296933266_fba22f6444_s_1 A couple of thoughts after three days of commuting with my free Zune and having to install Bootcamp because Parallels wouldn't let me see the Zune even after hours of troubleshooting and killing kernel extensions and watching my Mac crash repeatedly and then being told by MS Windows that my software key was in use (no duh, I used it for Parallels) and I was going to have to call them to clear out the key. (I did find something kind of funny though.)

  1. The little "community" icon looks like a reversed RSS feed icon. Every time I look at my Zune I get annoyed with that icon.
  2. The Zune Marketplace is okay. There's some bells the iTunes store doesn't have, but it's no iTunes store. It looks nicer than ITMS but doesn't work that well. About the only thing it does better than iTunes is casual browsing. I am always annoyed when I'm looking to buy an audiobook on iTunes and end up with a giant list of books sorted by author and/or narrator.
  3. Nobody has a Zune on my commute, or at least nobody is sharing their info. I tried randomly several times on the train and boat and found nothing. It's a little exciting to think I might be able to browse and share music with a friend someday (if not a bit creepy to think strangers might want to share with me*). The geek in me likes cool tech even if it's spawned from the womb of pure evil, so for now it's shiny and new and that's good enough. Gruber joked the other day that the only way to expose yourself was with a camera, but sites like Last.fm prove otherwise. Playlists are pretty powerful for some of us. Zune sharing is the new mix tape.

I Like

  1. I signed up with my XBox Live account. Points on XBox Live are interchangeable with points on Zune, so if someone bought me an XBox Live gift card full of Microsoft Points, I could use them to buy some XBox Live games and then maybe a couple of songs from the Zune Marketplace. That's cool.
  2. Points system. I know a lot of people think it's stupid, but while using it last night I had that same feeling you have when you're in Vegas and you tip the dealer a $10 chip and don't really think OMG THAT WAS TWO TACO BELL MEALS I AM DRUNK. It's just a point, big deal, you can buy more. The 79 points == 99¢ kind of screws with your mind. Things seem cheaper even if they aren't.
  3. I can stream video from my Zune to my XBox 360º. Currently we have a mess of wires and connections to get stuff off my PSP onto my Mac mini when we want to watch a TV show I borrowed from the web. (Do we still have to say "borrowed" when the truth is I take? I feel like I'm spelling words to other adults in front of kids. Yes, I like downloading TV shows and movies from the web, call it stealing, call it piracy, I call it not having to pay attention to the freaks on the train)

    This isn't to say I don't buy a ton of iTunes shows and music, it's just a choice I sometimes make when something is not available yet (yay 2nd season of Weeds) or being given to me for free (meh new Shins). Sorry, sidetracked...
  4. It's $80 cheaper than an iPod. $80 is like uh, 790 MS points? That's a lot of music. I'm an idiot. It's not $80 cheaper, it's the same price. Thanks, Dave. This kind of changes a lot, as I have had it in my head that it was cheaper. The choice between the two is pretty obvious now.

I No Like

  1. Doesn't show up as a mass storage device on my desktop. I take my MacBook to and from work, so it's not a big deal, but sometimes I need to carry around some backup files. I suppose that's what S3 is for. Still, that's a no brainer, I'm plugging in a hard drive to my computer, show me my hard drive.
  2. When I'm on the train, I feel like such a dork with such a blatant MS product. I pulled it out and noticed someone looking at it and I wanted to say, "Oh no! I got this free, I have a MacBook in my bag, see? I heart Steve Jobs! I heart him!!!"
  3. Zune is so closed off, I had a hell of a time trying to get a movie onto it (still failing) so it's a fancy WMV player for now. Am I missing something about video + Zune?

There are so many barriers with the Zune it's just kind of a joke for anyone who exists like myself (download tons of music for free, Macintosh user, likes to move music around), but for people in this world who think "good enough" is enough (and apparently that is several million Windows users) this is probably going to have some moderate success I think. My favorite beer is Boont Amber, more people like Budweiser. I like less mainstream music like Guided By Voices, even Guided By Voices likes Budweiser. You can't win.

* Fuck you, Balmer, for making it sound all grody.


comments

daveadams

$80 cheaper? I thought the Zune and the 30GB iPod were both $249.

Regardless, your review has told me several things other reviews missed. Did I miss *why* you got a free Zune? And is it brown?


Andre Torrez

Aiyee! I'm an idiot. I got it in my head that it was cheaper, and maybe I did a bad search on Amazon because I could have sworn I saw it cheaper. It pretty much settles the money choice, iPod+ITMS is a much more polished device and service.

I got a free Zune because someone who received one to review, didn't have time to review it.

And yes, it's brown.


Jonathan moore

You should be publicly flogged for having a macbook, mac mini, and that godawful Zune anywhere near each other...ewwwww!!


Andre Torrez

I'd like to think of it as Taking One For the Team.

Plus I got it for free. If someone gave me a Dell I'd happily make it a NAS or something.


mat?

Have you tried hooking it up to a straight up vanilla Windows box, instead of the Mac running Windows? Is there a performance difference if so? And how does it do with things like album art on MP3 files that you load on there? Actually, generally speaking, how does it handle mp3s?


Sean M.

Not displayed as a mass storage device? That's a huge negative to me. Half of what I used my iPod for was getting stuff back and forth between my work and home computers.


Mike

The Zune requires (I think) USB 2.0

Parallels only supports USB 1.1 (for now)

That is probably why it didn't work for you.


Andre Torrez

Ugh, really? That's awful. Thanks, Mike.


Will Croft

Right on, Mike :)

This is a limitation of the current Parallels USB implementation. Parallels emulates a standard 2-port USB 1.1 controller - it also notes in the developer release that not all functionality that "relies on specific drivers" may work via the USB emulation - e.g. buttons 4-8 are not recognized on my Logitech MX500 mouse.

I also doubt the Zune would be too hot under USB 1.1 ;)


Parallels users can find out more in the Help Index.


Charles Albrecht

Heck, the Zune is 19870 points to the iPod's 24900 cents. Clearly a winner. :)


James Gowan

I'm still way pissed at NBC for showing the Zune next to a 4Gen iPod w/the blue screen. Of course, the Zune is going to look more appealing. That got grandma confused for sure.

Of course with MS and NBC doing it, it's no wonder they'd stoop that low. Of course, it might be as simple as "we need to show them side by side but we don't have a new one and don't want to spend the money to go get one -- who has an ipod?" I wish I knew who made that executive decision, I'd beat his face.

God, I thought I hated the name iPod when it came out but ZUNE? WTF?! I'm surprised MS didn't call it "zUne".

"Welcome to the Social"? More like "Welcome to the Social Disease". I can just see someone discovering a chink in the armor of the Zune and send people viruses instead a song or jpg! Laughing my ass, I will.


Mark

My company works with a large retailer that is in the midwest and the Zune is absolutely bombing. Most stores haven't sold more than a couple, with plenty still waiting for their first sale.


James Gross

Funny. I heart Andre


Russ

"Oh no! I got this free, I have a MacBook in my bag, see? I heart Steve Jobs! I heart him!!!"

"I heart him!!!" Haha.


Bill

great review Andre!


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before this i wrote idea: inverted inverted pyramid after this i wrote restore your library

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