Cover Letter for End Search Petition to Sony

May 26, 2000
Mr. Norio Ohga
Sony Corporation
6-7-35 Kitashinagawa
Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, 141-0001 JAPAN
Sony Electronics USA
Portable Electronics Division
Park Ridge, New Jersey

Dear Mr. Norio Ohga,

I am honored to write you and have your attention. As father of the MiniDisc, your efforts have brought a delightful invention to the hearts and ears of millions.

Enclosed please find a petition of over 300 signatures from MD users, collected over a week's time. Our petition seeks to have the End Search function eliminated. As you know, this feature is found only on Sony portable MiniDisc recorders.

I think I speak for MD users in general when I say that the user interface of Sony home decks is just right. Or more particularly, the user interface of the latest ES series machines when "RESUME PLAY" mode is set. In this mode, playback starts from where it last stopped, even after power is turned off.

I want to emphasize that to avoid confusion, the END SEARCH button should be removed. If a long time Sony user is presented with a portable recorder that has no END SEARCH button, he will understand immediately what has happened: that END SEARCH is no longer required and is automatic. If he wants to record over existing material, he will most likely have to use PLAY and PAUSE to set the position of where he wants recording to begin.

Leaving the END SEARCH button present on equipment but allowing it to be disabled with a user option will present even more confusion and lost recordings than we have today. Can you imagine how many recordings will be lost due to a user assuming that the END SEARCH feature has been set to AUTO? Especially if it returns to MANUAL after a loss of power.

The sensible course is to unify the Sony MiniDisc equipment interface, to make it the same across home decks and portable recorders. Pushing RECORD should place the unit into REC-PAUSE mode, just as with home decks, so that users may check levels, available recording time, etc, without any destructive activity. Pushing PLAY or PAUSE after that should commence recording.

I believe what I have outlined is the most simple, sensible, and streamlined approach to take to the problem. If you are worried that this presents a drastic change to the interface, please just ask a few MD users what assumptions they would make if faced with a Sony portable that lacked an END SEARCH button.

Thank you for your attention to this critical issue, and thank you for listening!


Eric Woudenberg
Editor, MiniDisc Community Page