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All posts tagged "3.0"


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Zune 3.0 Now Available!

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Software" @ 04:40 AM

http://www.zune.net:80/en-US/setup

Zune 3.0 has arrived! You should already know what's new and improved, but in case you don't, here's the lowdown. On the desktop side, there's Mixview, Just for You, Now Playing, rich search functionality, and enhanced social features. On the device side, you can now access the Zune Marketplace wirelessly, plus enjoy Buy from FM, Zune Channels, games (Texas Hold 'Em and Hexic), audiobooks, and a clock. To download the Zune 3.0 software, simply visit Zune.net, or if you already have the Zune software installed, run it and wait for the update prompt. Once you have the Zune 3.0 software up and running, connect your Zune to download and install the 3.0 firmware.

We'll be covering all that's new in 3.0 as well as some other significant announcements later today. Stay tuned!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

MixView and Genius: Two Different Approaches to the Same Problem

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Content Creation & Management" @ 10:00 PM

http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/09...recommenda.html

"Microsoft showed us a sneak preview of the Zune 3.0 software it plans to release on Sept. 16 with the latest generation of Zune devices, and what we saw made iTunes' simple Genius feature look like a blast from digital music's past. While iTunes serves up a text list of recommended songs within your library and from the iTunes store, adding to the more basic recommendations its MiniStore feature used to make, Zune reinvented the recommendation concept by collapsing artists, albums and fans into the same recommendation engine, more accurately mirroring the way people think about music. The new feature, called MixView (pictured [below]), displays a single album, artist or user in the center of the screen and surrounds it with related items in a graphical format. ... You can start on an artist and instantly discover which bands influenced that artist and vice versa, by mousing over those surrounding elements in MixView. Double-clicking through to any song plays a 30-second sample, offers a chance to buy the track or, if you're a Zune Pass subscriber, plays the track in its entirety."

I feel that both approaches have their advantages. MixView, since it correlates the music you actually play with other peoples' recent listens, will provide a more current selection of music, showing what's hot now. Also, it's less likely to correlate a song you've never played--for example, I have a large number of songs in my library I've never heard, most of which are utter crap and are therefore songs I don't want to hear more of. With Genius, your entire library is scanned and sent to Apple, matching the nodes against other people with similar libraries to you. This approach is better for songs you haven't heard in a while or downloaded in batch. My roommate, for example, que'd up "This Town" by O.A.R. and Genius returned "Camilo" by State Radio, a band who opened for Dave Matthews Band this summer (Dave Matthews Band and O.A.R. are very similar stylistically).

The problem with the Genius approach is that it can produce some odd results--even during the unveiling keynote on Thursday, when asked to show matching artists to Green Day, Genius returned Jimi Hendrix and John Mayer. We'll have to wait until the Zune 3.0 software is released to make a valid comparison, but I can only hope the algorithms evolve as both technologies mature.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Broadcasters Stepping Up for Buy From FM Feature

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 09:30 AM

http://www.radioink.com/HeadlineEnt...8&pt=todaysnews

"More than 450 radio stations belonging to Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Beasley, Bonneville, Citadel, Cox Radio, Emmis, Entercom, and Greater Media are now tagging their songs with RDS technology for Microsoft's Zune portable media player, and more stations will be coming on board soon. The 'Buy From FM' song tag is an encrypted digital code that identifies a specific song. The code is embedded in an analog FM broadcast, and when a listener 'tags' a song, it can be purchased and downloaded to a Zune immediately (if the user is in a WiFi hotspot) or queued for later purchase. The technology isn't Zune-specific, and other consumer electronics manufacturers may decide to offer the feature as well. 'Radio's decision to push the digital envelope doesn't mean that our analog broadcasts need to be left behind,' said Clear Channel Radio President/CEO John Hogan. 'Clear Channel Radio will have 450 stations live with RDS song tagging at launch. And we applaud Microsoft's leadership and shared commitment to making cutting-edge entertainment experiences available to the masses.' "

It's always nice to see broadcasters actually using their own standards, and even nicer when it benefits me, the consumer. Such is the case with this new push to increased RDS tagging on radio stations, especially now that the data is useful for more than just song identification on the go. As features on every Zune since day one, the wifi and radio have up to this point been only minimally useful by themselves, but with the 3.0 update it looks like Microsoft is finally integrating the two in a scenario that will help me discover music easier, and ultimately want to listen to the radio more.

But, as Pocket PC Thoughts' Paul Martin pointed out, many stations still do not have RDS for their signal, and a DJ wishing to play older or more esoteric material will probably not have the correct tags on the song. If you think managing your music library is difficult, I can only imagine what kind of effort it would take to tag 2-3,000 songs correctly. RDS tagging isn't Zune-specific, and this initiative will be useful in other applications such as in-car stereos and home theater setups, and will provide a leg-up against the iTunes/HD-Radio collaboration. I can't wait to get my hands on the 3.0 firmware come September 16!


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