9 technologies we need to take outside and shoot

If these technologies were horses, they'd be glue by now


One of the great things about tech is that it's always changing. New and exciting ideas become products in no time, and yesterday's impossible ideas are today's everyday items.

But not all tech is like that. Some ideas don't know when it's time to go, and they hang around like a bad smell or unpopular politician.

If these technologies were horses, they'd be glue by now.

1. QWERTY keyboards

The whole point of a QWERTY keyboard is to slow you down: it was developed to stop fast typists from jamming their typewriters. It takes ages to learn, it's implicated in RSI and it's downright painful when it turns up on small devices.


BAD IDEA: QWERTY was designed for typewriters. Why on earth do we have it in tiny devices such as mobiles?

2. Cigar lighter sockets in cars

This isn't an anti-smoking thing; it's an anti-daft thing. The cigar lighter has long been used as a power supply, and many devices now depend on it - and yet we're still stuffing the power supplies for sat-navs, phone chargers and DVD players into endless adaptors because car firms haven't replaced the lighter with a proper plug socket. Smokers carry lighters anyway!


MORE USB: Wouldn't a proper plug socket or a bunch of USB ports built into the dashboard make more sense?

3. Proprietary chargers

We have two Sony cameras, a big one and a little one. Both use rechargeable batteries. The chargers are completely different. That's just daft. The EU is getting mobile phone firms to standardise on Micro USB, but why can't the uber-charger be extended to all our rechargeable gadgets, too?

Micro usb

STANDARDS ARE GOOD: For portable gadgets, standardising on USB - or better still, Micro USB - would save a great deal of cable clutter and waste [Image credit: Wikimedia]

4. Remote controls

We've got remote controls for our laptops, for our TV, for the set-top box, for the DVD, for the stereo… we've even got a remote control for a storage heater. Why can't we just have remotes that we can easily program to control all our stuff as standard?

Remote control

SENSIBLE: Firms such as Sony make universal remotes. Why can't we have them as standard?

5. Normal batteries

Have you ever seen anyone using those battery recycling bins in supermarkets? No, we haven't either. Battery technology is good enough - and chargers fast enough - to make the use of disposable ones an environmental crime. Every time you put in another set of Duracells you're metaphorically punching a polar bear in the face.

Battery charger

LESS WASTE: We're dumping millions of batteries into landfill, and yet rechargeables are cheap to buy and quick to charge

6. Incandescent light bulbs

Early energy saving bulbs often made your house look like the toilet blocks from Doom 3, casting a harsh blue glow so bright that it could stun unsuspecting visitors. Now, though, energy saving bulbs can be just as soft as incandescent ones, and they're no longer the size of King Kong's fist. Normal bulbs are just wasting energy for the sake of it.

Energy saving bulb

IMPROVED: Energy saving bulbs needn't mean horrible, harsh light. Bulbs such as Philips' "softone" range won't illuminate your internal organs

7. Colour inkjet printers

They cost a fortune to run, the cartridges are good for about three pages and the one time you actually need to print in colour you'll discover that you've used all the cyan. Printing photos? Supermarkets do a better job for less cash.

Ink refills

PRINT FAIL: Printer ink always seems to run out when you need it most

8. http://www in the address bar

For 99% of web browsing it's redundant, and Google Chrome dropped the http:// prefix in developer versions of its browser. OS News recommends simple icons instead. Sounds good to us.

Address bar

DELETE: For most web browsing, the http://www bit is redundant. So why bother with it?

9. DRM

It doesn't stop piracy but it does stop you backing up your Peppa Pig DVD collection. Madness.

Pirate bay

NO PROTECTION: A popular internet site, yesterday. If DRM worked it wouldn't exist


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