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This is a question Crap Gadgets

We wanted a monkey butler and bought one off eBay. Imagine our surprise when we found it was just an ordinary monkey with rabies. Worse: It had no butler training at all. Tell us about your duff technology purchases.

Thanks to Moonbadger for the suggestion

(, Thu 29 Sep 2011, 12:51)
Pages: Popular, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Can't remember who made it
but it was a cup of tea/coffee maker which you set up the night before with raw ingredients (water and coffee for me ) and then you spent a blissful night sleeping secure in the knowledge that ten minutes before it was set to wake you up it would start to brew the perfect cup for you , so when you wake up you just have to reach across and enjoy . Unfortunately the ten minutes brewing time largely comprised of a water torture like trickle of hot water dropping into the cup meaning you woke up before the alarm bursting for a pish and forced to get up to void your bladder . Used it twice .
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 13:16, 12 replies)
Mrs Vagabond very kindly bought me a PS2 for my birthday when the slimmer, smaller versions came out. This was (I presume)because I'd made vaguely lustful noises when passing shops about how the games looked like fun, and that she's absolutely lovely.

She got me Silent Hill IV, and Wipeout Extreme (or whatever it's called).

We played Silent Hill together - that was relatively fun - one would map read and problem-solve while the other would zombie-bash (not a euphemism).

Wipeout - the interest lasted about ... ten, maybe fifteen minutes.

I just don't get computer games. They make me feel so aware of how many books I have to read, music to listen to, and how many chores there are to do around the house.

I enjoy photoshop - I can disappear into that for hours on end, producing some of the most carefully created and phenomenally pretentious work known to man.

But computer games? Really? It's a beautiful day outside.

We thought about moving a few years ago, and it went into storage. Hasn't been seen since.
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 12:23, 28 replies)
The day the magic died
As a lad, our annual summer hols were for many years spent at the South East's premier coastal hot-spot: Hastings.

One year whilst perusing the usual tat on the beach-front shops I spotted a circular tank which contained a bright blue worm. The worm had big goggly eyes and a long nose, but amazingly it was wriggling up and down a wooden pole (arf!)

I'd never seen such a creature, and amazingly this one (and dozens of others) were available to buy for the paltry sum of 50 pence.

I begged my parents to let me get one, but they refused on the grounds it was a load of old tut. I was confused and angry, why couldn't they see how amazing this was?

The following year the worm was still there and available to buy. I was determined not to be denied and talked incessantly about said worm until my parents could stand it no longer.

Handing over my 50p, the sense of anticipation was immense. I had it all planned out, I'd train my worm to crawl across my arms and then into the pocket on my shirt (like the way he did in the instructional videos that ran next to the tank). I'd be dazzling the kids back at the caravan park, and then be the talk of the school after the summer hols.

None of these things happened obviously. A part of my childhood died that day when it transpired that my new pet was in fact a fluorescent pipe-cleaner with a length of fishing wire attached.
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 12:18, 4 replies)
Nintendo have it in for me.
Nintendo Wii - Bought it for 130, played it for a day then it went unused for about 3 months until I discovered House of the Dead on Wii. I played it for about a week solid. Then the disc broke. Haven't used it since.

DS Lite - I was coerced into buying this, got a couple of games for it then about 2 days in I got bored. Then about a month goes past and I pick it up again, completely dead, wouldn't charge or anything.

Nintendo hates me and I will have my revenge. Revenge of some kind which I will have to think of at some point because I have a low attention..... squirrels!
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 12:08, Reply)
So much tech, so much crap....
I'll start with the Toshiba MSX computer I got for Christmas as a small boy when all my mates were getting Spectrums or Commodore 64s. MSX was a consortium with Sony, Panasonic and Toshiba all building computers that ran the same OS - theoretically it wasn't bad; it had 64kB of RAM, a 16 colour on-screen pallette (out of 32 total, I believe) and was built like a Volvo. Realistically, however, the available software was scares, expensive and, without exception, total shite. When the best game was one where you played the animated Toshiba man (from the "alright Tosh, gotta Toshiba?" adverts" running across a circuit board, you know it's a poor lineup of games... Needless to say, it went to the soonest available car-boot sale once my parents were able to see the error of their ways, to be replaced by a C64.

Sony Clie PDA - it ran PalmOS and had a backlit colour screen, but with a bespoke screen resolution which meant any Palm Apps installed either looked awful and stretched, or were unable to run (it sat part-way between the "standard" Palm resolutions and didn't match the "High-Res" Palm resolution. It did, however, have a full Qwerty keyboard that doubled as a screen-cover. Required (expensive) Sony MemoryGate memory sticks if you wanted to listen to MP3s or play a video clip. It did, however, have a (low-res) camera that could do video and decent battery life. Sadly, though, it went the way of all other non-smartphone PDAs as things like BlackBerries and iPhones rendered them obsolete. I think my mum still has the old Handspring PDA (monochrome) that went with her PowerMac (beige, pre-G3). Again, it's obsolete, but it did what it was supposed to do pretty well.

RAMBUS memory - remember that? I bought a workstation for work in 2001 with 4GB of RAMBUS memory (for 3d and video work); the memory alone cost me in excess of 3,000. I didn't mind, as this was the only available workstation configuration with that quantity of memory and it did the job, but RAMBUS as the "new" memory standard? Puh-lease. There are probably people on here who have seen some in the flesh, but it's as rare as rocking horse shit now. In it's defence, whilst RAMBUS may have not been as quick as it had been expected to be, it was the only way to get that much memory in a PC. Also, I have *never* had it have a memory fault and require replacement, which is no bad thing given that the machine is now ten years old and still in use as a test bench, so it's held up better than a lot of SDRAM I have seen come and go in the same time...

SKY+ HD box. Don't get me wrong, I like my HD telly channels and the ability to pause Spooks to go for a wee is great, but there are two things that annoy me greatly about Sky's HD box. Firstly, the program guide is awful - the listing part is ok, if laggy, but trying to search for a program either never works, or never finds what you ask for. Secondly, is the size of the storage. I have a wife and child, so there is inevitably always a dozen episodes of Fireman Sam, Waybuloo, etc. to amuse my daughter along with the Borgias and a few episodes of Hollyoaks for my wife, yet when I go to record a couple of rugby matches, I inevitably have only about 12% of the available space left and end up hving to delete programs I haven't had time to watch due to being out at work. Given that even a monkey can understand that HD signals are pushing out a higher data rate, then surely it doesn't take a genius to make the connection that maybe the storage disc might need to be larger than that in a standard Sky+ box. It's the little frustrations that make all the difference in whether a gadget is indispensable or total crap, I think.
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 11:44, 14 replies)
Another games console one
Not me, but a mate, bought both an N-Gage and a Gizmondo.
Total spend: ~500
Total time used: ~30 minutes
Disapointment: total
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 11:02, 3 replies)
A mini 'iphone'
Buying one of these would have been bad enough. The fact that I bought one from my then girlfriend's mother after she had bought it in Thailand. We split up soon after that, the ex had bought one as well but swiftly sold it on ebay. I spent 100 on it (the mini iphone that is) so decided to give it a bash for a month.

They do look like what a mini iphone would look like, if such a device existed. As the screen is pretty small you require a stylus to navigate through the options. A little annoying but with determination and patience I was able to go into my phonebook and call someone. Texting required for me to be doing nothing else, and was impossible after 2-3 pints without me crying in frustation and my mates rolling about the place at my troubles.

The best thing about it was the 2 sim card slots, they both worked. This is over 2 years ago so I was reasonably impressed. Anyway, it didn't matter as soon after it died and only switched on every 5th attempt. Should have sold it on ebay straight away, the bitch of an ex actually made a profit! It was a scam.
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 10:59, Reply)
Drink holders in desktop PC's. Waste of plastic!
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 10:48, Reply)
My uni housemate had a stereo that did all kinds of interesting stuff
One of its features was that your could enter your date of birth, the stereo would calculate your "biorhythm" and then suggest a genre of music you might enjoy from one of its speaker presets like Rock, Jazz, Pop, Folk or Soul. I rather liked it as it reminded me of Dirk Gently's I Ching calculator.

Of course, to get the best out of it you also had to own at least one CD from each of the above genres...
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 10:44, 2 replies)
One of those bloody "posture" chairs that you're meant to kneel at.
We both ended up using the kneeling bit as a foot rest.

Crap position for alone time, too.

Bloody awful devices.
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 10:00, 14 replies)
Depends who you ask
If you speak to Mrs no. 5 the mango slicer designed to make preparing the delicious tropical flesh of this juicy rotund tree produce is a pile of shit that makes a mess, splits parts of the nut off, bruises the insides, crushes her fingers and makes her wish she hadn't bothered before she then returns to grabbing a knife and trying to make the best of a bad job. She loves mango.

If you speak to me I will tell it's great, taking me all of three seconds to split a mango into two easy to consume halves and a nut to chuck out. Shame I can't fucking stand mango.
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 8:05, 4 replies)
Not my gadget...
... but inspired by sandettie light vessel automatic's post about the ice crusher, which reminded me of it.

I was working on some radio equipment in a meat "processing" plant, where basically they make sausages and burgers. Much of the meat for this starts off as quite large bits of beef or pork, which arrives frozen at -24C. It's allowed to warm up to -18C (warm is a relative term) slowly, then up to around -10C before being chucked into the gigantic mincers.

Now these mincers consist of a steel hopper about the size of a JCB front bucket, on a massive steel frame made of scaffolding poles welded together. Inside is a big whirling blade and a sort of auger thing that pushes the meat out through the mincer. It's really important that the meat is thoroughly thawed to -10C before being chucked in though.

The one I saw in their workshop had been fed some meat at -24C. The massive three-phase motor about the size of a beer keg had whirled the blade around, got jammed, and then the meat had ripped the side of the hopper open, bending two of the scaff pole legs and tearing the motor off its mountings.

Apparently someone manages to do this about once every two months there.
(, Mon 3 Oct 2011, 0:13, Reply)
Bread Maker
The wife bought one of these, and set about making bread with a commendable sense of purpose. The results were delicious. There's nothing quite like coming down first thing in the morning to the smell of freshly baked bread.

Unfortunately, like any new fad, the initial enthusiasm began to fade and it now sits on the work surface gathering dust. If only I could convince wifey to make some more bread again. which brings me to me to my off-colour joke:

What's this difference between a wife and a breadmaker? You only have to punch the information into a bread maker, once.

Joke! Joke!

I'd never hit an inanimate object.
(, Sun 2 Oct 2011, 23:02, 7 replies)
Breville VKJ142 Energy Saving Hot (one) Cup Water Kettle
Ever thought you could improve on the kettle for the convenience of making a cup of tea? No? Well it turns out you can. Enter the Breville HotCup:

By just boiling what you need you can save energy. With the Breville HotCup you just press a button and it dispenses one cup of boiling water, so you choose the right number of cups to boil. Tens of millions of pounds are wasted on unnecessary electricity each year by people boiling water they don't need. So why not avoid wasting your hard-earned cash on hefty electricity bills and just boil the number of cups you need? Spend your money on something fun! By saving energy you are also reducing the drain on the world's natural resources, which is never a bad thing!"

Except, of course, you can't adjust the amount of water that comes out of the thing. Meaning, you have to empty half the liquid down the sink (or into the drip tray). Not so eco-friendly now eh? Fortunately we found a solution... BIGGER CUPS! The planet is saved. Hoorah!
(, Sun 2 Oct 2011, 22:48, 6 replies)
I'd forgotten this one. I think I've tried to wipe its very existence from my memory and only attempting to use it this evening has reminded me.

I bought a PS3. This seemed like a sensible decision at the time - a humble PS1 had entertained and delighted through University years, my PS2 had been a thing of joy and wonderment, so when Sainsbury's had a cut-price deal on the latest incarnation I thought I couldn't go wrong with Sony's portly wunderkind.

It is the single most disappointing object I have ever owned. Turning it on is akin to opening a crushing vortex of disappointment, enough to envelope the entire lounge with a sense of despairing gloom.

I bought a game for it. It has a picture of a car on the box, but from the gameplay I've experienced so far it would be better titled "Downloading Update". Sometimes I get to the second level, where you have to download a "System Update" to "Sign In", and once I discovered a driving minigame where AI cars ram you off the track until you get bored and start again, but mostly it's a slightly more graphically enhanced copy of Microsoft Progress Bar Simulator.

So anyway, I cut my losses and stopped trying to play games on it, assuming it would at least need electricity to disappoint. At which point it rebelled and used some kind of magic disappointment force to give my personal details to Bad People From The Internet.

This wasn't so bad as I hadn't really given it much more than my name owing to being too disappointed by the awkward input scheme, and I did get some free games as an apology. One of them is the Neutral Entertainment Game. It entertains me to precisely the level of my natural decay towards boredom. I will finish playing it exactly as entertained as I was before I started. Some might question how this is disappointing but - aha! - it's the psychological long game of disappointment, disappointing through the medium of questioning the existential emptiness of everything.

The other game I haven't tried, but every so often it wakes the PS3 up at a random time and re-downloads all 7 or 8 GB of game files. I assume it's a version of "Downloading Update" that plays itself. If you weren't already in enough of an existential crisis from Neutral Entertainment Game then hah, how do you feel now you realise the console doesn't even need you, the player?

The worst thing about it, though, is it has somehow managed to infect an HDMI cable with its disappointingness, as if the plastic casing has failed to contain such a huge amount of disappointment. There's a MTBF of about 15 minutes before the screen will go blank and you'll need to wiggle the cable to get a picture back. So the one thing it could do well, playing DVD and Blu-Ray video, it has managed to render itself useless at. All it has left to give now is disappointment.

(At least until I buy a new cable for it to consume with its overpowering negativity.)
(, Sun 2 Oct 2011, 22:42, 4 replies)
I make and paint models for historical wargaming.
So I've bought a hell of a lot of brushes in different shapes and sizes, thinking they'd be the answer to my inability to paint properly.
What I've learnt is that one good medium sized brush with a fine point does about 98% of my painting. That one cost less than a pint. Then one wide flat brush from a dirt cheap Lidl set for big scenery jobs. And an old knackered one for drybrushing.
That leaves about fifty quid's worth of expensive shite that will never be used again, except for making my brush pot look full.
And I bought all of them when I was on the dole.
(, Sun 2 Oct 2011, 22:16, 1 reply)
hypochondria and fringe gadgetry
Full spectrum sunshine alarm clock - 100 (death by ribena, not particularly effective either)

Brain rhythm temple electrocuting device - 150 (a tens maching for the head - unpleasant, unlikely to do anything, unused for years, probably illegal)

egely wheel chi meter - 120 - fun though.

all I need now is one of those fucking electric allergy testers that operate based on magic. The worst "gadget" gadget that I've ever bought was probably a Diamond Rio 128MB mp3 player which cost a fortune and somewhat predictably didn't have any space for music.

and I'm spent.
(, Sun 2 Oct 2011, 20:55, Reply)
In the same vein as my previous post
I'd like it to go on record that "Mr Frosty" is indeed a gadget. It is indeed a drinks maker dressed up as kids' toy. I know a surprising number of people, myself included who wanted one as a kid and never got it. When my own kids were about 7 or 8, they got one for Christmas.

I wish I had the same foresight that my parents had when they chose not to get me one all those years ago.

Here's the 1980s advert

You pop in the ice, turn the handle, out comes slush. Hurrah. Except not. Look at the ice at 0:11. That is ice fresh from an ice cube tray. Fresh ice like that is incredibly tough. It's tough enough to rip a hole in the sides of Titanics and the like. There are boats called ice-breakers. It is no serendipitous design department that fits them with 75,000HP engines rather than several 8 year olds cranking plastic handles turning small blades.

That advert is a con. I experimented with it, and the ice needs to be at most 50% frozen to have any success with the damn thing.
(, Sun 2 Oct 2011, 20:01, 3 replies)
Anything that requires you to "Send no money now!!!" on the shopping channel.
The Rap-Tou could do everything, providing you was the bloke on QVC. Every other person that bought one, including my mate's sister, very quickly realised that the hand-cranked cheese grater wasn't as capable as they made out. Nor was the feature that created julienne carrots. Fresh, raw carrots are considerably tougher than the plastic this thing was made from. And the feature where it shelled and diced a boiled egg leaving the shell in the little chamber?

That didn't work as was expected. Egg shell is bad news in your sandwich.
(, Sun 2 Oct 2011, 19:40, Reply)
Sony Ericsson accessories
Specifically the bits for my T68i I bought for an ass load of cash about a decade ago. It had no built in camera, MP3 player or radio, unlike todays smart phones. You could however purchase the afore mentioned gizmos in the form of fairly bulky clip on accessories. So I had to choose which bits to take with me for the day, lest I be burdened with the whole dam lot of them. Especially useless was the MP3 widget, which used SD cards, which at the time cost about as much as the phone itself for one with a reasonable capacity. The bundled card was a hefty 32Mb, which meant I could squeeze an impressive dozen songs on it at best, after hearing the same 12 songs repeated about 6 or 7 times during a shift at work, it was quickly tossed into a drawer somewhere, where I believe it still resides today. I now have a smug twat-esque smart phone, with a reasonable 8Gb of storage, enough for about 5 days of non stop musical joy, so could listen music all day every day at work for about two weeks without ever hearing a song twice (shuffle off of course) and how often do I use this "wonder of modern technology" to while away the hours of boredom at work? Correct, never....

At least I never bought the bluetooth controlled mini RC car, although I was tempted.
(, Sun 2 Oct 2011, 15:33, 5 replies)
My wallet-stealing bits of tat
Ohhhh....where do I begin? Not in any sort of chronological order because my brane doesn't work like that....

Let's start with the PalmPilot. I know that sounds like a Wanking Machine (thank you Brian Blessed) but it was the iPad of it's day. It had a calender and 'phonebook and, well, everything. Actually, just a calender and a 'phonebook. However, you could download really rubbish applications from the interweb and install them from my Pentium 75 powered laptop from Time Computers that cost 1500 (I had an internet connection via my Ericsson SH888 (see: for more details). The best app was the TimeClock! Since I was a contractor and paid by the minute, time spent working was important and this little app allowed me to put in my hourly rate and press a button to record when I started and stopped work. It also had a real-time display so I could watch the pennies roll in. I loved going for a nice dump and just looking at the screen.

Three-second-kettle. This sounds like a genius idea and it actually is. A kettle that makes a cup of boiling water in three seconds is brilliant. Not so brilliant is the fact that it makes the sound of a tractor and is loud enough to wake up the entire neighborhood. Go here for a demo (please note that this is the deluxe verion; I bought the shit one):

Sony Walkman. Or actually a rather cheap and nasty Taiwanese copy of one that was almost the size of a housebrick and weighed roughly about the same. I took it to Spain in 1981-ish when Spanish holidays were something a bit more rare than they are now. All through the flight the pilot kept on speaking to us about not using electronic equipment since it was interfering with his radio signal. Once we landed I took the cassette player out of my bag and realised it was slowly going cliiiiccckk, clliiiiccckkk due to the fact that it'd got to the end of the tape and was trying to 'auto-stop' while the play button had got stuck down. Still, no-one died.

Infra-red headphones. Yes, I could walk about without wires, listening to my music wherever I went! No. If I turned my head more than 25 degrees or so the signal got cut off so I ended up sitting stock-still on the sofa looking like a frozen mannequin. My girlfriend did ask me why I didn't just use normal headphones but I didn't like to admit I'd spent 125 on something that was utter crap.

Samsung B7330. A mobile 'phone but with many flaws. One of which is the vibrate function; when it rings, it vibrates. Pretty standard stuff you say but it doesn't stop vibrating. Until the battery runs out. Believe me, it hurts after an important ten minute call to a customer. It also sometimes doesn't ring and lets you know you're being called by popping up a message 15 minutes later to tell you that you have a missed call.

There are many, many more bits of crap that I've bought over the years so may edit this post later.
(, Sun 2 Oct 2011, 14:50, 1 reply)
I bought a tanning bed
whose settings were all wrong. Boy was my face orange.
(, Sun 2 Oct 2011, 12:31, 4 replies)
NAD, your T747 is a disaster.
Look, NAD, I love you. You introduced me to Hi-Fi at precisely the right age with your lovely little 3020i integrated amp, and I've been a loyal cheerleader for your real world approach to power ratings and your "sound first" circuit design with selectable bypasses at every point that could potentially muddy the sound. Your amps sound remarkable for the price. Just gorgeous, so weighty, and so listenable. Unflappable. Soft clipping is something you should license out.

But your T747 is a real hunk of shit.

Allow me to put forward my grievances here. The amp sounds great. It really does. It sounds fantastic. The amp section is phenomenal for the price. Audiophile grade. But this is an A/V receiver, and the digital processing part of the thing is just about the worst thought-out pile of standards-avoiding nonsense I've yet encountered.

Firstly, video upscaling is a handy thing in an AVR. Your choice of a Faroudja chip is commendable, but all my video sources put out 1080p and my TV's scaler is pretty good, so why can I not bypass it? AVR upscaling adds lag, and lag is something that does not sit well with someone who plays a lot of games with his home theatre.

To crown the irritation, not only does the upscaler decrease the quality of the 1080p video it's fed, it can't seem to believe that because I reside outside the USA, I have any need for a 60Hz frame rate. So it completely judders through all the 24Hz and 60Hz video I have (that's nearly all my video, because I watch Blu-ray) at 50Hz. No, the auto-frame-rate-selection feature doesn't work at all.

So I bypassed this idiocy by purchasing (at some expense) an HDMI splitter and source selector for all my HDMI devices (a lot) that sends the video to the TV and the audio to the AVR. Problem sort of solved, although my collection of behind-the-rack-power strips is starting to creak at the strain of the wall-warts for all the active devices I'm amassing.

Secondly, your choice of DAC certainly isn't the worst in terms of sound quality, but why in Satan's name is it unable to lock onto a silent stream within or for more than two seconds? Every time I fire up an album on CD or my SqueezeBox Touch, I have to habitually press pause and then skip back to the beginning to hear the opening notes. Don't tell me about jitter or PLL or anything, because I had a bottom rung Sony HTiB that managed apparently instantaneous lock onto S/PDIF signals and would not drop them at the hint of a row of zeroes. This is frankly, bollocks in any device that can play back PCM digital sources with a sampling rate as high as stupefying high and rare as 192kHz, and yours can. So why does it struggle to recognise 44.1kHz?

So I complained a bit, and it turns out my firmware was out of date. But naturally, the firmware is not user updateable. Car-less me had to take my enormous hunk of metal to the nearest licensed NAD service agent (MILES away). Which fixed nothing.

Not even the "preset" mode which is supposed to select, based on the source, the right DSP algorithm (I only want Dolby Pro Logic II applied to my TV's sound). I have to select it manually every time.

But it does sound very good, and when your improved-in-every-way, modular, upgradeable T757 reaches the same clearance pricepoint I got this poor, confused device at, then I will likely sell it and upgrade.
(, Sun 2 Oct 2011, 4:03, 16 replies)
Anyone remembered about this one yet?
(, Sat 1 Oct 2011, 19:31, 2 replies)

(, Sat 1 Oct 2011, 17:31, 1 reply)

(, Sat 1 Oct 2011, 17:31, 2 replies)

(, Sat 1 Oct 2011, 17:21, 2 replies)
I didn't like the episodes where Penny and Brain got him out of scrapes.

(, Sat 1 Oct 2011, 17:13, 2 replies)
That is all.
(, Sat 1 Oct 2011, 17:10, Reply)

This question is now closed.

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