10 technologies that are completely ruining your fun
22nd Jun 2013 | 11:00
Meet the fun killers, the buzz harshers and the bleeping BlackBerries
The world can be a sad and scary place, so it's important to find fun wherever you can.
For some of us that means calling in sick when there's a new Call of Duty to play; for others it's hurling a battered Ford Fiesta down a back road at 300mph; and for many of us it's listening to music or going to a show.
Unfortunately for us, tech can be used to make our favourite things considerably less fun. These are our least favourite buzz kills from the world of tech - have we missed any of your major offenders?
Back in the old days, work was something you did at work. It didn't follow you home and demand the latest sales figures when you ate your dinner, it didn't sneak on board the plane when you went on holiday and it didn't flash LEDs at you when you spent quality time with the kids.
Then RIM invented the CrackBerry, turning work into an always-on, inescapable activity.
2. Browser detection
Used wisely, browser detection is a good thing - you don't want a full-fat, Flash-heavy website if you're on a small phone. Unfortunately it's largely used unwisely, showing tablet users sites designed for teeny-tiny screens and yelling WE HAVE AN APP WE HAVE AN APP DO YOU WANT TO BUY OUR APP GO ON IT'S AN APP BUY THE APP BUY THE APP BUY THE APP when you're trying to find a bus timetable.
3. Online ticketing
Going to live events used to be simple. Bands or comedians would advertise their shows, you'd phone the box office, and after a bit of redialling you'd be able to get tickets. Touts were a rare breed and individual tickets didn't cost more than you earned in a fortnight.
Now, the combination of bots and armchair touts means that any high-profile gig sells out in milliseconds - not to fans, but to people who instantly put the tickets on auction and secondary ticketing sites for even more than the already ridiculous ticket price.
Think we're exaggerating? There are Rolling Stones/Bon Jovi tickets on ViaGogo that will set you back £42,489.82 for six people. That includes a £5,400 booking fee.
4. Social media
The list of social media fun-killers includes strangers' boring baby photos, constant product pimping and stupid games, but the big fun-buster is when your friends grass you up by tagging you in their updates, photos or check-ins. It ruins sickies and "I'd love to come, but I'm going to a work thing" excuses, and makes it awfully hard to avoid Boring Dave when the people you're with have just told him your precise location.
5. Black boxes in cars
Booting crap cars around - and sometimes off - twisty roads is a teenage rite of passage, but in-car telematics and electronic driver aids are putting a stop to it.
Systems such as Ingenie's black box keep an eye on teen drivers' behaviour - steering, cornering, swerving, braking, acceleration and speed - and adjust their insurance premiums accordingly, while cars increasingly intervene if they think you're doing something stupid.
It all makes sense from a safety point of view, of course, but it's just a matter of time before mum and dad can use an iPad app to make sure their offspring don't exceed 10mph. Ford's nearly there already.
6. Compression in music
There are two kinds of compression ruining music: there's the compression that takes the original audio, throws bits out and creates a smaller MP3 or AAC file, and there's the compression that's used in studios to make music sound louder.
Both make music sound worse, the former by making everything sound squishy and the latter turning even delicate acoustic tracks into something that sounds like Muse driving a heavily armoured space tank. Every March, Dynamic Range Day tries to stop such tomfoolery and gets completely ignored.
Did you know TV legend Bob Holness played the sax in Baker Street? *tap tap tap* "No mate, that's an urban myth, it was Raphael Ravenscroft." Damn you, Google! Damn your quiz-killing, bullshit-quashing, argument-ending eyes!
You were out, but you recorded tonight's must-watch show - Game of Thrones, maybe, or The Apprentice. You settle down on the sofa. "I'll just have a quick look at Twitter first," you say to yourself. Don't do it! Don't do it! TWITTER IS SPOILERS!
GPS has many benefits, but of course it takes the fun out of travelling too: many people's best travel memories are from things that happened or places they found when they hadn't the faintest clue where they were or where they were going.
Even if you're not globetrotting GPS can be a pain: Find My Phone apps can be used to track people if you know their password, and some employers use GPS tracking to make sure their staff aren't slacking off or heading home early.
10. Other people's cameraphones
It's bad enough having to make sure you look perfect and don't fall on your backside lest a passer-by put you on YouTube, but the real pain is when you've waited all year to see a show and then you can't see a damn thing because everybody's holding their phones up to capture footage they'll never, ever watch.
Some artists are taking a stand, but we're not optimistic: we've heard reports of people filming gigs with iPads. iPads!