Am I the Average Angry consumer of electronics?
Why is it that every single tech company seems to have at least one annoying trait?
I’m a huge fan of the digital age, and love to see, hear, touch and own pretty much every new innovation. And over the years I’ve come to realize that every single one of the coolest (or should be coolest) companies out there has there own personal annoyance factor. I have yet to find an exception.
There are so many consumer tech companies, but I want to pick on what I consider the top three. I’ll have to start with Apple. These guys are awesome, and they have taken a huge amount of time and effort to convince me of their awesomeness. But there is a hitch.
I love the ipod, ipad, imac, iphone, apple tv and even their networking hubs, but I have this feeling that I’m actually living inside of their distortion field. Sure the tech is great, but it’s not perfect, but somewhere deep inside it just feels wrong to complain, because they are generally so much better than everyone else. My mac’s don’t crash and everything just works together really well. But the pain to me is that they have taken away my ability to choose. I liked iweb, .mac was working for my photos, and in a million small ways they have guided my use of technology. They may be right more than they are wrong, but it’s still really annoying. If anyone did what Apple do better, or even nearly as well, like many I’d consider trying that green field, but as of today, by sucking least they are winning.
Next I’d like to vent on Microsoft. I grew up with DOS, it was not my first operating system, but I knew it inside and out. And then I saw windows, and from the very first version I hated it.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I think visual interfaces are great, but the whole point of them is to hide the mess that is the underlying infrastructure. So why, oh why does Microsoft insist on exposing that crap to me. When I plug a device in, just deal with it, stop asking me really annoying and pointless questions. I don’t care what the installer is doing, I really don’t care that you have found a new network device.
And don’t get me started on the office suite. I (pretty much) like everyone use excel, word and powerpoint. And like everyone I hate that you keep changing basic working elements with each version.
I know what you are doing, I’ve seen it from the inside. You have thousands of developers; they are highly intelligent people whose entire social existence happens inside a computer, so their ego’s are massaged every time their work is seen by the users. Inside we are all nerds (if we believe it or not) but we know that it’s embarrassing to snort when we do something cool. You (Microsoft execs) need to teach your developers the same skill. If you thought about the end user instead of comparing and wiggling your nerd accolades through pointless messages, the world would instantly be better.
I can forgive you for crap software that crashes, leaks or exposes personal information, that’s just the nature of technology. But being stupid is not in the nature of technologists and so please, please, stop it instantly.
Now I need to rant at Sony. This is a company with amazing intellectual property. These guys do everything from hi-fi to TV’s , to great games consoles to a wide range of computers to headphones and pro AV tech. And what should be awesome technology is in every single case ruined by at least one amazingly avoidable mistake. I pass their flagship store in New York a least once a week, and the window displays are the best anywhere in the city, but once you go inside you are struck by the pure lack of enthusiasm their staff have for their products. That is if you can find a member of staff that can serve you, as it seems nearly all of the staff are actually security guards. I fully understand why the staff is so detached from their tech, it’s just short of perfect, but that gap in every case drives you crazy.
I’ve owned enough Sony (close to) goodness to be able to say this. I’ve fallen for their cameras only to find that they use weird memory cards that no one else uses, and use a different method of encoding images with an extra bit of encoding that just makes them non-standard. And I know that as they own movie companies and music studios they are extra sensitive to copyright issues, but that doesn’t excuse them to create so many onerous digital rights management schemes that stop me using anything I buy from anyone else on their devices and anything I buy from them on any other devices. And how comes their hifi components only allows the remotes to control other Sony devices, really!
And I truly get annoyed every time I turn on the PS3 and it needs to do a software update before it allows me to do exactly the same thing I could do the day before. And the way their portable tech insists on telling me in great detail how it’s connecting to the internet (WTFC). With Sony there is always ONE thing with every device that creates a gap between their reality and perfection. And the gap can be too big for my imagination to bridge. I like Sony equipment, I like it a lot, but I just don’t love it.
Ah my spleen feels so much better now.
The Average Angry Tech Consumer