Friday, July 16, 2010

Sony is the opposite of it just works

I bought an 80GB PS3 about a year-and-a-half ago. It has been a decent piece of hardware. I installed Yellow Dog Linux on it even.

Then Sony came out with the Slim PS3, so I eventually got one of those. Also a decent piece of hardware thus far. But I never deactivated my older 80GB PS3, nor did I activate my new one. Oh sure, I still log in with my PlayStation Network ID on my new one, but I so rarely purchase any content from the PSN, it had never been an issue.

It is an issue now. As you might have guessed, I elected not to update my older 80GB PS3 when they decided to take away the install other OS option. I want to keep the ability to run YDL. But I have been updating the slim model. Last night I finally installed Media Go on my desktop PC, so I could move around some files on Memory Sticks for my PSP. Thus far Media Go is actually not bad. Much better than every previous media management software I have used from Sony (going back to SonicStage ). But the one thing it could not do was backup my digital copy of District 9. This copy came with the Blu-ray version of the movie. Since I was not allowed to back it up, I deleted it, assuming I could copy it again from my older PS3. Of course I was wrong. I was prompted to log into the PSN to copy it. Obviously I cannot log into Sony's precious PSN with my older hax0r PS3 (evidently anyone running Linux on their PS3 is a hacker/pirate/thief).

What to do? I figured I could log in with my up-to-date slim PS3, so I backed up the video, and restored it to my Slim PS3. But, I can't renew the license, even when signed into the PSN, and I suspect it is because my new PS3 is not activated. When I try to activate it for video, I am told I can only have one PS3 active, and I must deactivate the old one. Which I cannot do, because the old one cannot sign into the PSN.

So I call Sony support*, and am told they can deactivate my old PS3, in one to two days. WTF? I want to watch the video this weekend, while traveling. and of course, there is no guarantee that getting the activation sorted out will allow me to renew my license. So I am sure there will be another phone call somewhere down the line.
Frustratingly enough, getting the District 9 digital copy working in the first place was not straightforward, and it also took me a couple of phone calls to get it to work.

This is why Apple is eating Sony's lunch in the digital media market. Say what you will about Jobs and Co., the two times I have called them for support, they have fixed the problems on the spot, and one of those times involved a digital copy and my wife's iPhone. What is it that Sony lacks here? Even Microsoft seems to do a better job with Xbox Live and the Zune marketplace (I also own Xbox 360s). whatever it is, I hope they figure it out.

*the technical support number is 800-345-7669; they are open Mon - Sat 6AM - 8PM (PST), Sun 7AM - 6:30PM (PST)

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