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Zune forums

In the forums now: 259 Guests, 0 Users

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March 2, 2008

Zunerama re-engaged

by Harvey Chute

Hello friends, and patient forum members. Thanks to Zunerama's members and mods for keeping the site chuggin' while I've been dealing with work issues and family matters.

Zunerama is now officially back from that hiatus, and I look forward to getting back to the blog, and seeing you all in the forums.

Zune on, brothers and sisters! We have a lot to catch up on.

- Harvey

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January 26, 2008

Zune at 2008 Winter X Games

by Harvey Chute

Are you watching the X Games in Aspen this weekend?

If so, you may be seeing a lot of Zune - it's the exclusive digital media sponsor of this year's Winter X Games.

The Zune team is all over the event, with a Zune interactive village booth, a "pop-up shop" in downtown Aspen, special giveaways and promotions, and TV, online, and print advertising. More info here.

Are you there? Send us pics!

Pic credit (from 2007 X Games): BishopZune.

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January 13, 2008

Wireless sharing needs a beep

by Harvey Chute

zune graphic

Are you a Zune owner who's had the little thrill of seeing another Zune pop up in your "nearby" list? It's actually becoming more common, based on my personal experience of seeing Zunes in the wild. My most recent: a candy-red flash Zune spotted in the day lodge at Mount Baker this past weekend.

Slowly but surely, wireless sharing is becoming more common. But there's a simple problem that thwarts opportunities for sharing.

Namely, your player doesn't give you any audible clue when someone offers to send you a track or a picture. If you don't happen to be looking at your player, you'll never know that the attempt was made!

I've probably already missed some Zune socializing, because my Zune rests in my pocket once I've kicked off a playlist. For a long time, we've had it on our wishlist for Zune players to give a subtle audible beep when you're contacted by another Zuner.

Forum member Niklaren has raised this point again. I think its even more pertinent now that there are more Zune players out there in the wireless ether.

As it turns out, not everyone agrees. Let us know what you think!

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January 6, 2008

Oh! Canada!

by Harvey Chute

zune graphic

Well, by golly, one of our CES predictions actually turned out to be true, as just moments ago Bill Gates announced that Zune is coming to Canada. Hooray!

I'm trying to find out the precise timeframe for Zune's hop across the 49th parallel - beyond an unsubstantiated "Spring 2008".

Note: this is Bill Gates' final CES keynote, bookending his keynote of the very first CES fifteen years ago. You can see the it live-blogged by CrunchGear, or watch the keynote at Microsoft's CES page.

Happy New Year, fellow Canadians!

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January 6, 2008

Zune announcements at CES tomorrow?

by Harvey Chute

The greatest gadget show on earth starts on Monday: the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 2,700 exhibitors. 1.8 million net square feet of exhibit space. 140,000 attendees.

And lots of product announcements. What will we hear about Zune?

Given that the new Zune players, software, and social are less than two months old, our expectations are low that there'll be significant Zune announcements at the show.

That hasn't stopped our members from speculating, though. Special editions? New colors? Video downloads from Marketplace? Further Xbox integration? International roll-out?

Add your thoughts and speculation in our CES thread!

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Zune accessory giveaways


January 5, 2008

12 Zunerama members take home WraptorSkinz

by Harvey Chute

Congratulations to saleen, the chicken, Wes2theG, Ixtab, ZUNINSINCE11-14-06, Black Dragon, novasoccer, B-Rad, Josh098, BigD1961, zuneblack, and Lord Moon - twelve Zunerama members who each win their choice of Zune skin from WraptorSkinz.

There are always free goodies up for grabs in our giveaway board. Join the 227 Zunerama members who have won Zune players, cases, chargers, and other accessories!

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January 4, 2008

Serious help for metadata issues

by Harvey Chute

The #1 complaint for the new Zune software is its perplexing tendency to muddle up metadata for some users.

Now Zunerama member WillysJeepMan (a.k.a. sracer) has stepped forward with a brilliant post, detailing "Exhaustive Step-by-Step Instructions for Getting Zune Software to Correctly Recognize a Music Library".

What's this about? In a bug acknowledged by Microsoft, Zune software can import metadata tags incorrectly into its database. When this occurs, strange results can appear in your music library, such as incorrect album art being displayed, or tracks showing up in the wrong albums.

Curiously, I experienced some of this in my own collection, but the symptoms went away on their own in a few days, without any corrective action on my part. I am guessing that Zune software continued to scan my metadata and apply changes over time that gradually resolved those errors.

For many of our forum members, though, metadata glitches continue to affect their collection - which is annoying even if affects a small subset of one's collection.

While Microsoft has released some partial fixes, we're still awaiting a satisfying resolution.

If you're determined to correct those issues, do yourself a favor and check out the guide.

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

January 1, 2008

An homage to our international members

by Harvey Chute

Zunerama has many members and visitors from outside the USA. (Our past 100,000 visits came from 146 countries!)

Unfortunately, many of our giveaways are for U.S. residents only. In recognition of that, we're kicking off a giveaway today that is exclusively for our international members.

We're giving away a licensed copy of M2Convert for Zune - a commercial software package that converts DVDs and multimedia files into Zune-compatible files. In addition to DVDs, the product converts multimedia files on your hard drive for play on your Zune. It supports most popular video and audio formats and retails for $34.99.

So consider this a special "thank you" to our international members! You can enter to win here.

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Zune DVD tutorial


December 31, 2007

What a year!

by Harvey Chute

zune graphic

As Zunerama draws its second year of operations to a close, I want to say a warm "Thank You" to all the members and visitors to this site. It has been an eventful year!

Some highlights:

  • January. Our Rock'n'Roll Showdown showed that Zune Marketplace was holding its own against iTunes, at least for that genre. Ten Zunerama members participated in that research project, which involved over 1,000 song searches.
  • We helped get ChikaZune off the ground - a set of graphics folders to enable simple "chat" conversations between Zunes.
  • Our infamous Wireless Sharing test got attention in the technology blogs and even the newspapers (Seattle Times, Post-Intelligencer, Houston Chronicle).
  • Major tech blog coverage again when we lay claim that Zune tromps iTunes in search.
  • February. My snowboarding calamities result in impromptu tests of Zune's ability to survive jolts and drops.
  • Lots of accessory reviews and giveaways.
  • March. Two top stories this month: the Nabbed Zune recovered story, and Stream to any Zune. Both result in major traffic to the site.
  • April/May. Wiley Publishing selects Zunerama to co-author its first Zune for Dummies book.
  • More giveaways launched, including YoTank, a custom-made Incipio case, $250 in Microsoft Points, Speck canvas sport cases, and a Pink 30GB Zune!
  • We launch our Members-Only Giveaways, which are visible only to registered members.
  • June. We launch our Zune celebrity sightings page and our pretty-much exhaustive Zune limited-edition gallery.
  • I take a day off from Zune posting to wax sentimental about my oldest daughter's graduation.
  • July. Zune for Dummies arrives!
  • We celebrate the site's first birthday (July 21) by giving away 114 Zune players and accessories to our members. That's one Zune 30GB player, 5 DLO Home Docks, 14 Speck cases, 10 Griffin cases, 50 Case-Mate cases, 10 DecalGirl skins, 10 licensed copies of M2Convert for Zune, 1 ZuneTank, 1 gadget bag and 1 accessory bundle from Proporta, 10 Zune starter kits from Incipio, and one Octavio Zune dock. Whew!
  • August. We take our Zunes on a major roadtrip, blogging all the way.
  • We give away another 30GB Zune player to a lucky Zunerama member.
  • We welcome Pulse, Jander, and Coot66 as new Zunerama forum moderators.
  • September. Microsoft gives a nod to Zunerama by naming me as a 2007 Zune MVP. It's a recognition from Microsoft of our active, helpful, and knowledgeable forum community.
  • October. Major traffic day as we report on Microsoft's announcements of its new players and software.
  • We kick off our 2nd Annual Golden Zune awards, and open up polls for voting on favorite Zune websites.
  • Lots of high-traffic days this month, from stories like this one.
  • November. To my delight, I receive a pre-release Zune 8 and Zune 80 players from Microsoft. The new players are given an extremely limited pre-release, so this is a big deal for the site.
  • Zunerama posts a flurry of unboxing videos, UI walkthroughs, wireless sync tests, photo galleries, and our first reviews of the new Zune players. Thanks to some helpful links from Engadget, Gizmodo, and others, 28,000 visitors flood our pages on the day of Zune release.
  • More goodies! On release day, we hold the web's first giveaways for a new flash 8GB player and an 80GB player.
  • Nov 13. Our forum hits a new high-water mark, when we have 1,093 people online simultaneously.
  • December. Taras82 takes home a pair of V-Moda VIBES in our My Avatar Is Me contest.
  • We launch a new type of giveaway: Instant Wins!
  • By year's end, our Zune Frappr map has been viewed 130,000 times. Are you on it yet? Stick your pin on it!

  • And a few more stats:

    Our site traffic grew throughout the year, and forum membership reached 5,700 members. Welcome everyone! Members have posted over 70,000 posts in over 7,700 topic threads. As the year closes, Zunerama's forums are closing in on 6 million pageviews. Wow.

    Thanks to all of our members for a fun and fascinating year! You make a great community. Happy New Year!

    - Harvey

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    Find Zune accessories on Amazon

    December 29, 2007

    Understanding "sync groups"

    by Harvey Chute

    With last month's release of Zune's second-generation software, the nature of sync has changed.

    Sync, of course, refers to the action of synchronizing your PC's contents with your Zune player. Previously, you had two options: automatic sync (in which your player was always kept in sync with your PC content); and manual sync - in which only content that you dragged-and-dropped to your player icon was synced.

    The new software supports automatic sync in the same way. But manual sync - or the "Let Me Choose" option - works a little differently.

    When you select the "Let Me Choose" setting in Zune software (under Device > Settings), your PC collection will not be automatically synced to your player. Instead, only content that you drag-and-drop to your player icon will be synced.

    Sounds like the old manual sync, right? Not quite.

    First, you can select "Let Me Choose" separately for each content type (Music, Video, Pictures, or Podcasts). In the old Zune software, manual sync was an all-or-nothing choice.

    When you do that drag-and-drop, Zune software creates a "sync group". Zune software will then keep that particular content group updated on your player with any changes on your PC.

    Example: you drag-and-drop a folder of pictures ("My family pix") to your Zune. You've created a sync group, and whenever the contents of that folder changes, those changes are reflected on your player - automatically, the next time you sync.

    Example: you drag-and-drop an album to your Zune. Later, you delete two of the album's songs from your collection. The next time you sync, those songs will be deleted from your player.

    Example: you drag-and-drop a playlist to your Zune. Any changes that you subsequently make to that playlist will be automatically reflected on your player, the next time you sync.

    In a nutshell: sync groups allow you to have the benefits of automatic sync, for a selected subset of the collection on your PC.

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    December 28, 2007

    Zune nears 1/6 of iTunes traffic

    by Harvey Chute

    Website traffic monitor Hitwise has released traffic data for Zune.net, indicating that Zune traffic nearly quadrupled this Christmas compared to last Christmas. More surprisingly, it reported that Zune had almost 1/6th the traffic of iTunes on Christmas Day.

    That's a huge slice of traffic! It drives WebProNews to comment on the "massive increase in the traffic" for Zune.net because of the Zune 80 being "a big hit among holiday shoppers".

    The statistic is curious to me. Surely it's a safe assumption that the ratio of gifted iPods to Zunes is much greater than 6:1. If that's the case, why is Zune online traffic so disproportionately high?

    I think it's attributable to several factors:

    1. Need for Zune software. Most people who received Zunes would need to go to Zune.net to download the Zune software. In contrast, most people who received iPods would already have iTunes installed - so no online visit needed.

    2. Zune Pass effect. People who received Zune Passes would contribute significant traffic to Zune Marketplace. There's no counterpart to that subscription model in the iPod world, so no corresponding iTunes traffic.

    3. Zune Social effect. Some people who received Zunes may have gone to Zune Social to check out the online community, and register their Zune cards. There's no iPod counterpart to that.

    4. Troubleshooting. With Zune software being relatively new, less familiar to people, and (at least according to some) quirkier/buggier than iTunes, some traffic may be attributed to people going to Zune.net for troubleshooting.

    You can add your theories in the Comments. Item (4) notwithstanding, the high traffic volume is a surprisingly good sign for Zune holiday sales.

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    See Zune Players on Amazon: Black, White, Brown

    December 26, 2007

    How to dispose of that old iPod

    by Harvey Chute

    Congratulations - you scored a Zune this holiday!

    If your old player is an iPod, here's a way you can convert it into cash.

    We've been testing an affiliate alliance with BeyondthePod.com, which runs an efficient aftermarket trading post for used electronics.

    In four easy steps, you select your iPod model, calculate its cash value, ship it, and get paid.

    That really beats handing it down to your kid brother. He deserves a Zune, anyway.

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    Zune DVD tutorial


    December 26, 2007

    Zune won't charge? 11 troubleshooting tips

    by Harvey Chute

    Our forums have been buzzing with a surge of new members who have joined us after opening their Christmas Zunes. Welcome all!

    Some new owners, especially of refurbished 30GB players, have reported issues with charging their Zunes.

    We've compiled a list of 11 Zune charging tips. Give'm a try, and hopefully they'll get you past that low-battery icon.

    If not, let us know in our Zune help forum. Members are standing by to help out the new members of our Zunerama community.

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