mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Dropping the brown zune, again...

So I finally got around to installing the newest versions of the Zune firmware and software on my brown Zune 30. I was a little reluctant to install it, because installing the original software took me several days to get working.

Installing the new software wasn't much better. The first time I tried updating it, I got a generic failed to install message. Not wanting to break what works, I figured I'd wait. But a few days ago I figured I'd take another stab at it. So I installed the software and updated the firmware, and then plugged in my Zune. And got this encouraging message. So I clicked OK, and then got a white box that appeared and then my machine froze. Restarted and the same thing happened two more times.

So I went to Microsoft's Zune website and discovered this TSB that this is a known issue. Evidently the visualizations for the Zune are just too good for my video card to handle, and I needed to add a switch for it to run.

Now, I will admit I don't have the world's best video card - my machine is a Cisnet Celeron 3.06, with the main monitor powered by a SIS/VIA onboard graphics card (I have a second monitor hooked up to some sort of eVGA/Nvidia PCI card that I got for $10 after rebate). Still, I don't think I should have to upgrade my video card just so I can use an MP3 player without my system shitting the bed.

I don't want "visualizations" from my music program. I want to be able to easily take the music on my PC and put it on my MP3 player so I can listen to gangsta rap while I'm on the Precor at the gym.

So how is the new software? eh. I actually thought the old software was a little easier to use. I liked the old firmware better too - it had a couple different color schemes, while the new firmware only has one. It displayed album and artist for all the albums, not just the one that you have selected when you are looking at the album list. And it didn't have the kind of cheesy, 70's-throwback skinny Zune font for everything.

I've told people who are surprised that I bought a Microsoft Zune, since I'm a big Apple fan, that I would have bought an iPod if Apple made a 30 gig one with a nice color display for $85 (what I paid from woot for my refurb). I have to admit that that the extra money you spend on iPod buys much better software and ease of use, even if the MS hardware is nicer in some ways. I still use iTunes as my MP3 player, even though I haven't used an iPod in 6 months or more. I will use the Zune software only to update my Zune, and the day I buy a different MP3 player and eBay the Zune will be the day that I delete the Zune software from my PC.


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