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Our BlackBerries aren’t working: Big tech’s blooper reel

It’s a pickle (well, technically it’s a fruit), all this recent BlackBerry bother, with users round the world losing coverage thanks to some mysterious blight spoiling RIM’s produce. But let’s be fair: even in it’s shoddiest moments, RIM’s BlackBerry has good company when it comes to big tech failings.

Google’s Gmail, for instance, is so regularly unreliable that there is a dedicated website for checking whether or not it’s gone kaput. Type “gmail” into Google and the third result from the suggestions is “Gmail down”. Type “Is Gmail” into Google and “Is Gmail down” is the first suggestion. And just to reiterate, we’re typing this into Google.

PlayStation gamers have had a rough year of it, with the entire PlayStation Network taken offline for almost a month after it was set upon by hackers. The result was a peaceful three weeks without Call of Duty, in which virtual combatants on both sides laid down their guns, talked about their families and played football together in the snow. And in the real world, an online nerd mob nicked your credit card details. Cue much crowing from Xbox 360 fanboys, who for a heavenly 23 days could forget that the Xbox 360 has four warning light combinations built into it to let gamers know exactly which part of their console has melted when it bricks itself.

Then there are companies that launch whole product lines seemingly without vetting them. When the iPhone 4 came along to “change everything again”, it took just days for early birds to howl into the Twitterverse that their iPhones were dropping signal thanks to an exposed antenna band. And that was before the complaints about shattering screens, shattering backs, discolouration of the display, and Apple’s response that all of this was basically our fault for holding it wrong.

So take heart the next time you arrive home to find your Sky+ box recording Romanian rolling news instead of Wallander, or the next time your ill-programmed GPS dumps you in a lake in the Forest of Dean. If billion pound companies with the greatest minds of a generation can’t get technology right, we might as well be reading painted instruction manuals off cave walls for all the chance we have.


Picture credit: Wildfoodmushroomsfishing


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