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The L.A. Times Names Its Favorite Flops of the Year 145

Posted by timothy
from the always-too-many-to-choose-from dept.
SternisheFan writes "Salvador Rodriguez and Deborah Netburn of The Los Angeles Times have a rundown of the top 10 tech gaffes of 2012. From their article: 'As 2012 comes to a close we take a look back at the biggest "oops" moments of the last year. Whether it was an advertising misstep (Facebook's "Chair" commercial), or a product released before it was ready (Apple Maps), or just an idea that was ill-received (homeless men as Wi-Fi hotspots), we tried to compose a list of the times when the major players lost control of the narrative. It's also a reminder that everyone makes mistakes--even exacting tech companies.'"
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The L.A. Times Names Its Favorite Flops of the Year

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  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:2, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @05:19PM (#42422377)
    Um, Apple Maps fiasco wasn't about the software. The software works fine; the data behind the software is the problem. Google maps also had issues in the beginning until they spent lots of time and money on better data. Remember the war driving scandal with Google? That was when their mapping cars were found to be collecting Wifi data in addition to simply mapping streets. Maybe Apple should have relied on Google map data for another year (as they still had a year left on their contract) but the software was fine.
  • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @05:40PM (#42422483)
    1. Apple Maps fiasco How bad was it when Apple replaced Google Maps with its own mapping system on iOS 6? Well, a Tumblr blog showing Apple Maps' biggest fails emerged days after the release, and Apple chief executive Tim Cook issued an apology and suggested iOS 6 users download alternate mapping tools. Then in December, Australian police accused Apple Maps of stranding motorists in a national park, shaming the company once again.

    2. Path privacy breach It all started when Arun Thampi, a programmer in Singapore, blogged that the app for the social network Path was downloading his entire address book—including names, emaill addresses, and phone numbers--without asking his permission. The tech blogs took the story and ran with it, and before long, Path had a major publicity issue on its hands. Eventually, company founder Dave Morin issued an apology, and updated the app so users can opt in or out of sharing their contact list.

    3. Facebook IPO When Facebook went public in May, many people bought its stock thinking they’d strike it rich quick. Many thought the IPO would be the most successful since Google went public in 2004. After a few hours of gains, the stock slide back to its opening price, but concerns over Facebook’s position on the mobile platform kept the slide going for going for the next few months.

    The stock seems to have finally stabilized and has made gains since bottoming out, but it’s still more than $10 below its $38 opening day price. 4. Nokia's fake photos Nokia impressed quite a few people when it announced its latest flagship phone the Lumia 920 in September. Specifically, a Web ad showing the phone’s video recording and night-photographing capabilities made the Lumia 920 noteworthy. Unfortunately, Nokia’s positive press coverage went away when it was discovered the footage and photos used in the ad were not actually taken by the phone. In the end, Nokia had to issue an apology and label the video as a simulation.

    4. Nokia's fake photos Nokia impressed quite a few people when it announced its latest flagship phone the Lumia 920 in September. Specifically, a Web ad showing the phone’s video recording and night-photographing capabilities made the Lumia 920 noteworthy. Unfortunately, Nokia’s positive press coverage went away when it was discovered the footage and photos used in the ad were not actually taken by the phone. In the end, Nokia had to issue an apology and label the video as a simulation.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/27/tech/web/top-tech-stories-2012/ [cnn.com]

  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:2, Informative)

    by sottitron (923868) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @06:06PM (#42422611)
    I think that people keep forgetting that Google Maps on the iPhone does turn-by-turn driving directions now. I think this is the #1 reason Apple put their maps on the iPhone. Google wasn't going to put turn by turn directions on the iPhone if they weren't prodded.
  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:5, Informative)

    by iserlohn (49556) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @06:22PM (#42422689) Homepage

    By all accounts, Google was not *allowed* by Apple to release a version of Google Maps that was Google branded. Google was willing to compromise by offering a non-branded version that collected more information from iOS users than Apple would like to allow. That was the impasse that led Apple's ill fated venture into GIS.

  • Missing -- Knight (Score:4, Informative)

    by istartedi (132515) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @07:46PM (#42423177) Journal

    They should have Knight Capital [wikipedia.org] on the list. They probably thought it belonged in the finance category as opposed to tech; but it was a tech problem. They also could have put HFT in general on the list, of which Knight is just one example.

  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:3, Informative)

    by guruevi (827432) <evi AT smokingcube DOT be> on Saturday December 29, 2012 @07:47PM (#42423191) Homepage

    The thing is, Apple used the data from a 'reputable' vendor (TomTom). Nobody made any noise ever about stand-alone TomTom devices.

    Where I am and in most other places (North America and Europe), the data is as good as any (Google, Garmin, OSM or others) and you can find mistakes on any maps, heck, if there is a mistake in the data for any of the above mentioned, blame the government(s) because they are the ones that release the vector data for all streets in their jurisdictions. The biggest problems with it seem to be in Asia where government data isn't all that accurate.

    That's talking about actual map data (the thing that may get you lost). There is a lot more POI data that Apple Maps is either missing or inaccurate and that is directly due to the TomTom data. I also have a Garmin device personally and the POI data is even worse than either the TomTom device or the Apple device, again, nobody has complained about that in years because the address (instead of the POI) usually gets you to the right place and who uses that silly POI data anyway?

    Why is the POI data so inaccurate? Because most of it is gleaned from mobile devices with very inaccurate GPS data. For that you can blame all non-iOS and non-Android devices (and even some very cheap Android devices). Symbian and Blackberry both had major issues with the GPS coordinates and when those are then passed through apps to things like Yelp (which resells to the GPS vendors), hilarity ensues.

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