Techno-rant: Which IT habits really get your goat?

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John Stokdyk, Technology editor, Sift MediaPosted by John Stokdyk, Technology editor
It's been a little while since anyone around here let off a bit of steam about the irritants of modern technology, so we have Rob Nance, the publisher of our US sister site to thank for airing his pet technology peeve recently.

What really gets Rob's goat are people who ring back immediately after you've left a long and detailed message. As he describes it, two seconds after you've finished the voice mail the phone rings and the same person is on the line saying, "I see that you called." You're thinking, "No kidding! I just left you a message! Listen to it!"

Rob asked members to suggest their technology bug bears, and even offered an coffee mug to those that were published. One suggestion from Linda Cavanaugh of Dayton, Ohio rang true with me: "I hate the BlackBerry and such devices," she wrote. "People feel the need to keep checking them in the middle of a meeting and some of my co-workers even respond to emails instead of paying attention."

The mobile fixation has infected the very fabric of our culture. I was strolling home one evening last week (when the weather was still nice) and passed two young lads sitting together at a table outside our local pub. They were both busy texting other people. In my day, we used to pay attention to each other and have something called a conversation.

This MAD (mobile attention deficit) disorder can be crippling in a business context. CODA's group marketing director Dave Turner shares my view and described a recent meeting that was constantly interrupted by the buzzing of BlackBerrys that colleagues felt compelled to check.

Linda suggests telling all the participants to turn off their phones and BlackBerrys at the start of meetings: "I know they need to stay in contact with their department, but I wouldn’t have invited them to the meeting if I didn’t need their input."

Laura L. Canales, from Boise, Idaho hates automated service telephone messages where none of the "press 1 for..." options applies to her situation. "If I needed simple information like sales, etc, most any company worth its salt has a pretty well developed website where I can find it. If it wasn’t complicated, I wouldn’t call - let me speak with a person directly, please!" she ranted.

So, that's the view from across the Atlantic. As Rob puts it, what irritating technology practices drive you nuts? We'll get him to send us a few mugs to reward entertaining contributions.

Replies (4)

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By Anonymous
27th Jan 2009 10:37

My husband and wife clients emigrated to Canada in 2006. They let out of their principal private residence. They've been out of the country for the whole of 2007-08 tax year. Will completing the UK property pages only suffice. Or do we have to complete non-resident pages for their canadian income

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By David2e
03rd Oct 2008 08:40

Internet picking up countries
The main thing that's been getting to me is the way some websites are getting just a little too "smart".

As we're now based in Poland, many websites pick up on this and the websites, and even the email newsletters switch automatically from English to Polish. My Polish really isn't too crash hot yet so it's really not helping me much!

I've no idea why they do this, and why they make it so difficult to switch back to English. Some of them I've noticed that do this include PayPal, Skype, eBay, and even Google.

David Toohey
The Accountants Circle

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By Klandrews
02nd Oct 2008 17:52

Mobiles in meetings
My pet hate relates to mobile phones in meetings - but in a different way from above. I get so annoyed when during a meeting, or an important conversation the other party's mobile rings - and instead of sending it to voicemail they answer it (even if mid-sentence!). Then having answered it, they don't have a meaningful conversation - they tell the other person they're in a meeting and they'll call them back later. Isn't that what voicemail is for????

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By Anonymous
02nd Oct 2008 15:03

Mobiles getting cut off
What drives me mad is what invariably happens when you get cut off midway through a mobile phone call due to one participant going into a tunnel or dead zone. Both users end up trying to ring the other and go straight to voice mail as the other phone is engaged. Or neither calls thinking that the other one will call them back.

There should be an acknowledged universal protocol that the person who originally made the call is the one who tries to reconnect it.

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