When geeks get it wrong: the top 10 most useless gadgets we've ever bought

Apple iPod HiFi

Corporate IT departments are full of super-smart boffins who can swap out sputtering hard disks, resuscitate servers as well as troubleshoot annoying software problems while still finding time to install routers and lay Ethernet cables. They therefore must have excellent technical acumen when it comes to buying the latest gadgets?

Our unscientific straw poll of corporate IT technicians suggests otherwise. What follows is a shocking list of some of the most useless gadgets IT professionals have ever bought with their own money and which were inevitably destined for the landfill. If you too have no shame, you can share your own tales of retail woe in the comments section below.

Castlewood Orb

Castlewood Orb

In the storied history of computer storage peripherals, many companies and products have fallen by the wayside from Zip disks and SyQuest cartridges to Bernoulli disks and cassette tape. One of the more obscure is the Castlewood Orb.

The Orb was a 2.2GB removable cartridge and drive storage system, similar to the more famous Iomega Jaz drives. Unfortunately, many of the first Orb drives relied on USB1.1. Backing up 2.2GB of data at a treacle-like pace of 1.5MB/s took at least half an hour. The disks were expensive and hard to find too. Although Orb drives with much faster USB2 connections and 5.7GB cartridges were eventually introduced, most people sensibly gave it a miss in favour of rewritable DVDs.