Top tech blunders, catastrophes and epic fails of 2013

Top tech blunders, catastrophes and epic fails of 2013

Summary: Thanksgiving is over, and we're already deep into December. It's time for a look back at all the blunders, catastrophes, epic fails and major screw-ups of 2013.

TOPICS: Security

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Topic: Security

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  • Greatest failure

    Window 8 UI and it was not fixed with 8.1. Just horrible to use!
    • Please, enlighten me.

      I know the common nitpicks (full-screen, pop-out elements, no start menu), but how is it horrible, exactly?

      It's just a big start menu, and it still works best with a keyboard and mouse.

      The desktop UI on the other had, is a pretty significant improvement when compared to 7.

      And if you don't like it, you can install a replacement UI.

      (There is no valid argument against "having to install a third-party app", since customization is the norm for Windows.

      If there is a stock element the user doesn't like, it the user's job, not Microsoft's, to do it themselves.

      Android is also this way, hence the existence of things like widgets, custom ROMs, and skins.)
      • Given your comment

        I can only assume that you have never used W8, because otherwise you would understand how useless it is for productivity without me needing to provide a longer ,comment.

        So, rather than me waste my time with a long comment and explanation, I suggest that you go and use it; not for a minute or two but full time for a couple of days or more. Just one suggestion before you do so, book some time with a psych or counsellor because you will need it after using W8 for any length of time.
        • Windows Phone & RT were the biggest failures

          I know a lot of people think Windows 8 was the biggest failure.

          But Windows Phone and Windows RT for Surface tablets were an even bigger failure of epic proportions.

          Both are sales disasters. One of them will be killed off. It was supposed to be Microsoft's future, but will end up joining other epic failures like Windows Mobile, Zune and Kin.
        • windows causing mental health issues?

          if someone is so lacking in brain-power that they need professional help after using any OS, then perhaps they should be kept far away from any technology.

          really - it's not that hard to figure out most things in most OS's - whining about difficulties is silly.
          • Purpose of UIs

            MS forgot what the purpose of the UI which is provide convenient access to programs, files, and os functions for the user. It is not to showoff or to force users to buy new equipment to use all the features (touch screens).

            The basic problem with W8 is MS ignored the fundamental purpose of any UI. Also, they ignored that different form factors will likely require different input methods thus different UIs. Most users are comfortable with some devices being touch-centric and others using WIMP.
        • @Standardised: I own 3 Windows 8.1 devices.

          - A Fujitsu T732
          - A heavily customized HP M940F desktop (GPU upgrade, PSU upgrade, extra HDD...)
          - Surface RT 32 GB with Touch Cover

          As far as I can tell, I've got all 3 fronts covered, being desktop, notebook, and tablet.

          I've used Windows 8 and 8.1 extensively, so all assumptions you've made about me are completely false.

          From what I can tell, YOU are the one with little experience with 8, since you are unwilling to share any input.
      • And just for the record

        I said UI. I said nothing about the speed or stability of W8. It is fast and stable. It is simply unusable for anything resembling productive work.
        • Unfortunately.....

          ..... I disagree agree with your comment and doubt if you have ever used Windows 8/8.1!

          When it comes to productivity, this is the first time we have had an OS that allows to snap two or three applications on your monitor and use them at the same, without being bothered with focus and resizing.

          WSince, you lack the experience, please have a look at the following and think how much productive you can be with and without Windows 8/8.1:

          • Oh, because I make a comment that you dislike

            You immediately assume that I have not used it. Let me assure you that I most certainly have used it and it is, in my opinion, the least productive OS that I have ever used. What is more, given that poor uptake of Win 8 and poor sales of Win mobile devices, it is quite clear that I am very much part of the majority.
          • but

            How is a touch based interface going to be any use to anyone who does proper desktop work on a big screen?

            I sure as hell arnt going to be waving my arms about like in an aspie in a disco just to work on a spreadsheet and "snapping" 2 or 3 phone type apps onto the huge screen is just a headache of baby friendly high contrast lazy design.

            Metro screen search is also useless compared to what was on the Start Menu and takes 3x as long to find anything, or longer if you have to note down by pen what you want to search for since the stupid thing goes fullscreen and blocks your work area.

            Great design right there removing the 1/4 page search/app/everything pc menu box and replacing it with a kids Xbox based fullscreen menu styled for people with visual impairment, that has less features or multitasking than a 8 year old Nokia phone.

            Then theres the ads and spam, built right into the heart of the Os. Spamming in almost every app you download and built into MS included apps, spamming with its never ending stream of junk and ads on the "Live Tiles". Makes Metro look worse than using Internet Explorer without an adblocker.

            Also" 1st Os to snap multiple apps on screen"? You mean like Windows has been doing for the last 25 years, except without the 3 app limit?
          • you are both....

            .... missing the real picture and I doubt if you have ever used Windows 8/8.1. The reason is:

            Windows 8./8.1 does not force you to use only and ,I say here again, only touch screen or metro UI.

            Windows 8/8.1 gives you the opportunity of either using touch screen or the mouse - whichever is ok with you. You can also use the desktop.

            If you still believe you have used Windows 8/8.1, but not fake pirated versions, try to relearn the art of snapping views - the best way to multi task without being bothered by resizing the application or which one has a focus.

            As a matter of fact, right now I am typing this on one of three snaps That have on one of my three 24' screens, while the other screen is displaying other two snaps: one for coding with VS and the other snap SQL Serve MS. That is what I call the art of snap-view and productivity. My third monitor/screen is displaying Skype, Eclipse and OneNote.

            Before you become a victim of misinformation, please either spend one week working on windows 8/8.1 or simply treat it as though it does not exist, while keep using whatever you are in love.
          • @wonderman

            You can keep relying to pretend to yourself that I have not used W8 because that seems to be that only way for you to make yourself feel better. Nonetheless, I have used it and have done so quite extensively. What is more, I am not alone. Fora are filled with people who hate the interface and its inability to be used productively.
          • Send it below, in handcuffs

            I'll admit that I have used Windows 8 for a total of about 10 minutes. But SWMBO tries to use it regularly because that's what came on her new Asus laptop. She may not require a shrink session, but she sure swears at it a lot. My guess is that a lot of her troubles come from a failure to RTFM, but why should a 20-year user of Windows machines have to RTFM at all?

            Seemingly out of the blue, what she is working on disappears, to be replaced by either the 'Modern' start screen, or even worse, some game subsystem that has no obvious way to escape from it. She points, she clicks, she hits keys... nothing helps until somehow, by magic, she gets back to her work without really understanding exactly how she did it. Again, this is a woman who spends 8-10 hours a day working on a Windows 7 machine with no problems.

            When I say I have used it for ten minutes, I mean I tried once to help her figure out how to shut the thing down, other than pulling the plug. I eventually found the button over on the right side hidden under something like "settings," but I still have no idea how to reliably make those little thingies slide out from the edge of the screen. Neither does she. While hunting down the button,. I kept getting bounced into the 'Modern' interface against my will, and once into the gaming system, which I got rid of by re-booting.

            I'm sorry, but this kind of stuff should not be foisted on people who have been using the product for twenty years through several iterations. Both of us have been using Windows since 3.1. We have never had anything like this level of frustration with a new rev.

            The whole thing was just a lot of annoying change with very little gain, except for those who are using touchscreen tablets and phones.
            Robert Hahn
      • Effective Use?

        Even after using a Surface Pro for a few months, the percentage of time I find I actually use the "Metro" interface is in the low single digit.
    • Win 8 UI

      If being ugly is a failure you are right. It works OK though.
  • My candidate for this year's biggest epic fail

    Chromebooks. The least busy area at any Best Buy is the Chromebook display. Usually only populated by one bored guy with a Google badge.

    Next year: Bitcoin Vapor Currency.
    Sir Name
    • Manufacturers

      Yep, that's why so many companies like HP, Lenovo and Acer are choosing to offer Windows RT instead of ChromeOS. It's the other way around? Never mind.
      • I don't get either, frankly

        Windows RT, the version of windows that does the same things as Windows 8, only less!

        And chrome OS, the computer operating system that does… Well, basically nothing at all! Other than host chrome, that is.
        • What ChromeOS does

          The fact that Chrome books basically do nothing more than run a browser on top of a stable kernel is the most attractive thing about them. As I am the type of of person that enjoys messing around with computer operating systems, I have successfully installed and used most major Linux destributions from Arch to Ubuntu, Chrome books don't meet my needs. However, my daughter really likes hers, and so does everybody else I know who owns one. I think the simplicity of having everything run from a browser is why.

          I have worked for decades as a social service provider and educator. Honestly, the level of computer literacy I saw, and level of IT support provided has been abysmal. At my last school, the systems administrator was so incompetent, he auto saved his email account password on my computer. I used to routinely map network drives on other teacher's computers so they could access the folders they needed. I usually used my own Linux box because it was easier for me to gain access to my folders than using the misconfigured school laptops. Notice nothing I have written is meant to disparage Windows.

          Now to Chrome books. Their configuration and management is so simple, even an incompetent like my school's IT person couldn't mess them up. Because more and more schools are using Google's email and office applications already for both class and administrative purposes, there is usually no need to run anything outside the browser. Because everybody who uses a computer is comfortable with using a browser, even individuals with low computer literacy can easily accomplish basic tasks without having to learn "complex" new applications. I found the collaboration features of Google docs to be extremely valuable in the classroom. Google forms was an excellent way to administer tests. In fact, my former school purchased Chrome books for 7th an 8th grades this year so the teachers could better use these services.

          What I think many of those who have posted so many negative rants about Google forget or fail to understand is why Google has reached its level of dominance. Type in in your browser's address bar. What do you see? Mostly a white page with Google, a text box and two buttons below the box. That level of simplicity in a search engine is what Google is trying to do with its Chrome books. That simplicity is why so many people are buying Chrome books. That simplicity is why my daughter, her high school, my former school and so many others have found been happy with their purchases. Yes, the can't do nearly as much as a regular computer. That's why people like them.