Dumbest tech moments in 2003

Here are some of the dumbest tech moments in 2003 as compiled from the Business 2 dumbest moments in business list.

  • The PC in the WC.
    On April 30, Microsoft U.K. issues a press release touting a new product called the iLoo, an Internet-enabled toilet equipped with a Wi-Fi broadband connection, a plasma flat screen, a waterproof keyboard, and sponsored toilet paper festooned with Web addresses.

  • Network Problems
    In October, three and a half years after buying Network Solutions for $21 billion, VeriSign sells its dotcom-registration business for $100 million.

  • Please don’t press shift
    After SunnComm Technologies rolls out new CD copy-protection software in September, a Princeton student figures out how to disable it. The devious hack: holding down the “Shift” key.

  • Rejected but welcome
    In February, Cornell University sends out an e-mail to incoming freshmen that begins, “Greetings from Cornell, your future alma mater!” The message is sent to all 1,700 students who applied for early decision, including the 550 who’ve been rejected.

  • Party like it’s Yom Kippur
    In August, online “social planning destination” Evite sends an apology to its users for having cited Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, as a “reason to party” in an earlier e-mail newsletter.

  • Tiny, tinier, gone
    After years of bombarding Web surfers with annoying pop-up ads, wireless camera maker X10 files for bankruptcy in October, listing debts of more than $10 million. Among the parties stiffed: AOL, Google, Yahoo, and AdvertisementBanners.com, which won $4 million in a lawsuit against X10 shortly before the bankruptcy filing.

  • America Offline
    In September, less than three years after AOL “acquired” Time Warner, the board of AOL Time Warner decides to drop AOL from the company’s name and change its ticker symbol from AOL back to the original TWX.

  • Make way
    Despite claims that it “allows people to go farther and move more quickly anywhere they currently walk,” Segway finds few buyers for the $4,000 Human Transporter scooter in its first year on sale after it’s banned for use on sidewalks by local governments from San Francisco to Key West. In June, its “self-balancing” claims are also put to the test when photos of George W. Bush “riding” a Segway begin circulating on the Internet.

  • Just peeking
    “We looked at a document in the public domain. It’s not some protected preserve with lots of protected content.” Larry Lunetta, an executive at security startup ArcSight, claiming that his firm did nothing wrong after an employee was caught red-handed poking around in password-protected files on a competitor’s Web site.


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Mohamed Marwen Meddah is a web development director, amateur photographer and web enthusiast from Tunisia, currently living in Canada.

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