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10 Great Tech Ideas that Fell Short

The world would be a different place if…the many incredible inventions that came from brilliant minds actually actually made it through the tough and demanding rigors of the free marketplace.  Let’s go back and look at what is and what could never be…

10. After the mouse, a brilliant inventor came up with a great, yet diffent idea.  This was in the days before we had wireless connections, mind you. 

The Hamster! was, conceptually, ahead of it’s time.  It was comfortable to hold, soft and cute.  The inventor, who’s name is not even a footnote in history anymore, aimed to strap on the mechanicals on the bottom of the hamster.  The problems were twofold;  the hamster kept moving, and it kept, uh, shall we say, making poopees.











9. We are in the midst of a boon of iPod speakers.  You can do a search and find hundreds, if not thousands, of speakers to plug your iPod into, to share your music with others.  Well, one entrepreneur combined his love of golf with his love of music…

This iPod golf bag featured a 10″ sub, 3 tweeters, 2 mids, crossovers and an FM tuner.  It cranked up to 100 watts per channel and was eventually banned at most private courses.  And at $795, it wasn’t a quick mover to begin with, but it sure sounded great!

8. Virtual Reality.  This was like a bad dream from the ’80s.  When people found that it was vaporware, they started using it as the source for porn.

7.  Delorean

Need I say more?

6. UMPC.  Yeah, that’s right, I said it.  The Ultra Mobile PC.  In reality it’s overpriced, unusable, and fits no niche that needs filling.  Too big for a pocket, too small for a desk.  Underpowered Mediocre PC.




5. Bluetooth Headphones.  Can someone show me one set that’s worth their price?  Because I can show you 10 wired sets for the same price or less that are 10 times better!  BT headsets are not ready for primetime yet.  The last set I tested would skip if I touched the volume control and were unusable.  They were over $100.  I’ve test three different sets, and once you get over the wireless cool factor, the sound is no better than mediocre at best.  I’m not paying a premium for mediocre sound.  I want great sound and if I have to sacrifice something, be it money, or having wires, I’ll sacrifice the wireless and take the better sound.  You keep the BT.





4. Nextel.  Why am I using “push to talk”, which is a fancy way to say I’m using WWII technology?  If I wanted to use WWII tech, I woulda been born 60 years ago!  I want today’s tech.  I want WiFi in my phone.  I want SMS, texting, internet and pda features, not my grandfather’s Morse code.  Beep.  “Roger, over, we gotta great big convoy, over.”  “Roger, Shirley.  What’s your 10-20, over?”  “I’m at Kmart, and don’t call me Shirley.”









3. The Calculator Watch.  Back when I was in High School, in the very early 80s, YOU DID NOT WEAR THESE!  That was the equivalent of wearing a shirt that said, “Hit me, I’m a great big loser!”  Of course, times changed and it’s now cool to be not-cool.  Or so you think…














2. Dot.Coms.  I don’t want to say alot here, except that these self important aholes ran around making everyone else feel like they were missing not just a boat, but the mother of all freight-liners.  These teenieboppers would say self-important things like, “I consider myself a visionary.”  Then they’d lose a venture capitalist’s 5 million dollar stake.  Dot Bombs.






1. I saved the worst for last.  When I was a dumbass newbie to the internet, I thought AOL was the internet.  Technically, it may not be a failure, but its customer service and business model should not be copied or envied.  Once installed on your computer, it can never truly be eradicated.  People have nightmares trying to cancel the service.  They have traditionally been overpriced, and even when they went to their no-fee service, many of their customers were not aware.  When someone tells me their email is AOL, I know they have no clue.  According to PCWorld magazine, “it has never overcome the stigma of being the online service for people who don’t know any better.”

Confession time.  I have to admit I did take a little artistic license with a couple of the items on the list, but you’ll have to guess which ones, as if it’s not obvious.  Have fun with it and please feel free to add your own.  My list started off as strictly humor, and I only threw in a couple semi-serious ones in there.  I’d love to hear what you would add or change.


July 31, 2007 - Posted by | Accessories, Opinions, Windows, Windows Mobile

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