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October 12, 2007, 05:36:27 AM
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1  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: Great Idea for Zune on: October 11, 2007, 11:58:10 PM
Here's another great idea for Zune.

I went flying today on Southwest Airlines. For those that have flown Southwest, you know that they like (to try) to be comedians throughout the flight. Allow me to relay some of the messages broadcast through the cabin.

"At this time we require that all portable electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods and DVD players be turned to the off position." Later, "At this time you may use portable electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods and DVD players. Cell phones, wireless devices and those lucky enough to have iPhones must have the device in game or airplane mode." And still later, "We are about to make our final approach. At this time ask that you discontinue the use of all portable electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods and DVD players until we are on the ground."

Perhaps it would help if Microsoft paid the airlines to use the generic term Personal Media Players or add Zune to the list.  Unfortunately, it seems that to the non-tech savvy, iPod is to MP3 player as Kleenex is to tissue.

2  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: Great Idea for Zune on: October 11, 2007, 11:47:35 PM
Frankly, I don't see why we need Apple stores.
Quote from: tbird on October 11, 2007, 09:54:37 PM
Have never really understood why there were apple stores in the first place.

I still hear people say they're going to the iPod store - it's branding. Here's what I posted previously.

One of Apple's motives is to cross-sell customers into other product areas. Specifically, come in to look at or buy an iPod and play with the Macs while you're here.

They also aim to give people hands on experience with Macs and iPods in a customer friendly environment (no chains and bars around the laptops, etc). Additionally, they provide a trained and very knowledgeable sales staff who can answer most questions about the products - far better than a Best Buy or CompUSA employee.

Finally, Apple is now the number one retailer as far as dollars/sq.ft. - beating out the previous title holder: The Gap. That fact alone makes me answer the question, "Why are there Apple stores in the first place?" with the obvious, "To make money."


Now that the Mac "Geniuses" can't even service Apple products with the AppleCare plan, they've become even more useless.

Haven't heard of this one yet. I see people receiving iPod service all the time.

My sister recently went into an Apple Store with an iPod with a failed hard-drive after 1.5 years. She dropped it - off the balcony of a hotel. The case popped in two on impact and the iPod was physically like new - but the hard drive was gone. Took her about thirty-minutes to walk out of the Apple Store with a good as new (refurbished) iPod.

EDIT: No, Apple doesn't cover accidental damage - but if the iPod shows no damage...
3  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: Zune challenge: some shaved heads coming? on: October 11, 2007, 11:28:19 PM

I'm going to expand on Kaiser's answer.

All current Apple products ship with a two-button interface device. Desktops (iMac and Mac Pro) ship with the Mighty Mouse. Notebooks (Macbook and Macbook Pro) ship with two-finger right click. Also, Mac's have supported right-click for over five years now - you just had to bring your own two-button mouse. Also, command-click has been a option for a while.  Apple's Human Interface Guidelines advise developers to stick to an intuitive interface design. While Microsoft may have made right click a "standard" for those in the know - it's not intuitive for many computer users.

Right-clicking has one primary purpose: Contextual Menus. Apple initially saw a design flaw with these contextual menus.  Specifically, that they were the only way to access some features. Apple wanted a consistent  interface where every option was apparent to the user. They insisted that their developers learn to make applications which assumed one mouse button, which meant that everything had to be accessible through obvious means. Developers, knowing that most Mac users would only have one button were forced to design their applications as obvious (user-friendly) as possible. However, they could make right-click (contextual menus) available to power users.

Apple's Human Interface Guidelines specifically say:
Always ensure that contextual menu items are also available as menu commands. A contextual menu is hidden by default and a user might not know it exists, so it should never be the only way to access a command. In particular, you should not use a contextual menu as the only way to access an advanced or power-user feature.

BTW: I right-click all the time.


As for maximize, I rarely used it on Windows PCs because:
1. It's usually a waste of screen real estate.
2. It ruins/impairs drag and drop.
3. Most programs gain nothing from being presented full-screen.
4. Defeats the multitasking advantage of seeing multiple windows at once.

Apple's Human Interface Guidelines specifically say:
Don't assume that the standard state should be as large as possible; some monitors are much larger than the useful size for a window.

I have a 23-inch monitor. My sister has a 24-inch monitor. My mom has a 17-inch monitor. And my wife uses a 13-inch Macbook. All with resolutions from 1280x800 to 1920x1200 - talk about some variations in screen size and resolution. Are you telling me that maximize is effective across all screen resolutions? Or would you tend to agree that an appropriate maximum size is dependent on the application, regardless of screen size?

My most common application is probably my web browser or a word processor. Today, websites are designed for 1024x768. This is the best size to ensure that user aren't scrolling a window left to right to read content - most people still have 1024x768 screens. You can't yet cater to the people that have 1920x1200 screens. Point is, if I maximize my web browser window on a 1920x1200 screen while viewing any well designed site, I'll have loads of wasted space one the sides of the content. If I maximize a document - again, wasted space.

Many applications are offered no advantage from Window's maximize. For example, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, iTunes, Mail, Contacts, chat, torrent apps, etc.

Apple doesn't have a maximize button. They have a button that switches between the user-adjusted window size and the size of the window as determine by the developer. So the green-plus button will give you a different result in each application. It is the size that the developer deemed most appropriate for the content. Or you can set your own size. Still, the button switches between the two.

Mozilla's Firefox deigned size is max pixel-height, 1100 pixel width - It's perfect for browsing. On the other hand, Apple's Garageband designed size is max-height, max-width because it can legitimately use the full screen.

The example below is NBC.com at Firefox's developer set dimensions and at my user set "maximized" dimensions. This is on a 1280x800 res screen. You could probably imagine the extra 640 pixels of wasted space I'd have on my 1920x1200 res screen. I'm traveling now and only have the Macbook for screen shots but a 1920 screen shot would look ridiculous.

As I said, I rarely used maximize on Windows PCs and the best part is, for the programs that really can take advantage of the whole screen on a Mac, that's exactly what it will do. For those that can't - it won't.
4  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: The Worst Thing About Macs (ExtremeTech Article - Zune mentioned) on: October 11, 2007, 09:27:37 PM
Quote from: thenumberdevil on October 11, 2007, 09:14:33 PM
Quote from: someguynamedmason on October 11, 2007, 09:09:37 PM
Huh Is "clunky" even a word?

Sure ... see definition of clunky

That definition is from MSN - I don't trust it.

Plus the MSN site looks clunky and they ripped off those tabs from Apple.
5  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: Zune challenge: some shaved heads coming? on: October 11, 2007, 09:17:33 AM
Regarding MS retail:

I think the real problem is that they're limited to those few products. 

I'm not sure they could sell actual PCs as they'd be favoring one or more partners while shunning others - given the number of computer manufacturers out there.

I think that was one of Apple's initial motives, to cross-sell customers into other product areas - not something of which Microsoft could really take advantage. They also aim to give people hands on experience with Macs and iPods in a customer friendly environment (no chains and bars around the laptops, etc). Additionally, they provide a trained and very knowledgeable sales staff who can answer any questions about the products.

If Microsoft could work it right, they may have success. After all, Apple is now the number one retailer as far as dollars/sq.ft. - beating out the previous title holder: The Gap.
6  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: Audience meets the Musician... on: October 11, 2007, 07:38:46 AM
Quote from: Jander on October 11, 2007, 12:45:36 AM
Adding to the Chorus, Madonna just dumped her label

So. The general practice seems to be to take a good thing, run it into the ground until all your customers despise you for your practices and then reach into the artists other pocket and try to take some more for yourself and eventually take all the pleasure out of that part of the business as well.

From the story:
As the traditional recorded-music industry fights a losing battle against internet piracy and other forms of entertainment, the labels are eyeing other revenue streams, such as artists' touring and merchandising revenues. Ancillary players, such as concert promoters, talent managers and ticketing companies, also are in the hunt for such deals.
7  Not Zune-Related / Digital Media Player board / Re: iPhone review - thestreet.com on: October 10, 2007, 09:41:39 PM
I'm confused. Doesn't using a styli require two hands? Also, I type fine with one hand. My wife cannot. I type fast with two fingers on one hand (index for left half, middle finger for right half.)  And I type really fast with two thumbs - preferred method.

I almost never notice smudges until I put the iPhone to sleep (black screen).

The horizontal keyboard sucks - the viewing area becomes too small and long and the keys are too far apart. If I type a post on Zunerama, I turn my iPhone upright (portrait) even if I was viewing landscape - the vertical keyboard is that much better (to me).

I completely agree with the punctuation problem. I submitted it to Apple as a bug - with a pretty decent solution.

I completely agree with every aspect of the email. Though I do all my deleting once I get back to the Mac and I'm not a big mark as unread person.

The no BCC is my biggest complaint - BCC is completely necessary to be polite when sending a "bulk" email.
8  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: Zune challenge: some shaved heads coming? on: October 10, 2007, 06:43:01 PM
I'm not sure that acknowledging the competition in the form of a bet is a sign of confidence. I'd say it's a sign of fear.

That said, I think the best stance when you have a solid product is to never comment on the competition and focus on what you offer.  I personally hate it when Apple takes hits at Windows or Microsoft - You may get a laugh from a crowd of fanboys, but the rest of the world is saying, "huh?"


I wonder if SanDisk will have the same tactic as last holiday season. During the holiday's, every time I went to BestBuy there was a female standing by the DAP display. I'm sure she had BestBuy's permission. However, the only identifying mark was a badge with small writing which read SanDisk Representative. She had a little briefcase with Sansas that she'd let the customers handle (sans security chain). The amount of misinformation this woman poured out - both against Zune and iPod - in order to make Sansa's look better was un-be-lievable. Some were just straight out lies.

Of course, I also like the BestBuy employee who kept telling all potential Zune customers that Microsoft would have TV shows and Movies in the marketplace in the next few months...
9  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: Zune Subscribers. October email on: October 10, 2007, 06:26:05 PM
Are i hope they stick to the same docks becuase the Zune 1 and Zune 2 have different docks. Maybe the zune 3 will stick with the Zune 2 docks.

I'd rather a device maker not limit their future form factors by trying to fit old form factors.
10  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: Zune Wi-Fi? on: October 10, 2007, 06:23:55 PM
I know I've seen people talking here about setting all your bookmarks in IE and having them sync to a Zune web browser...

But do you really think the web experience on a Zune would give people a good opinion of the Zune. I don't see web coming until MS makes a dock connector keyboard - and that'd just be ugly.
11  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: iPod Nano vs Zune Flash -- Which has better shape? on: October 10, 2007, 01:07:27 PM
I definitely like the headphones on the bottom.

A. On the top the cord comes out, up, curves down, then loops back up. On the bottom, the cord just hangs naturally.

B. I put my DAP in my pocket upside down. The way I hold it, the natural position is to put in my pocket upside down. With the plug on the bottom there is no tension on the jack/connector.

C. I think it looks better hanging down than sticking out the top like an antenna. 
12  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: Audience meets the Musician... on: October 09, 2007, 11:36:03 PM
When you mix these free agents with the developing internet distribution, I think it means loads...

IMO, record labels have stifled the artists.

I'm just going to mention the one that means quite a bit to me...

While Radiohead went with a full album, they didn't have to.  The online music stores have really opened up the way artists put together music.  Distribution and CD pressing logistics are a thing of the past. I really think this trend is going to open the art of music, the vision, the palette and the canvas.

Back in the day, a group like Pink Floyd would release a 5-song album which included a 25-minute song or six 10-minute songs - they were one of the few bands given artistic license.  Today, bands like Green Day are releasing albums with multiple tracks strung together with smooth transitions to create one long song.

For the most part, I think artist's creativity is being confined. The music labels want 4.5 minute long singles, with an album of 10-15 songs. They want a marketable and sellable item. I think this creates a lot of music that ends up very cookie cutter.

I think the truly unique and talented artists will soon float to the top based on their ability to break away from the norm and they'll give listeners an experience we didn't know we wanted.

How many talented artist just fail to get signed? With LastFM, MySpace, Zune Social, Subscription, iTunes, etc. artists don't need record labels to promote their albums. I can't think of the last time I found a song through a commercial advertising route.


As Jander said in a few years things will be noticeably different: format, pricing, release timetables, production value, and the number of artists who will actually be able to compete for "ears."
13  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Audience meets the Musician... on: October 09, 2007, 08:11:27 PM
Joining the recently unshackled Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails posts the following...

Hello everyone. I've waited a LONG time to be able to make the
following announcement: as of right now Nine Inch Nails is a totally
free agent, free of any recording contract with any label. I have
been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the
business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very
different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a
direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate.
Look for some announcements in the near future regarding 2008.
Exciting times, indeed.

It makes me feel all good inside - The future has yet to be written!
14  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: Microsoft plots embedded OS futures on: October 09, 2007, 07:10:08 PM
He mentions a music device locked to a music service. Then he mentions a set-top box locked to a video service.  Then he says in the future, these devices will be able to connect with other services...

Ummm... PlaysForSure all over again?

15  Zune Boards / General Discussions / Re: Zune 80/4/8 need for colors! on: October 09, 2007, 01:14:03 PM
Quote from: Trastan on October 09, 2007, 01:01:43 PM
Ohh-ho, very clever! I never thought of it that way, but that's definitely something that I could see a runner-up doing in this market. With that said, I expect more colors to come out progressively, especially for the 80, over time. I know I would like a blue one.

Yeah. I actually meant to say that.

 I expect more colors early next year. I don't think Microsoft will lose any sales for Christmas due to one model - but they'll definitely look better on any top sellers list.
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