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

Iomega HipZip

Most people may remember Iomega for its famous Zip removable disks. The storage hardware company, which is still around unlike Castlewood, also dabbled in consumer electronics with its coin-sized 40MB Clik disks, later rebranded PocketZip.

PocketZip disks were not only sold as a replacement for floppy disks, but were also used for storing songs on MP3 players. Iomega not only convinced a handful of third party MP3 player manufacturers to adopt PocketZip, it released its own-brand PocketZip-using MP3 player, the HipZip.

Unfortunately, PocketZip disks were not only hard to find and expensive, but their 40MB capacity can't hold that many songs. HipZip disks also used moving parts, unlike solid state flash memory now used in MP3 players, so there were reliability problems. Not surprisingly, the whole PocketZip range of products sank without a trace.

Iomega HipZip and PocketZip disk

USB mini hoover

The humble USB port is one of the most convenient and useful computer-related inventions of recent times. Unfortunately, it's also an excuse for gadget manufacturers to release gimmicky and pointless plastic pieces of rubbish that wouldn't sell if it wasn't for the fact that they connect to a USB port.

A prime example of a pointless USB gadget is the miniature USB-equipped vacuum cleaner. Given the rampant filth that infects most office desks, especially keyboards, a USB-powered vacuum cleaner should be a god send. Unfortunately, most have insipidly weak suction so they're not very good at cleaning. Plus, they're usually too small to effectively clean swathes of desk but too large to fit in between the keys on a keyboard. Epic fail.