This Dumb Year: The 57 Lamest Tech Moments of 2010

For high-profile flops, strange decisions, pointless lawsuits, and general weirdness, it's been a very good year.

By  |  Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 1:33 am

38. No, trust us, you’ll love Bing. After all, you don’t have any other choice.

Verizon Wireless takes advantage of the open nature of Google’s Android OS to ditch Google as the search engine on its Fascinate smartphone and replace it with Bing–and the company doesn’t provide a way to switch back. (It eventually says it’ll do so in an update.)

39. She also needs Phil Schiller to paint her dorm room. Now!

Long Island University student Chelsea Isaacs wants a quote from Apple for a paper, so she pings Steve Jobs–and when he proves unreceptive, she gets increasingly insistent that the fringe benefits of Mac ownership should include homework help.

40. Windows is as good a deal as OS X. For a limited time only!

Microsoft celebrates Windows 7’s first birthday by temporarily reviving its discounted multiple-license Family Pack and urging customers to snap it up “while supplies last.” The limited-time offer mainly serves as a reminder that Mac owners can buy an OS X family pack whenever they dang well feel like it.

41. Be kind, rewind.

Once-unavoidable video-rental titan Blockbuster files for bankruptcy, the victim of new competition (Netflix, Apple, piracy) but also the lackadaisical pace of its digital evolution (a year after Windows 7’s release, Blockbuster’s video download service is still incompatible with it).

42. Don’t drive, he said.

At the TechCrunch 50 conference, Google CEO Eric Schmidt thoughtfully says he doesn’t understand why human beings are allowed to drive cars when computerized chauffeurs would be so much safer. For some reason, he doesn’t mention that Google has already been testing computer-controlled cars by sending them out on California highways.

43. Betcha they got crucified for that.

Days before the scheduled launch of NBA Elite 2011, EA decides it’s too buggy to release until sometime in 2011. Among the quirks in a preview version: a “Jesus Glitch” which leaves the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum frozen in the middle of the court with his arms outstretched. “We are going to keep working until we’re certain we can deliver a breakthrough basketball experience,” promises EA.

44. Sue-Sue-Sudio.

Microsoft sues Motorola over mobile patents.

45. I’m confused. But in a casual way.

Telling Businessweek about RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook, co-CEO Jim Balsillie says “We’ve taken two fundamentally different approaches in their causalness. It’s a causal difference, not just nuance. It’s not just a causal direction that I’m going to really articulate here—and feel free to go as deep as you want—it’s really as fundamental as causalness.”

46. I’d pay $20 a month for an “Avoiding the Kardashians Like the Plague” app.

At the wireless industry’s CTIA confab, Sprint unveils an E! theme for its phones featuring an Android app based on Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

47. Sweet sue.

Motorola sues Apple over mobile patents.

48. I sue London, I sue France.

Apple sues Motorola over multi-touch patents.

49. You don’t even want to know what the wait will be for the puce version.

Apple delays the white iPhone again–until the spring of 2011.

50.  It’s weird: There are no known cases of phone companies massively undercharging anyone.

After denying charges that an errant keypress on phones without data plans could cost customers $2, Verizon Wireless concedes that there is indeed a problem–and pays $52 million in refunds and $25 million to the FCC by way of restitution.

51. It’s the Plastic Logic Que of video games!

A little over a month after postponing the release of NBA Elite 2011 until it can deliver a breakthrough experience, EA cans the 2011 edition altogether. It says it’ll try again–with a different development team.

52. Thus ending all “Buy Election Now” and “Carlyfornia” references.

Ex-Silicon Valley CEOs Meg Whitman (eBay) and Carly Fiorina (HP) lose their bids for California’s governorship and junior senate seat, respectively.

53. “TWOm” is pronounced to rhyme with “doom,” right?

Four and a half months after Microsoft’s abrupt, highly public mercy killing of its Kin phones, and long after everyone assumed they were dead, dead, dead, they’re back on sale at Verizon–at lower prices with cheaper, more restrictive data plans–as the Kin ONEm and Kin TWOm.

54. It also considered calling it 4Gish, 4Gesque, or 4G-a-like.

Shortly before Verizon Wireless rolls out its 4G LTE network, T-Mobile, which has been carefully saying its HSPA+ network delivers “4G speeds” decides to just call it “American’s largest 4G network,” period.

55. A bargain at one-tenth the price.

Hollywood and consumer-electronics makers hype 3D TV as the next big thing. But they also strike annoying exclusivity deals that hobble the nascent technology by limiting popular movies to one manufacturer’s hardware–such as a promotion that makes the 3D Blu-Ray version of Avatar available only with Panasonic TVs or a two-pack of Panasonic glasses that costs $400.

56. Define “shortly.” And, while you’re at it, “quickly.”

Popular microblogging platform Tumblr suffers a 24-hour outage, during which its proprietors don’t have much to say other than that the service will be back “shortly” and they’re working “quickly” to fix things.

57. Adding Kinsult to Kinjury.

Microsoft announces that it’s shuttering Kin Studio, the online service that was the Kin phone’s one semi-saving grace, at the end of January. Verizon offers to give affected customers any other smartphone for free, thereby doing its part to help them forget they’d bought Kins in the first place.

Okay, I’m done. At least for now–there are still eleven days left in 2010, and anything could happen…



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31 Comments For This Post

  1. ghrrs Says:

    "there are still eleven days left in 2011"

    Well, no, we haven't even begun to use them up yet. 🙂

    Great blog and great post!

  2. Harry McCracken Says:

    Thanks for the catch–corrected…

  3. anon Says:

    Hey, what about the Gawker password leak?

  4. Bob Says:

    Ping, anyone?

  5. Anon Says:

    Great list except for the Sarah Palin comment… If stupid tweets are truly tech related then you could just say "twitter" because its full of them.

  6. guest Says:

    What about the iPhone 4 antena problem?

    Its pretty obvious whoever wrote this likes to suck apple flavored cock with all the MS hate.

  7. Paul Says:

    It was mentioned on the first page I think. How about reading the article instead of throwing around vulgar insults.

  8. Fred Says:

    It was mentioned on the second page, but adopts the Apple lie that it was a software problem.

  9. bd42 Says:

    Leaving out "You're holding it wrong" is a grave oversight.

  10. @TheCentauress Says:

    Also leaving out the "Every phone dorps signal if you grip it like you're Koko the Gorilla" gimmick and the "Rubber baby ip4 bumpers" ploy is criminal.

    As well as ignoring the "half a percent" lie.

    Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd the "iPhone upgrade versus Android upgrade" b***s***.

    Also, don't forget… Steve Jobs just lies worse than a cat on a cactus….

  11. jesse Says:

    Vs you, sucking on MS or Google. One of the two. Your just as lame and have no space to talk.

  12. anoymous Says:

    what about AVG pushing an update to its users that caused computers to fail loading windows on restart. It happened to every user with a 64 bit OS forcing them to revert to previous settings or delete files via safe mode.

  13. cmm Says:

    That's just like the McAfee snafu and I think it's only fair they were mentioned first since AVG clearly just wants to share the limelight with the big boys…

  14. guest Says:

    Sprint Pushes 4G – oh, you won't see 4G for years except in certain metro areas, but buy the phone anyway!

  15. johnwbaxter Says:

    Great biergarten photo!

    For geezers:
    "This is my Sister"
    What is her name?

    What does she do?

  16. ffg Says:

    How about the Yahoo!/Delicious "sunset" flap, and Yahoo's subsequent blaming of news outlets for its lack of communication?

  17. marc Says:

    This was an awesome read. I'm surprised that Meg Whitman's reference was simply that she lost her primary. I was anticipating mention of her campaign's tweet that accidentally linked to a youtube video of a japanese guy in a pink tutu playing bass guitar in his bedroom.

  18. Marvo Says:

    She didn't lose in the primary. She lost the general election to Governor Elect Jerry Brown.

    I suspect the two losing candidates warranted mention here because their tech backgrounds garnered them the millions to make their runs. But you're right, there were technical gaffes on both sides of the governor's race.

  19. Peter Says:

    Nice list. I’d drop one of the many “sue” items in favor of Sony removing OtherOS from the PS3.

  20. Paul Says:

    I would have combined all of the lawsuit items instead of peppering them in the article. They are making the same point and usually involved the same parties.

  21. The_Heraclitus Says:

    A Palin typo is a 'Lame Tech moment'?

    Harry, do you have Palin derangement syndrome?

    Other than that brain fart, good list.

  22. somedude Says:

    Speaking of 11 days left. FCC just pushed out a really watered down and useless Net Neutrality thing.

  23. Rick Says:

    Good list-except for the political drop-in.

    Or a bad list…full of bad things that seem to keep happening year after year.

    It's almost so bad that you could just do a list of bad *lawsuits* all by themselves.

    and as others have mentioned, it's a bit early to wrap up the list. The Gawker crack is a good "bad" one, as well as the AV glitches…and there's still two weeks remaining of 2010-plenty of time for another lawsuit! 😛

    here's to hoping that for 2011, it becomes very hard to compile a list of stupid tech mistakes!

  24. jtnix Says:

    Causal and casual are two different words. Although the 'causal' comment was kinda funny, I wouldn't call it some kind of tech blunder.

    Also, rather mobile tech-centric Heinz 57, aren't we?

  25. Bla Says:

    what about digg V4 ?

  26. Martin Says:

    and how would it not be one of the first things mentioned. certainly the first thing that comes to mid when i think of tech flops this past year. horrible, horrible horrible crap.

  27. Norm Says:

    TWOm rhymes with "Tomb"

  28. dom Says:

    57 is such a lame number

  29. YetAnotherBob Says:

    You left of on the Paul Allen suing everyone, that it was later dismissed because they never identified what patents were infringed, or what products were infringing.

    Or does that belong on a bad lawyer-ing blog?

  30. dholyer Says:

    Has anyone done a best and worst of Vaporware list yet. Or is that idea also Vaperware?

  31. JCarlson Says:

    InfoWorld blogger Randall Kennedy Check out his blogs for last year at this time. You couldn't be more wrong about pretty much everything. Very Funny!