Zune


Zune (1st gen) sometimes not starting when charged

My 1st generation Zune has been acting oddly for the past couple of months. It sometimes refuses to start (light the LCD) when it is charged (sometimes fully charged). Plugging the Zune into a power source (AC adapter in my case) lights the LCD and lets me use the Zune. But, still, it is annoying. It is a good thing I never take the Zune out? Otherwise, I might be faced with a temporary brick.

Zune

Comments (1)

Permalink

Bizarre Zune 2.5 Errors


I fired up the Zune 2.5 software on my PC running XP for the first time in over a month and kept getting this window popping up again and again. It pops up regardless of whether my first generation Zune is synced or not.

I really want to like the Zune. But, it keeps throwing barriers to prevent that from happening. I stopped syncing video podcasts because it took so long to convert the video formats and complete the sync (I understand this is NOT an issue with 2nd generation Zune hardware). I stopped syncing music because it seems to lose track of synced music. Some appear on the Zune, some do not. So, I’m trying to use the Zune to sample podcast subscriptions (keepers go to my iPod). But, the multiple error windows are pretty darn annoying. Something to do with XP SP3, perhaps???

Zune

Comments (0)

Permalink

ActiveSync/WMDC and Zune Sync: Birds of a Sync Feather

The Zune 2 firmware upgrade turned my 1st generation Zune from a moderately useful MP3/video player to a decent media player with a screen I prefer to my iPod video’s screen (though nothing can touch the iPod touch’s display – pun intended). With its 30GB hard drive (compared to my iPod touch’s 16GB) and the new firmware’s ability to deal with podcasts, I thought it would make a great device to store and watch a bunch of video podcasts. Viewing video podcasts on the Zune (1st generation) is a good experience. The problem lies in actually getting those video podcasts from a PC to the Zune. From what I can tell video podcasts are store in a hodge-podge of file formats in the Zune marketplace. However, it looks like many (maybe most) of these file formats are not Zune ready video formats and requires transcoding that takes place during the sync process with the Zune. A half-dozen or so video podcasts can sometimes take up to an hour for this transcoding process. This is a far cry from the few minutes it takes for a similar batch of video podcasts to be synced to an iPod using iTunes.

So, after trying this idea (using the Zune as my main video podcast device) for a number of months (since the 2.0 firmware came out), I deleted the video podcasts feeds for the Zune. This is really too bad since it really does have a good LCD display and is a good video playback device.

The Zune’s awful video sync process ruined an otherwise good user experience like Windows Mobile’s ActiveSync/WMDC sync process often ruins a good WiMo experience. With the iPhone gaining a lot of traction and entering the enterprise space with its own Exchange Server ActiveSync and Google’s Android arriving soon, one can only hope that Microsoft will take pity on its existing customers and fix their awful sync experience for the Zune and Windows Mobile.

Mobile Devices
Windows Mobile
Zune

Comments (4)

Permalink

iFrogz Vibez: The Little Speaker That Could

iFrogz Vibez

I bought this little Vibez speaker from iFrogz on a whim during their post-holiday sale period. It listed for $34.99. I bought it for $19.99. And, it currently lists on their site for $24.95. This thing is not going to give your high-end or even decent portable speakers any competition. However, despite its relatively low-fidelity, it sounds ok for what it is: A tiny speaker that works with anything that has a mini-plug headphone jack. I often use it to listen to podcasts when I am roaming around a room (I hate wearing headphones or earphones). The USB plug is used to charge the integrated rechargeable batteries. The charge seems to last darn near forever. I think the last time I charged it was sometime in mid-January. You can squeeze it down in size for carrying around. But, I don’t want to stress that plastic pleated mid-area. And, it is small enough to easily carry around even in the expanded state you see in the photo. Personally, I think music sounds ok on it too. It obviously has no bass range to speak of. But, it is fine for un-nuanced music. A mobile thumbs up for this little speaker.

Apple
iPod
Mobile Devices
Windows Mobile
Zune

Comments (0)

Permalink

Instructions for Submitting Podcasts for the Zune

From what I’ve been reading the Zune has been picking up its pace as a podcasting device. So, if you are a podcaster and want it to be available on the Zune, head over to this Zune.net web page that provides the information need to know about submitting Podcast content for the Zune.

Provide Content for Zune

Mobile Devices
Zune

Comments (0)

Permalink

Zune Oddities… Also 2.3 Firmware Upgrade

Microsoft seems to have been busy providing point upgrade releases since they released the Zune 2.0 firmware upgrade a few months ago with the introduction of the 2nd generation of Zune devices. The 2.3 upgrade came out in mid-December. But, I only recently plugged in my 1st generation Zune to the PC to upgrade it. I’m not really sure what the upgrade since I don’t see release notes area on the Zune.net Support page.

I wanted to note a couple of Zune oddities (some good, some not so good) that are probably NOT related to the upgrade though.

Video files for the iPod need to be more-or-less prepared to meet the iPod’s supported video formats (screen size, etc.). The iPod wouldn’t, for example, deal with the MacBreak video podcast high def video format. So, I was surprised to see that the Zune Podcast webpage provided the CommandN video podcast in the H.264 video format that, I think, even the iPod doesn’t accept. I had forgotten that the Zune attempts to convert video files into a format it can accept during the sync process. This conversion process is very very flow. I think it took something like a half-hour to convert the three CommandN video podcast files.

I mentioned recently that I tried out the Amazon MP3 DRM-free service by buying an EP release (6 songs). The Zune PC software saw it fine but only synced 5 of the 6 files to the Zune. Like the awful Windows Mobile Device Center for Windows Mobile smartphones, the Zune software provides no options to try to fix problems. In its effort to be user friendly, both the WMDC and Zune software are actually user hostile. I tried to force an update by moving the missing MP3 file to another directly, update the Zune client’s file sync with the hard disk, move the MP3 file back to its original director, and then force a sync again. This time the file appeared, BUT a file that had synced with the Zune originally disappeared. Weird… Microsoft really needs to take a look at iTunes on the Mac.

That said, the Zune 2.x firmware is an improvement on the Zune device itself. I’ll be playing with it a bit more.

Mobile Devices
Zune

Comments (0)

Permalink