Customer Review

484 of 560 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Needlessly bad. Small, simple cures could have made this so much better., June 24, 2011
This review is from: Seagate GoFlex Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage 500 GB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive STBF500101 Black (Personal Computers)
Out of the box. The unit itself looked slick and simple. The cords needed to connect and charge this thing kinda baffled me. By that I mean they seemed redundant. Why not charge, and sync all through USB. There's probably even a good reason for this, and it didn't lessen my excitement any.

The first disappointment came when I found out the drive was ( and has to remain in ) Windows NT format requiring the installation of a special driver on my Mac to run. Not a big catching point, but as I had an older (G5 running 10.4) laptop as a media server made it unusable on my current setup. Not a deal breaker. I even kind of expected it not to run as it is an outdated computer and system. Just the reason why kinda threw me.

So to my main computer I hooked up the drive storing all my media, and my new GoFlex Satellite. What followed was a consistent string of disappointments created by this 'product'. Running a Mac means I had to install a special driver that would enable "write" permissions on NTFS (windows NT) drives. Luckily the software is on the drive when you plug it in. Separate from that is a piece of software you have to download from seagate's site that allows you to sync files over to the drive. At least that's what you are instructed to do. So with the second piece of software installed I begin the arduous task of syncing my music library over.

I'm a bit of an audiophile it's well over 300 gigs of just music so I knew it was going to take a while. But here we come to the first of many needless impediments in the system. I opted out of straight up syncing as there are some files I didn't want. And instead pointed the software to the folder containing my music on my external. This syncing software gives you absolutely no indication how far along in the process it is. No transfer rate. No percentage completed. All it gives you is a spinny wheel. So I just have to sit there watching the tech equivalent of Schrödinger's cat. Hoping it's actually doing something without really being sure. Because if it isn't I'll have to repeat a process I expect to take many hours.

I walk away (a watched pot never boils) and when I get back I see a warning. "such and such file cannot sync" would I like to continue? Immediately I grasp the future stupidity I have to wade through. The file won't sync because the file type isn't supported. I'm guessing it's because of the obscenely outdated NTFS format of the drive. Could be the seagate's software. Either way. Silly problem made worse by the fact that now I have to hit a button every time it encounters this format (wasn't really keeping track m4a was definitely one I think FLAC was too). It doesn't bother me that I'm not getting those files. At least it doesn't really bother me. What's unforgivable is that I have to actually sit there and babysit this process. Because this software is going to come to a complete stop every time it encounters this format. Why not just give me a warning at the end with a list of the files that couldn't sync. Or even an option to ignore syncing certain files types. Or an option to treat all errors of this type the same way. Or even just move the files, and if they don't play, then they don't play.

After 7 or 8 hours I stop it. It's after 4 AM and I'm going to go to sleep. No idea how far along it is. No clue if it will pick up where it left off. Just want to be able to use it the next day.

So I got... I don't really know how much of my library (some?) on my seagate and I'm out the door. So I got less sleep than I'd like, but despite that still excited to listen to a vast library of music while in the signal free abyss of the new york subway system.

There is a struggle to connect. Turning off. Turning on. Files not loading. All the files on the screen suddenly disappearing for no reason. I should say that despite all the silliness with the syncing I wasn't really disappointed until right then. Having issues actually connecting.

It does actually start to work. Uhhhhhhh. Do not let the categories in the app fool you. The way it organizes your "music" is alphabetically by song title. Think about that. However many thousands of songs you got all in an alphabetical list. Forget that.

So I go to folder view. Better. At least it's something that's understandable. Even if it's unnecessarily nested by the silly syncing software. Once you get a few folders in to what should be the root I can browse Artist > Album > Song as god intended. Forget playlists in case you were wondering. It quickly becomes apparent that seagate learned nothing from apple as far as user interface is concerned. This is purely a simple file hierarchy. One that only loads 20 or so of whatever on any given page. So if you have more than 20 artists with their own folder. You've got to go to the bottom of the list and prompt it to show you more. So if I want to listen to "The Ramones" I have to scroll down and prompt (no exaggeration) over a hundred times. SEAGATE: You have this proprietary syncing software. What does it do? Why not have a copy of the directory move onto the ipod for quicker access to files? At least give us the option. I would gladly sacrifice a even a gig of space on my iphone to have a usable file hierarchy.

Then once I'm in. Listening to "A Perfect Circle" cause it's in the "A"s. I realize more fun things. You can only play the one song you select at a time. When the song is over you have to hit "done" to get back to the folder containing your songs, and select the next song. This prevents you from ever putting your iOS device (pod, pad, or phone) in your pocket or backpack. Which is fine because get this... the songs only play in the foreground. You can't turn off the screen. You can't run any other app. That's crazy, I can even get YouTube to run sound on in the background.

The final straw. About 20 minutes into my frustrating listening experience I lost signal on the drive, and couldn't access it. This happened a few times. This last time, however, the drive would't turn off. Press the button. Wait a minute (it takes a minute at least to turn off) nothing. Wait. Press the button again. Nothing. Wait. Off the train now. Walk to the movie theatre. Nothing. During previews hit the button again. Nothing. It's starting to get noticeably warm now. Still. Nothing. So I sit through the movie warm hard drive whirring contentedly in my pocket. My only option for turning it off slowly playing out. I just have to let it run out of batteries. Which it does just after the movie lets out.

I will be returning this. What I can't get back is the 8 to 10 frustrating hours I wasted on this. I'm a patient man with a pretty good sense of humor. And I work customer service for a tech company. So I realize customers want the impossible sometimes. But some of this stuff is so fundamental. I am surprised at how flawed this is. Really just blown away at how bad a device this turned out to be. I got to believe the department that designed this was under impossible constraints or just hates people.
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Tracked by 9 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 56 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 24, 2011 8:35:47 PM PDT
M. McGuire says:
I won't receive my Satellite until the end of next week, but I've read a lot and looked around--trying to plan. I'm up a creek if this thing doesn't work, so I'll camp on tech support if I have to do that. I can't see sending it back w/o first contacting tech support.

So, may I suggest that you Google "seagate goflex satellite" and get to Seagate's page for this device. From there, page down and click the "Support" tab. You'll see 5 links, the first 2 of which are: "GoFlex Satellite User Guide" and "GoFlex Satellite Support." On the "Goflex Satellite Support" page, you'll see links to "Community Forums" and "Contact Support." There's a "Goflex Satellite" forum where a tech guy is answering questions. From "Contact Support" you have several options, including phone support (under "Technical Support").

According to the User Guide, you can charge with sync, but it's faster to use the adapter.

We don't have to load Satellite with the syncing software. At this point, my best guess is that I won't use it for syncing, mainly because of the same "Music media filter" issue you have. With 5000 tracks, I've got to have structure. I usually play CDs and seldom single tracks. Even with video, I don't want all 5 types of iTunes video thrown in one bucket. Your comment about what the sync software is putting into "Folder View" is very interesting; I hope to avoid that mess by not using the sync feature. An artist, album, song structure is workable for me if I can use "select all" to play a CD. If I can select multiple CDs at the higher level, that would be nice too.

I'm very concerned about the lack of playlists and I have a question, about future playlist support, posted (today) on the forum--although it's not been answered yet.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2011 9:03:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 25, 2011 9:13:04 AM PDT
Adam Files says:
Select all doesn't work in folder view. Not to play. Only when you're in the music "tab" where all your music is in alphabetical order. Even then music won't play in the background, or with the screen off. And you'll actually see the App exit out of the current song before it loads the next. So even though quicktime gives you the >>| skip to the next track button, it doesn't actually work. You have to manually drag the song progress bar to end of the track. I'm aghast. So, you're designing software. And the first time you try it out you've got to notice there are buttons that don't work, and that's acceptable? And again background play is available in the most basic media player apps out there.

No idea what the sync software does other than give me a headache. All it does is move your files over. I'd have been better off moving it in the finder. I assume it makes small additions to the seagate as you make them to your media library, but there are much better syncing programs out there.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2011 4:17:29 PM PDT
M. McGuire says:
Hmm. No "Select All" functionality in Folder View? Ouch! The User Guide says: "If you prefer to access your files from this view [Folder View], the same playback controls are available to you." It seems like "Edit > Select All > Play" should work--at least in the app. Is it a case of "Select All" not showing in Folder View or is it showing but not working?

Not playing music in background is a serious problem and I'm hoping that Seagate will address the issue soon. They have already promised an upgrade to allow Internet use at the same time as using the Satellite. Solving these two issues would mean a lot for the product's usefulness.

I will likely not use the sync functionality of the sync software; however, it can perform other device management tasks, so I'll install it. It's Seagate that says we don't have to use the syncing function.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2011 9:58:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 25, 2011 10:13:55 PM PDT
Adam Files says:
There is a select all feature. But once you "select all" there is no option to play them there's an option to download them from the hard drive to the app itself, but no play all. The option appears when you go through the 'music' categroy where all songs are listed alphabetically, but not in folder view. No idea why.

Just so you're aware one of the things that makes this unusable is that it only loads 25 of anything on a screen. And it will go right back to the begining of the list when I go back. So even if I manage to listen to a song by Radiohead. Something that takes me over a hundred (scroll down release to load more) repetitions. To listen to The Ramones I've got to go through it all over again. To listen those to bands I've got to repeat that process hundreds of times.

There is a search feature as well, but wow does that not work.

I gave this thing a second chance today. I was hoping someone from seagate would reply as they had to others here, but alas. I really want this thing to be usable. It just... man.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2011 1:09:25 AM PDT
M. McGuire says:
Damn! "Select All" but no "Play"? IMO, per the User Guide, this is a bug--makes no sense. (I should mention that there was an upgrade to the app on the 24th; however, they said it was a minor bug fix.)

I'm plotting strategy: on the 1st try, I'm only going to put a small representative sample of my iTunes content on the Satellite. Maybe that'll give me a clue about how to proceed.

You might check out the Goflex Satellite forum at Seagate; the Seagate support person didn't answer any questions today though (maybe he has the weekend off--or he's way busy with phone support). I note, too, that the product reviews at Seagate by people who actually have the Satellite, are running seriously negative. Before anyone had their hands on it, there was a lot of enthusiasm, so, some early comments give the Satellite high scores; but now...! Seagate needs to get something going; really, this is the first product with such a negative score that I've purchased from amazon and I've never had to send anything back. I hope it's not the first to go back.

Yes, I hope that Seagate support will show up here.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2011 12:00:10 PM PDT
Adam Files says:
I did the update. If it's a bug it's a consistent bug. Again it works fine in "music". If you want to listen to the alphabet of your music.

I actually think this product could be great for like 150 movies. Because then the files aren't unmanageable. And you rarely watch movies in immediate succession. If you can keep it under 150 artists then scrolling down from one artist to another won't be prohibitive. Maybe a little annoying but still doable. And if they fix playback so an album will play all the songs sequentially.

But I have the drive only 3/5 full and it's unusable. I could buy a good ipod that could store all the songs of my chosen 150 artists in a more intuitive way for much less than this.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2011 7:35:27 AM PDT
M. McGuire says:
This drive is for people with a lot of content, yet people with a lot of content need a lot of structure for that content. Even "Videos" is too broad if you have a ton of home videos or other video types. Just grouping by file type doesn't do it; we need to be able to impose our own structure on these files. The structure needed would be highly personal, so it sure looks to me that a user defined structure is a requirement for a really good product.

BTW, I noticed today that the demonstrator in the "Getting Started" video shows us how to play movies, but doesn't show how to play music.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2011 9:56:54 AM PDT
jcmeyer5 says:
I'll go one further... the app needs to look at the iTunes meta data. If we can see those items, then we can sort by them.

Categories need to mirror iTunes... something else we can do if the metadata is looked at.

Also needs either to import playlists OR author playlists. This day and age, playlists are the interface through which you consume media.

They delivered what they said they would, but now they need to make it have more function.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2011 8:41:21 PM PDT
M. McGuire says:
BTW, I read your review and noted that you used the sync functionality.

I don't think Seagate is trying to make an iTunes specific device. It seems to me that if they tried to integrate it too tightly with iTunes, then changes that Apple makes would break the Seagate software. Not only that, but there are several iTunes directory structures in use now and iTunes upgrades don't automatically change the structure (for a good reason).

You're right about playlists, I've got lots of them for my music--playlists and folders of playlists. W/o playlists, what I'm hoping for is that I can define a folder structure on the drive and load content into it without using the sync functionality. I noted (hopefully) the review today from "Bill the Ripper," who said: "Folder view at least uses your own collections/groupings,..." Looks like I'll have my shot at all this in less than a week.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2011 9:53:39 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 1, 2011 10:42:07 PM PDT]
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