Technology is awesome but far too frustrating sometimes – most of it caused by manufacturers who seem to have little clue about consumers and what they really want.

For example, I bought a Casio Exilim EX-275 digital camera last weekend after watching Loren Feldman wander around the mesh conference taking videos until the cows came home.
You know how much memory comes with the camera? According to the Best Buy salesman: “about enough to take 10 pictures”. Of course, this means you have to buy some memory to make the camera useful.

How come it doesn’t standard with more memory – say 1GB – given memory is so cheap these days and the average consumer is taking hundreds of pictures as well as video these days without even thinking about it.

Maybe it’s a way for the camera makers to keep prices down. After all, if you’re including one or two gigabytes of memory but your camera costs $25 to $50 more than the next guy who’s not including memory, that could have negative competitive consequences.

Here’s some more consumer-unfriendly technology riddles.

1. iTunes/iPod: Okay, I totally get why Apple and the music industry don’t want to give us the ability to hand an iPod to a friend so they can cut and paste our music collection into their iPod or personal computer. But what I don’t get is why it’s not easy to synch your iPod with the iTunes you have on different computers.

For example, I have two laptops and a desktop computer – all of which I use to rip, download and play music. In an ideal world, I could connect my iPod to all of them and get my entire collection to easily synched. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t seem to offer a way to make this happen, and I can’t track down another solution/hack that would make it easy to do.

2. The remote control: Since the first remote control probably appeared in the 1950s, they have become increasingly more complicated as opposed to easier to use. These days, you need an engineering degree just to figure out how to power up the TV, let alone control the DVD, digital box, Slingbox, etc.
The funny thing is the remote control industry believes the solution is simply adding more technology! The way they see it, it’s a matter of giving you a remote control that, in theory, can automatically connect with all your devices (assuming they aren’t a decade old). Of course, you then have to read through the entire manual to figure out how to control your devices once the remote control does its set-up thing. Sometimes, I yearn for the days when the remote control was just a box with about 20 buttons on it and a shifter that gave you ability to browse through 60 channels in no time at all.

3. Vista. I don’t use Vista but the frustrations I’ve seen from other people using Vista blow me away. Among the best (or worse depending on your point of view) issues is Vista asking if it has security permission so you access your security software. Ha!

4. Composite hockey sticks: A bit of a technology stretch but the newest rage in the hockey business is selling composite hockey sticks that are supposed to make your shot better and faster. The problem is some of these sticks last a long time but some of them only last a game or two before crumbling due to “quality control” issues. If the technology was that advanced, why is this happening, especially when you’re paying $100 to $200 for a “superior” product?

Anyway, enough of my ranting. If you’ve got any tech riddles to shares, fire away.

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