Annoyances with consumer products that could be solved by hobbyists and hackers:

Complained about by various people.. More like a bunch of collected mini-rants aranged in some orderly manner.
Vehicle stuff:

"in-dash GPS" destination can not be programmed by the passenger or anyone else unless the car is stopped. This results in drivers making unsafe stops so that the passenger can modify the GPS settings.

Annoying "I Agree" screen on in-dash GPS. Yes, this whole thing of having to enter into a legal agreement every time the GPS is used is annoying and has got to go.

Hybrid vehicles: Toyota Prius cruise control function and the ability to make short drives on electric-only power were not enabled in USA, but were enabled in other regions.

Hands-free: Auto Maker "Jeep" disabled hands-free Bluetooth in some vehicles, from fear it would be umm.. 'noisy'. What? a Jeep noisy? well yes, offroad-ish vehicles can be. It's a Jeep. So? I still would like the hands free feature. The hardware and software is all there except a microphone that can be added, so it's just shut off.. This can be enabled.

Ipods intentionally blocked from integrating to some automotive audio systems. Dont' care why, Apple and Manufacturer: "work it out", but for now I own these products and should not be robbed of their use.

Vehicle rear-view cameras that can only work when vehicle is in 'reverse'. A small complaint but a useful option for those tailgated by small sports cars.

* One commercial solution that exists for some of these annoyances: a company called Coastal Electronic Technologies. Not an ad, no recommendations and no connection or link but just to show there are fixes to annoyances for those who are not technical geniuses. -ed.

General Electronics stuff:

Computers: Let's not even get into Microsoft Windows Annoyances. Entire work-around books have been written on the topic, for every version back to Windows 95. Not to pick on Microsoft, other brands and operating systems have their own annoyances, but why do some of Big Bill's annoyances seem almost intentional? They are not intentional but the result of radical software changes and perceived 'improvements' from one version to the next.
Example: How the 'paint' program handles/mis-handles text and discrete pixels in 3.1 through Vista, versus 7 and later. Type some text and draw a single pixel line in Paint, then save it. Notice how Paint has altered the actual pixels? ugly for some people. The result is, again, the forced prying open of the consumer's wallet, or, the need to hack or to find a previous version of the paint program. Hackers do a great service creating and documenting workarounds, and exposing the problems with complex software systems.

While we're on computer annoyances, Internet privacy, tracking, ads and spam. Oh well.

From users of sophisticated hand-held devices: service provider spying, using the address books, e-mail, GPS, camera, and microphone via the unavoidable 'phone software, or any 'apps', even when the owner has turned it 'off', and the like. Why can't it be "OFF" when the owner has turned it "OFF"? There ought be a hardware switch for that, and indeed it is possible to route the power or signals from GPS, camera, and microphones through a tiny switch, if you don't mind some micro-hackery. With hardware, you know it's off when it's off.

From those who only have a simple cellphone, just to make "phone calls" with and to take a few pictures: Why, in the "media" menu of even the simplest cellphone, is the drop-down selection "buy media" always the first selection, well above "my media"? I am never going to use that, not going to buy a darn thing; no ringtones, no images, not going to watch videos on a 120x160 screen, but it won't go away and the menu can't be modified to be rid of it. If it is accidentally pushed/touched/clicked, the phone goes into a connecting mode for 20-30 seconds before that can be stopped/killed, but an "internet minute/data fee" has, by then, already been charged. Despite the fact that it is a telephone, you can't get anyone at the telephone company to answer the telephone and remove the charge, but you will burn up "voice minutes" trying. This scheme steals from Grandma and from everyone else who isn't tech-sharp and doesn't want the extra cost services. Other menus have similar come-ons and traps for the careles finger.

There really should be an official regulation of handheld o/s and app behavior, so that when you say "No" in the main o/s or settings menu of the device, it's a guaranteed-by-design, hardware-enforced "NO" to the o/s, the service provider, and all apps regardless of privelege.

"Guaranteed by design" is a term used in the semiconductor industry and elsewhere that means a device will absolutely, 100%, behave in a certain way because an incorruptible part of its very construction and nature prevents it operating in a different way.

Consumer goods with almost no hardware controls or switches, but a huge remote control have become the norm. I guess it is cheaper for the manufacturer to skimp on the front panel hardware. OK so you lose the remote for a $400 stereo, and find out it can't be used witout the remote, and a replacement is $100 or just not available. Expensive products with some sort of computer interface or media requirement that sudenly becomes obsolete, but yet the actual product works perfectly and has several good years left in it. The situation forcefully prys open the unwilling consumer's wallet. "Buy! Buy more, Now! Only by increased commerce can the consumer be cleansed." (to fairly paraphrase Lucas..)

RTCs inside consumer electronics. OK everything has a clock display and Real Time Clock chip (or a 60hz line-sync clock) in it, but most of them can't go 3 seconds without AC power before the clock forgets the time and shows the blinking 12:00. A whole house full of flashing "12:00", mis-timed events, and answering machines that report all subsequent calls to have come in at 12:00 AM Sunday. Most folks don't live next door to the power plant or have a whole-house UPS. Any hardware hacker worth his pay can build a small backup to power the just the clock chip (4700uF cap? coin cell?) and provide the timing (if necessary), but -why- wasn't this done at the factory? It cost <$1 and is a value-add, print-it-on-the-box, advertisable feature. Digital clocks have been around at least since 1955 and the Nixie Tube. From where comes the industry's continuing love for such dysfunction?