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All posts tagged "Hacks"


Monday, January 21, 2008

Use Any Media Management Program With Zune

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Software" @ 11:00 PM

http://www.zuneboards.com/forums/completed/16810-zalternator.html

ZuneBoards' renowned PityOnU has just dropped his highly anticipated zAlternator software. The hack, currently in RC, cloaks your Zune as a generic Windows Portable Device, allowing it to theoretically sync with WMP, WinAmp, iTunes, or your favorite media management library. The instructions are pretty basic too.


Yes, that's my Zune in WMP... I can view files, sync, and reverse-sync with the device. It's pretty cool.

Get your device into "sync" mode (have it show "syncing..." with the "starry night" Zune logo on the screen), and hit ctrl-alt-del, bring up Task Manager. Go to the Processes tab and end the process "Zune.exe". Now bring up zAlternator. Follow the instructions, setting the Desired Service Provider to "Generic" and then clicking "apply." Now open your program of choice and everything should be golden.

Just keep in mind that for those wanting to use iTunes (blech), the service is still in beta. Use at your own risk.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tip: Bypass Sharing Restrictions By Spoofing A Podcast

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Content Creation & Management" @ 08:15 PM

http://www.zunescene.com/zune-podcast-trick/

It's a little early for Tip Tuesday, but this was so juicy I just had to share. For those who don't know, songs sent via wireless share are locked down with a 3-play restriction to avoid copyright infringement. Podcasts are exempt—likely to gain the favor of the podcast community—and the Zune software doesn't (yet) have a reliable method of discerning actual podcasts from music other than to look at the genre tag. Right now, the software applies the genre "podcast" to podcasts it downloads and then places it in the "podcast" section of the software and device. Piecing these together, it follows logically that any song labeled "podcast" can be sent as a podcast and won't have the play restrictions applied to it.

How do you do this? It's pretty simple, really. Go to your desired file in Explorer (it's probably best to quit out of Zune software completely) and right-click it. Select Properties and then the Summary tab. Make sure you're in the Advanced view (if not, click the "Advanced >>" button), and scroll down to Genre. Left-click the corresponding Value field, and replace whatever was there with "Podcast" (minus quotes, of course).



Re-open your Zune software and check your Podcasts (under the Collection top-level menu), and all should be well in the world. It'll sync to your device as a podcast, and enable you to send without any limitations.

In related news, a couple people were asking David Caulton (of Zunester) the best way to go about using audio books on the Zune. He recommended using the Podcast section as well, and pointed out the use of similar tags between audio books, podcasts, and songs. Zune product team member Josh said:

"...anything of genre=podcast will get added to the podcast section. If you want to use the podcast capabilities for audio books, then you should be sure to also set the album title = book title on each section/chapter so that all the sections/chapters get coalated [sic] under the same 'series'."

As with all such hacks, make sure you've got the permission/rights to use the file in this way, and be responsible (I changed the tags in the example file back to their appropriate state.) That said, I imagine Microsoft will fix this pretty quickly, likely relying on a more complicated method of podcast authentication. My guess is that the next podcast exploit will come through setting up a podcast feed to enable downloading songs or something similar.

Tip Tuesdays will resume on Tuesday. Got a suggestion? E-mail us or post it in the forum.


EDIT (12-11-07): Resized image.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Announcing: Tip Tuesdays! (And Play Music Through Your Speakers)

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Announcements" @ 02:00 PM

Last week, I ran a number of tips intended to boost usability, usefulness, and most importantly, fun, in the device, software, and Social aspects of the Zune experience. These were ideas I'd either heard about recently or had been kicking around for some time, and I hope at least some of you found them useful. If not, thanks for not making a stink about it in the comments.

In any event, I liked the idea so much that I've decided to make it a weekly topic: I dig through blogs, forums, and the Zune products, and you sit back and reap the benefits. Sound good? All I ask is that you give me feedback on tips you have, what you find useful, and conversely, what you'd like to see less of. I won't get offended, I promise.

Now onto the question of: Why Tuesdays? Besides the obvious (I like the alliteration—Tip Saturdays didn't sound as nice), Monday and Friday were already taken. So let's kick this off in style, shall we? Starting with a great tip from On10's Sarah Perez. Sarah's recent and amazing selection of Zune Hacks could and very well may serve as filler if this doesn't go as planned. Many have requested a way of playing their on-Zune music through computer speakers, and, just as with Hard Drive support, the answer lies in the Registry.

As with all registry changes, you should make sure to back up beforehand, and generally know what you're doing. But hey, "manuals shmanuals," right? Head on to On10 for the full low-down, but it's mostly straightforward: create a key at [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMControlSet001ControlClass{4D36E96C-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}�000SettingsfilterSpeakerHp] and then a binary value "EnableInputMonitor"=hex:01

Just reboot, enable the input monitor, and you've got a fully-functioning Zune-Music playing machine! Very cool.

If you don't know exactly how to do this, I'd hold off until someone inevitably releases an easy-to-use and feature-rich version. Just keep watching this space, and I'll write if and when it happens.

Tip Tuesdays will be running weekly. Got a great tip you're just dying to share with the world? Post it in the comments or add it to the forums. See you next week!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Unplanned Benefits Of Zune2: Hacks!

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 08:45 AM

Sure we've all heard about the new Zune's complete re-write, both for the software and for the firmware, and I'm sure we're all very excited. But there's something more that should make you perk up your ears. One of the greatest advantages of Zune1 was that it was based on the (relatively) stable WMP software and PMC firmware, but this also meant that all the real hack capabilities had been effectively covered from years of experience.

Mere days after the iPhone, with its brand-new device firmware, came out, hackers had already begun to "jail break" the device to hack in features they wanted. Similarly, the Zune2 firmware is apparently written from the ground-up (though similarly based on a previously secured OS), and will likely feature several new ways for us--the modding/hacking community--to toy with it.

It should be very fun.


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