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Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” He was obviously speaking before the invention of many of the technologies we use today, which we now know are certain to frustrate us at times.

There is always that one piece of technology that frustrates above all others. But which gadget, dear reader, have you found to be the most frustrating of all? We want details, and we want them now. Tell us your stories.

Frustration, Guaranteed

We want to know, What’s The Most Frustrating Piece Of Technology Ever?

In case you hadn’t noticed, we love technology here at MakeUseOf. In fact, we love it so much we spend our days using it, testing it, playing with it, taking it apart, and reading about it. Often at the expense of spending time with our loved ones How To Ensure Your Loved Ones Can Access Your Data Once You're Gone How To Ensure Your Loved Ones Can Access Your Data Once You're Gone We've written a bit about how loved ones can access your accounts and how to prepare for your death in this digitally-influenced world. However, since we are talking about rather important data, it might be... Read More .

However, technology has a tendency to go wrong. To go bad. To turn on you at a moment’s notice. It’ll stop working, or slow down, or become such a royal pain in the posterior it takes every ounce of willpower not to launch it across the room 7 Video Games So Hard They Will Make You Want To Throw Your Controller 7 Video Games So Hard They Will Make You Want To Throw Your Controller One of the major staples of old school video games is the incredible difficulty. I've talked about the level of challenge in older games before in an article about the things I miss most from... Read More .


It’s a fact of life that technology goes bad, and it’s just a matter of time before that gadget you once adored develops a problem of some kind. If you’re lucky, it’ll work for years before falling foul of this unavoidable fate. And if you’re unlucky, it’ll start annoying you within days of purchase.

We want to know your personal stories of frustrating technologies. Is there one particular piece of technology which has failed to cooperate fully throughout its pitiful existence? Or have you suffered at the hands of a particular brand or type of gadget?

Perhaps you have had no luck with smartphones 5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone 5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone You may feel pressured into buying a smartphone, even though you're perfectly happy with your (so-called) dumbphone. Don't be. Read More , despite owning several across multiple operating systems. Or perhaps you once owned a computer that never quite worked 3 Simple Steps To Fixing Your Computer Issues 3 Simple Steps To Fixing Your Computer Issues Every day dozens of tech questions cross the desktops of editors and contributors on MakeUseOf Answers. Many of them are easy to answer and have actually been asked and solved previously. Looking at other Q&A... Read More . A TV that changed channels without asking. Or an iPod that would play the same song over and over again when on shuffle.

Please recount your tales of frustrating pieces of technology in the comments section below. Partly because reading about your misfortunes will provide us with a few laughs, and partly because it will enable us to compile a list of the most frustrating gadgets of all time.

We Need You!

All comments will be read and most will be replied to. Depending on the level of interest, the responses may be turned into a full article. Those readers providing the best comments will thanked by name, receiving our extreme and everlasting gratitude for their efforts.

We Ask You is a column dedicated to crowdsourcing the wisdom of MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

  1. Brittany
    January 2, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    I find touchscreens to be too fiddley and frustrating. Even though I know I spelled a word right and used the spacebar while typing a message, I still see typing errors. Then I have to erase it and type it over again. On my phone, my touchscreen will go black when I am trying to pay my cellphone bill. Technology makes me cry. When it goes wrong/malfunctions, I burst into tears for a long time and can't stop crying when it continues to malfunction. Sometimes I seem to have ghost fingers when touchscreens don't respond to my touch. I am not all that computer savvy and I take technology malfunctions and errors personally. I get that feeling that the computer or tablet I use is mad at me for some reason and is getting sick of me. I sometimes find myself wondering if technology has feelings and dislikes certain users and favor other users. I know it hates me.

  2. john frum
    April 16, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Shoelaces. They're always so far away.

  3. Boulevardier
    April 16, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    USB Cables - the PC end of the cable is standard, which is great, but the device end has many varieties of plug shapes which means I have to label and store a bunch of different cables near my PC. An eyesore ! So much for the "wireless era".

    Also "wireless" usually necessitates batteries at the device end (eg. wireless keyboard) and a receiver for it at the PC end such as a USB FOB but there are still lots with power cables, sometimes a clunky power supply with an attached Ethernet cable occasionally. Battery management is a nuisance and lately I've never had a more convoluted rats nest of wires to deal with. Wireless indeed!

  4. nobler
    April 11, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    I don't know if it's the Microsoft ribbon interface or Android Lollipop. I already went back to Orifice 2003. When Google forces Lollipop on my Droid phone, I suppose I'll be getting an iPhone.

  5. Rob
    April 10, 2015 at 9:58 am

    either iTunes, iPhoto or Chromebooks. Urgh.

  6. Gavin
    April 10, 2015 at 6:42 am

    I had an old USB connected printer that required a reboot every time before it would print.

  7. Saikat
    April 10, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Samsung phones. Or any phone with a ton of crapware loaded on it. And I won't even begin to mention the batteries on smartphones. The all-day battery will be the next great innovation to change our world.

  8. Joe
    April 9, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Home router settings

  9. Leah
    April 9, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    How about the ink cartridges for printers? If I don't use it up within a certain time it goes dry and I can't use it. I want to be able to print necessary stuff, but I don't want to have to buy new ink cartridges every time I want to print something because I print so sporadically.

    • Gavin
      April 10, 2015 at 6:48 am

      I have the problem. If you print a few pages out of a cartridge that says it can print 300+ pages, and it won't print again, the printer manufacturers are lying to you.

      Unfortunately, the best alternative is laser printer, but the toners and the printers themselves are expensive.

    • dragonmouth
      April 10, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Laser printers and toners may seem expensive in an absolute sense but when considered on a per sheet basis, they are cheaper than inkjets. A set of inkjet cartridges cost between $40 and $80 depending on a printer and can print couple of hundred pages. Toners cost about the same but can print over a 1000 pages. Good laser printers can be purchased from Newegg for $60-$80.

  10. Rajib Ghosh
    April 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Apple TV (Generation 3).

    Although I received it as a gift, it was from a friend who was frustrated with it himself and gifted me a piece so that I could help him.

    Sorry pal! That device is one true plastic & metal brick.
    In India, all it does is Youtube. On it's tiny remote designed for S&M fans, I can just about manage to view 2 - 3 music vids per hour.

    It also requires 4Mbps broadband to stream smoothly, whereas the Panasonic Plasma TV which is connected to it, has a Youtube client that does a better job.

    Did I mention that the TV remote is way more functional?

  11. Marie-Josee Fonseca
    April 9, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    By a long stretch - printers. We are held ransom by how completely crap this technology is. If you had a toaster that only worked intermittently, you would soon learn to live without toast. many of us learn to bypass the printer because it hardly ever works.

    And iTunes which does what IT wants to do rather than what YOU want to do.

    While an hour of my life is burned while waiting for my daughter at an appointment, I access my email (a useful innovation) and notice that her school requires some very important documents. No problem, I innocently think. I have documents backed up on various sites specifically for this purpose. OK, so check site A, document I downloaded is not there. OK, maybe I mixed it up with site B. I can see the document online but I can’t save it as a document. The options for programs that will read it are very limited and mostly vanity sites like FaceBook. So I try it from the other side. I go to a PDF reader and try to upload the document. After much fiddling, I've got it but it’s locked. By the time I finish all the steps, I’m timed-out on the first site. But I have a HOUR. That should be plenty of time but the school site won’t let me upload from this browser. Why not? I’m guessing the biases of the tech team who designed this system. So, almost, but no.

    It all comes back to customer service or the lack of it. The site I was failing to enter, which is my experience every single time I try, has a button entitled “Customer Service”. If you click on that link, you will have the opportunity to explain your circumstances and hope for a response. In my case, I received an automatic response saying they would get back to me. When “they” got back to me they said contact customer service.

    I hate when website designers don’t follow through on their signage. You look for one thing, click on the next page and suddenly you have no idea where it dropped you. There’s nothing called what I asked for. “Payment History” is now called “Invoice Schedule” or “My Miserable Life”. Have these people never driven in a car? Visited an airport? How would they like it if they are following signs for Gates 1-25 and suddenly there is a fork in the road and the choices are “Journey Stations” or “Chicago –Cleveland”. No, you follow “Gate” signs until you find a “Gate” with your number on it.

    If you decide you want a hole in the wall to pass through, no matter what your decor, you go to the store and you buy a door. There may be a selection of styles and functionality but it’s a door. It has hinges, a flat surface. It works and doesn't need to be redesigned. If you do, you better have a pretty extraordinary idea. When it comes down to website development, so many start from scratch not because they are better at it, not because there aren't excellent examples of functionality. So the user has the misfortune of struggling through nonsensical organization, missing information, and malfunctioning processes, and time-wasting steps.

    I hate when passwords require a capital letter. Nothing uses capital letters. Email doesn't use them. Nowhere else will you be misunderstood if you use a capital letter. Those are the passwords I inevitably forget since to my mind, a capital letter is not significant. Invariably the accounts that make you do this are for your supermarket or your gym or anywhere serious encryption is not really needed.

    On that same note are passwords that you have little control over. So you don’t remember them so you continually have to change them which requires you to continually enter your social security number and your mother’s maiden name – negating the “security” you’re meant to be enjoying.

    I hate how I can successfully log in to a site and 20 minutes later it doesn't recognize my password and I have to reset it.

    I hate how you can take an action on a website and when it doesn't work, it doesn't tell you why. Or erases everything you input so you have to start all over again.

    Is it possible to have standards? There’s a way to wire electricity. You can’t get overly creative. I think it might be nice for at least business sites to just work. Sites that you don’t have to worry that your information isn't safe, that the processes are as efficient as they can be. My blood pressure will improve with better architecture on necessary websites and businesses that understand the value of time.

    • Larry Hutton
      November 13, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      Regarding passwords, I found Dashlane a couple of years ago. It's a WONDERFUL password manager program! Relieves much password frustration! Here's the link:

      Spend the $20/year for the premium version. It's a GREAT value!

      All the best.

  12. peter
    April 9, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Some good choices on here already, but I'm going to opt for something a little different and say passwords.

    In principal, passwords are a great idea. Keeping our digital info safe and stopping others from stealing, pinching or using our secrets/money/gadgets....

    But just you forget that one password... JUST ONCE and boy are you in for one long frustrating afternoon of resetting, trying to remember, not writing down, forgetting, having to go through it all over again - ad infinitum.

    Then there's all the restrictions: At least one CAPITAL, one number no spaces or "icons". Don't use a word you know (or can remember) .. Aaargh!

    If passwords is not acceptable I'd go for for those stupid, impossible plastic packages that are are tougher to get into than fort knox...

    They are like a real life password!!!! grrr......

  13. Xoandre
    April 9, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Bluetooth earpieces... 90% of them have a "rechargeable" battery that needs 36 minutes and 12 seconds to charge. No more, no less. If you are off by a single second, the battery becomes unchargeable. The device becomes worthless.

    ...or so my experience with 15 different earpieces has proven.

    • Keith
      April 9, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      Have you used Plantronics? I have had 2 of these [two different models] over a ten year span and they have worked without any problems and hold a charge all day long for me. I use them on Android phones.

    • likefunbuntot
      April 9, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      I have a pair of Jaybird Bluebuds X earbuds. They're almost 2 years old. At this point, I get a low battery reminder after 10 - 11 hours of active use. I just put them on to charge before I go to bed. No special care.

  14. Tara
    April 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I dislike the very first kendle fire. It would stall all the time and the battery wasn't very good on it.

  15. Old Hat
    April 9, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    The Sony Discman I bought waaaay back in college. I don't care how gentle you were with the thing, it skipped unless it was sitting perfectly still on a tabletop. Try actually walking with it, skip city.

  16. SEC
    April 9, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Any device packed with unremovable bloatware. ANY device I purchase that is not truly mine and I cannot truly control, because of pre-installed atrocities.

  17. NoWin
    April 9, 2015 at 10:43 am

    After Mac and Linux were mentioned, I could not resist to list my favorites:
    Windows and Android! I find them impossible to understand, and therefor to work with.

    • likefunbuntot
      April 9, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      What's difficult about Windows or Android? Or Linux or OSX for that matter? If you can find and launch the software you actually want to use, they're doing their job.

  18. jeffberthiaume
    April 9, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Printers/Photocopy machines. End of conversation.

  19. James Howde
    April 9, 2015 at 9:36 am

    In general terms, for it's sheer omnipresent low level harassment, it has to be the USB cable.

    Specifically it would be the HP all in one printer that we had to use to send out mailing list stuff. While adequate most of the time it had flaws that make it a pain to work with.
    1) It could handle paper up to A4 but nothing an atom wider so it was impossible to print on A4 envelopes (as they have to be bigger than the A4 paper they will contain)
    2) A tendency to not pick up label sheets if they weren't exactly placed right in the paper tray
    3) A tendency to pick up more than one C5 envelope if there were several in the tray.

    Thus the happy memories of sitting there feeding it a stack of envelopes / label sheets one at a time while trying to grab the one it was printing with the other hand to keep it out of the way.

    Oh yes and it had the usual printer problem of nor recognising new cartridges and insisting on printing set up pages every time it was switched on. I have to admit this did have one useful function. When it finally stopped bitching about it and accepted that it had seen this bit of plastic before it was a warning that the ink was about to run out.

  20. Simen
    April 9, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Printers. The only product category that consistently fail to deliver something that works like the user expects it to work. There's a reason why most offices have a stack of failed printouts beside the printer for reuse and experimenting.
    Another honorable mention here is iTunes for Windows, which … let's just say it's not a good way to convince people that "it just works".

    • likefunbuntot
      April 9, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      itunes is also terrible on OSX.

      However, one of the biggest reasons it's so awful on Windows is that Apple demands that the user experience be exactly like it is on OS X. This means that Apple actually ports over low-level GUI components like menus and scrollbars rather than using the native Windows versions. It also means that iTunes uses its own special tool for polling USB ports on the off chance that someone might plug an iFruit device into a PC. The end result is that iTunes for Windows doesn't behave like any other Windows program, which makes the experience of using it highly incongruent with the rest of the software on the computer.

      Even putting that aside, iTunes is hopelessly bad at its intended function, particularly since it really doesn't understand any organizational scheme but its own. I'm sufficiently offended by it that I remove it from Apple computers if I'm given the opportunity.

  21. McFuzz
    April 9, 2015 at 2:38 am

    Xbox 360. Perhaps it's my fault for buying a first gen edition of the brutish box, but it most certainly takes the cake.

    They offered me a month free Xbox live subscription when I signed up, but wanted me to put my credit card details in to redeem it. Two people using the console is hopeless if you want to play online with different profiles.
    It got red ring of death 3 times, 4 months between each, and just straight up died to death with no lights or anything another 2 times, and overheated once. 6 times, usually taking about 2 weeks each time.
    I went through 4 OFFICIAL, FIRST PARTY Xbox Wireless controllers with the charging pack. The actual charging cable stopped receiving any power and the charge pack became useless for 3 of these, and for the last one, it needs the cable plugged in at all times... Into the WIRELESS CONTROLLER! I have 2 battery controllers that have also fried themselves somehow!
    I need to use a knife to lift the disc tray open after pressing the button (or by doing it using the controller in the console's menu)
    It hardly counts as my console's fault, but I also watched Rareware die because of Xbox thanks to Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts.

    I'm never buying another Xbox again. Luckily, Microsoft has made the Bone a pretty awful option!

  22. Jimbo
    April 9, 2015 at 2:15 am

    ITunes, without a doubt

    • likefunbutnot
      April 9, 2015 at 11:56 am

      itunes is always optional. It can and should be removed from any computer.

  23. weaskedher
    April 9, 2015 at 2:13 am

    mac os x and linux.

  24. likefunbuntot
    April 9, 2015 at 1:58 am

    Clamshell packaging.

  25. KT
    April 9, 2015 at 1:54 am

    Comcast cable box!

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