Stupid tech: From the iPotty to delivery drones

Our fascination with digital junk encourages bozos to toss stupid and sometimes dangerous products into the marketplace

Drones delivering books, nonstop blabbing on his cellphone from the bozo sitting next to you on a long flight, and the iPotty -- you may love technology, but admit it: Some tech advances should never have seen the light of day. They're simply a big pain in the patootie or too dumb for words.

Let's start with some of the most bizarre tech gadgets you could imagine -- all of which are actually for sale.

[ For seriously good, cool gadgets, check out InfoWorld's 2013 geek gadget gift guide. | For quick, smart takes on the news you'll be talking about, check out InfoWorld TechBrief -- subscribe today. ]

No, I'm not kidding about the iPotty
You probably thought I was joking when I mentioned the iPotty. I'm not -- here's a link to Amazon.com that proves your toddler can learn to poop on the potty while exercising the other end of her body on your iPad. It can be yours for a mere $34.98, tablet not included. Aside from the utter stupidity of this idea (think what your kid is likely to smear on the screen), there's a serious point: Why does everything in our lives have to be digital? (Well, two serious points. The other one: Why can't we let our kids be kids?)

Talk about distracted driving. Everyone with a brain knows that texting while driving is insanely dangerous, and using your cellphone without a headset in the car is nearly as bad. But using your laptop while you're at the wheel is somehow just peachy. In fact, now you can write a memo or crunch some numbers or maybe watch a video while barreling down the interstate at 65 mph. Yup, for just $25.39, the AutoExec Wheelmate Steering Wheel Attachable Work Surface Tray can be yours.

There are some really cool, useful wearable fitness devices and apps. But the HapiFork isn't one of them. "The HapiFork, powered by Slow Control, is an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. It also alerts you with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations when you are eating too fast." Hey, it costs only $99!

The stupidity doesn't stop with gadgets
Moving right along, let's leave the realm of dopey gadgets and think about tech advances and regulatory changes that should make you cringe.

Here's one that's in the realm of "be careful what you wish for": allowing cellphone use during commercial flights. Sure, it's garnered tons of discussion, and I often thought that the safety issue cited to prohibit it was probably bogus, or at least unproven. But now that the FCC is giving this matter a serious rethink, consider the implications.

Air travel for those of us who can't fly in first class or in a private jet has become miserable: no legroom, not enough space in the overhead, and awful (when it's available) food. But at least we can do some reading or catch up on work. Once cellphone use gets the OK, even the simple pleasure of a couple of distraction-free hours will vanish. People will talk ... and talk ... and talk. They'll do it loudly and incessantly, and they won't care if you're trying to take a nap.

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