Mythbusters on tech headaches

Mythbusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman vent about their biggest tech headaches on Popular Mechanics.

Mythbusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman vent about their biggest tech headaches on Popular Mechanics.

It's a good piece, worthy of a quick read, but there are a few points worth picking up on.  The first relating to complexity of modern devices:

My MythBuster partner, Adam Savage, has just about every kind of iPod, iPhone and iPipewrench he can get his mitts on. But there are times when innovation produces aggravation, and when that happens, technology can flat out drive us nuts.

Yep.  Today I was out and about in my car and using my iPod touch when I realized just how tricky it is to use compared to my old nano.  You just can't use the touchscreen without looking at it because there's no tactile feedback.  For ease of use (especially when you can't focus your attention on the screen) the old design wins hands down (I do have a cable that allows me to hook up the iPod to my TomTom which does make it easier to use, but I forgot the cable today ...).

Here's another good point:

How many times have you been totally shut down while away from your home or office because you can never find one of these puppies at a local shop? Miraculously, the industry appears to be working on a solution to this problem. The Open Mobile Terminal Platform ( is supported by a number of manufacturers that would like to see the micro USB become the stand­ard connector. It's too early to know if they will succeed; let's hope they do.

Yeah, I hope so too.  But it's not just cellphones that need to standardize.  Personally, I'm amazed when the charger for one thing fits another (like the other day when I realized that my TomTom car cord also works for my Motorola RAZR and as an iPod charger when combined with a Griffin iTrip FM transmitter.  Usually it's a case of having to carry cables galore.

What about AV cabling?

These things drain too much brainpower and time. For instance, HDMI is considered the standard cable hookup for hi-def equipment, but it isn't fully compatible with other AV protocols, such as DVI, component or, for that matter, coaxial cable.

Yep, I couldn't agree more.

Then what about operating systems?

In the tech world this phenomenon is known as “software bloat” or “feature bloat.” It's a well-documented problem and a frequent complaint about Windows OSs—Vista in particular.

Is Vista bloated?  Well, it seems that it's a case of "myth confirmed."

Here's one for the Linux fans out there:

Most features can be set up as options. Why not start with a computer loaded with basic stuff that works 100 percent of the time? Then, give us the option of adding the bells and whistles. There's another solution available to consumers: Switch to a Linux-based OS such as Ubuntu. Since most Linux OSs are free, there's no business reason to bloat up the system with feature frills

Good point, but I wonder how long it will be until we start seeing low-cost Linux systems loaded with crapware so the companies selling them can increase profit margins?