Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Zune, I think I'll keep it.

The Zune ... I think I'll keep it.

Why? Well ...
  • I really like the interface. True there is not a spin click wheel like the ipod, the button in buttons gizmo works pretty well, and the menu velocity logarithmically increases when you hold the up or down for a second.
  • I like the minimalistic configuration options. Hell my grandmother could have operated the darn thing. Somehow the team managed to avoid the 'control-option' bloat that so many devices suffer from.
  • The screen is BIG, or at least bigger than the iPod. The larger the screen the easier it is to look at, Videos look better, controls are clearer, the Zune really takes advantage of it with the zooming background.
  • The background is customizeable with your own image. It's a little thing that I really apperciate.
  • I can still use iTunes for Podcasts, even video podcasts (a neat feature since MS isn't ready with that one yet.)
  • Believe it or not the MS Zune feels like the underdog vs. the Apple iPod juggernaut. I enjoy rooting for the underdog, there always seems to be more opportunity for something interesting. I went to a cheap Fred-Meyer near my house yesterday and their iPod display, with all the options was neatly stacked and there were loads of accessories on the entire row. The little Zune display took up two shelves in a display case that inculded other stuff including portable DVD players. Yep the Zune is definatly the underdog. I think they should combine the XBox and Zune displays since the products work together.
  • And hey, the thing has a decent FM tuner it it. It actually seems to be the best FM radio I've ever had.
Anyway I can always get an iPod if the Zune ever fails. Not much chance I'd ever own a Zune again, so I'll just keep this one and look forward to all the new stuff that MS will eventually release for it. The future is bright!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Zune Sites! - MS home - Zune employees site, Cesar Menendeze with Zune marketing. - Bill W, Zune Accessories Department - Dave Caulton, Zune software team

Fan Sites

And finally - Not sure ...

Monday, December 25, 2006


Zune this! Posted by Picasa

To Zune or not to Zune, what is the question ... exactly?

Zune under your tree?

I got an MS Zune for Xmas, debating if I should return it for an iPod. I opened the box anyway since I'd very little first hand knowledge of the product it would give me a chance to do some first hand research. I'd been putting off getting a Zune or iPod for a while. I play my music mp3 collection on my Rio, PocketPC phone, or iTunes/Windows media player/Mp3 cd player.

My music collection has no music purchased from an encrypted music retailer. I've converted it all directly to mp3 from my rather large CD collection with Audiograbber over several years. It turns out this is still the 'correct' thing to do. If I'd been buying any music online it would not play in the zune, likewise any music bought from the MS store would not play in an Pod. Life is much simpler if you just buy a CD, new or used, and convert it to mp3's yourself.

The Zune installs and works flawlessly and except for a hic-up when the zune PC software locked once while I was doing multiple things with it (probably a threading loop someplace). After killing and restaring it then had to rescan my entire library. The safe thing to do is to stop the zune PC software immediately after entering your initial information and after at least a partial scan of your library. This will save the config and your scan so if it does crash you won't have to start over.

The Zune sound is great, the video screen is large, the interface I like (with the background image zoom and the large letters that appear when scrolling through your music fast. It's got some tricky button combinations that are not listed in the manual that can power it off and erase all content if you want, I'd like a concise and complete list of all those sometime.

The Zune Web

The web property space has been saturated with 'ZUNE' sites, probably MS targeting that and trying to work up a buzz,,, are a few. I actually liked the hack your Zune hardware articles the best since it shows that you can change your own battery and hard drive if you want to.

Now lets focus on two things, broadcast file sharing and free news/video downloads, i.e. Podcasts.

Real World Network Test

I went to the Chargers vs. Seattle game yesterday, disappointing game result but that's another story. While I was there in Quest stadium, Microsoft central, even Paul Allen was there somewhere since it was the last regular season home game, I pulled out my Zune and had it search for another Zune. The results, in that crowd of thousands, was zilch, I was the only Zune there, not even a whisper of another zune anywhere. I imagine it will make contact with one eventually but I don't think they can find each other without some help from their owners.

Getting Podcasts on your Zune!

I don't have an iPod but have been using iTunes for a year or so to listen to free radio podcasts and video's. I like the news business stories you can't get anywhere else. Since 'free' content, or even videos, aren't available from the MS zune storefront. I can continue to use iTunes to subscribe to Podcasts and when these are downloaded they cross over into the Zune just fine without extra steps. The video isn't visible in the pc-zune program but the Zune will show the Video just fine(it converts during upload). If you want to view/pre-view the Podcasts on your computer you'll have to continue using Quicktime/iTunes for that.

Finally my Gripes in order:

  1. iPod/Zune market: Purchased music is locked to one player type and can't be used on another player, even though you paid money for the music you have fewer rights to it. Buying a CD and converting it to MP3 is the only thing that really works. iPod music does not play on a Zune and zune music will not play on an iPod. Free mp3's and mpeg videos work on both so why can't the music you pay money for?
  2. Zune: The file sharing network 'social' feature doesn't work, for several reasons; limited range, few other Zunes, slow xfer, limited retention, no RELAY, i.e. can't give to someone else what someone gave to you.
  3. Zune: Free content, i.e. Podcasts, can not be shared freely or for indefinite periods suposedly the content you received allways evaporates after you look and it three times or in three days, even when the content is not copyrighted.
  4. Zune: Files can not be copied back off of the Zune when you put them up there.
  5. Zune market: Podcasts are not available, or any free video content.
  6. Zune Market: It makes you log on every time you use it. iTunes doesn't make you log in and I never have. (Nevermind, this is incorrect, the market does NOT require you to log in to view the contents.)
  7. Zune-computer: Doesn't have a clear 'jukebox' feature.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Short Time ...

Is a Planck measured in Boehr'ed feet?

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I've not posted much recently. Just the odd poem or or thought. I did get season Seahawks tickets though, the next game (first game) is a pre-season in August. They play the Raiders in their second August pre-season on a Thursday night.

Though technically I'm not a die-hard foot ball fan, I'm very interested in seeing the games. I think they will do very well this year, going by their incredible performance last year.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Goodness Gracious!

ball of fire
rising high
sheets of flame
upon the sky

wall of fire
crosses ground
ball of fire
has come around.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Logos, Pathos, Ethos

This is my Ethos. while there are many like it, this one is mine. Without it I am nothing. Without me, it is nothing.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Jills Dictum

In regards to being patient when shopping for electronics;

"Hurry up and buy it now, before the price goes down and the quality goes up."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Game is Over ...

Yup, the big game is over. The Seahawks lost and I like so many others in Seattle really enjoyed watching the game, except for those parts where I wanted to run outside and throw up ...

Other than that it was a great game. Hope to watch it again next year.

The Mohamed 'bomb turban' political cartoons.

The west values free speech. I 'believe' that the bomb throwing violent Muslims who would kill, arson, threaten, and commit other violent crimes are just that extreme radicals and NOT the average peace loving Muslim.

I want to point out that Muslims have been putting Mohamed's image on things for centuries, primarily images of Mohamed sitting backwards on a donkey preaching to his followers. It is therefor hypocritical to go into violent sociopathic hysterics over a couple of cheesy political cartoons. By going bananas like this they have only 'proved' the cartoonists political/satirical, point by acting exactly like the comedic caricatures they claim to despise.

YaaaaHoo Superbowl today!

Our office building in Seattle Friday was "Crrrazy" for SeaHawks!

Here are a couple of images;

Goalposts made from Fedex boxes

 Here is a pan of the office as seen through the goal posts. (Talk about team spirit!)

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Steelers were not forgotten!

 Steelers fans were under represented but a few brave souls showed off their colors!
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The Office building owners supported by giving free cookies!

 Check out the cookie spread provided by the office building managers in the lobby for the whole building.
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Cookie Closeup!

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

What is the speed of Dark?

I always thought this was a cute physics joke and never really thought about it very deeply. Upon a small amount of consideration though you would think that the speed of 'dark' i.e. the lack of light would be equal to light's speed at vacating or illuminating a scene i.e. equal to c. In observation this is not 'totally' true. Due to quantum mechanics it could be calculated that the presence of light on a scene actually slightly precedes an illumination event and correspondingly the absence of light on a scene will succeed the illumination stop event.

Where does this go? It seems to go to the root of the time travel problem in that the speed of dark is not c but actually -c ... an interesting conjecture indeed in that it implies that dark would be an inverse time phenomena ...

Whether or not this is actually true it leads to some interesting ideas and thought experiments. Which came first, the light or the dark, depends entirely on your time vector.

Have fun and dust off those QM textbooks!