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Old 04-01-2007, 10:48 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Contest #4 - "A Product That Sucked" - Sponsored by ASUS

It's our birthday, so we are celebrating with some contests. This is the fourth and final birthday contest, sponsored by ASUS!

We want your dirty laundry for this one. The contest is simple, because just about everyone has been in this situation at one time or another. The task is an easy one -- write 200 - 500 words describing your experiences with a tech product that you purchased and wound up hating. Whether it was a product that simply didn't work, worked poorly or burst into flames, we want to hear about it. (Especially if it's funny.)

Write in a professional style; no cursing allowed. Spelling and grammar count here, just as they do in the professional world. Style and flair count for a lot as do good use of the English language and good grammar. Remember, the best work wins, so get writing and good luck!

Prize

The winner of this contest has a choice! ASUS was kind enough to donate a motherboard to the contest, but it's up to the winner to decide which one they want. If you have an AM2 machine in your upgrade sights, you can choose the Crosshair board. For Intel Core, you can go with the new Commando. Both are incredibly solid for enthusiasts thanks to their overclocking ability. This is really the biggest of all our birthday contests this year, so if you've been holding out, now's your chance. (Rest assured -- these prizes don't suck.)



Contest Details
  • Enter before 12:00AM, April 17, 2007
  • Contest open to visitors in Canada, USA and Europe.
  • Review must be at least 200 words, no more than 500 words.
  • Up to two entries allowed (both in separate posts for easier tracking)
  • Two product photos can be uploaded (through forums only) per review; this isn't required, though.
  • Five (5) finalists will be judged by Techgage staff
  • Contest winner will be selected at random from five finalists
  • The prize will be shipped within five business days of the end of the contest.
  • No one likes a sore loser – if you don’t win, don’t complain. We’ll delete forum posts that complain after-the-fact about the contest rules or the way judging was handled. We know that the criteria for this contest can be a tad subjective, but it’s our contest, and we can do what we want.
  • Forum membership is required for verification of e-mail address and contest entry submission. You will never receive e-mails from our forums.
  • Void where prohibited; residents of Canada may be required to answer a simple math question.
  • No Bull Policy: Don’t muck around with us when it comes to these contest rules, or you’ll be disqualified. We’re dead serious about this. It’s our contest, and we can do what we want.
Post your entries in THIS thread. Only entries posted in this thread will be considered. Good luck to all who enter!
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Last edited by Rob Williams; 04-02-2007 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:48 PM   #2
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Here is an example of what your submission should look like, but a true story:
In the summer of 2005, I purchased what I believed to be the best "bang for buck" card at the time, BFGs smokin' 6800GT. Not only was the card blazing fast, it cost significantly less than the 6800 Ultra which offered only a pinch of extra performance. As it stands, I would be only using 1280x1024 resolution, so there was no need to go any higher.

For the first month, I had enjoyed the card quite a bit. Actually, I was in a state of euphoria for the entire first month simply because the performance was so jaw dropping. That was until temperatures began to go out of control. How bad were they? Imagine your video card reaching temps of 100°C and higher during gameplay. Yes, it was THAT bad. Needless to say, I RMA'd the card in reaction to fear. I didn't want that card burning my house down! Or at least heating the bedroom up past comfortable levels.

I received my second card.. brand new and ready to go. Was this card any better? Upon first boot, the card sparked up a storm and blew a fuse. In the process, it killed my monitor. After debating with tech support for a bit, I managed to get yet another new 6800GT in. Of course, I was wary to give another one a go, but it was fine. If 100°C temps can be considered fine! I RMA'd one last time... which was a quick process. I received my fourth BFG 6800GT and it idles at around 70° and goes beyond 90°C under stress.

Yes, that is one purchase I highly regretted.
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Last edited by Rory Buszka; 04-02-2007 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:47 AM   #3
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Thumbs down Walking the "Razer's" Edge...

Well, my issue here is not with a product that sucks (per se), but with technical support that really blows. A few years ago - back when the earth was green, and no one had thought of optical mice yet, there were ball mice. Each mouse was essentially the same as the next - until Razer came along, with their BoomSlang series of mice. At the time, these things had UNHEARD of resolutions of 1000, or (gasp!) 2000 dpi, and were the most accurate, precise, smoothest mice on the planet. The fact that I live in Canada precluded me from getting these mice anywhere near me, so I turned to Ebay. I was able to get a BoomSlang 1000 dpi for a decent price, and was happy with it - for a year or so. I started having problems then with the scroll wheel which worked intermittently if at all. Having tried to do the usual sorts of things (updating drivers, reinstalling software, CLEANING the mouse), I was still stuck with a wheel that turned, but got me nowhere.

Coincidentally, this was the same problem I was having with Razer's tech support. In a string of emails (10+), I tried in vain to have this issue resolved. I didn't expect that they would replace the thing for me (nor did I WANT them to), but I did think they should at least point me in the direction as to how to fix it on my own. It turned out that they didn't support the BoomSlang any longer, as they had gone through a "restructuring" (ie bankruptcy), and they claimed that the new company had nothing to do with the old products (other than A - still selling them, and B - offering drivers on the same site they had up when I originally bought the mouse - I'm not at all sarcastic here am I?? )

Did I MENTION that I wasn't looking for a replacement? I wasn't even looking for warranty work, as the mouse had surely surpassed the warranty period. I just wanted to be pointed in the direction so I could fix it myself. Did I also mention, that when I originally bought this mouse that I bought it from "Razerguy" on Ebay.. I believe, though I may be mistaken - that this is the SAME Razerguy who is the proud spokesperson on the Razer website. How very convenient for them - and completely inconvenient for us poor schlubs who weren't able to get ANY sort of technical support from them during this time. I was eventually able (through searching of my own - no help from them, and no GOOGLE at that time) to find a website that posted how to's on how to disassemble, clean and repair the BoomSlang..

Thanks Razer! You really know how to treat your customers! I loved my Razer for a long time, and it's one of the most comfortable mice I've ever used - but I won't be buying another anytime soon.
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Old 04-03-2007, 01:03 PM   #4
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Putting the Cat Down is Not Always a Sad Occasion

Some time ago, in the very early years of this millennium, I became the delighted recipient of an unusual device that resembled a miniature polar bear in repose, attached to a long wire with a ps2 connection on the end. My mother gave it to me while I was visiting home, and said that it had appeared at her office at some point, though she really wasn’t sure what it was. She did say that she had heard it was a miraculous little device that could read books. This sounded quite intriguing at the time, so I happily stowed this mysterious little creature in my duffle bag and brought it with me when I left.

As an exceedingly lazy person, I never completely unpack when I return from a trip, and so my hitch hiker remained forgotten in the bottom of that duffle bag for months. When I did finally stumble upon it, my interest was rekindled and I eagerly began exploring the mysteries of the literate polar bear.

My first major discovery, as I inspected the underside of the device, was that it was not a polar bear but a cat, according to the label. The label also verified that it was, in fact, an infra-red reader (or something like that). Satisfied that I had identified my specimen to species, I proceeded to attach it to my computer and began to poke its little infrared nose into books and magazines, imagining that it would be greatly relieved to be pursuing its true calling once again. However, there were no satisfied purrs or anything, for that matter. It seemed to have completely lost its sense of smell. After about an hour of fiddling with it, I decided a little internet research would be in order.

It took all of fifteen minutes of surfing to completely open my eyes to the true nature of my white cat. The first thing I discovered was its name: CueCat. The second was that it was not a useful device, but a reader for some sort of defunct system of barcodes used to represent internet addresses, and that it did not know how to read anything but these useless barcodes. The third thing I discovered was that my cat was not only useless, it was malicious, and conspired to collect and share all of my surfing and purchasing habits with some malevolent corporation. Bad Kitty!!

Needless to say, I took some pleasure in putting that particular cat down, and might have even taken pains to neuter it first if I had actually fallen prey to its nefarious machinations before ditching it. Today I decided to revisit the CueCat online to see what kind of legacy it had left. Apparently by 2005, after lawsuits and an almost complete lack of demand, this useless product was being sold off by liquidators for $0.30 each in lots of 500,000. There are still jerks out there trying to peddle them to unsuspecting techno-dummies as something that they need.

Last edited by Babrbarossa; 04-04-2007 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:38 PM   #5
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I once bought two 4-pin to 6-pin power adapters for my video cards. After hooking everything together I gave power to the board and hit the on button. Instantaneously, the connection to the main card began smoking. I reacted quickly and cut power, but smoke had completely filled the case during the second or two that it was live and the adapter wires were melted and tattered while the plastic connector heads were browned. Was this a faulty adapter cable or did I fail to ground something? Near as I could tell only the cable was destroyed, and only that up to the 4-pin connector it was plugged into.

I re-checked all connections, got up some nerve to try again, and ended up destroying adapter cable #2 exactly like before. It's a sobering prospect to witness that silky smoke steam out of one's computer, especially when accompanied by that wonderful smell of things burning

The odds of me getting two faulty adapter cables in a row was very slim so I naturally worried about either the video card or the PSU, though the PSU had worked flawlessly for the past year (not to mention just two days prior when I replaced my old system with some new stuff) and I had used the same connector which powered the old video card.

In any event, the problem did turn out to be the adapter cable -- or rather, the entire line of adapter cables! Others had been running into difficulties with this as well, having to actually cut one of the wires to make it work properly. What I did was simply not connect the faulty wire to the PSU, and it now hangs shriveled and listless off the side of my video card to this day, working like a charm. See here for information on how to get around this mischievous product should you happen to come across it yourself (this was the only such adapter sold at Fry's Electronics locations for a while as well -- and may still be -- so be careful). It's rather pathetic how I eventually had to ring up "tech support" from comment reviews on Newegg
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Old 04-03-2007, 04:02 PM   #6
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Default A product that sucked

I recieved a new product that really,really,really sucks, itis the new ADSL modem I recieved from Telus. The new 2wire ADSL 2770 HG-E modem is a pain in the butt. I had one heck of a time trying to find out how to access this modem to set it up the way that I wanted to.Even then I was having problems with it. I called some tech friends and we scoured the net for a couple of days and found out you had to go to tech support to get the required information and even they were very vague. Throughout our search we found out that this modem had hidden wireless access, so to the common user thier computer is running wide open to the net.This modem is definetly more pain than it is worth and I am going to stick with my D-Link DSL-300G which has given excellent service with no problems at all.

Last edited by sixgun; 04-03-2007 at 04:05 PM. Reason: spelling errors
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Old 04-03-2007, 05:22 PM   #7
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Default An Exciting Journey on Northbridge Avenue….

A long long time ago, just before the age of dual core processors was a generation of gamers who were preparing their rigs for Battlefield 2 and beyond. I was such a gamer and the motherboard I had chosen to be the backbone of my system was the MSI K8N Neo4-SLI Platinum. It had state of the art SLI technology and an incredible design that would help to create a gaming euphoria unlike any conceived before. This thing was truly state of the art. It had SATA drive support, optical interfaces, on board 7.1 sound systems and most importantly a Northbridge fan which spun at a mind blowing 7000 RPM! Mind-blowing not because of the speed but because of what I wanted to do after dealing with MSI support when trying to replace it! I’ll get back to that….

The location of the Northbridge on this motherboard is directly underneath the video card slots. In fact its location is so amazing that only a handful of video cards will fit and in my case – I like so many before me, I picked up a 6800 GT SLI which fit snug right above the Northbridge fan. What I didn’t know when I conceptualized this setup was that normal fans spin at about 4000 – 5000 RPMs and that 7000 was on the high side. I also didn’t think that the Northbridge fan would have an aneurysm after 5 months thus creating my computer to sound like a can opener had been kidnapped and strapped to the inside of my case. Let’s visualize that for a moment. Picture the use of a can opener and now hear the sound of the shrieking motor as it tears open solid aluminum. That sound… Yes – THAT was my Northbridge fan!!

This experience was only the half of it. I purchased the motherboard in June 2005 and have replaced 2 Northbridge fans so far. Each fan gives a random timeframe before the evil can opener comes back. What’s also fun is that with the loss of air-flow from the evil shrieking scream, my video card’s own heat dissipaters send the heat to the Northbridge causing a system shutdown. This means!!! More mind-blowing tendencies, and I begin to sound like the evil can opener from hell!

MSI customer support was the other part of the fun. It seems that in California, MSI has no problem sending out replacement Northbridge fans for their clients. It’s the MSI support in Canada that ideally should follow suit. Well maybe after they learn to read. It took me about 20 emails in correspondence and 10 phone calls to explain to them that all I need is a Northbridge fan, that I’m quite capable of replacing it myself. They kept insisting that I needed to RMA the whole board. See I moved from Las Vegas to Toronto – Back to Canada where I’m originally from. This should be a moot issue when it comes to RMA processes but it seems to be quite the dilemma. Not just for MSI but for WD and BFG as well and many companies.

After many headaches and frustrations and 2 weeks of correspondence with MSI-Canada, I FINALLY got a fan shipped to me. It’s running nicely now. I’ve also ordered 5 more from MSI-USA which Mom will be sending me soon.

This mind numbing experience has taught me a great deal about the components one decides to get and the consequences and run-around one faces should one want to replace or repair one’s component. My advice: Get a US address! It helps to keep your mind intact! Oh and get a motherboard that doesn’t use a Northbridge fan or have one in place RIGHT underneath the exhaust for a high performance video card!

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Old 04-03-2007, 07:11 PM   #8
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Default It’s called an AHS-515. It will make you scream AHS!!!!!

This is the Altec Lansing AHS-515 headset. Here’s a review I wrote for it from where I purchased it:

“The sound quality is nice; the gold connectors are a bonus. The ear muffs are great because they don't hurt my ears. But the reason for a worst review is because it's made of very flimsy plastic and is extremely fragile. I've been a long customer of Altec Lansing and have owned several 502 and 602 headsets and they are by far better than this.

I've now gone through 2, yes 2 AHS515s because the right muff broke from the speaker portion. There are 3 small and extremely delicate tabs holding the speaker to the muff. Don't drop this headset, don't even pick it up. It's badly made. Don't get a flimsy headset. Get something made with rigid plastic.”

The Altec Lansing customer support is atrocious. It’s not nearly as bad as Linksys though! Is there a contest for the company that provides the lousiest customer support? AT is terrible. They could care less that I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on Altec components and surely don’t care about keeping me as a customer.

After I get this thing replaced, I will not be spending my money with Altec Lansing again. Very disappointing.



This is what the headset looks like online:
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And this is what mine looks like now that it broke and is useless:
Click image for larger version

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PS: Thank you for running this contest. Good luck to everyone. I really enjoyed writing my two entries. Thanks.
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Old 04-06-2007, 05:14 AM   #9
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In my first entry I want to describe you how miserable the service was when
i bought my HP Photosmart 850 camera.
When i bought it at first,everything seemed ok,but after a while,the camera's
defect started to be obvious.The thing was when I made photos in natural light,on the pictures appeared a dirt,always in the same place.After i figured this out,i went to the shop where i bought the photo camera and after waiting a week and a half,they brought me back a SECOND HAND camera,which was scratched all over the place and the protective cap the camera lens was falling off.Also the camera lens were moving left and right instead of standing still.I went mad and went again to that shop to get the camera back.
After waiting TWO Weeks! they gave me another SECOND HAND camera but this was already at the end of the guaranty.After a week of using it i realised that this camera too had a big scratch on the camera lens,but fortunately this is not seen in the photos i make.I also realised that the camera i last received was 2 year older than my first camera.Shame on you HP!
This is what i got after buying this 700$ photo camera!
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Old 04-06-2007, 05:23 AM   #10
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In my second entry i want to tell you a story about the problems i had with my Western Digital 80GB JB hard drive.After buying a new computer that contained this drive,9 months passed,and after a reboot,Windows Xp was not loading at all and was missing some files.
I went to the service and i told the guys there that i have checked and rechecked the hard drive and it was developing more and more bad sectors and lost more data.They had formatted it in one hour with a program that put zeros on the drive and after this SURPRISE!The drive had zero bad sectors.I went home very confused,because i lost a LOT of data from this process,i reinstalled all the programs BUT,after 2 months,the thing happened again.I was again loosing files and went again to that shop.They said if the drive develops software bad sectors,they cannot change the drive with a new one,so i must remain with the damaged one.
So,when i went home i decided to CRACK THEIR HEADS by damaging myself the drive,so the shop could change the drive.At home,i took a little screw driver and made a short between the hard drive's motor contacts.The drive went up in smoke,and the second day i went to the shop,gave the drive to them,and i luckily managed this way to get a new drive.
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Old 04-06-2007, 09:53 AM   #11
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After months and months of saving, I finally was ready to upgrade from my Via C3 / Biostar MB system. At the same time, I got a chance to write a review on a SuperFlower PSU. Shipped from the other side of the planet, I received a beautiful looking unit. Took it out and a screw fell out. Nothing looked damaged so I hooked it up in my new system. Immediately it sounded like a electric motor that won't turn over. Now having to reset the motherboard didn't seem that abnormal after what it had been through, but my OS was toast as well.

After contacting SuperFlower, they sent me another unit which to this day is working perfectly.
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Old 04-06-2007, 10:07 AM   #12
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One of the reason's I chose Intel was because GlobalWin asked if I'd like to review their new Super Conductor heatsink. Would I ever!!! Well the unit I ended up receiving had a little sticker on it, with the #1 on it. With the exact same mounting system as the stock Intel cooler, I tried to mount it. But the pressure I was applying was extreme. In fact, when the slotted screwdriver slipped and hit my motherboard, I almost cried. Thankfully it survived. Maybe it would be safer hooking it up with the motherboard out? Well I finally got it on, but my new motherboard was warped so bad it looked like it was smiling. I contacted GlobalWin and found out I was shipped a prototype by mistake. Hmmm... #1 maybe?

So after being electrified, gouged with a screwdriver, and even bent, never mind a few unsuccessful over-clocking attempts, my ASUS motherboard has never let me down.
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Old 04-06-2007, 12:46 PM   #13
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Red face OMG my motherboard blew up!

A few years ago when socket 478 was the shiznit, I decided to buy a new Gigabyte 8KNXP motherboard and build my dream PC. Everything ran fine for a while until one day I began experiencing a massive amount of windows errors etc. I tried a fresh install and swapping different parts to uncover the problem but was unsuccessful.
I applied for an RMA and removed the board to ready it for shipping. While I was waiting for the RMA to be authorized I decided to try one last thing. I reinstalled the motherboard in the tower and connected everything once again. I pressed the power button and the motherboard suddenly blew up in a puff of acrid choking smoke.
After the smoke cleared I took everything apart once again to find out what had happened. That's when I discovered I had accidentally mixed up the front panel firewire and usb port connections. The motherboard tray had a quarter sized scorch mark where a circuit had blown. Luckily Most of the other components survived my screwup.
Once I got the RMA number I decided I'd send it in anyway and see what happened. They told me the motherboard was not repairable and unfortunately they had no more available. I was offered a credit which I used to get a different motherboard and a Geforce 6200TC video card.
Suffice to say I haven't made that mistake since
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Old 04-06-2007, 04:09 PM   #14
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Unhappy Think twice about saving money!

Two years ago I was building a pc from scratch for my sister. Since I upgrade every year and a half or so I build computers for my family out of the old parts. So I decided to buy a Linkworld 32302-C2222U Case which came with a 300 watt power supply for a whopping 22 dollars, a dinner cost more than that!

I set everything in the case up with an Epox and AMD Athlon 3000+ setup. The moment I turned it on it was roaring with its delta fan on it (those 37dba tornados, you know the one!). 30 minutes into the XP install the fan suddenly gets louder than a Honda civic with a fart can exhaust. It made little poof sound and the smell which did not leave my apartment was terrible.

The psu ended up overpowering itself somehow and burnt not only the Motherboard, Power supply and the RAM but upon putting the case aside the faceplate of the case broke off. After trying to RMA the motherboard and the ram which ended up with a run around and me not receiving anything back this quickly became a lesson which I will not forget and neither will my apartment. From that moment forward my cases were never made of anything but aluminum and I never purchased any psu which didn't have at least 10 positive expert reviews. Funny how 22 dollars destroyed 400+ dollars worth of computer?
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Old 04-07-2007, 04:22 AM   #15
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Talking

Hi! First of all wanted to congratulate techagage with their 2 year birthday and of course with the fabulous competitions, that simply made me to write something!
So, about the happening! 2 years ago I was building my first PC, of course had some help, as I knew a few IT specialists. I was really confident about my knowledge when building the system, I had checked out the connectivity and the parts, everything seemed fine, also the guys claimed that everything would work fine.
Well got everything in place, everything checked, connected everything, even all the plugs in the wall socket! With everything done finally managed to press the power button -
At first I thought - Wow!!! What a quiet PC!!! No sounds at all!!! Note that the case had no lights or LED's what so ever!! But after 2 minutes, steering at the monitor I understood somethings wrong!! Pressed the monitors power button a few times, so did with the PC!! But nothing! Checked the PC again, yeah everything is fine!
Told the problem to my specialists, and asked to come, so that they could tell me the problem! And they said that everything is connected, but it still wont work!
Finally told my problem to my mate, he said have you really plugged everything in the socket?? I said: "Come and see for yourself!!" And he did, while he was checking the PC, I washed the dishes in the kitchen. While I was doing that, I heard him asking me:"Are you sure, you connected everything correctly ??" I said - Yes! , the specialists also said that everything is OK!! My friend: "Oh, I guess then, that the specialists and especially you are so stupid to not connect the power supply to the socket!!"

P.S. The system worked by the way!! Although after one year my PSU broke!!! It seems that I have been cursed from the very beginning !!!

But Till that the product that sucked - was me!!!

Cheers,
Gvidix

Last edited by Gvidix; 04-08-2007 at 07:56 AM.
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