Thursday, May 08, 2008

Zune 2.5

Yesterday the Zune software and Firmware were updated. And I must say. I'm loving it!!

Let me tell you how I got a Zune. At the beginning of this year I was working as a telephone technical support technician. The project to which I was assigned, was to support Microsoft Employees. This was a new project and they planned to have us train for one month starting December and start taking calls early January. Training only took 2 and a half weeks, and the phone system wasn't ready for prime time until Late February. That's a LOT of time sitting around doing nothing. Now, as an incentive they put our name in a pot each day we were there for training. Now the funny thing is that I only missed one day of training. The day they drew names out of the pot. That's how I knew that my chances for winning would go through the roof, it's always the guy not there that wins. Luckily this was just after the 2nd generation Zune was released. So I found myself the owner of an 80 Gig Zune.

I had never even considered getting a Zune. But now that I have it. I can honestly say that I like it lot more than the iPods with which I've played. If the Choice is between a classic iPod and a Zune, get the Zune. If the choice is between a Zune and an iPhone/iPod touch that question is harder. The iPhone/iPod touch is definitely the cooler gadget, but comparatively has a dinky hard drive.

Anyway, I loved just about everything about the Zune. There was a little learning curve as far as the synchronization (shortly after I filled up the Zune, I plugged it in and it promptly removed All the movies I had loaded). Once I learned how this worked, it was no longer a problem. It's the one thing that I did not find intuitive, well that and the way it sorts Albums is a little odd. Albums that have Multiple artists (mostly Soundtracks in my case) end up being broken up by artist so you can't just play the Whole Album without a play list. But a little research on my part discovered that it sorts by a metatag called Album Artist, so I just had to edit those tags.

This brings me to the first part of the update that I like. Previously, I pretty much ignored the Zune software and used it solely for syncing my Zune to the Computer. I could not edit the Metadata with the Zune software. I used iTunes for that. However this new iteration of Zune software allows for metadata editing.

The Second thing I noticed is that the Status bar at the bottom of the software that tells you how much space is used, has more divisions. Previously it told you how much space was used by music and how much was used by video. I've noticed that now it has a separate section for Podcasts, I don't know if it has a section for Images, I have so few on my Zune that if it did the bar would be far too small to see.

Speaking of Podcasts. It now will play podcasts like it does music. When one ends it immediately goes to the next in the series. I no longer have to tell it to start playing the next one, which was the only thing that I didn't like about the way it handled podcasts. It was a very very minor qualm, that none the less has been resolved.

One of my biggest annoyances with the Zune software, was the way it handled the Thumbnail image for Videos. It didn't cache them and had to regenerate them every time you scrolled up and down the list. That has been fixed and it speeds up dealing with Videos. Also the Metadata for Videos can be Edited as well, which is Awesome.

You can now create what iTunes called smartlists, dubbed Auto playlists.

When the Zune Synchs, it now displays the percentage on the Zune screen as well, which is a nice touch, so you dont have to go back to the Device Status screen in the software to see how far along it is in the process.

They added some features to the "Social" section as well, but I'm not even part of the Demographic that those features are aimed toward, so I've never joined the "cult" I don't share what I listen to with the Internet. The Internet should not know. Stay away from me you lousy Internet! Get off the Lawn!! . . . Dang Kids.


  1. I'm a podcast nut. If you have any recommendations I'd love to hear them. I'd suggest Mysterious Universe and The Unexplained with Howard Hughes.

  2. I'm listening to Fear the Boot Episodes as recommended by P in the Gaming Realization Blog from a while back.

    I also listen to Coast to Coast AM, to download that requires a Subscription.

  3. I did run across one little annoyance in this update. My movies were sorted weird. They were sorted according to the folders that they were in on the hard drive(I thought). And the folders were named what the DVD was labeled when popped in the drive. So I took all the movies off of the Zune and changed the movies so they were all in a single directory. I attempted to resynch but it was telling me there was no room. I still haven't figured out why. . .

    Anyway, I finally got everything loaded back onto the Zune, but it was still sorting weird. Which means the label of the DVD was embedded in the file somehow. On a hunch I loaded all the files into iTunes and looked at the meta data. Sure enough all of them had the "Album Name" as the DVD label. I renamed them all. Problem resolved. Everything works better than ever. Except I still have to keep iTunes in order for DVD's to be sorted properly.

    Not that that is an issue, I like iTunes better for listening to music on the computer. I just hoped that with the new meta data abilities of the Zune software I wouldn't have to manage things with iTunes and the Zune software

  4. That's because the iPod Touch/iPhone don't have hard drives, they have flash memory. Flash memory has come down in price considerably, but it is still considerably more expensive than magnetic media.

  5. So very true. But to me the important value is being able to hold as much as possible at once. So I'll stick to the hard drive solution until solid state rules the world. Then of course I'll switch.

  6. To be Completely honest with you. I hate all of these ipods/mp3 players/zunes. I only have one because I felt like a troglodyte without one. My reasoning for the dislike is actually twofold. First, digitally compressed and converted music is laking. I'm still a firm believer in the vinyl. Music sounds so much better to me when recorded with analog equipment, and played through an even halfway decent turntable. the second reason is I'm old fashioned.since I've gotten an Ipod it's very seldom that I listen to a whole album. kids don't know what they are missing these days. it used to be that you could sit down throw a record on and enjoy the expeience from start to finish. that sad I love my ipod. It has opned me up to podcasts and audiobooks.

  7. I'm mostly listening to Fear the Boot right now. I like having all my music on me if I have a craving to listen to something.

    I too love Vinyl. Last thing I bought on vinyl was They Might Be Giants' latest non-children's album entitled, "The Else" released last year.

    Normally priced $15.98, I got it for the special Cash only price of $20.00 at a concert. They signed the sleeve. But they weren't charging for the signature, they were just too lazy to make change.

    My wife got me a new turntable last Christmas and I love it.

    You're right, with the à la carte purchasing model of today's music market, the album experience is pretty much lost.

  8. How have you been enjpying FtB? Does it perk your gaming cravings?

  9. Fear the boot is excellent. They get a little blue sometimes, but the gaming talk is very interesing and makes me want to game again.

  10. Hey man, your faithful readers are waiting for a new post from you.