Text written by Rupert Goodwins, ZDNet UK. Images produced by ZDNet UK
Something very strange happened ten years ago. After nearly a decade of solid improvement, printers started to get worse. And worse. Now, your average low-cost inkjet can't handle envelopes without crumpling, can't quite join up the dots straight on vertical letters, prints solid blacks with more stripes than a banker's jacket, and costs more per gram of consumables to run than Amy Winehouse's left nostril. And let's not get onto the hundred-megabyte plus 'driver' software that tries to sell you even more ink while drawling 'Print job completed'. We can see that. Just print the darn page and leave us alone.
People who work in IT aren't that much more beautiful than anyone else. So why does virtually every notebook maker feel the need to equip us with screens so shiny that they become perfect mirrors the moment the sun comes out? And while fingerprints are useful to policemen, they're not something the rest of us need to stare at for hours on end. The reason, of course, is that shiny looks nice in the showroom: it's our fault for having the analytical foresight of an attention-deficit-disordered magpie. The designers are just feeding our stupidity
A bonus, No. 11. The worst sort of annoyance comes from necessary, exciting technologies that are badly implemented. Yes, we want universal broadband wireless access on the move. No, we don't want it provided by something that looks like a bar of soap danging on six inches of string, and is just as convenient to deploy. No, we don't want it courtesy of a steroidal pack of gum sticking out of the side of a notebook, where it inevitably catches against the side of your coffee mug. There are a hundred better ways of doing this: a decent standard internal expansion socket is one, or something that neatly clips out of the way with a convenient connector in just the right place. Or simply make mobile phones easy to set up as access points. It's not rocket science: it's barely more complex than a paper airplane.