Ten flawed products that derail productivity

Ten flawed products that derail productivity

Summary: Certain well-known software and hardware products simply aren't very good — in fact some are barely usable, says Jack Wallen


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  • Acronis

    2. Acronis
    Like QuickBooks, Acronis backup software can be great when it's functioning normally. But unlike QuickBooks, Acronis help is poor. The error codes rarely offer anything insightful, and the logs tend to be too cryptic to help. And to make matters worse, ABR11 was a major step back. Although Acronis tried to introduce new features, as well as roll in features from Echo into ABR10, the result has had me uninstalling and going back to ABR10 for several users.

    Image credit: Acronis

  • Ubuntu Unity

    3. Ubuntu Unity
    Although the idea behind Unity was sound, its execution fell flat. The release of GNOME 3 and Unity both represented drastic changes to the desktop metaphor, but of the two only GNOME 3 was a success. The ideas were similar, but GNOME 3 enjoyed more stability and more flexibility thanks to extensions. Ultimately, Ubuntu needs to scrap Unity and either migrate fully to GNOME 3, try something else, such as Enlightenment, or make Kubuntu or Xubuntu the default.

  • Flash

    4. Flash
    Flash has always been a problem. It's been a security issue, a performance issue and a platform issue — in general, it's been a headache. The scale of the problem really hit home people began upgrading to Flash X. Suddenly, crucial elements of their jobs no longer worked. In most instances, I had to roll users back to Flash 9. But the issues with Flash go well beyond performance and features. For many, Flash is also an ideological nightmare. Be it performance, features, bloat, platform wars or monopolist grasp on web content, Flash has been and will continue to be a broken technology.

    Image credit: xelipe/Flickr

Topic: Apps

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  • How can you set it up wrong to intermittently connect? Should I be asking for more pay? Outlook/Exchange is a breeze.
  • Thanks for this list. Now I know, what to include on my system to make it more functional.
    IT Support23
  • Interesting article and definitely see your points on the products mentioned. One of the top products for our Help Desk (approximately 20% of all calls) are related to Outlook 2010 which is very buggy. Exchange 2010 is also very buggy. Put the two together, and it's a bloated system that requires a lot of maintenance with usage, despite a lot of its good collaboration features. I would further estimate that about 60% of Outlook/Exchange 2010 issues are repetitive, while 40% are new and unique issues that come up. Also, Symantec Endpoint Protection is very buggy as well, mainly with the update engine and user interface. The scanning engine still seems to work fine without too much hassle.

    The solution to all of this? Testing and more testing, research, and choosing the product that works best for your environment. Personally I've found open source software that has been established for a while to be very stable and bugs are fixed fairly quickly with new releases.
  • The product that scares me every time I have to use it is the Office 2007 version of Excel.

    The first bug that I found was applying the median function to a union of two ranges. Between them the two ranges contained an odd number of integers. By definition the result had to be one of the integers contained in the union. However, Excel returned a non-integer result - instantly revealing that the result returned by the function was incorrect.

    After that I found another three Excel 2007 functions that do not work properly. I've not bothered to remember them. Instead I have switched to using Libre Office Calc for serious number crunching.