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Zune forums

In the forums now: 357 Guests, 0 Users

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November 27, 2007

My Zune Originals arrived today!

by Harvey Chute

Oh happy day, as FedEx just dropped off the above package, which contained these - each one with art and text engraving on the reverse:

zune graphic

See pics of the unboxing, and the Zune Originals engravings, here.

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November 26, 2007

Zune Pass holders need auto-playlists

by Harvey Chute

zune graphic

The new 2.x version of Zune software does not incorporate Auto-Playlist capability. I miss this feature - and could use it even more now that I have more Zune players in my household. Read on to see why:

I now have five Zunes in my household: one 80, one 8, and three 30s. (And after Christmas there will be a few more.)

We have a Zune Pass, and ZP content can be synced with up to 3 players. Right now we have them synced to the 80 and to two of the 30s.

When I load music on my 4th and 5th players, I don't want to load the ZP content onto them... otherwise they take up space but are not playable. (When the player gets to those songs, a brief message about content rights appears, then the player moves on to the next song.)

So I've created playlists for those non-Zune Pass players. I would have liked to use an auto-playlist to filter out ZP content.

To do this, there would need to be a metadata field that indicates what content came from a Zune Pass. (There is a "DRM" field, but that is set for both Zune Pass content and for individually-purchased content.)

So out of this I have two enhancement requests: add a metadata field to indicate that a track is Zune Pass content; and bring back the auto-playlist feature in a way that lets me use that ZP tag as a filter.

In the meantime, how did I get around this? Well, it was laborious. I sorted my music collection by "album", in list view. I displayed the 'DRM' column, and drag-and-dropped the tracks that were not DRM'd into a playlist that I called "Non-Zune Pass". (This would have been easier if I had sorted by 'DRM', but it's not a sortable column!)

Then I synced the resulting playlist to my Zune 8.

An auto-playlist, using a Zune Pass column, would simplify things and help me keep this playlist current.

This must be increasingly common as more people get Zune Passes, and have multiple Zunes in their household. How are other Zune Pass holders, with more than 3 Zunes, working this out?

For more thoughts on this from thenumberdevil, Jander, and other Zunerama members, click the Comments link.

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November 25, 2007

Circuit City goofs on Zune ad

by Harvey Chute

zune graphic

This Saturday, my local paper included a Circuit City flyer, showing a Zune 4GB at $214.99, along with a "free $15 Zune Marketplace card with purchase".

That's not much of deal, seeing as Zune 4GB players typically go for $149.99.

I called my local Circuit City, and "Jenny" told me that they're selling Zune 4s for $149.99. She wasn't aware of the ad, which must be a typo.

Our forum members in various states have reported seeing this ad, so it must have run nationally. I'm chalking it up to an unfortunate blooper, especially on this past weekend of major shopping.

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November 24, 2007

A Zune encounter at 30,000 feet

by Harvey Chute

Yesterday I had my first mile-high Zune encounter.

I was on Delta 1085, flying from Atlanta to Salt Lake on my way back to Bellingham. While ZuneWidow took her turn entertaining our kids, I had my Zune 80 out and was rating a bunch of songs in my main playlist.

One of the flight attendants asked me about the player I was using. I started my usual explanation - always assuming that others are completely new to Zune - when she cut me off. "Oh, that's the new Zune! I've been looking into those."

And it turned out, she had indeed. She'd checked out CNET's Zune review, was considering getting a Zune 80, and asked how I liked it. Of course I told her I loved the 80, and I also showed her the green Zune 8GB that I had with me. At this point, I hear ZuneWidow from across the aisle: "C'mon, tell her about your website!"

So I described Zunerama, and she wrote down the URL. She had several more questions. She knew about the new players, the 3" screen size of the Zune 80, and even the lack of EQ in the new firmware. Her research impressed me!

In a few minutes she came back with a man in pilot's uniform. After assuring me that someone else was flying the plane, he told me about his Zune 30GB player, which had died a few months ago. It won't start up past the logo screen. He had tried a reset, to no avail. We did some verbal troubleshooting and I gave him some things to try when he was back with his PC.

(I advised him to download the new software, and attempt a re-sync of his player - which should result in a firmware update. Failing that, I suggested that he re-format the player, and gave him the button combinations to do that. If that didn't work, I advised him to drop by and consult our experts in the forums.)

This kind of encounter seems to happen to me more and more - and I take it as a sign that Zune is emerging as a mainstream player, and not the fringe offering that it was last year.

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Find Zune accessories on Amazon

November 22, 2007

Zune Originals - artwork selection to be expanded?

by Harvey Chute

Some of our forum members have observed that the selection of artwork engravings available on ZuneOriginals is labelled in a way that suggests that more are to come.

"Tattoo Series 1" certainly suggests that more cool designs are on their way.

I'm not waiting though. I now have three of these ordered, with art and engraving.

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Zune DVD tutorial

November 21, 2007

Four secret button tricks for your Zune player

by Harvey Chute

zune graphic

Special button combinations can be used to execute Zune player functions. These button tricks - not widely known - are sure to amuse and delight your friends.

And yes, they work with the new players as well as the updated 30GB.

  • By default, Zune goes to "sleep" after a few minutes of inactivity, and then turns itself off. You can save a few millijoules of battery life by turning your player completely off when you're finished with it. How? Press and hold "down" on the Zune Pad, and press and hold the Back button.
  • No matter what player function you're using, you can always quickly go back to the main menu. Just press and hold the Back button.
  • To reset your player - also known as a "reboot" - press and hold the Back button, while pressing "up" on the Zune Pad.
  • To reformat your player's drive, reset it as noted above. When it starts to reset, hold down the Back button, Center button, and Play button at the same time. Your player will inform you that it is deleting all media on device, and your Zune should revert to the "way it was" when you first pulled it out of the box. Careful! This will erase your player contents and you should rarely if ever need to do it.
  • Get more of these parlor tricks in our Zune tips page.

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    Zune accessory giveaways

    November 20, 2007

    Tips for international Zune users

    by Harvey Chute

    Zune is a USA-only product, and while we assume Microsoft plans a worldwide rollout, no dates have been announced.

    That hasn't stopped many intrepid international users from acquiring and using Zune players and services - although it requires some ingenuity to get past the impediments to international use.

    One of those intrepid users, Zune Thoughts' Jason (who hails from Canada), has prepared an International Zune Guide that gives hints for international users. It includes tips on purchasing Zune players, a convoluted workaround to gaining access to Zune Marketplace from international locations, and getting Zune technical support.

    It really makes me admire the tenacity of those international users, jumping through hoops to get their hands on Zune. And there's still no good workaround on getting a Zune Pass from an international location. Bummer!

    Bring on the worldwide rollout!

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    See Zune Players on Amazon: Black, White, Brown

    November 20, 2007

    ZuneOriginals - all you need to know

    by Harvey Chute

    Let's not waste your time. Here's all you need to know about ZuneOriginals:

    What they are: Zune 4, 8, and 80 players, with custom artwork and text engravings - available from Microsoft for a limited time.

    Artwork options: Choose from 20 designs from a variety of international artists.

    Text engraving options: Up to five lines.

    Can I get artwork and text? Yes.

    What they cost: At least for now, these are available at no extra charge. So, you pay the standard price for a 4, 8, or 80GB player ($149.99, $199.99, and $249.99)

    Availability: Zune 4 and 8GB players ship in "5 to 7 business days" from your order; Zune 80GB players are available in "early December".

    Where to get'em:

    The site has an interactive preview, where you can preview your player after choosing your artwork, text engraving, and player color. Now go play!

    Comments | Permalink

    See Zune accessories on Amazon:
    Zune Travel Pack   |   Zune Car Pack   |   Zune Home A/V Pack   |   Zune Tough Skin

    November 19, 2007

    Changes in Zune Terms of Service

    by Harvey Chute

    Along with the Zune launch this week comes an updated Zune terms of service (TOS). This agreement governs your use of Zune and rights to Zune content.

    You can check it out yourself on, but we've saved you a little legwork. In our documentation library, you can see the current TOS, the previous TOS, and a version that shows mark-up (redlines and strikeouts) between the current and previous one.

    As you might expect, there are new terms dealing with podcasts, Zune Social, and Microsoft's Zune forums.

    Some of the noteworthy new language deals with DRM-free content, which has no CD burn limits - but all copies must be for "personal, non-commercial use". Interestingly, DRM-free content is provided at bit rates of "up to 320 kbps", while DRM-protected content is offered at 192 kbps.

    And, as we reported earlier, it's now official: you can use your Zune Pass downloads on up to three Zune devices - up from the previous limit of two. Thanks to Microsoft for listening to our Zune Pass wishes!

    Comments | Permalink

    November 19, 2007

    Pick up some VIBES

    by Harvey Chute

    zune graphic

    We're giving away a pair of V-Moda's renowned VIBE earphones next week. (If you're not familiar with these, check out our recent review.)

    I've been using a pair of these $100 earphones for several months and have really enjoyed them.

    Are you in to win? Click the pic to enter.

    Comments | Permalink

    November 18, 2007

    In which we welcome member #5,000

    by Harvey Chute

    Our Zune user forums continue to grow, with our 5,000th member joining us today. (Welcome, zunerbot!)

    Some other notable stats: our forums have over 60,000 posts in 6,800 topics. The most users we've had online concurrently is 1,093, which was last Tuesday (surprise!). Since we launched the forums in August 2006, we've grown by an average of 142 new posts every day.

    Thanks for spreading the word about Zunerama's forums!

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    November 17, 2007

    Zunerama, ZuneScene, and IWAPZ appear on thezuneshow podcast

    by Harvey Chute

    Zac from has produced another set of thezunelife podcasts, including this one which includes an interview with me, and one with Nate from ZuneScene.

    And, in an earlier interview this week, Zac interviewed Stefan from

    Zac is really getting some momentum going with these Zune podcasts. Thanks to him for including Zunerama!

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    November 16, 2007

    Zune tips: what we learned from Week 1

    by Harvey Chute

    In the two days since Zune's 2nd-generation player launched, over 28,000 people visited Zunerama's user forums. Those Zune owners shared their raves, rants, and a whole lot of tips from their experiences with the new Zune players and software.

    We've pulled those tips into a Zune Tips page, for the benefit of all Zuners. Thanks to Zunerama's forum members for taking the time to share their findings, tips, and hints!

    Got a tip of your own? Share it with other Zuners!

    Comments | Permalink

    November 14, 2007

    My Zune card

    by Harvey Chute

    The more I wander around, the more I'm becoming a believer that this could take off significantly. There's really nothing like it.

    For one thing, you can view other people's Zune cards. It's a neat concept! Here's my card below - you can play with the controls to see what I've been listening to.

    Comments | Permalink

    November 14, 2007

    Two Zunerama members win new Zune players

    by Harvey Chute

    Congratulations to our two winners, drawn tonight from the Zunerama forums:

    Xune wins our post-weighted giveaway, and takes home a Zune 80GB player. And deek05 wins a Zune 8 in the color of his choice. Congratulations to our winners!

    We have more free Zune goodies up for grabs in our giveaway board. Since we launched Zunerama last July, no less than 201 Zunerama members have won free Zune players and accessories from our giveaway board.

    It's just one more reason to join Zunerama!

    Comments | Permalink

    November 13, 2007

    Speed test: old Zune 30 vs. new Zune 30

    by Harvey Chute

    Some Zune v2 reviewers - including Stefan from - have noticed that their Zune 30s are a little zippier with the firmware update released today.

    I thought so too, and ran a speed test to verify that. I updated one Zune 30 with new firmware (Version 2.2), and left my wife's Zune 30 on Version 1.4.

    Then, with both players loaded with identical content, I scrolled each player through its complete list of 2,700 songs.

    Which player won? Or was it a tie? Click on the vid to see the race. As Stefan says, "firmware changes everything".

    Comments | Permalink

    See Zune accessories on Amazon:
    Zune Travel Pack   |   Zune Car Pack   |   Zune Home A/V Pack   |   Zune Tough Skin

    November 13, 2007

    Jumbled album info? Here's a fix

    by Harvey Chute

    Some members have reported that their album art and other album info has been jumbled up after installing the new Zune software.

    We've found workarounds that may solve those problems. If you need help with this, try these suggestions. We'll keep the post at that link updated as we monitor this issue.

    Happy launch day! Hope you're enjoying those new Zune players and software. And if you're having issues... head to our user forums and let us know. We've had several hundred members on at a time all day, so you may just get some quick help.

    Comments | Permalink

    November 13, 2007

    Drawing tonight for Zune 80 and Zune 8 players

    by Harvey Chute

    We're celebrating today's Zune launch by giving away brand new 80GB and 8GB Zune players!

    We'll select winners to receive an 80 GB Zune player and a 8 GB flash Zune player.

    You have a few hours left to enter. Good luck!

    Comments | Permalink

    November 13, 2007

    Launch day!

    by Harvey Chute

    zune graphic

    It's here! Today the 2nd generation of Zune players becomes available.

    And that's not all. The new Zune firmware automatically gets rolled out today to all Zune players - even the first-generation 30GB players. Just sync up to your PC and the update process will initiate automatically.

    The Zune software on your PC will also be updated today - giving a completely overhauled look, and access to a brand new online Marketplace with podcasts, music videos, an expanded catalog of tracks, and unprotected (DRM-free) tracks!

    And, the Zune Social community site is launched today.

    It's the culmination of a ton of hard work from the Zune team. As we speak, we're getting through some of the first-day bumps and delights. Hang on, here we go!

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