Technology is meant to improve our lives. 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.
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 then Linux isn’t frustrating in the slightest. In fact, using the open-source operating system 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, or just give up and go back to Windows.
The world wouldn’t function without cables. From USB cables to HDMI cables, 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, 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, not too long, not too short, and not too obvious. And then you have to remember it, along with about 300 others. Unless, of course, you use a password manager. All we can do is hope passwords will soon be a thing of the past.
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, but many smartphones now come loaded with this garbage 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. 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 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. That’s fine to a point, but that being the case, shouldn’t it actually be a pleasure rather than a chore 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 or switching from iOS, 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. 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, which is shamefully expensive, and dries out if not used almost immediately. A happy world is a printer-free world, 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