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Monday, August 13, 2007

Best and Worst Gadgets

They have invaded every corner of our existence, promising a technological utopia of carefree living. But gadgets, it would appear, have also delivered a hi-tech hell that can drive the most passive users into a rage. Researchers probing "the dark side of technology" found people were eager to identify their most hated devices.

High up the list comes the ball mouse, an invention that can seem more efficient at gathering fluff and grime than navigating a computer screen. With the advent of the laser version it has been consigned to history. Automated telemarketing calls drive us to distraction, as do automated phone options, which have taken over the role of the human switchboard. The speed camera becomes public enemy No. l if it snaps you marginally over the limit on an open stretch of road. And from another technological age, the alarm clock still rates highly on many hate lists.

Most said they would welcome an invention that gradually wakes us from our sleep, rather than nerve-shattering bells and beepers. A spokesman for the MSN Tech and Gadgets survey said: "We all love technology. It quells our boredom, makes life easier and inspires us to greatness. "But technology has a dark side ... anyone who has experienced endless paper jams in the office printer or been shocked by a car alarm reacting to a stiff breeze knows this."

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