Technology is great, that is when it doesn't waste your money or time. Unfortunately, I have dealt with more than my fair share of worthless technology and gadgets. Overly advertised and hyped-up products that don't exactly deliver make for a tasty tech blunder. The following are my top tech mistakes, please feel free to comment with your biggest tech mistakes.
Nintendo Virtual BoyThe Nintendo Virtual Boy was seen as a complete failure by Nintendo. Not intended to replace the Game Boy, the Virtual Boy never gained too much popularity - the screen was only red, and you had to stare through this uncomfortable goggle-like apparatus. I distinctly remember taking mine apart not too long after I got it.
Minidisc RecordersMinidiscs were all the rage in underground tech culture, before MP3 players took over the market. They were small, had cool-looking square discs and you could record on them... in real-time (although with modern MD recorders you can record a bit faster). I bought into the whole Minidisc trend and found it to be a complete waste of money. The annoying recording procedures and lack of media offered in Minidisc format eventually lead to its demise. Although, at the time these players looked great and people would always ask me what it was.
This was my first MD player/recorder. It used one AA battery.
PDAsI don't know why, but I used to think PDAs were amazing. My first "PDA" was some color screen bearing Compaq Aero 2100 contraption running a horrible version of Windows CE. I got it in Greece and it had 8MB of integrated RAM, lackluster battery life and was crash-prone. The only thing good about it was solitaire.
A year or so later I thought maybe the PDA market had changed so I gave it another whirl with a Handspring Visor sporting a black and white LCD screen. Eh, nothing special. A few more years passed and last year I somehow got hooked on the Palm LifeDrive offering - 4GB microdrive, bluetooth and WiFi. This one had more utility with the WiFi and I often used it on campus but using it was still a hassle. I started lugging my laptop around instead and the PDA is sitting on my desk back home, boxed up. I now believe that PDAs suck and Smartphones are cool. There's just something about WWAN connectivity that sets the two apart. Actually, I take that back - we all know what happened with my whole Motorola Q experience.
World of WarcraftAfter becoming a switcher, I soon felt the need for gaming and decided that I should try out the only real game for the Mac, World of Warcraft. To give you a little background, I really don't game that much and when I did it was usually a few rounds of the glass maps in Counter-Strike; I was generally the guy that 'naded the floor at spawn so everyone fell. Needless to say I hated World of Warcraft and wasted 50 on the game and then 15 for the first month of service.
Not a tech mistake - Shuttle PCsI couldn't think of a fifth tech mistake, so I'll tell you what wasn't a mistake - Shuttle barebones PCs. Back in the day I loved these SFF computers. They were small yet just as powerful as their full-size companions. They only used one fan but had a cleverly-designed heatsink with heatpipes. I was also rather handy with a Dremel back in the day and went all out modifying them. I had won case modification competitions with them at LAN parties sponsored by Directron.com as well. One was watercooled and had superior cable management. Speaking of those LAN parties, I won a systems building race at one, building a computer in something like 4 minutes.
The blue one isn't a Shuttle, it's a tower pc that I built and modified with watercooling and an auxiliary LCD display. Most of these computers have been sold long ago.
The black Shuttle pictured, an SN85G4v2 powered by an AMD64 chip and an ATi X800Pro, got me in the Futuremark 3DMark03 hall of fame (#16/20) back in the summer of 2004 after I heavily overclocked it and voltage-modded everything I could.
If you're in the market for a new Vista-compatible PC and know a thing or two about building computers, definitely check out Shuttle barebones computers. (But DON'T get the fully-built ones they sell, Shuttle has horrible customer service)