On passwords, my own most-hated overlaps too strongly with existing posts to stand on its own: I loathe, with a vengeance, requirements that passwords contain all sorts of obscure and unmemorable rubbish. In support, I call to the witness stand XKCD, always the voice of reason: https://xkcd.com/936/
But as a genuine modern-life nomination, I'm going to nominate solar-powered parking ticket machines. These embody everything that is wrong with modern society. You must have seen the things: down every mile or so of inner city street with parking restrictions, you'll find two or three of them. They're biggish ticket machines with a prominent solar panel on top, some sort of LCD display, and a selection of unclear buttons to press. If you insert the right coins they will (probably) give you a ticket you can put in your car window to show you've paid to park. Here's a link to a typical offender: http://www.treehugge...ing-meters.html
Let's just compare them with their predecessors, the traditional little parking meters that sat on top of a pole and gave you an hour when you stuck a coin in.
The modern thing claims to be environmentally friendly because it's got a nice big solar panel and doesn't use any electricity. The old thing was environmentally friendly because it didn't use any electricity either, merely using the act of sticking a coin in as its source of power. Solar panels don't grow on trees. They are energetically expensive to make. The older ones were also a lot smaller (less resources needed per meter), and fully-recyclable.
The modern thing also issues a genuine ticket, which is another resource wasted. The original one just sat next to the car and twanged a little flag into view when you'd over-stayed.
The modern thing thinks it's an improvement, offering convenience and sophistication. So when you park, you have to scout up and down the street looking for the wretched contraption, which will be painted in camouflage colours and hiding behind a bottle-bank. The original, old-style meter was next to your car.
This is just so typical of modern life: (1) pretending to be environmentally friendly when it's not; (2) using computer-control and electronics when it's completely unnecessary; (3) being considerably harder to use and less convenient than its low-tech predecessor; (3) lacking character. Can you ever imagine wanting to look at a modern ticket machine in a museum? The very fact that the author of the article I've cited proudly discusses the manufacturer's ISO9001 certification sums it up. If this trend continues, then cities in future will be appointing a Director of Parking Facilities who will employ consultants on £250K per year to provide authoritative information on the cost-savings that are possible through up(down?)grading the current generation to something even more preposterous. Perhaps cloud-based HD-display super-fast broadband enabled blu-tooth street floorspace control systems issuing e-tickets direct to your phone, powered by bioethanol-producing algal energy-cells?
Ladies and Gentlemen, stop this trend! Vote now!