People rip on useless gadgets peddled by Silicon Valley start-ups every passing day. I think such products are pretty harmless unless you fund them on platforms such as Kickstarter or Indigogo. In a way you can choose not to get involved in this madness. But what I genuinely despise are the mainstream products and features that slowly suck the joy out of your life. And they are so prevalent that you can’t even take them out of your life. So, let’s shame those products, shall we?
Smart TV Keyboards
I grew up with a CRT TV that had a dial to select a channel. Obviously, I was overjoyed when we finally bought a TV set with a remote controller. I no longer had to get off the couch to change a channel. Fast forward to today, and we now have “smart” TVs. These television sets enable us to watch content off the Internet as per our convenience. Unfortunately, despite dozens of fancy features, these “smart” TVs absolutely suck when it comes to typing a couple of words in a search bar. Based on the streaming service or manufacturer, you get to see A-Z or QWERTY virtual keyboard layouts. The arrangement of keys doesn’t really matter though. It is the process of going back and forth between the character that gets you. The sheer number of times you must click the arrow buttons to write a single word is insane! Alternatively, you can use a wand-like air remote that offers a virtual pointer. However, to make it work properly, you need the precision of a neurosurgeon and virtue of a monk. In short, these two options are like choosing between herpes and syphilis. I don’t why in this day and age, we still haven’t figured out a functional keyboard for “smart” TVs.
If paying Rs 200 for a glass of Pepsi wasn’t bad enough, multiplexes across India shove 3D movies down your throat. Almost every person I discuss movies with tells me how much he hates those dorky glasses. I don’t count it as a problem though. I despise 3D cinema due of the extremely dim picture. If you have ever watched a dark movie such as Prometheus in 3D, you will know what I’m talking about. There’s an explanation behind this. For 3D cinema, projectors are required to light up two separate pictures. This results in the loss of almost 50 percent of brightness in some cases. Furthermore, the polarization required for 3D projection also affects the brightness. Finally, the 3D glasses make things worse by absorbing some light. Of course, filmmakers can plan for this in advance by shooting the movie with brightness cranked up to compensate for the loss of luminance in 3D. James Cameron did exactly that for Avatar, but as a result it now looks awfully bright on TV or mobile screens. Moreover, 3D cinema only separates visual planes, which is why credits or subtitles appear to float above the picture. These separations of layers also mess up with popular cinematography techniques such as shallow depth of field. So overall, the only thing 3D is good at is making the moviegoers pay extra for stupid glasses.
Electric Hand Dryers
I used to think that a leaf blower is humanity’s worst invention that just moves garbage from one place to another. But then I encountered an electric hand dryer in a public bathroom. Sure, it is said to be more environment friendly compared to paper napkins. But it literally sprays fecal matter on your hands. This came to light when researchers studied around 36 bathrooms at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Air in washrooms is far from healthy, but normally the concentration of bacteria is not enough to cause any harm. But, since the hand dryers suck up the surrounding air and release it on to your hands, you are hit by a high concentration of bacteria and other pathogens. It is said that this air can cause serious harm to people with weak immune system. The results are so disturbing that the researchers have stopped using electric hand dryers and even the University of Connecticut School of Medicine now stocks paper napkins in all washrooms.
I have been using smartphones since the good-old days of Symbian. I appreciate how Android has rushed the innovations in this industry. But every once a while, Google adds an absolutely feature to its mobile platform. And nothing bothers me more than the split-screen multitasking on Android mobile devices. Seriously, have you ever used this feature? It is distracting as hell and confusing at its best. I multitask a lot, but that’s limited to switching between applications. I stream using Amazon Music, reply a message on WhatsApp before checking with teams on Slack. This happens in a sequence. On the other hand, Android’s split-screen feature presents these windows simultaneously. I just don’t understand how these distracting little windows can help you multitask in any way.