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


 |  Image 9 of 10

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • 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

  • Consumer-grade antivirus

    9. Consumer-grade antivirus
    Some business-class antivirus tools actually work — Symantec Endpoint Protection is one. It seems no matter which antivirus software you have, something is going to get through. Most consumer-grade antivirus does more harm than good. One of the exceptions I've found to that rule is Microsoft Security Essentials. Apart from that, your best bet is to either use OS X or Linux or unplug the PC from the network.

  • Desktop multitouch form factor

    10. Desktop multitouch form factor
    Multitouch screen technology is relatively new and functions reasonably well on tablets, but moving it to the desktop doesn't work. We are accustomed to standard monitors, which use a mouse and keyboard. Although this technology is not ideal for the human wrist, shoulders, and back, it's far better than reaching out to a monitor to use multitouch. What we need is a desk with a built-in multitouch display on a horizontal surface. This position would be far more natural and ergonomic than any other and would really help make multitouch feasible and desirable. But for now, multitouch on the desktop is nothing more than a gimmick.

    More candidates?
    None of the failings of these technologies will bring the world to a halt. But each one can put a brake on productivity or even stop work altogether. Are there other technologies that you think are in need of urgent repair?

Topic: Apps

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • 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.