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Ontario Technoblog

Ontario Emperor technology blog.

This blog has been superseded by the mrontemp blog
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Location: Ontario, California, United States

Sometime audio artist. Email comments on this blog to the gmail account mrontemp.

Friday, May 26, 2006

PCWorld's 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time

More details here.

America Online (1989-2006)
RealNetworks RealPlayer (1999)
Syncronys SoftRAM (1995)
Microsoft Windows Millennium (2000)
Sony BMG Music CDs (2005)
Disney The Lion King CD-ROM (1994)
Microsoft Bob (1995)
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (2001)
Pressplay and Musicnet (2002)
dBASE IV (1988)
Priceline Groceries and Gas (2000)
PointCast (1996)
IBM PCjr. (1984)
Gateway 2000 10th Anniversary PC (1995)
Iomega Zip Drive (1998)
Comet Cursor (1997)
Apple Macintosh Portable (1989)
IBM Deskstar 75GXP (2000)
OQO Model 1 (2004)
CueCat (2000)
Eyetop Wearable DVD Player (2004)
Apple Pippin @World (1996)
Free PCs (1999)
DigiScents iSmell (2001)
Sharp RD3D Notebook (2004)


Let's dig into one of these in more detail:


RealPlayer...had a disturbing way of making itself a little too much at home on your PC--installing itself as the default media player, taking liberties with your Windows Registry, popping up annoying "messages" that were really just advertisements, and so on.

And some of RealNetworks' habits were even more troubling. For example, shortly after RealJukeBox appeared in 1999, security researcher Richard M. Smith discovered that the software was assigning a unique ID to each user and phoning home with the titles of media files played on it--while failing to disclose any of this in its privacy policy. Turns out that RealPlayer G2, which had been out since the previous year, also broadcast unique IDs. After a tsunami of bad publicity and a handful of lawsuits, Real issued a patch to prevent the software from tracking users' listening habits. But less than a year later, Real was in hot water again for tracking the habits of its RealDownload download-management software customers.

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