Worst of 2008 – or Stuff you don’t want under your Christmas tree this year.


Most sites, us included, are putting out ‘best of’ lists this year, well we don’t want to forget the stuff that wasn’t too good do we? Teh Suckage of this years products, the ones that FAIL, the ones there were just Pwned by reviewers… We wanted to compile a list of things to be avoided, things that you just don’t want to see under the tree or in your stocking, things that we don’t want old Santa delivering this year. It was hard, there are just so many, but we picked a few for your reading enjoyment, enlightenment and entertainment.

There’s no order to this list as pretty much everything is equally bad, but first up we’ve got the HiPhone. Yes I said HiPhone, not iPhone..


There are many versions of this phone out there, and they’re all bad, imagine the scene on Christmas morning with some teenage girl opening her packages, to her delight she got an iPhone, now she can be just as cool as the other kids… but no, wait a minute, what’s this? it looks like an iPhone, but upon closer inspection it’s a HiPhone! Oh the horror! So do yourself and your kids a favor, stay away from this one, your coolness reputation will drop quite a bit if you give someone one of these this year…

Tom’s Guide has a great video comparison of the iPhone and the HiPhone hddvd

Though it could make a nice gag gift for that someone special in your life..



Flexplay or self-destructing DVDs… why is this on the list you ask? Because it’s got to be the stupidest idea I’ve yet to see come out of the technology sector. $5 for a movie that I can’t keep?! I can go to the bargain bin and pay $5 for a DVD movie, brand new, in a nice box with all the artwork etc, so why would I want to pay $5 for a movie that’s going to be unusable 48 hours after I get it?


Seriously I could just throw $5 in the garbage and just pass up the middle man, and that $5 in cash is biodegradable as opposed to that chemical laden DVD…


Guitar Hero hardware… I wasn’t going to list this one really, but I’ve got first hand experience with this and it just pissed me off so much that I had to add it


So I got Guitar Hero World Tour, just the guitar version, bought it on a Monday, played for about 2 hours, then Tuesday I fired it up, played for maybe 3 hours and the controller stopped working. The strum bar wouldn’t strum down anymore, and after looking around apparently this isn’t an isolated problem either, I found one guy who returned his 17 times! Apparently the switches are defective in some of the guitars that shipped, actually from the looks of it, many of the guitars shipped are bad. Quite a few guys have got fed up with the whole RMA and return process that they went to Radio Shack and bought new switches and installed them themselves, you can read all about it over at the GH forums.


Here’s one that’s just too funny to pass up.. The Banana Bunker. when I hear the name for some reason I think of Banana Hammock…


seriously though, do we really need to waste our money on things like this? It’s a banana, you eat it, you don’t need an armored carrier for it! I for one would be insulted to find this under my tree, or in my stocking this year…


For this next one, I could have picked from a number of goofy and very pointless items that come out of the Asia area, but this one just really jumped out, a USB Warming Mousepad.


So there are actually people that use computers where it’s so cold that they need something like this? I’m supposed to stick my hand in there to get warm? It’s a fish, it’s a mousepad, it’s a fish mousepad that gets warm. I have to ask why? What for? And who thinks this stuff up?! Dunno, I think I would be insulted if I got this under my tree…


Merged XM-Sirius

Satellite radio is very popular, and when you have two competing companies it’s pretty much inevitable that they’ll merge, and what you end up with is a bag fat failure of an end product for the consumers.

Although the FCC dragged its feet over the proposed merger of XM-Sirius, maybe they knew the disaster that lay ahead.  Sirius and XM promised more choices for listeners and set prices.  Well, the new Sirius-XM has taken stations from both sides and either killed off a majority of them, merged them or renamed them.  For instance, XM favorites Fred, Ethel and Lucy have either gone into the ether or have been combined with Sirius’ AltNation or Octane.  Sirius’ Hard Attack was sacrificed to XM’s Liquid Metal and Buzzsaw is now AC/DC Radio which will eventually become the Boneyard.


In addition, since the satellite song tagging system is different for both XM and Sirius, many users have found their radio Song and Artist saving feature does not work properly.  So thank you Mel Karmazin and Sirus-XM for proving mergers never help the consumer in the long run!

(-Contributed by Tom Ratas)


This one should be on the list every year, and while it wasn’t created in 2008, an technically it’s not a physical product, it did cause quite a fuss (.think Spore.) so I’ve got to mention anything with DRM on it, particularly video games of course, who wants to have to call a company to get their game to work?!

and Rootkits? well.. let’s not go there…


I could go on and on about this one, but I think everyone knows just how bad DRM sucks for everyone concerned, except of course for the companies that actually create it…



Here’s a couple that aren’t actual products, but still suck just as bad as the worst product out there does…

a dishonorable mention for BestBuy online shopping, it totally blows!

I listed earlier the Guitar Hero guitar that broke for me. I bought it at BestBuy via their online store,  I’ve got a BB near me so I figured I would order it and then pick it up as I had to go out shopping anyway. The BB near me is literally like a 5 minute drive, their website listed them in stock, so I figured great and ordered it, got an email later that says it’s not in stock, I had to call and find another store that I could pick it up at, next nearest store is a good 25 minutes drive from me, with no traffic.

So I thought about it, I really didn’t want to drive out there, but I checked my card and found that they already charged me for Guitar Hero, I used my debit card, they said I wouldn’t be charged until I picked it up, looking at my account though it showed I was minus the money. It’s the holidays, so I’m pretty much broke with bills and kids and everything so I only had about $200 in my account at that time, Guitar Hero cost me $106, which they took out of my account already, but they say it’s just a ‘hold’ or ‘pending’ charge, well when it shows it’s not in my account anymore that’s more than a hold. So again I’m on the phone with them, I’ve got a GameStop not far from me, and I figured I could just go over there and grab it instead, but they tell me that if I cancel the BB order I ‘should’ have the money back in my account within 8 days, 8 days?!? It took seconds for them to take out the money, but it’s going to take up to 8 days for them to refund it?

Anyway I ended up driving out Monday to pick it up, next day, Tuesday, it breaks, Wednesday morning I’m back at the store to exchange it for a new one, BUT I CAN’T DO THAT! Apparently if you order online you can’t exchange something that is broken, I had to return it, they credited my card, and I had to buy a new Guitar Hero kit. I don’t understand that policy, I bought it from BB, I picked it up at BB, but I can’t exchange it if it’s broke at BB?! how does that work exactly?

So be forewarned if you buy from BB online you can’t return something if it’s broken and expect to get a new one, you’ll just have to return it, then buy a new one. That policy sucks for gift giving doesn’t it?


And lastly, this isn’t an actual product, but it effects many people and many products, Mail In Rebates…


With the whole MIR crisis going on right now is it really safe to trust these MIRs? Personally I never liked them at all, I’ve always wondered why I couldn’t just pay the final price and not have to jump though hoops and wait for possibly months to get the rebate check?

  10 comments for “Worst of 2008 – or Stuff you don’t want under your Christmas tree this year.

  1. Kevin
    December 17, 2008 at 3:31 am

    Couldn’t agree more about the Sirius-XM merger. I’ve been a fan of XM since I purchased a new car 2 years ago and it came equipped. This change killed one of my favorite stations, The System, and also replaced another, XM Chill, with Sirius’ version. The playlist on this new station is awful, IMO. Cancelled my service today.

  2. Hylomorphic
    December 17, 2008 at 3:44 am

    The Warming Mousepad sounds weird, but it’s actually not so unreasonable if you do much computing in many Asian countries. Central heating isn’t nearly as common as it is here. If you’re at all susceptible to the cold, you’ll get some pretty frosty hands.

    Doesn’t really make sense in America, but it might in Japan.

  3. Gare
    December 26, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Don’t know why so many people have there panties in a wad about DRM. I have now had 3 Zunes for a year 1 for me 2 for kids….Loaded 1000’s of songs for the price of one CD a month. I’m sold and it works for me. Understand if u don’t like don’t use. But then again this will probably bring on one of the those Ipod – Zune debates that people spend endless hours on Blogs. Again you love your IPod great, works for you…I love my Zune and DRM (OK and 10 songs now added that removes the DRM every month!!) even sweeter. Best $15 a month.

  4. kristofer
    December 26, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Gare – I was more referring to DRM on games and rootkit types of things not so much for Zune or even iPods… personally that doesn’t both me as much as what the DRM on games can do to a system

  5. Matt
    January 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    You can’t just pay the final price and skip the MIR system because many people never claim the rebate. This lets the companies advertise a lower price ( $ 99 after MIR), but actually collect $129 because the $30 MIR goes unclaimed.

  6. lockestep
    January 2, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I had exactly the same experience with Best Buy-bought a Blu-Ray player using a gift card, but they were out of stock, but my GC was charged anyway (wait, that is not a charge, it is just a ‘hold’). So they put the money back in three days later, and then-surprise-the player shows up a the store, and they charge shows up AGAIN. I called their customer service, and basically went postal on this poor woman somewhere in East Asia who obviously had no control over their policy. Got the charge reversed again. Later I got an email asking how satisfied I was with their customer service, and I wrote up the Readers Digest version of the whole thing, and suggested to them that removing the money from my account when they explicitly say they will not charge for the item is at a minimum deceptive practice, and could be considered wire fraud by some folks. Surprisingly, I have not heard back from them.

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