IN DEPTH: 10 biggest tech problems that should have been solved by now

on November 2nd, 2013 by erikwestlake | No Comments »

IN DEPTH: 10 biggest tech problems that should have been solved by now

There’s a famous Louis CK sketch in which the red-headed social commentator points out what a bunch of ungrateful so-and-sos (he uses a different word) this generation is for daring to complain about smartphones.

"We have this beautiful thing and we hate it. Even the s***tiest cellphone, is a miracle," he says. "Why are you so mad at it?"

As we often catch ourselves violently stabbing the touchscreen of our super-powerful, handheld telephone, internet device, games console, media player and navigation tool for responding more than a millisecond after our sweet caress, it’s hard to argue with the popular comedian’s assessment.

Tech has brought us such a long way, and we give thanks to the silicon gods every day.

Louis is right, we should smell the roses. But, come on, is there really any excuse for these infuriating tech-related problems to still exist?

1. Tangled headphone cables


How about just once, we could pull a pair of cans or buds out of our bags without spending half an hour unravelling the cables? It’s a problem that several audio manufactures have attempted to resolve, but most just gave up and by-passed the cables completely thanks to a little Bluetooth magic.

The budget Zipbuds, do the trick by literally zipping them up, but make the experience cumbersome. The a-JAYS One+ earphones employ springy flat cables to ‘resist’ tangles, but no one has found a real way to ease the frustration.

Don’t get us started on those Apple EarPods either.

2. Changing email addresses


As funny as it sounded at the time, the email address looks bad on a CV. The trouble is, it’s easier to actually move house than it is to change email addresses and maintain all of your correspondences.

Updating every online account you have takes forever, as does safeguarding all of your files and making sure everyone who emails you has access to the new address. The reality is, you’re never free of an old email address. There’s always the temptation to login every couple of months just to ensure you’ve not missed something important, like a message from a long-lost friend, or bank telling you you’ve been defrauded. How else do you think Hotmail was able to keep going for so long?

3. Proper all-day smartphone battery life


The other day, in trying to solve the conundrum regarding iOS 7 and crippled iPhone 5 battery efficiency we stumbled across a really helpful online feature. "Just try using it less," it advised. Geniuses! Why didn’t we think of that?

However, even without a new OS to sap the cell, the full HD 5-inch screens, quad-core processors, console-quality games and turn-by-turn GPS mean most well-used handsets are begging for a refill after a tough 8-hour shift. Is it really that hard to make them better? We’ve still got a Nokia 3210 in the office that’s been switched on since 1999.

4. Pick ‘n’ Mix television

Apple TV

Isn’t ludicrous that in 2013, with omnipresent streaming portals and on-demand options that simply obtaining our favorite TV channels necessitates paying for about 500 that we don’t want? "Need Sky Sports, Sir?

Here’s the Bio channel too! Here you can watch Real Housewives of Atlanta re-runs all day." Thanks! Sadly, this isn’t technology’s problem, but that of an antiquated subscription model that current technology will eventually crush to smithereens. However, we won’t get there until an entire generation of Rupert Murdoch’s leave this mortal coil.

5. A-zombie Flash


This weekend will probably see the bulk of the Halloween celebrations and we’re pretty proud of our costume this year. It’s a cracker! We’re going as Adobe Flash, because no matter how hard the world tries, it just won’t die.

The Michael Myres of web technology was savaged by Steve Jobs, was banned from iOS and hell, even Adobe doesn’t like it that much anymore. The real reason flash still hangs around crashing our computers, gobbling up our RAM and forcing us into updates at every turn and inhibiting our mobile experiences is because of HMTL5 has failed to assume the throne. We’re not angry, we’re just disappointed.

6. Wi-Fi on the rails


Now, we wouldn’t mind so much if it were free, but when you’re spending a lot of money for a couple of hours Wi-Fi to ease the passage home, the least you can expect is for it to work more than 3% of the time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

Thankfully, that could be about to change. In September plans were unveiled for ‘high speed mobile broadband’ on UK train lines. As a result, 70% of rail customers will get access to a network that’ll even allow streaming video and music. Great! Only problem is we have to wait until 2019 (which probably means 2025 really, doesn’t it?).

7. Screen up

smashed phone

No disrespect to the display manufacturers who do fine work protecting our mobiles from scrapes and crashes. We’re pretty sure we’d come off worse in a scrap with a sheet of Gorilla Glass. Unfortunately, when it comes the timeless battle between smartphone and this fair earth, the unforgiving floor has earned its fair share of triumphs.

How many people are still walking around with smashed that look like they’ve annoyed an AK-47? Samsung and LG are pioneering unbreakable flexible displays, but we’ve been hearing about them for years with a new demo at CES every year. Where are they exactly?

8. ‘Totally amazing excellent discovery… NOT!’


Have you ever found Spotify’s ‘Hey, you listened to this band, here’s another very similar band you probably already listen to’ Discover tab useful?

No, us neither. Indeed, despite encompassing most of the popular music ever recorded, streaming services, with their complex algorithms and reams of data on our listening habits, still haven’t cracked the code for furnishing us with completely new music particular to our tastes, in the way a magazine or a chat down the pub with a likeminded mate can. Spotify, we like you, but you are not a like-minded mate.

9. Cloudy with a chance of tsunami

Weather app

We live in the most advanced technological age ever right? So how come the most efficient way of judging the day’s weather prospects is still opening the curtains, looking out of the window, making a clothing decision and hoping for the best?

Indeed, there’s probably never been a more inexact science than meteorology, but the Met Office, which actually powers the BBC’s weather seems to be taking the guesswork to a whole new level. You’re getting this information from space remember guys, step it up!

10. Commercial Supersonic Flight


Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could fly from London to New York in under 3 hours? In effect, getting from LHR to JFK a couple of hours before we left? Yes, it might be an unrealistic pipedream… wait a sec… we were able to do this…like 30-odd years ago. Unfortunately the Concorde fleet was retired in 2003 due to a combination of factors.

A tragic accident in 2000, the effect of the 9/11 attacks and spiralling maintenance costs did for Concorde, but why hasn’t something been done since to reinstate supersonic flight? That might be a start before we conquer commercial space travel, don’t you think? Oh, and we want fast, reliable internet there and back too, Sir Richard, okay?

  • Want to know more about why mobile phone batteries are still crap? Then read this


TechRadar: World of tech


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