tech The Top 10 Most Shameful Tech FAILs of 2010  

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This year has marked the end of the first decade in the 21st century. Or the first year of the second decade of the 21st century, if you're good at math. No Star Trek transporters, Buck Rogers time travel, Matrix-style mind uploads or Jetsons-style flying cars. But we DO have the internet and cooler phones that allow us to be on the internet and more advanced video games that allow us to play with other people... via the internet. So, in this time of still-budding technology, here are the greatest disappointments popular technology had to offer this year. Enjoy, debate and share.
1

The TSA Body Scanners


In order to protect the United States from f*ture terrorist attacks, the TSA "perfected", then introduced, the new body scanner device to use at airport security. The body scanner was supposedly a step into the f*ture where almost anything that was threatening to airline security would no longer slip by unnoticed.

So what was gained?

People found themselves completely exposed to strangers when reviewed by the scanner, exposed meaning genitalia and all. FAIL. They easily could have made the scanners work in a fashion so that they didn't outline all of the porn-y and religiously-taboo parts of our bodies to the public, but they didn't. They basically look like if you stripped down naked, then had someone paint you as a ghost.

The scanners also carry a risk of radiation and so by eliminating the threat of terrorism, it very well may promote the threat of cancer. Double FAIL.

Of course, Americans are presented with a choice. Either take the scanner or opt-out and receive an intrusive pat-down. Triple FAIL. If you have to institute a new technology on the American public, don't make the alternative worse than the faulty, fallible technology itself.

And finally, the ravaging levels of the pat-down attracted mass media attention, promoting people to question if the simple act of flying has not become a violation of the Bill of Rights. Failtacular.

And in the midst of all this, in the weekend before Christmas of 2010, well after these machines were being used nation-wide and more intense pat-down procedures were being implemented, someone got through TSA security with a loaded gun which was, thankfully, not discovered until the passenger landed. The person said it was a mistake and that they'd forgotten to take it out of their bags.

So these machines not only mark the idea of the terrorists "winning" because certain freedoms are taken away, but the idea that relying on the machines makes actual security people lazier and therefore makes our airports LESS safe. If there's any bigger fail than implementing something that takes away privacy from the American public AND makes us less safe, then please feel free to share.
2

Digg Version 4 Breaks the Community


This year, Digg.com proved that some of the old timeless values of running a website still apply: Never, ever change the basis of your interface and never alienate your core usership.

Digg used to be a site where users could post any article, image or link they liked and sit back and watch as other users "dugg" up their links and voted on ones that they liked, much like reddit.com, only more algorithmically driven and with less categories, but still ubiquitous and awesome.

But when Digg switched version 4 in mid 2010, they also switched the entire basis of how the site was run. Instead of allowing users to vote, publishers ran their own accounts via feeds, meaning Digg had become a rip-off of something like Twitter where everything was based off of feeds, and they even *GASP* added "Followers"!

This angered almost all of the Digg users, who took up in protest by upvoting every story that came from the rival website Reddit.com. It got to the point where most of Digg's front page material came from Reddit for a little over an entire week. In the end, many accounts of Digg were lost in all the chaos and Reddit gained a lot more prominence. By "more prominence", I mean over 500,000 new registered users and millions of additional pageviews a month post Digg v4.

Click here for Tech Crunch's graph comparing the two.

The debacle was such a huge outrage to the core Digg community, which many complained had fallen to the "gamers" (people gaming the system to get their submissions up to the coveted front page), that not only did they pull the Digg Revolt of 2010 (the whole Reddit thing) and even switched to Reddit (so much so that Reddit actually changed their logo to a picture of their mascot holding a shovel, like the Digg logo does.) All of this called for Kevin Rose to even step down as CEO of Digg to focus on other ventures marking the slow, painful death of what used to be one of the greatest communities on the internet.
3

The Microsoft KIN


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Video: YouTube

Okay, so maybe it's just cruel to include 2 Microsoft mobile devices on this list, but really, the KIN was such a huge, instantaneous and enormous FAIL as far as technology goes, that it would be irresponsible not to have it on this list.

After *Dr. Evil Finger* One Billion Dollars in development costs, in May of 2010, the Microsoft KIN was available to the public. The KIN was a sleek, round, cute little phone with a keyboard and a side-flip screen and a Windows interface. It was aimed primarily at people ages 15-30 who use social networks and already have applications with which to do the primary function of the KIN on their iPhones and Droids (and even Blackberries, c'mon Microsoft.)

The main problem is pretty much exactly what I just said: you can't market a phone to a demographic whose needs are already filled by less-myopic, more versatile and plainly better machines.

After only 48 days on the market, Microsoft discontinued the Kine line and actually canceled its European release.

The bigger FAIL? The fact that the KIN is back and that you probably didn't know about it. KIN devices are now about $50 or $20, making for great lower-end machines, but putting Microsoft on the low-end of the mobile spectrum once again.

Embedded here is the now-sad campaign for the KIN that featured a girl who supposedly went around the country meeting all her internet/social networking friends -- something nobody who values their life/psyche should never, ever do.
4

Playstation 3 Move Controller


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Video: YouTube

Sony decided that this was the year to take its loyal base of Playstation fanboys and make them dance around with a glowing lollipop.

Well, technically, Sony wants to rival the Wii and the XBox 360's Kinect, but really what other image will the "Move" controller provide? The accuracy of the PS Move is touted to be unparalleled and a breakthrough in gamers using their entire bodies to play a game.

And yet many gamers have now returned to standard controls for most games. Why? Well, the asking price is a bit too high, considering the Wii thrives on lower-pricing, has been around for longer and (this is weird to say about the Wii) has better games (at least better games than the ones on the Playstation 3 with Move capabilities.)

The Move also happens to be the exact same thing as the Wii, despite an aggressive marketing campaign trying to tell us it's not, as well as light up magic wands. And finally, there aren't many games available for the Move, meaning it must take quite bit of convincing for the casual gamer to pick one of these up. Doesn't help that the Move has to re-calibrated all the time, either.

And the end of the day, Sony still has the balls to publicly ridicule the Xbox and Wii in this commercial, which makes this a huge FAIL.

Why? Well, because the XBox Kinect is already sweeping the holiday season in sales, will soon replace the Wii as an exercise/party game, and already had a better, bigger following than the Move will ever have. The PS3's Move takes Wii's technology and applies it better... where as Microsoft reinvented the active gaming system with the Kinect. PS3, for once, has developed something that is late AND behind the curve.

Now, this won't sink the PS3, but with the ubiquitous nature of the Wii and the game-changing Kinect, the Move definitely stands a chance... to FAIL.