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barcamp_phx3a_med

join the community for the phoenix barcamp -- lots of good stuff boiling up there (and i'm pretty sure i'll be bringing some stuff to give away where i can!)...more details here

http://barcamp.org/BarCampPhoenix

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from my previous post i made a comment about automatic sync (on by default) and not seeing an option for manual sync.

rtfm for me.  it's there.  with the zune connected in the navigation area on the left, right-click the device and choose set up sync, and uncheck the automatic.

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it locked up.  well, i'm not sure lock up is an accurate term as i still saw something going on, but maybe i was jaded by an animated gif :-0.

here's what happened...i'm trying to test out the video feature a bit more, specifically movies, etc.  my goal was to put a new release movie on the zune.  my wife and i just watched the da vinci code (no i didn't read the book, but i really enjoyed the movie -- good suspense, good subtle action).  so i seeked out some dvd rip software to get a dvd to wmv or something like that.  i tried xilisoft software that seemed to have the most options.  i put the dvd in and set it to WMV format full mode (keep aspect ratio).  now, i'm not sure if it is my laptop speed, etc., but it took forever!  like 5+ hours.  i did get a WMV file, but it played super 'choppy' like stuttering every few seconds -- not a clean encoding.  so if anyone has recommendations, let me know please.

so i started wmp-zune and plugged in my zune.  i dragged the wmv file (800MB) to the zune and clicked start sync.  it started, it completed...but then held in a "synchronizing..." pattern...on the device and in the software.  then i got a popup window in the software saying that the connection is "slow" and that i should re-connect and/or reset the device (note: to reset a zune you will press *and hold* the up and back buttons for about 10 seconds).  okay, done.  connect the device again, and it just hangs -- i can't view what files are on the zune now.  frustrating.

i *do* think, though it has something to do with resources having already been consumed on my machine because of the overnight encoding that the laptop was doing.  so i rebooted my machine.  okay, back from reboot, plugged it in and was able to do what i needed. 

one thing i did notice though was that the sync is a true sync.  in itunes, i can change the option to let me control the sync...and i like that option.  in wmp-zune, i don't see that option.  so if i deleted files from certain folders, on the next sync (which is automatic upon plugin) those would be removed from my device.  this is *not* something i like.  why?  well, let's take movies.  i may be converting a movie for specific purposes and don't want the extra space on my computer to be consumed...once i've moved it to my portable device, i want to delete it from my computer -- but keep it on my device.  hmm...i'll have to research.

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well, i've been playing around with it for a while -- taking it everywhere trying to keep it out in the open to elicit responses.  people have asked/noticed (likely because of the brown) and the response has been okay to say the least.  "is that the new ipod" is the typical question.  "interesting" has been another, well, interesting response.

i've managed to transfer 18GB of music to it from my itunes on my mac (i use mp3 format already) and it took a lot longer than i anticipated once they were on my machine.  the zune software (i'm going to go ahead and call it WMP-Zune because that is what it looks like) i think could use a bit more polishing.  quite frankly, one thing that bothers me is the font sizes -- i feel like i'm going blind -- if this is a 'social' let's bring out da funk with the fonts people -- or at least make them bigger.

i found some things that i didn't like as well. 

1) playlists -- my friend billwil gave me this heads up -- and sure enough i can't figure it out.  once you have a playlist on the zune, you can't easily delete it (or i can't figure out how).  i can see it in wmp-zune but when i right click, delete is disabled.

2) pictures and folders -- the zune comes preloaded with imagery and they are organized in folders -- i wanted to put some pics on there as well and put them in folders.  i don't organize my pics in folders on my machine, but wanted them categorized in the zune -- i can't figure out how to create a new folder!  righ-click, nope. file menu, nope.  hmm...i think it expects the folder to be on your machine and then sync...i'll try that

3) audio types -- clearly this device is tailored at music/videos.  key being music.  i'm not a huge consumer of podcasts or audio books, but i keep about 5 podcast subscriptions and usually keep 1-2 audiobooks on my ipod for the long drives and travel (i've really only read one book cover to cover -- the last mission by harry mazer -- read it in 4th or 5th grade because it had a ton of cuss words in it and i thought that was cool).  here's what i like about itunes -- subscribe to podcast.  wmp-zune doesn't have that.  now i suspect the solution is to use another tool, like , and just ensure it dumps it into the zune music folder to sync.  but then on the zune there isn't a 'podcast' category -- i'd have to go to music and hope/ensure that my podcast files are tagged appropriately, put in a playlist, etc.  same with audio books.

the thing i don't like the most is still the accessories (lack thereof).  i really want to tryout the car kit and the 'premium' earphones.  every place is backordered.

<side note on zune marketing>

here's another weird thing -- go to zune.net and look at the accessories -- there is a 'show now' button -- sweet, click it.  here's what i see:

zunebuds

xbox site, xbox brand, xbox links, etc. (never mind the no availability indicator) -- this site would confuse my sister-in-law if she was buying new headphones for the zune she just bought her sun.  are these zune headphones as they indicate?  or are they xbox ones since i'm on the xbox site.  and where's the link back to zune?  bad, bad, marketing IMO -- you've lost your brand here.

oh yeah, went back to the first target the other day for some other things -- still no zunes on display (but yes, they are in 'the back') -- hmmm, consumers might not think to ask...someone should contact the retail channels and do some checks.  heck i'll volunteer for some spot checks if i can get some accessories!

</side note on zune marketing>

i'm liking the screen and the battery life seems to stand up to the claims so far -- i'm going to try to rip a dvd tonight and put it on there...we'll see how that goes.

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saw this picture of michael jackson at the world music awards...and couldn't help but think he is wanting to become the crow:

jackson the crow