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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  • Web browsers

    6. Web browsers
    Web browsers are a critical piece of business software and, because so many tools are web-based, we have to use browsers constantly. So when they are broken by poor design, work inevitably becomes a hassle. The problem with web browsers is that the developers are so busy trying to attract users with new features, they forget to fix the features that are broken. It's been a problem since the 1990s, and it seems some things will never change.

  • Outlook

    7. Outlook
    Outlook is the standard by which most corporations and companies judge their email. Yet it's a standard full of broken features when it runs with Exchange Server. Although there are Exchange experts who can certainly set up it up to run well, they are few and far between. And when Exchange is set up poorly, Outlook has serious problems. Every day, I come across organisations where Outlook can't connect to Exchange Server, as set up by their internal IT.

  • Predictive typing

    8. Predictive typing
    Regardless of mobile platform, predictive typing tends to cause more mistakes than it prevents. There is even a site dedicated to funny predictive typing errors. Until this smartphone feature is fixed, I'll keep it disabled. Tanks yule verily mulch.

    Image credit: DamnYouAutocorrect

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.