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All posts tagged "desktop software"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Zune Software Update: What's New?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 08:50 AM

I noticed that in the Patch Tuesday update - which I happen to be installing today - there's an update for the Zune desktop software. There's no information about what this update brings to the table that I can find - anyone know what's new? It's still version 4.7, so I suspect the changes are minor...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Zune Desktop Software Client Update to 4.7

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 10:20 AM


Today is Windows Phone 7 launch day, and as such, there's a new Zune desktop client ready for you to download; it's version 4.7, and it brings with it a lot of user interface tweaks. I've just installed it and am checking it out now...and I'm seeing more than a few ugly surprises. Here's the official word from the Zune's PR people:

"As you may know, the Zune experience is built directly into the Music+Video hub on every Windows Phone 7, providing a great media experience on the handsets for personal media collection playback, as well as the ability to stream millions of songs wirelessly with a Zune Pass subscription in the US, UK, France, Italy and Spain. In addition, the Zune software will serve as the Windows-based PC sync client for the handsets allowing a user to manage and transfer their media between PCs and Windows Phone 7 handsets.

In support of the forthcoming availability of Windows Phone 7, we are beginning to roll out the updated Zune PC software (version 4.7) today. Zune PC software will be available to download for free from Zune.net. By having access to the software now, consumers around the world can familiarize themselves with all that Zune has to offer and get ready for Windows Phone 7.

The Zune PC software provides a best-in-class experience to manage, discover and enjoy digital media with a variety of exclusive features including new enhancements such as:

• First Connect: provides a simple out-of-the box experience for Windows Phone 7 customers with automatic updates to Zune content upon initial connection

• HD Streaming Video: enables instant-on HD video streaming available on your Windows-based PC for many rented and purchased videos

• Photo Sync: allows a smoother process for transferring photos from a Windows Phone to your Windows-based PC

• Sync Media: lets users purchase music and videos through Windows Phone 7 and sync content with their Windows-based PC

• Parental Controls & Rating on Videos: gives parents more control of available content streamed or downloaded to a phone

Additionally, customers in the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain will also be able to use the Zune software to access the Zune Marketplace - a one stop shop for music, videos and more. Customers in the UK, France, Italy and Spain will also be able to subscribe to Zune Pass for £8.99/9.99 to get unlimited downloads and streaming access to the Zune music catalogue using the Zune PC software.

For more information around the international availability of Zune services, click here. For more information on the new Zune PC software, please visit www.zune.net"

More to come...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Zune Desktop Software Dysfunctions: Video Sorting Options

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 02:05 PM

I just reinstalled the Zune desktop software a couple of days ago (after my install of Windows Vista went belly-up forcing a complete re-format and re-install) and after it scanned my music, videos, and pictures, I was reminded of the truly useless way the Zune software organizes my videos. There are only two sorting options: by Name, or by Date Added. Over a period of months, Date Added starts to actually work (just a little bit), but when you first install the software every single video, regardless of how old it is, it stamped with the same date - which effectively gives you no sorting option at all. Why did the Zune team think this would be useful to the user?

Figure 1: The above videos were created more than three years ago, yet are at the top of my video list as the first videos shown.

What would make much more sense would be to list the files by the created date - because that's the real date of the video, similar to a photo. Sure, it's not entirely perfect because if you digitize a video today of your family holiday from ten years ago, it will be stamped with today's date, but at least the date is relevant to the file: the date you digitized it (and the Created Date can be manipulated via software if you want to really get accurate). The date that the Zune software scanned it has no practical use that I can think of - because even if we're talking about TV shows & movies recorded via Windows Media Center, the file creation date will be the date it was recorded, so those will show up as being newer than most of your other videos.

I'd also like to see a folder-based approach for organizing videos, rather than having a single flat-file approach. Thinking about how your organize and access your videos, how would you like to see the Zune desktop software improved?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Zune Desktop Software Song Skipping Problem and Solution

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 03:29 PM


"This may be a very unique situation, but I wanted to share it since I know many folks made registry tweaks to stop what we call "Vista disk trashing". I've been having issues with every single one of my Zune audio tracks on my Samsung Q1P: regardless of the song length, the audio skips precisely 20 seconds before the end of the song. It's terribly annoying as I use the great sound of the Q1P all day long to listen to music I've downloaded from the Zune Marketplace with my Zune Pass subscription. My guess is that most folks don't use a UMPC as their portable "Zune server" like I do: I store my tunes on the Q1P and sync the Zune hardware to it. Turns out the problem is easily resolved..."

Those guys over at jkOnTheRun seem to find the most unique computer problems - I think they went to the same school of geekdom that I did - but I figured I'd link to this on the off chance that any of you are having the same problem.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Why Doesn't the Zune Software Sign Me In Automatically?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 12:00 PM

One of the things I'm constantly thinking about when I'm using software, or any type of hardware that has a user interface, is whether or not the design is such that it's as efficient as possible. Does it allow me to do what I want as quickly as possible, or does the design make me wait - or worse yet - ask me to click this or what to make what I want happen? The Zune desktop software is one such application that could use some optimization. There are about a dozen high-need improvements that this software needs (stability, speed, DVR-MS transcoding support, podcast support, and many other things), but there's an easy fix they can do for one of my irritations. When I start up the software it takes a few seconds to initialize, then it downloads the latest Zune marketplace catalogue. On a fast computer, this entire process takes no more than four seconds, so in that regard the software is great.

Here's the problem though: if you want to listen to any of the music samples in the Zune Marketplace, you need to be signed in. Fair enough. You can configure the sign-in process to sign your profile in automatically, without prompting for a sign in. Yet it doesn't sign you in until the last possible moment, right when it tries to start a stream for an audio sample. Is there a single good reason why the software wouldn't sign you in when the software first loads? This is a variant of Windows Messenger, which has an option to sign in at start-up. Why can't the Zune software do the same? Depending on network congestion, I've seen the sign-in process happen as quickly as two seconds, and take as long as ten seconds - most of the time it's around four seconds. Then it needs to start the streaming of the first audio sample, and again that can take anywhere from two seconds to ten seconds. If the Zune software signed the user in at start-up, they'd cut the wait time in half for the first audio sample that the user initiates. That seems like a worthwhile improvement to me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Zune Desktop Software Irritations

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 09:18 PM

As many people have pointed out, the Zune desktop software is, in some ways, the Achilles heel of the Zune experience: it's just not as good as it should be. Tonight I experienced a new glitch that surprised me: I just finished watching an episode of Smallville (what can I say, I'm a sucker for anything with a superhero in it because I was a comic book geek for so many years as a kid) and at the end they highlight the music by the artists used in the show. That happens to be a fantastic marketing move, because I've purchased several songs/CDs based on songs I've heard in the show. This episode happened to feature an artist named Greg Laswell and his song "High and Low". I jumped onto the Zune Marketplace, did a search, and had the song purchased in about 10 seconds. The Zune Marketplace is amazingly fast and easy to use. After it downloaded, I immediately clicked on the Recently Added section of my library - and nothing was there other than a message saying "There are no recently added items in Music." Huh? If a Zune Marketplace download doesn't count as a recently added song, what does? I thought perhaps it was linked to the folder monitoring functions, and that if I left it for a minute it would find the song - 10 minutes later there's still no music listed in the Recently Added section. It only seems to list music that has been imported, and even then it does so in a dysfunctional way. Microsoft simply has to do a better job with this software if they want to grow their market.

What are your frustrations with the Zune desktop software?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Zune Desktop Software v.1.0.5341.0 Visual Walk Through

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 01:00 AM

I might not have a Zune yet, but I was able to get my hot little hands on the Zune Desktop software - and I'm pleased to present a 59 screenshot, 8.07 MB total image size, visual walk through of the software. I screen captured every screen throughout the setup (which took a bit longer than I thought to complete), then once the software was installed I dug through the menus looking for Zune-specific options. This software is 95% identical to Windows Media Player 11, though a few things have been changed - mostly cosmetic. I was hoping to see something new and cool, but alas, there wasn't much there. In many ways, the software has been simplified over WMP11, and that's not a bad thing.

I'll try to post some commentary on these images tomorrow, since it's rather late at the moment, but you'll learn some new bits of information looking through these - like the fact that the Zune desktop software is only supposed to be installed on one PC (curious, no?) and that if you're paying the $14.99 USD monthly subscription, you can sync up to two Zunes on one account. Up to five PCs can be activated to play back Zune content, and they took out all but three of the visualizations for desktop playback - and removed the album art view (which was my personal favourite).

I apologize in advance for the size and weight of this page - we don't yet have a multi-page break system implemented here at Zune Thoughts, so only click through if you're on a high-speed connection. You've been warned! If you're really a keener, you can download the 13.2 MB ZIP file of all my un-resized originals.


Monday, October 30, 2006

More Zune Marketplace Screenshots

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 12:37 PM


Best Buy has a Flash demo that contains some new images of the Zune Marketplace, which so far Microsoft has kept under tight wraps. I screen capped all the images they had, so take a look!

More images after the break!

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