Biggest Tech Pet Peeves
What's your gripe?
- •That awful in-flight Wi-FiDon’t get us wrong: Being able to get online at 30,000 feet is a modern miracle. But when you consider that for the price of a T-bone, you get two hours of CompuServe-like speeds, the awe quickly fizzles. It isn’t uncommon for service to fail after you’ve paid, and many in-flight entertainment systems require you to download a companion app—over poky in-flight Wi-Fi.
- •Terrible smartphone battery lifeWe don’t need phones thinner than paper—we need phones that don’t require us to keep a constant eye on the battery meter. Sure, we’ve found ways to compensate: fat battery cases, USB chargers, or low-power modes. But ultimately, those are just Band-Aids that illustrate how bad the problem has become.
- •Apps that track your locationWe found “always” location access in apps from Starbucks, Wal-Mart and three top U.S. airlines: American, United and Delta. In our view, “always” access is a privacy invasion that should be limited to very special cases.
- •But first, your email pleaseLike to use our free Wi-Fi hot spot? Just give us your email address! Want to try our free photo-editing app? Wonderful, punch in your email. Buying that perfume? Email address, please.
- •Clackety, clackety, clackHear that? It isn’t an actual old timey typewriter—it’s your touch-screen keyboard making pointless noises. Maybe early adopters once needed audible clues to figure out how to use a smartphone. But in 2016, manners dictate that we should all keep our devices on silent mode in public.
- •“Storage almost full!”When your life has been reduced to freeing up itty-bitty amounts of space on your gadgets, you can point the finger at the absurd cost of higher-capacity smartphones. The most infuriating example: the 16GB iPhone. Instead of starting at 32GB, Apple asks us for an extra $100 to upgrade to 64GB. (Compare that with 64GB MicroSD cards, which cost less than $20.)
- •Distracted Uber driversThe dangers of distracted driving have been well documented. Yet Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride services have created an industry of people behind the wheel who simply must futz with their phones. Driving apps should be designed to minimize distraction, with voice commands replacing taps.
- •Tab overloadLooking for that one open browser tab you need at the end of a long workday? You’ll spot Waldo quicker. Robust Web apps and faster Internet speeds have us spending most of our days in our browsers, yet we’re still managing pages the same way we did over a decade ago.
- •Phones still can’t replace walletsThe smartphone was supposed to do away with credit cards, subway passes, even driver’s licenses. But then why are our pockets still filled with so much stuff? Today most popular phones have the hardware needed to provide secure identification and let you badge in at the office door and flash a train pass. But we’re not much closer to actually doing those things with our phones.
- •Wi-Fi router failWi-Fi is like oxygen in the modern home—we need it not just in the home office, but everywhere we might use a phone, tablet, security camera or thermostat. Yet homes come in many shapes and sizes, and getting good coverage can be a nightmare. Adding repeaters or additional access points required an advanced degree in network management.
- •Jeff you, autocorrectLest admit it: The robots should be vetter at guesting our works. After nearly a decade, the technology to correct our sloppy, cramped typing is often better at providing punch lines than clarity. Until real smarts arrive, the best thing you can do is save phrases or names you use most often. (On the iPhone, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement. On Android, Settings > Language & Input > Personal Dictionary.)
- •Apple's not-so-open iOSIf you want directions to a restaurant mentioned in the Mail app, why can’t you use Google Maps? If you tap on a link in a text, why can’t a page launch in Chrome? Of course Apple wants to make sure everything stays up and running—and keep us inside its ecosystem so we keep buying other Apple hardware. But its limitations on us are veering from helpful toward smothering.
- •Free_Public_Wi_FiLiar!!! Who are you?!?! Reveal yourself!!!! I am entirely convinced this is some secret data gathering operation: it's everywhere and doesn't do jack squat.Suggested by @Nicholas
- •Siri stopped talking to me just because I told her I found Cortana more attractiveLike, iOS is still a superior OS to anything Microsoft has ever put out, but Cortana never ambushed me into meeting her parents.Suggested by @JeremyPivot
- •Apps that perpetually remind you notifications are off. FIND YOUR CHILL FB MESSENGERSuggested by @leandromo