Friday, May 30, 2008

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

My New Zune

I got tired of watching everyone making their way downtown with their iPod’s or what-have-you’s strapped to their arms in the most convenient manner, free to make their way to their destination as customized playlists gave them the perfect audio experience. To compound matters, I would catch glimpses of their screens as we passed. I could imagine them in their spare moments, sitting and catching up on their favorite podcasts in full visual glory. Me? I felt like a thirty-year-old latchkey kid, with my old-school iPod shuffle dangling from my neck (held by a cord I had to sever when it got tangled with my necklace) endlessly repeating a random loop of my favorite music, and my only choice was to skip or repeat the last song.

I felt like a kid staring into the window of the next generation, and I wanted in.

I had a small problem.
After suffering through the migration of my iTunes to my external hard drive, I was already a little sour on them. I wasn’t about to pay $150 hard-earned dollars for a 2-gig nano. I didn’t want another shuffle. It didn’t hold enough, and I wanted to listen to something at my leisure, rather than when the computer saw fit to play it.

So I began the journey to find a new MP3 player, with video capability, within my budget.

One more small problem. I didn’t know jack about MP3 players.

I’m superficial when it comes to my technology. If it works, looks nice, and has a bunch of cool features, I’m in. Soulhuntre, a rebel techno-geek with a penchant for attracting extremely beautiful girls, recommended Microsoft Zune.

Anything regarding technology that Soulhuntre tells you, you take to the bank. Sure enough, Zune’s 4Gig model came in my color, with a video player, and Wal-Mart (Resistance is Futile) was even willing to give me this neat little armband just for buying from them. So I did.

The Zune is small. It won’t get in your way. It feels durable, but cracking the glass will cost you about eighty dollars. Use with care. The touchpad is a neat little bonus and if it’s not your thing, you can just turn it off. I have had zero problems so far with playback. It both syncs and charges via USB port, and does both pretty quickly. I was able to upload about a gig of media to my Zune in about a minute.

But of course, Microsoft always does something so bass-ackwards it makes you wonder how they’ve been in business this long. Vista, anyone???

I assumed (my mistake) that the MICROSOFT Zune would be compatible with the MICROSOFT Windows Media Player….not so much. No, the device forces you to learn new software if you plan to use it. Luckily, Zune software is a breeze, everything migrates quickly and easily. You just point the software to where your music is, be it external hard drive or whatever, and it will automatically upload your files.

Zune frees you from the confines of DRM-protected media, but it won’t work with a lot of TV Sites. As it’s still a new service, they only offer the most popular shows on the networks they advertised. No CSI: Miami, guys.

These are minor complaints that will probably all be rectified with time. Zune has a huge social network (setting it apart from the other me-too’s in the MP3-player game) and Microsoft is known for listening to their customers, so in time, Zune will probably get a lot better.

It might get a lot more expensive, too; right now, $130 will get you the four gig color Zune of your choice plus an armband. You can do a lot worse.

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

About Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

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