I got a small mp3 player as a gift this Christmas. It’s a Sony Walkman NW-E003 and it’s really good. It has great sound, it’s easy to slip inside your pocket, it has long battery time and is easy to operate. The downside is that the software that comes along with it, SonicStage, is really bad. Although I feel that Itunes is somtimes a little quirky to use, it’s nothing compared to SonicStage.

Sony Walkman NW-E003

For example if you want to delete songs from the mp3-player, something that you do quite often as you want to fill it with different music, you have to go through two (!) confirmation boxes.

Are you sure you want to delete the 11 selected files?    Are you really sure?

It’s almost insulting! I mean first I try to delete the song, then I have to confirm the delete and then I have to confirm the confirm. It’s not like I’m trying to format my hard drive! This is just a way for the developers to cover their own behinds. These kinds of alerts that you frequently have to click to get something done, you soon start to ignore. You just don’t read them anymore, you just automatically click them to get on with what you are doing. So if you really deleting something by accident, you probably won’t realize it until it’s too late. Therefor a much better solution is an undo-function.

SonicStage is filled with alert boxes that pops-up every time you try to do something and it’s really annoying. There’s just no way to escape them.

Another annoying thing is that I had a hard time finding my MP3-player the first times. I had to search the application a long time before I found the right place. In the middle of the upper part of the application is a toolbar with three options of which one is named “Transfer”.

Clicking it reveals a drop-down menu with several options. Apparently the first option, “ATRAC Audio Device”, was my MP3-player. Hardly something I would call it, but I’m sure it’s the correct name of the device internally on Sony. The device on the drop-down menu also seems a little misplaced because the other options are actions like: “Create an Audio CD”, while the mp3-player is just a name of a device.

Although Sony makes a decent mp3 player they haven’t put enough effort into the whole user experience with the product. One of the companies that do think of this is Apple. They’ve managed to combine iPod, iTunes and the iTunes Store in a way so that they integrate nicely and each contribute to the entire user experience.

Do you have examples of obtrusive and annoying software that comes with your gadgets. Or maybe example of where the software actually elevates the whole experience of the product?