All The Broke-Ass Tech We Still Use Every Day

All The Broke-Arse Tech We Still Use Every Day

Not long ago, I asked you all to vent your rage about the most garbage why-the-hell-doesn't-it-actually-work-worth-a-damn technology that you still find yourself having to use every day. Here's our collective tech crap list.

Web browsers

A popular one. Which browser in particular depends on who you're talking to:

For me it was Google Chrome:

For a while, I thought it was my ageing Macbook Air with its 90 per cent full hard drive (and to some extent it is), but I've discovered that whenever things get mind-bendingly, rip-my-hair-out, swear-at-the-computer, "my coworkers must think I have serious anger issues" slow, all I have to do is force quit Chrome and load it back up again to start our relationship fresh. Then, I've got like another two or three hours before everything descends into chaos again.

I'm not sure exactly how much this problem afflicts everyone else. I know my co-workers complain about similar issues but I routinely see screens with like 20+ Chrome tabs open, and I never feel comfortable going past 10 or 12. Maybe one of my several extensions leaks memory. Or maybe Chrome just hates me specifically. Still, I put up with this shit every god damn day. I think I'm pretty close to switching back to Firefox, but I've been saying that for like a month now.

But I've since jumped ship.

But for Legless Legolas' LEGO Lass, it's Firefox that's the problem:

Firefox. My tabs goof up a few times a day so I can't close them, and sometimes it just closes the whole thing if I close two tabs in rapid succession. I probably should switch over to chrome, but I'm too lazy to install my addons.

And for "mnerd" it's old faithful(ly obnoxious): Internet Explorer 8:

Because I work in a clinic. Thankfully our hospital IT is moving us all towards virtual desktops using CITRIX, so I can have a modern browser and still use our legacy web apps.

Fax Machines

Yes, fax machines are still around and kicking. Per "Shirosake":

This is actually something im TRYING to rid the world of . As a person in the IT and telecommunications industry and any of my IT compatriots will agree...


"LordFancypantsicus" is also pissed:

Fax machines. I do business with a lot of doctors' offices, and they ALL use fax, with its cruddy image quality, propensity to miss pages, and the tendency for the person faxing to put forms in upside down or accidentally cut off parts of the page. All this hassle, when they could literally just take a picture of the form with their smartphones and email it. The fax machine needs to die.

And according to "bourgeoismiddleman":

In order to talk to some local governments, you still need to send a fax. Sometimes (City of Oakland permit desk) the recipient's fax machine is broken, but they get all bitchy when you try to email them a document!


This is paraphrased but not much:

Me: It still didn't go through, can I just email you a pdf?

Oakland: You have to fax it.

M: But I can't fax you right now.

O: Fax it.

M: Is there another fax machine I can send it to?

O: I'm not authorised to tell you that.

M: So, am I going to have to drive there and give you this piece of paper?

O: You could wait until we fix the fax machine...


No surprise here. Who needs paper anyway? Idiots, that's who. Geekymitch puts it righteously:

Any #$US%(*^ printer I use. Ever. They all suck. Drivers suck. Hardware sucks. Fucking ink cartridges suck. They all suck.

Fuck printers, man...fuck them in their eyeballs.


I use a laserjet 7520 and it's a really solid machine for what it does...but if I forget to turn it off when I'm done it tends to decide 3 AM is the time to clean print heads. And since the printer is in my bedroom not only does it wake me, but I get to listen to it waste all that freakin ink.

But that's ok since if I don't print enough HP will just tell me the ink has expired.


And jbatubara:

Printers. Office Space really nailed it.

Complete with obligatory GIF:

All The Broke-Arse Tech We Still Use Every Day


Nothing worse than a dropped connection. According to Ramius:

Bluetooth. Believe it or not.

When Im in my car, my Iphone is connected to both my GPS and my stereo. And its impossible to tell it what to use each device for. So even though I want to use my stereo for music only, theres no such option. So when I get an incoming call when driving, the stereo will pick it up. Which has no microphone. And using siri in my car is damn near impossible.

I want to tell my iPhone that "The stereo is for music only" "Always use Siri via the iPhone" and "always direct calls to my gps when in the car"


[Sometimes] I experience total bluetooth meltdown. When switching sources it sometimes crashes completely. If Im connected to my stereo, and try to use Siri, it will first go through my stereo, but when I switch source to iPhone, instead of just working, it instead crashes.

I want to simply do this:

  • Blutooth device settings:
  • Car stereo: Music only
  • Tom Tom GPS: Phone call only
  • Siri: Always via iPhone.

And Eric (a different Eric; not me):

The Bluetooth connection between my phone and LG Tones. Drops and lags at random, done it with three different phones, but they're all Samsung, so still not sure who to blame. But the LG Tones are wireless and have better sound than most earbuds, and there's no better alternative (that I know of).

Ditto Homerjay:

For me it's the bluetooth connection between my iPhone 6 and my Honda. Works great for music, but transmitting phone it drops out pretty regularly. It's a known issue that Apple has yet to address.

And matt975321:

Bluetooth integration with my car. It connects just fine, but unless you have the music set to play through the car the phones audio alerts and navigation are not able to be heard while connected to bluetooth. On the other hand telephone calls work fine. The phone's should be able to play navigation via the phone speaker while connected to bluetooth or to somehow use the same bluetooth connection as the phone part to play the navigation.

Can't wait for android auto and car play to become prevalent as I think they will be better suited to dealing with this type of issue, in addition to overall better integrating phones into the car, rather than the mess it is now.


A perennial shittacular shitfest you can't help but have to use. Stubbornidealist puts it the simplest:

iTunes. Nuff said.

Peter jacques elaborates:

EXACTLY. Every time I have to use iTunes, I cuss. And I'm a musician, so I use it a lot. I resisted upgrading to iTunes 10 for a long time, but then had to because my iPhone (4, ahem) was on iOS 7... I don't know how they have so made such completely broken media organiser. It's Byzantine.

As does RidgeR5:

The last update just fucked the GUI over so bad. It pisses me off that they went from a nice long sidebar with everything on it to a top menu that still only shows half the file categories, even on 1080 resolution. Fucking massive empty spaces all over the place.

And TrackPeanuts:

I don't know about broken, but bloated, annoying, insufferable? My money is with iTunes. You'd think after 10+ years of being the go-to software for syncing your Apple devices, they'd somehow, somewhere got it right, but nooooooo.

AND Snow Dog:

iTunes. Just returned to the Apple world, as was shocked that it's still as crappy as it was the last time I used it, back in 2004.


Our own Annalee Newitz offers up Twitter, a drum we've beaten before:

My answer has to be Twitter. It's broken in every possible way — Tweetdeck for desktop sucks, Twitter app on my phone doesn't work half the time, AND my stream is full of crazy drama. And yet, I lurve it so. Is there deprogramming therapy for social media? Maybe I need it

The human brain

But zmanbarzell cuts to the core of it all:

All The Broke-Arse Tech We Still Use Every Day

This troublemaker.



    What I don't understand is why anyone puts up with all this shit. Seriously, I was forced to install iTunes with a Quicktime upgrade in the early noughties and found it to be such a bloated piece of garbage I swore, then and there, that I would never buy an iPod. It brought my workstation to it's knees with all the krap it was running in the background. It was so bad I had to revert to an earlier version of Quicktime until Apple woke up to themselves and stopped forcing us to install both. Why anyone, let alone a musician, would put up with iTunes beggars belief, although I discovered a few years ago that a lot of sheeple actually believe that their iTunes collection will not transfer to another media manager, they think they will have to pay for all their music again if they switch.

    Ditto with browsers. When everyone was telling me how great Chrome was, I gave it a red-hot go and found no compelling reason to use it over Firefox, despite Firefox's many issues. OTOH, when I first tried out one of the Windows 8 previews, I thought I'd give IE10 a go and was pleasantly surprised to find the out-of-the-x experience on par with Firefox-plus-extensions so, for the firs time in my life, I started using IE as my main browser and I haven't looked back. In fact, using Chrome, Safari and Firefox at work just confirms to me that I made the best choice.

    My question, then, is why all these people put up with all this stuff? Are you all so locked in by your prejudices that you are unable to make an objective choice?

      I hated iTunes a few years ago too, however Apple have listened to complaints by PC users and the experience has improved - slowly, but it is much much better than a few years ago.

      Chrome I have used ever since it's early days. I don't know the complaints other users have. My Chrome isn't overbloated or slow, but I definitely understand how it could happen on slower computers and the downloading of ever tempting more extensions. I tried Firefox a few months ago and while it was fast on first install, after installing the same number of extensions as I had on Chrome (which is an email checker, RES and AdBlock) it's launch times grew to over 10 seconds, while Chrome is still able to launch the moment I can click it's icon.

      I've tried other options of various types of software, but usually the popular choice is the right choice, for obvious reasons. Firefox was popular in the early 00's because it was the best choice out of IE and Opera, however, it dropped in popularity with the rise of Chrome because Chrome was a better browser.

      I would easily move away from Chrome IF a better browser came out, however with constant updates and ingrown familiarity, it would have to be a significant upgrade and provide equivalent functionality to what Chrome currently offers me

      It isn't prejudice, it's money and time spent on a system. My cousin buys apple because of money spent on apps. My friend buys android because of money spent on apps. The rent on apps is not transferable.

      People put up with the problems because they are used to the system. When it comes down to it all the systems do the same thing. Linux, icrap(to stir fanboys), android and windows allow everyone do their stuff. I hated QuickTime making me install iTunes, but VLC so who cares.

      Hell I got a windows phone because I could not be arsed learning a new operating system. Didn't even know that the offline GPS and translator would only now be available to android and iPhone, according to recent Gizmodo articles. I have been using those for over Two years.

    I've never been able to empathise with the hatred of iTunes, I don't have any problems with it. Sure, it's not perfect, but what is? But then I don't use it with as many songs and maybe as often as others.

    Last edited 02/03/15 12:23 pm

    Streaming TV. Iview and SBS work on the PS3. The others don't. So have to pull out the laptop with shitty sound. I want to watch a particular part of the program. Ads play, fine with that since it pays for the service. I go forward on the timer, ads play, the extended ones. After five minutes of ads I discover I am in the wrong spot so I change the position on the timer. Ads again, five minutes later I discover I am at the end of the item I wanted to see. So I move back of the timer. ADS AGAIN! Bugger it. Fix this, fix torrent sharing. Happy with ads but let me see some program in between. SBS can.

      probably stating the obvious, but you could always use a real media player instead of a games console?

        A PS3 plays bluerays, DVDs, CDs, media via USB, iview, SBS on demand, YouTube, a few pay TV streaming options and it also plays games. How is that not a real media player?

        @grantguest it seems you did not read past the first line. The issue is streaming tv, 7 9 and 10. Sitting through 15 or so minutes of ads to find a particular point of a program. Not the media device. Ads pay for the service but if all that we get are ads then no one is going to use the service.

    This is for those who choose (either of own will or necessity) use iTunes. If you're after something that resembles the old interface (rather than the all show and no functionality mess they have now by default), select 'Playlists' in the bar just under the time gauge.

    This will return to a view very much like ol' school iTunes. You'll have to go through the menus to restore other features (such as the browser for Genres, Artists, etc) but at least it is much closer to the functional way iTunes once was.

    And personally, I think Version 6 was the last good version of iTunes before Apple lost the plot (and even more so since Jobs died).

    Last edited 02/03/15 1:20 pm

    Have always avoided iTunes on my Desktop at home (I own the Sony Z3 it's my partner with all the Apple products ~_~)

    - Broken tech I see day to day Fax machines - I agree wholeheartedly these need to go, I don't care if you like it more, as a matter of convenience to the world of IT It needs to go.

    - Tills and old-school retail equipment - I see these have issues almost on a daily basis, I know the issue is resolved NOW (if you get new POS equipment its normally ok but working with the old stuff can be nightmarish to troubleshoot)

    - Dodgy internet connections - This applies to the 90% of Australia that isn't within a city trying to do work remotely on client PC that is so slow sucks and feels broken.

    - Browsers - Just to touch onto this Chrome has been annoying recently in that it leaves background processes running even after all tabs have been closed resulting in you requiring to task manager>processes>chrome.exe - End task - just to get it working as normal again - doesn't always happen but even still it's broken and annoying.

    - Bus Time-Tables (Applies to all public transport) - I wish they were actually accurate and not a representation of what it is supposed to be. Surely you can track busses now so that they leave real time feedback to show more accurately the location so you don't wait for 20 mins while no bus showed up as it left 2mins earlier then normal...

      That have the tech to display a clock for a bus arrival, but vandals.

      Adelaide Metro has live arrival times if you hit their website via an online device (eg, your phone). Tracks pretty well and updates in real time. Works for buses, trains and trams. RADelaide :)

        I wish the situation was as good here in Brissy.

        Unfortunately QLD Translink thinks it's ok to switch off entire electronic boards with all the bus timetable for 2 months before switching it back on without any notice and when you ask them why they say they're not even accurate and to just wait for the bus.. It MIGHT still arrive..

    Anything "Google in business" .. arg... Google mail is such a PITA - I hate it - not one persons in the office I am in likes it but the business I am in see value in free... OMG night mare painful in business

    Definitely fax. Agreed.

    The problem is not so much broke-arse, it's more God-damn-that-thing-just-won't-die! And old people who don't like change that love it. The two main reasons why it lingers despite there being better options like scan-to-email available.

    Last edited 02/03/15 2:11 pm

    You would be surprised how prevalent pagers still are in the public service.

    And man do I agree with the Bluetooth thing. Hell, it was broke-as-shit when it came out, I can't believe it's taking so long to die. Gaming headsets, hands-free for phone, even some mouse/keyboard combos, if I've had to use it with Bluetooth, guaranteed it's experienced drop-outs, poor connection, if it's even paired at all. The only Bluetooth device I've ever used which didn't suck sweaty, hairy goat-balls is a keyboard for the ipad. For anything more than once cm away from its target, though, Bluetooth is ridiculously terrible.

      I've always been curious as to how I've never been able to get bluetooth to work consistently. I've always though maybe my device is broken, maybe I'm doing something wrong... but really, it just sucks.

    Toilet paper that isn't thick enough so your fingers end up tearing through it resulting in last nights dinner becoming this mornings hand soap.

      Yet, still more hygienic than visiting your local public toilet!

    All the stupid "collaboration" software universities use (Moodle, Blackboard, etc). They always have some problem, yet they're still the only way to hand in work.

    For a while, I thought it was my ageing Macbook Air with its 90 per cent full hard drive (and to some extent it is), but I’ve discovered that whenever things get mind-bendingly, rip-my-hair-out, swear-at-the-computer, “my coworkers must think I have serious anger issues” slow, all I have to do is force quit Chrome and load it back up again to start our relationship fresh. Then, I’ve got like another two or three hours before everything descends into chaos again.
    I’m not sure exactly how much this problem afflicts everyone else. I know my co-workers complain about similar issues but I routinely see screens with like 20+ Chrome tabs open, and I never feel comfortable going past 10 or 12. Maybe one of my several extensions leaks memory. Or maybe Chrome just hates me specifically. Still, I put up with this shit every god damn day. I think I’m pretty close to switching back to Firefox, but I’ve been saying that for like a month now.

    I'm really curious as to how chrome being garbage isn't a mainstream media go-to joke. For me, I've never had chrome work over the course of a litany of PC's i've owned and made over the years. At some point, Chrome leaks and stops working. At some point GOOGLE will just refuse to load. These are the only constants I can take away from the browser.

      Probably due to experiences like mine. We've been using Firefox by default as our IE alternative, for years. We'd always put down the errors we've experienced as being thanks to the coding of the web application we use. Recently something they did started causing ridiculous (a couple meg a second) memory leaks.

      In desperation, I turned to Chrome. Runs faster, uses a tenth of the memory, no script errors, multi-day-without-reset sessions. Like night and day. To the point that the rank and file are asking whose idea it was that we used the 'piece of shit' Firefox in the first place. (It was, uh... also me.)

      I'm wondering if it's down to the extensions people use.

    Hilariously, at a large educational organisation in order to activate SMS messaging through email I had to print out a PDF and then HAD to FAX it back. When I asked if I couldn't email it back the IT Dept said it had to faxed so it had a REAL signature on it.....

    I'll throw blu-ray players and TVs with USB connections into the mix. Been talking with friends lately who have problems getting movies to play on their TVs. To some extent it's understandable given the tremendous range of formats and codecs out there but the real killer is Panasonic - can't plug in a portable HDD or even a memory stick over 16gb because it's not recognised.

    And Blu-ray... omg it's not wonder people pirate when you have a device that refuses to play certain (legitimate blu-ray) movies for no apparent reason. But wait an update will fix that, unless the player is more than 18 months old, in which case it probably won't get updates anymore (despite the fact that the blu-ray movie companies basically force you to need updates). And that's before we even get to the non-skippable content on the disks themselves... Forget convenience for the user.

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