The greatest flops of 2016


“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” –Apple’s “Think Different” Commercial, 1997.

2016 was action-packed; never run out of gadgets that performed so badly well that we ended up being tickled.

You have not yet forgotten about Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and its smoking battery, or have you? What was to be a flagship Smartphone product ended up being some ‘suicide bomber’ that would almost blow up planes.


It is not surprising to learn that Samsung is planning to delay the launch of Galaxy Note 8 in 2017; just to make sure that all loopholes are sealed. Galaxy Note 8 is expected to atone for the sins of Galaxy Note 7.

Apple had its share of scandals. Non responsive touch screen issues with iPhone 6 and Plus. Time will tell if the malady has not been contagious.

On the local technology scene, there were as much lemons as there were breakthroughs. While FDH Mobile teased the others, the Bankers Association of Malawi cheque clearing house decided to live in Stone Age. Banks like National Bank are so technologically endowed that cheques are scanned right at the counter. Now somebody tell me; why in this setup a cheque drawn from the same branch should ever take three days to clear?


Mobile telephone operators are busy migrating their systems towards LTE. Now let nobody ever cheat you that LTE is real 4G. LTE is long term evolution towards 4G. In English, these are efforts that may lead to 4G in the next ten or twenty years or so.

Have you ever imagined what would happen if you sent an e-wallet to the wrong number on either TNM Mpamba or Airtel Money? I had the pleasure to. The Airtel Money agent was boastful, “don’t worry sir, Airtel money system is a real deal, let me phone now and they will hold that money” That was done but after two weeks, I have not got my money.

I am told that the problem is that the number where I sent the e-wallet to has been off all this time. I am told that the system allows deposits when a number is off but reversals can only be done when the number is active.

According to me, that does not make sense. All the Airtel Money transactions do not happen on our SIM cards but their server. Anybody with access rights can go in there and make the reversals.

According to a guru in the subject, service is about three things: welcome, comply and farewell. In my case, the first one was there; but the service did not comply with my requirements and the farewell was metaphoric in that it was goodbye forever.

In 2016, the column tried to do more local reviews. I wish to continue on this path; the problem is that some organizations play jazz with information. It is not that the information is not given, no; but when I take the article back to them for verification the games start. Why would people get surprised when all I do is to parrot what they told me earlier?

Computer Crosstalk belongs to its valued leaders and will always be independent because that is what the “shareholders” expect. Let us together continue to think different in 2017. Happy New Year!

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