top phone hurt you? It does what I want my phone to do and it does it very well. I don’t need to surf the internet on my phone. I don’t need GPS on my phone. I don’t need to watch videos on my phone. I don’t need to play games on my phone. I don’t need to take pictures/record video with my phone. I don’t need to text on my phone. I need a phone that will allow me to make phone calls and receive phone calls. And that’s it. Why should I replace a perfectly good piece of equipment that does exactly what I want it to do just because you don’t like it? Why don’t you mind your own God damned business?
Where even am I
I hate how a good majority of people are unaware of their surroundings when using technology. It’s mostly people walking around looking at their cell phones when they’re about to walk into something (i.e.: me, who is actually aware of my surroundings). I’ve also encountered way too many people weaving in and out of lanes and fluctuating speeds while using cell phones during driving. It’s scary, actually.
I was promised a jetpack
Oh sure, there are lots of little irritating things that I’m sure everyone will mention here and I have no disagreement with any of them. But, the main, number one, thing that I hate about technology?
It advances too slowly.
I’m a strong technological singularity skeptic. After hearing about the idea in 1988, I spent a major portion of the 1990s hoping it would come true but still no sudden take off. My reasons for skepticism are outlined in this book.
Having arrived at this opinion as a complete nonexpert, I’m still unhappy with it.
Soon I will be 52 and, given the crawl of medical advances, it’s unlikely I’ll live past my 90s. And I am disappointed with this reality.
I hate that things that are obvious to me as design options are almost never available so I have to live with an idiotic way of doing something. Take Windows 8.1, why do I need to modify files to get the PC to just boot right to the damn start menu? Who said “You know what people want, to log into a hotmail account to start their computer”. I hate that I can’t get rid of crapware on my mobile phone and need to bury the icon in a folder somewhere. I hate that tech companies think I leased my own device rather than bought it.
In short, I hate that stupidity and greed very often get in the way of my having the user experience I should have.
More than the sum of our ads
General invasiveness slash obnoxiousness. It feels like so many technologies treat you as if you were nothing more than a revenue source, the overall effect is that it feels like there’s an oily car-salesmen sitting just over your shoulder.
Hey, watch this ad, hey, you’ll love this add-on to this game, hey we can sell tracking data to advertisers if you let us track your activities. Etc etc, and so on and so forth. I do realize that companies need to make money, and I don’t begrudge their desire to do so. However so many of the business models I’ve seen pop up in recent years just leave a horrible taste in my mouth.
Put the phone down. It’ll be OK
Going somewhere and seeing everyone clutching a device as if their lives depended on it. ESPECIALLY restaurants, it’s annoying as hell. Relax and have a nice meal people, you went there to do so, so put the phones away. AND, concerts....unless you’re using it when the performer says to light up the place or something, put the damn thing away. We don’t need any “look at me at a concert” selfies.
I was at a Rush concert Tuesday and an asshat nearby kept recording videos. It was out of focus and washed out the whole time. The kicker is that it took him over TWO HOURS to finally turn off the fucking flash. If I were being lit up by the flash in front of him, there would have been an incident, but the people in front of him somehow just shrugged it off.
I also hate that my girlfriend and I cannot participate in any mundane activity without having to fucking stop and take a photo or a selfie or a snapchat or an instagram and THEN “pick a filter” and then post it to social media and then respond to the comments. Let’s simply do something fun without it having to be a goddamn media event. We aren’t Kardashians and no one is trying to keep up with us.
I’d have to say my largest pet peeve about tech is exactly what you describe. Texting and email and facebook are all fine and dandy, but if you’re out with people be with the people not on your phone. A friend of mine always asks me why guys don’t ask her out more than once, she doesn’t seem to understand that interpersonal communication is the goal of going out and getting to know someone, not the next thing on twit-face-gram... So naturally I demonstrated what she does after telling her, she said I was being rude and an asshole. I haven’t heard from her since; this was a month ago, my life is significantly less dramatic.
I think I won out on this one...
R U OK?
I hate how the overwhelming majority of people simply don’t understand technology, and make assumptions about what could or should happen or what is easy. “Hey, can you fix my computer?” “What’s wrong with it?” “I dunno, its slow, you know computers can’t you just fix it?” “Spend hours troubleshooting the computer that you fucked up because you don’t know how to use it in the first place? Ya, sure. Go fuck yourself.”
I hate when I’ve spent 5 years learning the art of photography, then take really good pictures with a decent entry level mirrorless camera, and everyone assumes the camera must be wicked good and they want to know where they can get one. Ya, its the fuckin camera, here ya go, go create magic you cunt.
I hate that my friend who is a Massachusetts State Trooper last week asked me if I had a ‘charger thing’ for his Kindle because its been dead for a month. I asked him if he knew what “universal” meant, seeing as he has multiple USB devices that use USB chargers and he looked at me like I was the idiot.
I hate how products are intentionally designed to get worse and break down over time. I hate the fact that I got so mad at my Droid Razr HD that I literally broke it in half. Into two pieces, with my bare hands because my baby was crying in the back seat and it, for some reason, just decided to not load Google Maps when I was in traffic and didn’t know where I was going. Fuck that phone.
I hate the fact that I am a history teacher in high school and no one cares about history because they can just get it on their phones. Ya, that’s why we study history you fucking morons, to memorize dates. Not to learn from mistakes that are the only actual thing that can shape our future. But ya, just google it you little douche. I hate the fact that out of 30 people in one of my classes, 9 of them didn’t capitalize their name on the cover of a research paper. I hate the fact that over 20 of them don’t know what the “Tab” key is for.
I’d like to see a scientific study done on happiness levels of people with ample amounts of technology and those without. I have a feeling I know who’s happier.
A world of Glassholes
Grand Moff Talkin’ wrote:
I hate that we’re quick to adopt tech for our personal use yet slow to adopt it for professional use. My company has just now rolled out tablets for field surveyors after five years of studying, yet everyone involved in the decision process is on their second or third iPad.
I hate that we can open up bandwidth easily for AT&T or Sprint but opening up frequencies for emergency services or for Amtrak’s train safety systems is a grueling act of bureaucracy.
I hate that Google Glass died because was marketed to and championed by douchebags who used it to annoy bar patrons and not marketed to architects, engineers, or given to police officers who could probably use a head computer with a camera during their traffic stops.
I hate that Microsoft Hololens’ biggest wow factor is playing Mindcraft on coffee table and not the guy who was designing a virtual motorcycle.
Overall, I hate that we’ve arrived in a futuristic sci-fi land and we’re all using tech like selfish asshats.
Well, you already hit it on the head with people being so goddamn preoccupied with their phone when there’s other events going on (I avoid meeting with certain people because it’s annoying when they’re just stuck on their phone), so I won’t touch on that.
I guess this whole dick measuring and bragging with new technology. Whether it’s humblebrag (“Guys I’m sorry I’m late. My Apple iWatch was set to Pacific Time.”) or straight up bragging (“Dude this 360 is awesome, you should buy one.”) or loudly insulting you on your passe’ phone so the people at the register and checkout line can hear and know how far behind you are while your friend is on the precipice of technological change. It’s not a fucking competition, and if it is leave me out of it.
Otto Lipschitz wrote:
This year I have been noticing people playing media on their phones in public without headphones. Always at max volume with crackling speakers. On the train, in restaurants...when did this taboo crumble?
Pick a side, any side
Quick release cycles and choosing teams.
AMD or Nvidia? Should I wait a couple of months for a price cut or get the next-gen?
BB10, iOS, Windows, or Android? Do I want Snapchat? Do I want an excellent camera? Do I want a physical keyboard?
There’s just too many options and the competition is so close, yet each have horrible compromises.
The thing that bugs me the most is the lingo, made-up words, improperly used words, and horrible grammar.
This. This. This. This. This.
I think it is really rude, say you walk into a local 7-11 type store, and someone is standing in line, they get up to the counter to make a purchase, while on the phone the entire time, completely ignoring the clerk and everyone around them, and you have to listen to their crap! Or, in a restaurant, and their phone rings as the waiter/waitress is trying to take their order. You just want to grab their phone and smash it.
I dedicate a considerable amount of my daily life to maintaining “charged” status on too many battery-powered devices. Sometimes I will buy an inferior product solely on the basis that it simple plugs into a wall socket. Truth.
We really don’t want to see what you’re eating. No, really
I hate how people are obsessed with taking selfies or pictures of their food. Just enjoy the damn time. Also, at concerts, everyone is just recording the show or taking pictures rather than taking in the experience. I might just be hanging out with the wrong people but it seems like everyone is obsessed with sharing(showing off).
I hate that so many people think people my age are clueless luddites. I get my Medicare card this year and I’ll probably use it for the first time to get my foot removed from some Gen-X’er’s rear end.
Not so connected
RobGronkowski’s PartyBusDriver wrote:
I hate that there is no nuance or subtlety online. I hate that there is no real way to express facial or body language. I hate how idealouges have entrenched themselves on both sides of every topic claiming to be on the right side with God in their corner. I hate that anyone with a thought no matter how stupid hateful uneducated or inane has a platform to spread it.
I hate that it seems like every year there are fewer and fewer things that I can own that don’t involve a screen (or some form of digital interaction). I’m all for technology moving forward, but I also like having the ability to get away from it. The thing I worry about is that eventually we’re going to get ourselves into a technological dystopia where your watch, TV, phone and even the fabric of your jeans are all competing to let you know that someone you haven’t talked to in a decade just had some (probably totally insightful) opinion on Facebook.
Smash patent trolls
Software patents - patents around a ‘thing’ is a lot easier to judge whether something else is the same or not, software patents are applied this ‘hardware’ mentality against something that isn’t ‘real’. I’m all for exclusivity for hard work and ideas, but put a mandatory 1 or 2 year limit on a software patent and the market will explode with ideas and better ways of doing things - it will also see an end to patent trolls and newer ideas being brought to market quicker.
Kids these days
That anyone over 40 thinks that, because all teenagers are constantly looking at their phones, teenagers are even remotely functional using actual, productive technology. I work in a 1-to-1 high school where the school issues each student a computer. Most students, and I know this is a generalization, don’t know how to properly type, can’t use productivity software, and don’t have any concept of etiquette with technology. A good 20% of my in-class time is teaching how to use tech properly. For example, today we had to have a discussion about why it’s rude to have your headphones in during a discussion....
For me is when I’m at family events, all my cousins’ kids are strapped to a screen. 2 years prior they would be running around and playing with each other. Now they show up and plop up on the couch. I ask my cousins do they do any outdoor activities or any other physical activities. One of my uncles say they do, so it’s good, but every time I see cousin’s kids they’re couch potatoes.
On the same note, the ones that are now about 10, who grew up with way more fun things in technology around me still don’t know how these devices work. They expect things to work all the time and not bother to understand how these everyday devices they grow accustom to work. When I was at their age, if nothing work I looked it up and attack the problem myself. It saddens me that in the age of hyper awareness, a lot of kids don’t look it up themselves.
But hey, parents, leave those kids alone:
No freedom from my parents during college. I am definitely less mature after college than they were at the same age because I had them calling me nearly every day
Did you try turning it off and back on again?
I hate how much other people complain about technology, that’s what I hate. Everyone’s lives are completely controlled/consumed by it, yet so few people actually put any kind of effort into learning how it works/why it is nowhere near as easy to work as they make it out to be.
That Guy From Over Yonder wrote:
But so often tech doesn’t work right out of the gate. Things like apps that just crash when they open (and support from companies like vine that consider their inability to fix a problem the problem successfully resolved) or the bluray player that won’t turn off but gets hung up on the exit screen. I’ve had many devices and apps just fail to perform their base function. Some of it is poor design, some of it bad manufacturing, some of it is device incompatibility, as well as the usual bad coding.
This rush to be first and new is overtaking the need to make things that work right every (or most every) time. Companies (even apple and google) don’t really stand behind their products.
The more things change…
Maybe I’m getting old and losing touch with technology, but I don’t think it’s that since I have a 3d printer and I’m really excited about whats about to happen with VR. But I’ve never been that involved with my Iphone and Ipad other than it’s a convenient way to carry a camera, photos and mags almost anywhere. Texting and constant Facebook updates etc are not my thing.
I’m always amused by the fact that we move on from telegraphs in the 1800s to phones where you actually heard a persons voice, and yet in the 21st century we are basically telegraphing from a glowing little box. Always seems like astep back to me. Not to mention I feel communication skills are worse than they were 20 yrs ago.
Not so pretty
Functionality being set aside for minimalist design is what’s currently THE WORST contribution to consumer technologies. Just short of a blank pane of glass, there is less and less to the outer appearance and interfacing options to all of our devices. We’ve abandoned ports, buttons, visible speakers, practical ergonomics, seems of any kind (which makes repairing or upgrading impossible) to single panic button interface. I’d really like a see a device where I get to choose how I want to interface with it. Maybe it won’t have that Apple-like, ultra clean, super simple, “you’re too dumb to figure this out for yourself” elegance, but it will work well, because it’s a tool to used.
So much technology revolves around making the average person’s life easier. But what does easier do to us? Studies have shown attention spans are at an all time low (about 15 to 20 minutes) due to the instant gratification supplied by modern devices which is actually affecting the education system. That’s right, technology is making us dumber and the collective self control needed to overcome it is impossible. As technology gets smarter mankind will get dumber.
Taxidermy JONES wrote:
I find the moments when I’m truly enjoying myself (as opposed to being just not-bored) are all low tech. Like playing cards with friends or getting drunk at a baseball game. I wonder sometimes if people didn’t have an option to stay in and watch Netflix if I’d get to enjoy more moments like that.
Coronal Shadow wrote:
Yup. My favourite times of year are when I can forget tech (and work, and pretty much everything else...) and go climb a mountain (snowboarding in winter, hiking/photography in summer).
Framing this on my wall
Organized Chaos wrote:
I hate that people would rather stand there and record something bad happening to someone rather than trying to help. They’re always looking for their 15 minutes of YouTube fame.
And the fact that social media, namely facebook, has changed everyone’s mindset. First, they think the most mundane shit they do & say is special enough that everyone else cares about it. But then they’re delusions of grandeur is fueled by everyone who pretends to care about it, so they keep posting dumb shit. One big vicious cycle. And it has also made people think they have a right to violate the privacy of others. I’m a private person and I keep all photos of myself & my son off of facebook/the internet. But it’s changed the way people treat others so much that they think they have the right to post other people’s pictures to their own pages without consent. When we go to family gatherings, I hate that I now have to inform people that we do not want our photos posted online, because they most definitely will. No one takes photos to keep as mementos anymore. They only want them so they can post them.
One last thing. I hate that everywhere we go, whether it’s a restaurant, a doctor’s office, wherever, everyone (adults & children alike) have their noses buried in their mobile devices. Reminds me of that Star Trek: TNG episode, “The Game.”
Granddad the Snugglebunny wrote:
I hate that people have to record everything. I hope those like/favs/upvotes are worth letting someone die on the sidewalk instead of using your phone to call the police.
Tattooing this on my body
Cletus Van Damme:
There is only one thing I hate about technology: just because it’s easy to always be connected does not mean that I should be expected to be connected all the time. Sometimes I just don’t feel like responding to every message, then the sender acts like I’ve taken away their first born.
I hate how social media has enabled widespread shaming culture. Mad at your ex? Post their nude photos. Somebody posted an insensitive selfie? Share it all over twitter and Facebook so that thousands of people can tell that person why they’re terrible. Make sure they lose their jobs. Make sure they can never be Googled without that picture showing up.
It’s not that I think all behavior on the internet is okay. People should be told when something they said or did is offensive for whatever reason. But the internet’s response is just over the top. We’re human. We make mistakes. We can learn from those mistakes and grow. There’s so much excitement over vilifying people over their mistakes. Our technology may have evolved, but our blood lust certainly hasn’t.
i hate that everything bad that happens is now instantly made public. sometimes i miss the days of pre-internet and smartphone cameras when, while you had a general idea of the craziness in the world, and the network news reported some of it, but you didn’t really know how extensive it was. people b crazy.
The insightful responses here constitute my favorite Chatroom ever. Whenever people bitch about commenters on the internet—cool story, bro, do you even comment?—I intend to roll my eyes, refrain from punching them in the smartphone and direct them to this post.
You all knocked this one out of the park, but tell us if your own personal tech pet peeve didn’t get covered. What makes you mad in this world where we’re all connected?
Images via Wikimedia Commons, Shutterstock, The IT Crowd