25 tech mistakes you should never make
8th Mar 2014 | 12:01
The tech errors you're bound to regret
25 tech mistakes you should never make: 1-13
Regrets, we've had a few - and they're not too few to mention.
The more tech you have in your life, the more tech regrets you're likely to have.
Whether it is the platform you jumped on just as everyone else jumped off, the phone battery that died at the worst possible moment, the moment of madness when you bought a Zune or a BlackBerry Playbook.
So which tech decisions are you likely to regret today?
These are our suggestions - let us know your own regrets in the comments.
1. Booting up a long-neglected console
Whenever we fancy a quick run-and-gun, our plans are foiled by enormous and essential updates we have to install before we can fire a single shot.
2. Expecting anything but tears from wireless printing
Wireless printers have three operating states: off, demanding ink, and hiding from your router.
3. Buying the Bad Windows
See if you can spot the pattern. Windows XP was good. Windows Vista wasn't. Windows 7 was good. Windows 8 appears to have destroyed the consumer PC industry. We're sure you can see where this is going.
4. Scrimping on storage
Manufacturers' prices for flash storage are often insane, but opting for the smallest capacity is almost always a mistake. The OS immediately grabs a bunch of gigabytes, and a half-dozen cat GIFs will quickly fill the rest.
5. Throwing out your DVDs because it's all on Netflix
We like Netflix as much as the next person, but we wouldn't rely on it for our movie library. Netflix reshuffles its content as streaming deals expire, so what's here today might not be there tomorrow.
6. Embracing the cloud when you have slow broadband
Cloud storage and streaming is great, if your connection is up to the job. If it isn't, you'd be quicker copying your media in Biro.
7. Forgetting the backup bit
Everybody knows that you should always back up your stuff before installing a major software update - but they know it in the same way that they know you should eat healthily, drink moderately and drive within the speed limit. For most of us, the "remember to backup!" bit of our brain only kicks in halfway through reformatting a hard disk.
8. Picking an 'hilarious' email address
Sure, email@example.com might seem like a good idea now. It won't seem so good when you're typing it into job application forms or emailing your kids' head teacher.
9. Taking photos at a gig
Even assuming you aren't using an iPad - something we'll continue to protest against, even though we know in our hearts that it's pointless - the odds of getting a decent smartphone shot at a gig are approximately zero, or less than that if you're using the flash.
10. Leaving the house with less than 63% battery life
63% might seem like a lot when you're at home, but that's because you have Wi-Fi and distractions. Step outside the front door and you're good for roughly six minutes.
11. Expecting a new Apple app to work the same
We're very glad Apple doesn't make white goods, as version 2 of an Apple washing machine would be a cooker, or a helicopter. As Final Cut Pro X and iWork customers learned the hard way, sometimes Apple updates keep the name and stick it on a completely different program.
12. Buying a Wii U
The U appears to stand for "unpopular". Developer support is dwindling and Mario's moustache is drooping.
13. Investing in a 3DTV
3DTV's time in the sun is already over: now it's all about 4K and UltraHD. It'll be back in glasses-free guise eventually, but for now it's the elephant in the room that you need stupid specs to see.
25 tech mistakes you should never make: 14-25
14. Downloading free mobile apps
Free generally means "stuffed with malware", "impossible to play without paying real cash money" or "full-screen video ads! Just what everyone wants!" Not all apps are like that, of course, but the good ones get bought by Facebook or Flipboard as soon as you start to rely on them.
15. Accepting friend requests from ancient mates
Remember them as they were, not as the bigots they've apparently all become.
16. Thinking a cheap printer is a good investment
Cheap printers are only cheap until you get them home. Their ink reservoirs are smaller than ants' bladders, they jam more often than Beyonce's backing band and the ink they use is pricier than plutonium.
17. Looking at anything at all online
Ad networks know what you're looking at, and they'll never let you forget about it. We looked at a shed in 1996, and our internet has been full of sheds ever since. And by sheds, we mean bras.
18. Buying BlackBerry
According to analysts at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, BlackBerry's European market share is down from last year's 3.4% to a barely-there 1.5%. This is not a platform whose best days are ahead of it.
19. Buying a phone running old-Android
There are two kinds of old-Android buyers: there are the people who don't care which version they have, and there are the people who bought a device expecting the manufacturer or network to provide a firmware update. The second lot are easy to spot, because they're crying.
20. Selling your old kit on ebay
Goodbye, kit! Goodbye, money!
21. Choosing car firms' in-car tech
Adding in-car entertainment and navigation to new cars can add thousands to the bill, but two years down the line the maps are out of date, the storage is stuffed and the iPod connector doesn't work because Apple's dumped the design. Proprietary in-car tech has a limited lifespan, but incoming systems such as Apple CarPlay don't: when you upgrade your phone, you upgrade your car tech too.
22. Keeping files in the wrong formats
If you're transcoding video, ripping music or storing anything for future safekeeping, make sure it's in a format you'll still be able to access years from now, not a format whose continued existence or copy protection system depends on the continued goodwill of a handful of companies (or worse, a single company).
23. Using social media after a few drinks
"I know, I'll pick a fight with Piers Morgan!"
24. Letting kids anywhere near your game discs
Jammy-fingered disc destruction just means a trip to the torrents when it's a CD or DVD, but a gubbed games disc means buying a fifty-quid game all over again. That and Barney the Dinosaur are very good reasons not to have children.
25. Early adoption of anything
Early adoption is rather like travelling during the school holidays or going to London: everything's horrible and costs a fortune.
Whether it's an iPhone or an Xbox One, if you're a day-one queuer you're paying a hefty price for bragging rights.