Skip to comments.10 Biggest Technology Disappointments Of 2013
Posted on 01/06/2014 10:41:26 AM PST by SeekAndFind
HealthCare.gov has been about as disappointing as it gets. The online exchange for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) had a litany of problems on day one (Oct. 1): extreme slowness, broken pull-down menus, and information on applications being deleted. The site's performance improved throughout November and December, but only slightly. In the coming months, HealthCare.gov will improve, but such a flawed rollout at a time of unprecedented technology innovation is a stain on President Obama's second term and a letdown we won't soon forget.
2. Dropbox outages and security issues
The easy-to-use cloud service that works just like your local hard drive has had some slip-ups in its short history. Stolen passwords were used to hack into Dropbox accounts in August 2012 and the service was found to be vulnerable to DDoS attacks this past fall. Dropbox also experienced a 16-hour outage in January and a shorter outage in May. Cloud outages are inevitable, and Dropbox remains popular, but when you're the top dog, every tiny outage or breach makes people wonder if you're worth the convenience.
3. BlackBerry's potential comeback
There was hope for BlackBerry (formerly RIM) in early 2013. It finally released the BlackBerry 10 OS and two phones (Q10 and Z10). But despite some snappy new features, there just weren't enough apps to compete with Apple and Google offerings. Things went downhill as the company failed to regain traction with consumers or enterprises. It fired its CEO and has abandoned plans for a sale as the year ends. In the most recent quarter, the company had a massive $4.4 billion loss. We all want more choice in mobile, so this collapse is a bummer. But BlackBerry kept its head in the sand for waaaay too long.
4. Target data breach
On Dec. 19, retailers, shoppers, and the information security industry got hit with a bombshell. Retail giant Target revealed that 40 million customers' credit and debit card accounts were exposed to hackers who had access to the store's payment data. The breach affected consumers using credit and debit cards at Target stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, the peak of holiday shopping. There will be plenty of finger-pointing here, but in the end it's more disheartening proof that swiping a credit card at your local mall is still a fragile act.
5. Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch
Wearable tech is a good idea, right? Then why have Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatches been a bust? Well, Samsung decided being first was better than being right. There have been a few issues. The watch must be tethered via Bluetooth to a Galaxy Note III phone to operate fully. It cannot connect to WiFi on its own. It costs $300. The battery life is merely adequate. Not to worry, though. These are first-generation blues, and smartwatches will only improve. (Apple, are you listening?) Still, Samsung should have waited on this one.
6. NSA snooping
Edward Snowden opened a big can of worms this year by leaking documents about a little program called Prism, which reportedly allows the NSA to pull user data from the servers of companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google. Other leaked documents show the NSA routinely collects metadata on private phone calls. The tech companies deny giving direct server access to the government. But who are we to believe? Should we just assume our communications are monitored? How dreadfully Orwellian! The NSA claims such access is required to fight terrorism, but more reform is also required.
7. Apple iPhone 5c
The iPhone 5c was Apple's attempt to use a more affordable phone to curb the spread of Android phones and increase market share in emerging countries. But not only did the iPhone 5c seem disingenuous (it's a plastic iPhone!), the strategy actually backfired. The iPhone 5c isn't even cheap. In China, an unsubsidized iPhone 5c costs $735. The device retails in the US for $549 but can be had for $99 with a two-year contract. However, sales of the 5c have been poor, likely because people don't want a cheap product from Apple. The more expensive iPhone 5s has outsold the 5c two-to-one in the US. As Android phones of all shapes and sizes hit the market, the iPhone remains a one-dimensional device for high-end buyers.
8. Facebook's stalled newsfeed redesign
A disconnect has been brewing between how Zuckerberg and company see Facebook (an epicenter for high-quality content) and how people want to use it (family pics and cat videos). It came to a head when the company announced a drastically redesigned newsfeed in March with much bigger photos and media. But test users resisted, sending Facebook back to the drawing board, and we haven't heard much since. It's disappointing to see the company overhype a redesign and then not release it. Has Facebook lost the plot?
9. Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface
Windows 8 tablets and laptops, most notably the Microsoft Surface Pro, were unveiled in 2013 with lots of hype but a big thud. Turns out people don't want a tablet UI and a desktop UI crammed into the same operating system. On top of that, Microsoft's own Surface devices suffered from fuzzy marketing and high prices. Windows 8.1 eased some pain by adding boot-to-desktop mode and a restored Start button. But Windows 8 (now just called New Windows) remains a Frankenstein, stuck between a tablet market ruled by iPads and Androids and a PC market in rapid decline.
10. Yahoo Email outage
Yahoo experienced a massive email outage that started Dec. 9 and was not fully rectified until Dec. 14. That's a looooong time, especially for a company that had a major email overhaul in June (and another redesign in October) and has been battling to improve its services, brand, and reputation. Despite a mea culpa from CEO Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's overall response to the outage was criticized for lacking urgency and a clear explanation. "We really let you down this week," wrote Mayer. We couldn't have written it better ourselves.
No free boob implants in Obamacare. ;-)
I’m really enjoying Windows 8.
It takes a little getting used to but that’s all me.
I’m not there yet. I’ve had Windows 8 for a couple months now and still hate it. But then again, I’m used to Microsoft taking something I like and turning it into something I hate.
RE: Im really enjoying Windows 8.
Are you still with Windows 8? Or is it Windows 8.1 you have?
Not true, IF they are part of gender reassignment surgery...
First off, turn on “grumpy developer mode,” and then evaluate it. You may have to find a grumpy developer to do it for you.
What about hard technologies like Cold Fusion, battery advances, solar panels, etc. ?
Having seen how people drive on regular roads, I’ve taken flying cars off my list of techno-wants.
Add a couple of beer can holders and tubing and you’ve got something.
Dissapointing to see all these “10” lists where they’re unable to put all 10 on one damn page. Yeah, I know, we’re supposed to click thru but I read your list instead ;-)
That was outrageous. No explanation, just silence. No access to e-mail for about 5 long days. Good bye, Yahoo. I'm not looking back.
All the Windows 8 start button is missing is the start menu. !GIANT THUD!
I don’t get how “healthcare dot gov” qualifies as ‘technology’?
Yes, disappointment factor is high, but c’mon!
Wow. We don’t have any of those things. I guess it’s one of the up-sides of being retired; keeping up with technology is no longer required or expected.
“Still no FTL travel, teleporter technology, flying cars, vacation trips to Moonbase one or anti grav units that I was promised when I was a kid “
No battery yet that weighs five pounds and will power my whole house for a year before it needs recharging.
“Having seen how people drive on regular roads, Ive taken flying cars off my list of techno-wants.”
But, but, but they seemed to work just fine for the Jetsons.
“Good bye, Yahoo. I’m not looking back. “
Good to dump yahoo anyway: they still refuse to support IMAP for free, which most people now need because of the prevalence of reading email on multiple devices.
11. Flying cars delayed again.
Yeah but, you’re frickin weird. So, of course, it would appeal to you.
I like Win 8.1, but I also have an RT tablet and don’t get its reason for existence. RT is just not ready for prime time and I don’t understand why MS wasted development time on it. They should have just stuck with Win 8 which is a nice OS once you get the hang of it.
Popular Mechanics illustrators unfazed.
Wow. She pulled her head out of her a** and still needs that contraption ?
Surprising also is his highness, HG, didn’t get in on some sort of beat down on this thread.
You duh man!!! HG
When was this?
I have a yahoo acct but, rarely use it, as it is not secure.
Dec 4 through Dec 9.
The Obama regime and its policies have caused significant cutbacks in personnel assigned to the monitoring of blogpimps.
It's rough times all around.
Sorry, Dec 9th through the 14th. Not my main e-mail account, but one I transact business with. Five days without being able to see or to respond to e-mails from this account. Totally unreliable in my book and therefore they’re gone for my purposes. Already switched over.
I’m not even that old but, I prefer the Windows® 3.11 to NT menus .
I still prefer to rummaged through that black screen stuff and make changes at the root as well.
The Win 8 thing is their version Appleware that doesn’t give most user total control.
It’s more their evolution from DOS to GUI and of course their always lame attempt to emulate some sort of Apple experience.
But, thank God we don’t have to use a printing press to disseminate our voluminous knowledge here at FR.
I was asleep that week....
You just lazy...
Happy New Year.
You got jobs lined up?
I heard from an investment banker that truck routes are now at 70% use.
Where's my jet pack! Everybody was promised one at the 1964 Worlds Fair.
That’s too bad.
I know quite a few people use free accounts for transacting business and to my mind, this day and age, I can’t believe they don’t have their own web identity.
The newly monetized quote process makes up for some of the lost revenue.
I am partial to Windows 7.
DOS 5/6 - Liked it a lot, and learned tons from it.
Win 3.x - Was OK, but preferred OS/2 and Desqview.
Win 95 - Loved it.
Win 98 - Hated its guts!
Win NT 4 - LOVED IT!!!
Win 2k - Liked it too.
Win XP - Had a love affair with it, and am still using on some older seldom used machines.
Win Vista - Hated its guts!
Win 7 - Love it long time!!!
Win 8 - Will NOT use it for any reason without 3rd party functional start button.
Like barreled moonshine?
The Samsung Galaxy Gear may be a lot of things, but first generation isn’t one of them. A second generation launch without superior features over existing products over a year old was a predictable recipe for failure.