This Annoying Life: 8 Technologies Guaranteed to Frustrate

Dave Parrack 15-04-2015

Technology is meant to improve our lives These 10 Startups Are Going to Improve Lives. Here's Why. If you've not been able to make TechCrunch Disrupt this year, you've missed a lot. Here's 10 of the best apps, startups and products I stumbled across while I was at the conference. Read More . To take the weight off our shoulders. To do the dirty work to enable us human beings to enjoy more leisure time while suffering from less stress. But that isn’t always the case.


Why? Because certain technologies seem designed to have the opposite effect. To stress everybody out. To frustrate their users to the point at which they tear their hair out and launch said technology through the nearest window.

Frustration, Guaranteed!

These are the technologies guaranteed to contribute to your life being more annoying than enjoyable. And someone should really do something to change this situation. Me? No, I’m too busy condemning the following to Hell. It’s up to others to offer actual solutions.*

This is by no means a definitive or exhaustive list. Instead, we have picked out just a selection of the technologies MakeUseOf readers named as being particularly frustrating. At a time when there are always alternatives, these problems really should be eradicated.


If you know what you’re doing Getting Started With Linux and Ubuntu You're interested in switching to Linux... but where do you start? Is your PC compatible? Will your favorite apps work? Here's everything you need to know to get started with Linux. Read More then Linux isn’t frustrating in the slightest. In fact, using the open-source operating system How to Get Over Your Fear of Failing at Linux Do you have questions about switching to the world of Linux? If you read this from start to finish, you'll have plenty of answers and tips to succeed at Linux. Read More will seem like the most natural thing in the world. But to the rest of us, who have grown up using a more mainstream OS, Linux can be one frustrating experience after another. The only solution is to learn Linux inside-out 11 Shortcuts For Learning Linux In Record Time If you'd like to learn Linux, but want some ways to speed up the process, here are ten shortcuts you can use to learn as fast as possible. Read More , or just give up and go back to Windows.


The world wouldn’t function without cables. From USB cables USB 3.0: Everything You Need to Know USB 3.0 beats USB 2.0 in so many ways. Here's everything you need to know about why you should always pick USB 3.x when possible. Read More to HDMI cables Why You Should Never Spend More Than $10 On An HDMI Cable To get the best out of your HD equipment, be it a nice widescreen television, a Blu-ray player, a PS3, or an HD streaming set-top box, you need at least one HDMI cable. Or more... Read More , from power cables to networking cables. We need them all, but that doesn’t make them any less frustrating. They’ll fall out of sockets, get tangled up, trip you over How To Conceal Your Computer Clutter: Same Cables, More Space Despite decades of technological advancement the average home computer is still plagued by one obvious yet complex issue – cable clutter. Many home PCs are still plagued with more grasping tentacles than a low budget... Read More , and, on occasion, even electrocute the odd family pet or two. Well, that’s more tragic than frustrating, but you get the point.



Passwords are another necessity in the modern world, but their ubiquitous nature doesn’t make them any less frustrating. First, you have to choose one 6 Tips For Creating An Unbreakable Password That You Can Remember If your passwords are not unique and unbreakable, you might as well open the front door and invite the robbers in for lunch. Read More , not too long, not too short, and not too obvious Dissecting the 25 Worst Passwords in the World [Weird & Wonderful Web] There are many simple ways to create easy to remember, but difficult to break passwords. But not everyone gets it. As this list of the weakest passwords prove, it is a large tribe. Read More . And then you have to remember it, along with about 300 others. Unless, of course, you use a password manager 5 Best LastPass Alternatives to Manage Your Passwords Many people consider LastPass to be the king of password managers; it's packed with features and boasts more users than any of its competitors -- but it's far from being the only option! Read More . All we can do is hope passwords will soon be a thing of the past Why Usernames & Passwords Are A Thing Of The Past, And How To Cope With This With every other hacked database and credit card scandal that occurs, it becomes more evident that we can't rely on passwords for much longer. But if not passwords, what else is there? Read More .


Bloatware, otherwise known as crapware, is the endless list of programs and/or apps that come pre-installed on a new device. This was once a problem exclusive to Windows PCs How To Remove Bloatware & Avoid It On New Laptops Tired of software you never wanted consuming your laptop's resources? Your computer isn't free ad space. Here's how to get rid of bloatware. Read More , but many smartphones now come loaded with this garbage What You Need to Know About Removing Android Bloatware Lots of phones come with annoying pre-installed software, but you can remove it. Here's how. Read More too. The main frustration is how difficult it is to remove these unwanted gifts, if it’s even possible to do so. Make it stop, please.


Chromebooks aren’t all bad Chromebooks – Useful or Useless? My wife gave me a choice of gadgets for Christmas – a new MP3 player, or a Chromebook? Read More . In fact, I’m using one as we speak. However, they can be frustrating because of their inability to do things you may be used to doing on other computers. They’re great for browsing the Web, but try installing Photoshop to a Chromebook and you’re going to have a bad time. Being aware of the limitations of Chromebooks Top 10 Tips And Tricks For Google Chromebooks If you are one of the latest converts to Chromebooks and are looking for some of the best tips and tricks to get you started, then read on for some great hints. Read More really is the key to not getting frustrated.


Using iTunes is, to put it bluntly, a truly horrible experience. I don’t know anyone who actively likes iTunes, but we all use it regardless because, well, Apple makes us do so 6 Ways To Sync Your iPod To Computer Without iTunes Read More . That’s fine to a point, but that being the case, shouldn’t it actually be a pleasure rather than a chore 8 iTunes Hacks For Improved Functionality iTunes is a rich and feature-packed music management application, but that doesn't mean there's not room for improvement. Some simple changes and additional features can make the application even better. Read More to use? It’s almost as if Apple knows it doesn’t have to make an effort, so doesn’t.



Android is, like Linux, absolutely fine for those who know their way around it. But if you’re either upgrading from a feature phone 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 or switching from iOS Switching From iOS To Android? Here's What You Need To Know Having recently decided to abandon my iPhone in favor of an HTC One X, I'm in the unique position of being "behind the enemy lines" already. If you're as frustrated as I am by Apple's... Read More , Android can be a very frustrating operating system to wrap your head around. And that’s when everything is working as it should be. Things take a turn for the worse when a new version arrives and kills your beloved device.


We have saved the best until last, because absolutely no-one can have anything good to say about printers How To Pick The Best Printer For Your Budget & Workload So much for the paperless office! The integration of information technology has seemingly increased the amount of paper printing we have to do. So pretty much everyone with a computer needs a printer at some... Read More . They are, without exception, crap. They either fail to work at all, or stop working for no apparent reason. And then there is the ink How To Save Printer Ink & Make It Last Longer Read More , which is shamefully expensive, and dries out if not used almost immediately. A happy world is a printer-free world The Best Printers & Scanners For Your Scanning & Printing Needs [Gadget Corner] Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Printers & scanners? Yawn. Who cares about those? They’re not thin, they don’t run apps (usually), and they’re made by companies like HP, which as a brand, is every... Read More , so let’s hurry up and make that happen.

Continue the Conversation

This list features just eight of the technologies, from gadgets to operating systems and beyond, which are guaranteed to frustrate. But there are many more we didn’t have room to mention. Which is where you — yes, YOU! — come in. Perhaps you find Windows or Mac OS X frustrating. Or another piece of hardware that was, for a time, the bane of your life. If so, let us know.

Please continue the conversation in the comments section below. While some of you took part in the original discussion, there is always room for more opinions. Do you agree with the technologies which made the list? If not, then please add your own suggestions to the conversation happening below. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers here, just opinions.


A Debt of Gratitude

In order to compile this list of modern technologies that are guaranteed to frustrate absolutely everybody, we asked for help from the MakeUseOf community. As always, our readers proved to be an invaluable part of the site you’re reading right now.

The readers we need to thank took the time to answer the question, What’s The Most Frustrating Piece Of Technology Ever?, and their responses helped us compile this article. Noteworthy comments include those from Jimbo, McFuzz, James Howde, and Marie-Josee Fonseca.

*The links sprinkled liberally throughout the article offer help and advice designed to solve many of these frustrating problems. So follow them and stop moaning, you mirthless, miserable, misanthropes.

Image Credit: William Brawley via Flickr


Related topics: Google Chrome, iTunes, Linux, Password, Printing, We Ask You.

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  1. Andrew Herbst
    September 3, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    I am often frustrated by technology or, more particularly, by explanations of how to use technology. I think the prime problem - to borrow a concept from Steven Pinker - is the "curse of knowledge". It is very challenging for the person doing the explaining to judge what the consumer of the explanation does and does not know. And I often think that many explanations fail to provide an appropriate high-level conceptual framework that will make it easier for we mere mortals to make sense of all the details. Take the concept of "sync-ing". To people of my generation, "sync-ing" deals with establishing a relationship between two time measuring devices or systems (as in "let's synchronize our watches"). Apparently it means something entirely different now. However, we are not mind-readers; we need to be told what this term means.

  2. nate taylor
    March 10, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    garbage article

    • Dave Parrack
      March 10, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks for that honest critique of my work. I thought it was rather good myself, but each to their own.

      • John Johnson
        June 5, 2018 at 6:24 pm

        Think again. Nate is spot on about this lazy, lame article. Passwords are technology? lol

  3. Sandy Coulter
    April 17, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    I was surprised not to see Quickbooks at the top of this list. It has been a few years since I have dealt with it, but I recall even the more savvy computer users have endless problems with it, and often have to hire a QB consultant on a monthly basis to straighten it out. Then there are all the unnecessary interface changes with no significant improvement in functionality, and sometimes there is even a loss of functionality. I see this with everything from operating systems, to programs, to websites. As an IT consultant, I am speaking from the point of view of my clients more than myself. All this BS keeps me in business, but it is not fair to users who have paid good money with the false promise of making their lives easier.

  4. Chris
    April 17, 2015 at 5:36 am

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned excessive updating/patching. Literally supposed to make things work better, but degrades your overall experience on everything from windows to video game consoles.

    Also, advertising. Theoretically supposed to show me things I want and connect buyers to sellers. Instead it's a never ending spam storm.

  5. Eddie
    April 17, 2015 at 4:02 am

    I will agree with most of this article, but I don't even think Chromebooks are "real" computers. And before someone gets all Webster's Dictionary on me let me can't do certain things on a Chromebook that you /can/ with a "fully grown" laptop. This doesn't make Chromebooks bad, just highly irrelevant. Most people who buy Chromebooks usually just want to browse the web and / or chat with friends or use other social media. But someone who needs all the features of a PC besides a web-browser....or a document processor, would be best advised to avoid them. Be prudent and get something that you will be able to use for a lot longer than the fad that they're here to fill. As for printers, Android and Linux? I learned the ins and outs of the open source OS from about 2003/2004 was it easy? HECK no!....but now that I've gotten the basics under my belt, it really isn't as hard as one would think....I've got my 70 yr old Mom using Linux Mint and she's got almost NO computer savvy in her! And yet she never calls me to help her with her PC....she can update it by herself, and watches to make sure she doesn't experience any slowdowns.

  6. Jason
    April 17, 2015 at 3:18 am

    I'm nearly 40 and first started using computers about 5 years ago. Within 2 years I gave up on Windows and began using Linux. I haven't looked back yet. My first experience with Android was about a year ago. I bought a used first generation Kindle Fire and immediately flashed it with stock Android. All is well.

    iTunes doesn't bother me at all, I use nothing from Apple. Life is good.

  7. Aditya
    April 17, 2015 at 1:40 am

    I think people nowadays nees to treat passwords with the same importance and respect as their home keys. Always know where they are and use password manager if necessary.

  8. Mike
    April 17, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Funny that you included Linux. Because of a driver problem on win 7 , I decided to dual boot Linux. Everything worked out immediately after installation. Fine tuning it will take time but I'm already doing everything I did under windows and the system is running faster. Microsoft’s knowledge base is about the same as Linux user forum i.e. both are inadequate for real problems. I guess in the end it boils down to do you want a google self driving car or do you want a sports car that you can also set up as a heavy lifter.

  9. timo
    April 17, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Telephone voice prompts. Businesses just don't care who they piss off in order to not talk to their customers anymore.

  10. Ian Dunsford
    April 16, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Self checkouts in supermarkets. "please wait while we verify your bags" "unexpected item in the bagging area please remove item" "approval needed". I avoid these things whenever possible.

  11. Computer Wizard
    April 16, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    My biggest hate:

    POWER CUBES (wall-warts) that come in a million different combinations of voltages and amps :-) Why not ONE style???? I have to label the stupid things so I don't forget which one goes with which electronic widget... I have dozens of the bloody things :-) Plug in the wrong one to the wrong item and either fry it or nothing works...

    And using different OS's: I use VirtualBox from Oracle to learn and practice many different OS's without a fuss on PC's, and VMWare on t he Mac ofr the different MAC OSX variations, along with Linux too :-) Learning new things is fun.. and I'm not a kid, I'm 59 years old and enjoy learning... only downside is the electric bill LOL

  12. Corrilan IT Consultancy Ltd
    April 16, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Unfortunately, for technology to improve our lives - to take the weight off our shoulders, to do the dirty work - we need to go beyond the basics of the technology. Modern computers are capable of so much more but because Microsoft Windows is a mouse based point and click interface, it actually slows users down and elongates tasks. Being Linux users for many years, having come from Microsoft Windows, we are able to see the power and time saving gained from having learned how to use Linux most effectively. Tasks that would take us hours or even days to complete on a Microsoft Windows based computer now take us minutes. Admittedly, we did have to learn to use the system effectively, which took some time. Computing is available for the masses, but effective computing is available only to those willing to read and learn the methods.

  13. Ramases
    April 16, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Completely agree about printers. My shiny nearly-new Laserjet went down at the weekend and no amount of fiddling would get it back up again. So I call Amazon for a replacement (they were brilliant by the way) but when I went through to get the return label (from my other printer) the Laserjet was all working again. No idea why.

    As an aside, if you don't need colour go for a cheap laser. I got mine for £69 delivered. Toner (compatible) is £5 for 1600+ sheets. Compare that to inkjet - my HP demanded HP-only ink and cost £13 for black and did no more than 275 pages. I'll never use inkjet again.

  14. TrevorB
    April 15, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Linux is a problem? Really?
    When you bought that new Ford to replace your old Toyota, did you return it because the headlight switch was in a different place, the gear lever was on the floor instead of the steering stalk or the buttons on the radio weren't the same? No. You learned where the lights and gears were and how to operate the radio.
    When you made the switch from Windoze XP to Windoze 7, how long did it take before you stopped complaining about the differences?
    Same thing with changing to any new operating system. You're going to have to spend some time, make a few mistakes and learn the differences.
    In the last year or so, I've converted well over half-a-dozen of my family and friends from their old XP and Vista operating systems to Linux operating systems (a couple to Mint and the rest to Zorin). Only one of them has since changed back to Windoze and that was due to a hardware failure within a week of the switch to Linux. As a matter of fact, two of them were pleased enough with their new Linux OS that they even admitted that they think it's been easier to learn than when they had to make the switch from XP to 7 at their workplaces.
    Just my 2cents.

    • Priswell
      August 27, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      Exactly. I spent plenty of time learning how to tech support myself on Windows. Every time I was forced to upgrade to the latest thing, I had to learn it all over again. I've actually had fewer problem with drivers and things since I migrated to Linux. If you love Windows, you're welcome to that, however, it would be a mistake to believe that it's automatically "easier" or that "Windows Just Works", when I've had similar success with Linuxl

  15. Bored
    April 15, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Who in their right mind would try and run a program such as Photoshop on a Chromebook? It's pretty clear that those computers are meant for basically web browsing and working via clouds and are marketed as such - I find it difficult to believe someone could make that mistake. It's like renting a 1 bedroom apartment and then expecting all the furniture from your 5 bedroom house to fit inside, and then complaining that it doesn't. User error.

  16. Leopardmask
    April 15, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    I live in a dorm and my roommate has... questionable friends, so I have a lock cable on my laptop. It's also constantly plugged in, though that cord is on the other side of it. But my headphones.... They're great headphones, but they're made to be plugged into a stationary amp while you're standing up, free to rock out on a bass guitar. So they have a REALLY long cord. And it gets caught on EVERYTHING. Including the lock cable, the 2 containers I keep next to the desk, and my chair. I can't even count the number of times I've run over my headphone cord with my chair. I can, however, do something like 5 feet away while still listening to my computer. My last headphones that could do that had an even worse problem: curly cord. Like the kind that phones used to have. Which, like wire hangers, spontaneously gains entropy when left alone for too long. Cords suck. Then again, I've never misplaced a corded mouse (I was working with a cordless, got up to answer the phone, and took the mouse with me once).
    Also, this is relevant to printers:

  17. Hildy J
    April 15, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    One more frustration: Bluetooth. Pairing sucks and connections suck. It makes cables look good.

    As far as printers, I ditched color and went with a B&W laser whose toner never dries out. I got an all-in-one (print, copy, scan, and fax, if you live in the last century) with an Ethernet connection for about $150.

    • ToddinHB
      April 17, 2015 at 12:10 am

      I had the same experience. About ten years ago, a friend offered to give me his old HP B&W Laser, and it still works beautifully! And yes, those big toner cartridges last forever.

  18. Mike S
    April 15, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Sorry, meant to say in the MINORITY.

  19. Mike S
    April 15, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I'm sorry, I may be in the majority, but I don't have a problem with iTunes.
    Like all software, it has to be learnt, and like all software, you have to bend to its will, rather than the other way round.
    No software developer, small or large, can write a sensibly-sized piece of code that will suit every individual user in the world.

  20. dragonmouth
    April 15, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    "You seem frustrated by this article"
    Far from it. Dave is just trying to provoke discussion, so I'm giving it to him.

  21. Gavin
    April 15, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I still prefer passwords over biometrics

  22. Tiago Ferreira Marques
    April 15, 2015 at 12:36 pm


  23. dragonmouth
    April 15, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    There's nothing like setting straw men just so you have something to knock down!

    If you grew up on Mac O/S, Windows is very frustrating. None of us, even Bill Gates, Paul Allen or Steve Ballmer were born knowing Windows. You just choose not to remember how frustrating learning Windows was.

    If you organize your cables as your system expands, all is neatness and there is no frustration.

    Use a password manager and there will be no frustration. Unless, of course, you forget the password to your password manager.

    To avoid the frustration of bloatware you could always switch to Linux.

    Chromebooks are glorified web appliances. Only a technologically-illiterate person would try to use it as a computer.

    There are other applications you can use instead of iTunes.

    Is Andoid THAT hard to learn?

    Printer manufacturers are only using the Gillette marketing model. I guess you also pine for razor-less world?

    If you are so easily frustrated by technology, why don't you find a deserted island someplace and go back to nature? Oh, that's right. Trying to live off the land can be very frustrating too.

    • Arron
      April 15, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      You seem frustrated by this article

    • porpeto
      October 26, 2019 at 7:30 pm

      which island? i'm ready to go!

  24. suzybel57
    April 15, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Why can't they make a printer that works? It's almost like they're supposed to be disposable. You can buy a new one that works for six months, for the price of a cartridge. And they quit at exactly the time when you need them the most.

    • Power User
      April 19, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      About printers.
      I'm using an hp printer 6500 Plus. Had it for, like 4 years now I think.
      Stop buying the cheapest models.

      I bought one for my father, my Ex, her parents, a friends.
      It cost twice the 4500 but still working after 4 years.

      Also, treat it nicely. Original ink. and no issues. (all the printing is from OSX as the windows drivers for it are shit).

  25. Jimmy Foster
    April 15, 2015 at 6:41 am

    Or you could take the time to learn Linux and Android instead of throwing your hands in the air after 30 seconds of trying to figure things out. I knew nothing of Linux when I downloaded my first distro but I eventually figured things out and now I use it to rescue Windows systems infested with viruses(among other things).

    The same goes for Android. I didn't know squat about it when I got my first smartphone, but with a little time and patience, I figured it out and managed to flash it with a custom ROM.

    If you're not willing to take the time, don't bother. Keep using iPhones, Mac OS, and Windows. You'll save yourself and any friend/family members trying to help you a lot of hassle and head bashing.

    Also, who the hell buys a Chromebook expecting anything more than web browsing from it? I'm guessing people who see the cheap price tag and don't bother doing any research at all before buying it.