Friday, May 14, 2010
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 08:00 AM
I'm generally a big fan of the Zune desktop software - performance could be better (I swear it's gotten slower with every update) - but I prefer it to Windows Media Player so much that I've installed it on every computer I have, despite the fact that I only sync my Zune with one of those computers. It's really nicely designed software; it makes Windows Media Player look like it was designed 20 years ago. I also like Logitech keyboards and mice; I have five desktop computers in my home, and all of them are running Logitech keyboards and mice. I used to prefer Microsoft mice and keyboards, but I found I had fewer wireless signal problems with Logitech products. So on every desktop computer I have, it's Zune + Logitech. But here's the problem with that math...
Image credit: sad face from How to Feed a Ninja.
Every decent keyboard has dedicated media buttons, making it easy to pause, resume playback, adjust the volume, etc. I use these keys all the time...and therein lies the problem.
About 80% of the time, when I press the play/pause key, it will not play/pause the Zune software properly unless the window is in focus. It will send the play/pause command, but immediately revert - meaning that if I'm listening to music, and I press the play/pause button on my Logitech keyboard, I'll hear it pause for a split second, then continue playing. The buttons work perfectly if the Zune window is in focus, but when I'm listening to music, I'm working on other things - which means the Zune software is either minimized, or in mini-player mode. It's a hassle to have to open the Zune player window just to my keyboard can work. This is basic stuff that should function properly.
After well over a year of being irritated by this problem, I decided to see if I was alone. Turns out, I wasn't - others have been complaining about this same issue. So I contacted Logitech to see why their product didn't work properly with the Zune software. After some back and forth with the technician - where I had to re-state the problem a few different ways - the end result was this statement from a technician named Albert:
"Yes, zune has to update their software. You can actually try it on any brands of keyboard with media buttons. Compatibility for this device is guaranteed for Window Media Player. Thank you."
So it's one of those classic "It's not our problem, it's their problem" scenarios. I'm convinced this is a driver issue, and it's up to Logitech to fix it, but they seem to have no interest in doing so. Maybe there's something that the Zune team needs to do as well; but the two companies should be talking to each other. Come on Logitech, I'm one of your customers, and I want to use your keyboard with the Zune Software. Why won't you give me a good experience?