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10 Major Tech Blunders in 2012

Robert X. Cringely July 5, 2012
The year is only half over, but Cringely has no problem picking 10 big flops, flubs, and faceplants in high tech.
  • As we celebrate the end of the first half of the last year of our lifetimes (damn those Mayans and their apocalyptic predictions), it's a good time to reflect on the more notable miscues of 2012. Here's my list of the top (or more accurately, bottom) screwups of this year so far.

  • 1. The Facebook Faceplant: It was the most eagerly anticipated IPO since the Greeks handed the Trojans that big-ass horse - and the results were about as disastrous for small-time investors. Instead of a return to boom times for high-tech stocks, we witnessed a clusterfrak of epic proportions.

  • 2. Patent Absurdity: If at times it seemed this past spring that the tech industry had been taken over by an insane patent attorney posse, that's because it was. Facebook and Yahoo, Apple and Samsung, Oracle and Google - the list feels endless.

  • 3. Yahoos at the Resumegates: Disgruntled investor Dan Loeb, unhappy with the choice of Thompson as Yahoo CEO, used the fake resume to put Scott Thompson back on the unemployment lines three months after he took the job no sane person wants.

  • Seriously, Siri?: When bloggers at WMPower User asked Siri, "What's the best cellphone ever?" and Apple's Intelligent Assistant piped up, "Nokia Lumia 900." Ofcourse, Apple reprogrammed her to respond with the name of the One True Phone from now on.

  • Google's Lying and Spying: Did Google knowingly slurp down data from millions of open Wi-Fi networks for years and not tell anyone about it? Yes, it did. But it also continually stalled investigators probing into the spying and lied about what it knew and when it knew it.

  • SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA - oh my: The three-headed beast of ill-considered Congressional legislation went on a rampage through the Internet village this spring. While Netizens succcessfully cut off two heads via a well-supported Internet "blackout," CISPA remains.

  • Cold War Code Wars: Under a program initiated under President Bush, the U.S. did inject the Stuxnet worm - jointly developed by the NSA and Israeli secret service - into an Iranian uranium processing plant, screwing up centrifuges and spoiling the batch.

  • WinPho Blows Smoke: Microsoft set up a contest whereby if any other smartphone user could defeat a WinPho7 at basic tasks, he would win a $1,000 HP laptop. Android user Sahas Katta won, at which point the contest was declared null and void: Katta finally got the laptop a day later.

  • For Apple, "j***break" is a Four-Letter Word: On the same day that hearings were being held on whether to amend the DMCA to continue to allow jailbreaking of iPhones, someone at the Apple Store censored the word "jailbreak" - even on the Thin Lizzy recording of the same name.

  • Leak House In January, hacker group Lords of Dharmaraja posted source code for Norton AntiVirus. Recently, LinkedIn had more than 6 million hashed user passwords stolen and posted online. Will the last site too lazy to shore up its security practices please turn off the InterWebs?

Source: InfoWorld (US)