Inventors who came to regret their inventions | E-Neighborhood Advisor
Not all inventors are happy with their inventions. Ranging from the seemingly obvious atomic bomb to the font Comic Sans, inventors may not be happy with their end result. Check out this short list from Mental Floss writer Kenny Hemphill.
Ethan Zuckerman — The Pop-Up Ad
If you've ever found yourself yelling at your computer screen in frustration as yet another pop-up ad leaps into view, obscuring the content behind it, Zuckerman is the person to blame.
Now head of the Center for Civic Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Zuckerman wrote an essay for The Atlantic in 2014 entitled "The Internet’s Original Sin," in which he took full responsibility for the pesky ads. Working as an employee of web host Tripod at the time, Zuckerman explained that the company, which provided free web pages for consumers, had spent five years looking for a way to generate revenue.
"At the end of the day, the business model that got us funded was advertising. The model that got us acquired was analyzing users’ personal homepages so we could better target ads to them. Along the way, we ended up creating one of the most hated tools in the advertiser’s toolkit: the pop-up ad."
Bob Propst — The Office Cubicle
While working as a consultant for Herman Miller in the 1960s, Bob Propst introduced America to the open plan office and with it, the office cubicle. It was, he told the New York Times in 1997, designed to "give knowledge workers a more flexible, fluid environment than the rat-maze boxes of offices."
Companies saw his invention as a way to save money, doing away with individual offices and replacing them with open plans and cubicles. Propst came to lament his invention. "The cubiclizing of people in modern corporations is monolithic insanity," he said.
Vincent Connare — Comic Sans
"If you love it, you don't know much about typography." Those are the words of its designer, Vincent Connare, talking to the Wall Street Journal. Connare followed up that comment, however, with this: "If you hate it, you really don't know much about typography, either, and you should get another hobby."
Connare's view, and one shared by lots of others, is that the problem with Comic Sans is not with the font itself, but its overuse and misuse. Designed for a Microsoft application aimed at children to be used as a replacement in speech bubbles for Times New Roman, Connare never imagined it would become so widely used and derided.
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