I was given a gift recently, a very nice gift by somebody who I am confident doesn’t read this, so let me tell you a little about it.
It’s a Sony DSC-M2, a very clever little flip-openy camera. It is,
I hear from the internets, supposed to take pretty good pictures,
and movies! It’s a Sony product, though, so of course, it’s got a
very shiny silver case and, well, in the spirit of doing one thing
and doing it well, Sony has made a camera that actually looks pretty
cool. Want to hear more? Well, it’s nothing I haven’t said before –
it’s all Sony Tax, all the time.
- It’s got a brand new, nobody-else-uses-it memory format,
of course. The Memory Stick Duo, so super-high-tech that it’s
a whole half-centimeter smaller than an SD Card along only one
axis. Of course, I don’t own an adapter for that. I had a perfectly
functional one for Memory Stick Solos, but for the Duo I’d need an
adapter for my adapter. So I can’t get at it unless it’s plugged
into the camera, and my camera is plugged into my PC. This isn’t
unexpected, because it’s Sony, but it’s exacerbated by the fact that:
- It doesn’t even have a USB port on it. It has a docking
station. So if I want to, you know, go anywhere with my
camera, I’ve got to cart the entire docking station with me. Which
has a USB port on it, but it won’t charge over that,
either. It charges from:
- A power adapter with a unique, never-seen-anywhere-else plug
that as far as I can tell has been manufactured exclusively for
this device. And the best part of that, bar none is that:
- I can’t access the data on the camera and charge the battery
at the same time. I have to reach over and flip the whole camera
open on the dock to get the USB connection to work, and close
it up again to charge it.
I mean, what the hell? I can buy fifty-dollar widgets built by
nobodies in some Taiwanese backwater that didn’t even exist last
year that are smarter than that. Dear Sony, what the hell are you
Incidentally, this is why the whole HD-DVD versus Blu-Ray debate
was an easy one for me; Sony is on one side of that argument,
and Sony has never been on the right side of a format war.
Whenever they’ve got a the choice between doing their own thing and
making something that’s interoperable with the whole world, they’ll come out strong for whatever side screws their customers the hardest. Case closed.
Moving on, the less said about the interface the better. I mean,
it’s not at all obvious at first what, and I’m not kidding about
this at all, is and is not a button on the camera.
There’s clearly a very powerful person somebody in the Sony
executive heirarchy whose retarded nephew ended up in the design
There are three large buttons that all right-handed
people will agree are in the right place, but to use the rest of the
camera’s admittedly broad functionality you should keep an obedient
infant on your person at all times. You’ll need their tiny fingers
to get at the tiny buttons that have been sneezed all over the rest
of the camera. There are more than you first expect, I promise.
So awesome. And it only gets better; it hasn’t worked right since it crashed. That’s right, since my camera crashed after the first two dozen pictures I took. And even though it’s a Sony camera with a Sony memory stick in it, the staff at the Sony Store were the most unhelpful people I’ve dealt with in months. Doesn’t work? Sorry. You’ll have to ship it to our repair depot, which will despite our warranty cost you. Want to use it, say, today, for a friend’s wedding, you say? That’s just tough luck, I guess. Such tough luck, in fact, that they won’t even look you in the eye when they’re talking to you, and spend the time looking over your shoulder at the other shoppers while brushing you off.
Nothing says “I’m on commission” like ditching the customer service thing to look for more suckers. Thank you, Sony.
No, wait, not thank you; that other thing.