are the Geeks, for they shall internet the earth
Great Snake-Oil Gadgets
So, I'm surfing Digg and woe and behold a link for another top ten list called
the 10 Great Snake-Oil Gsadgets (with pics), and after perusing the list...
well, I had to call BS flag. Who makes the top
ten list? Which panel judges these lists? Who submits these items for
So I submit to you MY top ten BS technology based products:
1. For historical reasons I think the Steve Comisar conceived "Solar Powered
Clothes Dryer" wins the prize. Sold in magazine and newspaper advertisements for
$49.95, this product made the inventor a huge (undisclosed) sum of money. For
your prompt payment you received thirty feet of clothes line. A judge
subsequently made him pull the ads as he called them misleading. Steve is
currently in jail on
2. The Cell-Phone range extender metallic sticker / later called the RF blocker.
C'mon... this product made millions and is still in the market today. Anyone who
knows RF will tell you this product is pure
unadulterated cow dung. What is it? A range extender or a filter? Anyone worried
about RF should probably not stand in front of a microwave whilst it's making
your popcorn as there is more leakage
from a household microwave or a home WiFi kit than a cell phone.
3. The RAM doubler software. AKA the swap file increasing software also made
quite a bit of money... that is until a judge closed that business endeavor in
2003, again misleading. This product from
Connectix found many suckers, slowed down your computer, and eventually went out
4. Holistic Magnetic Healing Jewelry. Sorry folks, there is no ferrous metals in
our bodies concentrated enough for these snake oil products to work. Placebos
have been scientifically proven to be more
5. The smokeless ashtray. The only thing that can huff
down a stogie faster than my dad was the smokeless ashtray. Know what? The house
still stunk like RJ Reynolds. This device sucked air all around the cigarette
and 'filtered' it through a patented carbon filter... sounds like a human right?
It makes the stogie shine pretty and bright... and gets it down to the filter in
approximately three minutes.
6. The paperless office. Ok, so maybe this is an idea rather than an actual
product, but if an idea can be considered a product (ask any Intellectual
Property lawyer) then I call this one straight up bull
manure. We use more paper today than ever. If you want to save a tree, call
1-888-567-8688 and opt out from all those pre-approved credit card offers.
Think about it, you'll also be reducing the chances of
identity theft, and won't have to call Life Lock to get protection! The
number works, and so does my office's printer... all the time.
7. The speed trap laser detector. Um, nothing we have now travels faster than
the speed of light, If your laser detector goes off...you've already been had.
If you're lucky, the cop either wasn't paying
attention, giving someone else a ticket, or inhaling a dough nut. Fact is that
lasers are light based, and light is a very narrowly focused beam of energy. How
focused you ask? If I can put four Gigabytes of
data on a DVD I can point your car in millimeters. In reality, a laser speed
detector has a beam of light less than one inch in diameter at 100 yards. If
your detector goes off... you're busted.
8. Technology Help Desk. This again idea (sorry, but its my article) applies to
99% of the technology based companies out there. Calling a modern day help desk
is like calling your ten year old nephew or
niece. Welcome to Bangalore India, Tijuana Mexico, or even a state prison! Cisco
touts that it has over 300 TAC (Technical Assistance Offices) but fails to
mention that it's 99% overseas. Ever tried
calling them? You spend almost a half hour going through an automated menu
(painful if you're using a cell phone) a half hour answering scripted questions
from a person whom barely speaks you language, and get put on hold for an
eternity... you usually tire and solve the problem yourself. This bullet
actually applies to any automated telephone system. Tell them, FSCK OFF!
9. Idiot lights on cars' dashboards. Who ever thought this one up needs to be
taken out back and shot. I'm a geek, and I want gauges. Idiot lights don't tell
you when you're going to have a problem...
they tell you when you have one. They don't blink when the problem gets worse,
and they don't audibly say, "Its getting worse." Unlike 'bitching Betty' in a
jet fighter which lets you know when you're low
on fuel or oil, it just shows up as a stupid light like 'Check engine' which
could mean anything including a failed oxygen sensor or a faulty exhaust
10. Software in general. Think you own it? Guess again. Whom ever has read
through an EULA (End User License Agreement) knows, the company you buy your
software from isn't liable for anything, offers no warranties, agreements, or
responsibilities. Yes, this mostly applies to Closed Source software, but its
leaking into Open Source as well. In many cases you don't actually own that
software... you merely own the media on which it came upon. To boot this BS
flag, you can't say no once you've opened it, that is to say you can't return
it. How a company can force me to agree upon something I haven't even read yet
is beyond me, but apparently there are enough lawyers to back it up.
Good luck trying to return a software title at a retail store when it doesn't
work on your hardware.
Well kids, that's my list... and Doug and I would love to hear more of your
ideas! So drop us line and let us know, for all we know this list is BS!
A Network Administrator