What technology annoys you the most?

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What technology annoys you the most?

Perhaps it's a weird menu interface, perhaps it's a shonky keyboard. We share the tech fixes we're really waiting for in 2011.

A GPS device that doesn't make me swear
William Maher

I don’t know about you, but when I jump in the car, the last thing I want to do is spend an unnecessarily long time calibrating the edge of my fingernail with the screen. In short, those resistive displays – the kind you have to apply some pressure to with your finger - aren't my cup of tea. Sometime after the arrival of the iPhone, my impression of GPS changed from a really useful toy to something I swear at quite a bit. On the upside, the technology is changing – this year saw the arrival of a bunch of different GPS models (like the TomTom Go 1000) with capacitive screens which let you swipe, pinch to zoom and scroll like you would on a phone. But you can still buy a “fingernail screen” GPS, and while you’ll get used to it, it’s the one feature I wish would go the way of the dustbin.

A “Mark All Read” button in IOS.
Alex Kidman

Apple’s iOS is a remarkable platform; a stupendously popular (and in certain circles, equally reviled) smartphone platform with an app library second to none. One thing it’s lacking -- and has been in every single revision of both hardware and software to date -- is a “mark all as read” button somewhere in the interface. Given I read my mail on the go and at my desk, the ability to tell it that yes, I have read all seventy messages I got yesterday rather than manually clicking through them would be a godsend. ARE YOU LISTENING, APPLE?

(*Apple does not comment on whether it’s listening or not, naturally)

Good Tablet Competitors At A Proper Price

I make no secret of the fact that I like the iPad. It’s a great Tablet platform. A year on (give or take a few weeks) from its announcement, though, where are the really viable competitors? We’ve had cheap and cheerful options from Telstra and Optus, and while they’re not terrible value for money, they’re not competitors. Viewsonic’s Viewpad 7” seems nice enough from the brief testing I’ve done with it, but at $699, it’s feasible to buy a larger and faster iPad for the same money. Don’t even get me started on the pricing of the Galaxy Tab. (http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/238355,galaxy-tab-more-expensive-than-any-ipad.aspx). Competition breeds new features and better consumer value. So come on, tech industry -- where’s your competitively priced tablet product hiding?

A proper sequel to the 8-bit classic Head Over Heels

Hey. A man can dream, can’t he?

Universally adopted physics and GPGPU standards
John Gillooly 

Way back in the early days of 3D Acceleration compatibility was a nightmare. Each graphics chip had its own API, which meant that a game written for a Voodoo card wouldn't work on a Rendition card for example. This stifled development of technology until the emergence of OpenGL as a standard language, championed largely by Nvidia.

That same Nvidia now pushes proprietary physics and general purpose GPU computing languages, causing effectively the same situation that it once solved for 3D. While it is seen as a selling point for Nvidia GPUs, in reality it hampers rather than helps. Developers using PhysX and CUDA will have their code usable on under half the PCs out there, while platform agnostic solutions for both PhysX and CUDA exist.

In the case of CUDA in particular, the OpenCL and DirectCompute standards are pushed by industry bodies of many players, and many firmly believe that they will win out in the end. AMD in particular knows that GPGPU processing will be key to taking advantage of the Fusion APU, but have a realistic outlook that it will take a few years of messing about until proprietary APIs fall by the wayside. 

After watching the industry thrive on the back of open standards it would be great to skip the messy interim phase for now and just see all the players adopt standards (that includes the usually standard-happy Intel introducing some sort of CPU support for DirectCompute/OpenCL programs).

What's the one technology that annoys you the most? Add your comment below.

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