Top 12 tech embarrassments of 2010

The year in tech had plenty of highs -- and plenty of lows. Here are 12 mortifying moments we won't soon forget.

It's one of life's greatest injustices: When you do something well, the world forgets within minutes. But when you screw up -- and I mean really screw up -- your snafu lives on in infamy.

Today, we honor the most embarrassing moments in tech this year. Some of the accolades go to companies or people; others are directed squarely at products. All of them, though, represent the lowest of the lows in a year that saw more than its share of slip-ups.

Brace yourself for some blush-building blunders.

1. Most embarrassing customer disservice

And the winner is: AT&T


Let's face it: AT&T isn't exactly known for customer satisfaction. But threatening a customer for trying to e-mail the CEO is embarrassingly low by any standards.

Remember this one? Back in June, a guy named Giorgio Galante sent two e-mails to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. The first asked about moving up Galante's upgrade eligibility date; the other, sent two weeks later, expressed concerns with the network's newly revised data plans. Neither was particularly rude or hostile.

Nevertheless, an AT&T flack left Galante a voicemail "thanking" him for his feedback -- then letting him know he'd receive a cease-and-desist letter if he tried to contact Stephenson again.

If AT&T's trying to win its customers' loyalty, it's taking all the wrong steps. If it's trying to win some sort of weird "Worst Company of All Time" contest, though, what can you say? It's doing one hell of a job.

2. Most embarrassing mistweet


And the winner is: Hayley Williams

Twitter's often a happy place, but on the night of May 27th, the social network became especially perky.

Midway through the evening, a tweet showed up from the account of Hayley Williams, singer for the punk band Paramore. The tweet contained a link to a photo showing a topless Williams staring seductively into the lens.

To her credit, Williams nipped it in the bud -- the photo was taken down within a matter of minutes -- but the titters rang through Twitter for days. Williams claims someone hacked into her account and sent out the pic. Some people, noting the intimate nature of the image, suspect she actually posted it herself by mistake.

Regardless of who did what, one thing's for sure: When all was said and done, Williams was the one who ended up looking like a boob.

Next page: Most embarrassing use of Photoshop

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