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All posts tagged "update"

Monday, November 5, 2007

Update Your Zune on November 13

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Software" @ 08:30 PM


For existing Zune owners, be sure to mark November 13 on your calendar. A newsletter sent out to subscribers just moments ago confirms this as update day for both the Zune software and Zune hardware. In theory, Microsoft Update will dutifully handle the update process; if not, there'll always be Zune.net for the good ol' manual download and install.

You joined the social last year. This year, you make it you.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Fix Coming for Zune Skipping Issue

Posted by Aaron Roma in "Zune Talk" @ 07:07 AM


"Yesterday I had a meeting w/ James, the Zune release manager and he spilled the beans on the next firmware update. In Mid March, we’re going to release Zune Firmware Update 1.3. Here’s what’s in the update: We’re fixing the skipping problem that some users were experiencing – that is, content acquired from Zune Marketplace will no longer skip when played on the device."

Well, apparently Microsoft HAS been listening, at least a little, and is finally responding to the skipping issue that many users have complained about. According to Cesar over at Zune Insider, we should see firmware update 1.3 sometime in mid March. This update will fix a few nagging problems, including the skipping issue, improved device detection and syncing, and an issue with the FM tuner draining the battery in sleep mode. Unfortunately, there is still no word on when we might start seeing some new features coming down the pipe.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Zune.net Enhanced with New Functionality

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 12:32 PM


"Hope everyone had a great weekend. Me? Good, but bummed about the Bears. Tomorrow, around 10 AM (PST), the support page on Zune.net will update, giving you the ability to manage your account from a web browser - no need to sign into the client. This will enable a few things, like:
  • Update, change, or cancel your Zune Pass subscription
  • Buy Points
  • Change the password on your 'Tag
  • Update your credit card info, view your statement
  • More"

Tomorrow is today, and Cesar's comment about the Zune.net site being updated has come to pass. There's nothing terribly exciting here - just some functionality that will make things easier for you to manage your account.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

High-Resolution Album Art with Firmware / Zune Software 1.2

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 08:45 AM

We've had a couple of days to acknowledge that Firmware 1.2 for the Zune was a godsend for having introduced significant enhancements in performance across the board. But there's an extra surprise - one that remains undocumented, so you'll have to see it for yourself to believe it.

You all know that the Zune has a habit of taking high-resolution album art embedded in files, downgrading it to an offensive 200 x 200 (or thereabouts), and then upscaling it to 240 x 240 to fit its QVGA display. Blech! That nasty habit is gone with Firmware / Zune Software 1.2. I performed a little experiment today. I decided to start fresh by nuking the contents of my Zune and the Zune software, re-adding the media to the Zune software, and re-syncing my library. Each and every track in my library has 480 x 480 album art, so if the Zune wants to make album art look good, that's a perfect ingredient to work with. After the sync, I loaded up my first track and noticed immediately that album art looked clearer than ever before. In disbelief, I loaded up a few more and was not left disappointed. The Zune was actually taking advantage of the 480 x 480 album art and scaling it appropriately (without the 200 x 200 intermediary) to 240 x 240 for its QVGA display. There was a catch, though. Artifacts were still visible (but less pronounced), so the Zune was still compressing album art to a degree. But hey, you can't have too much of a good thing all at once. Perhaps Microsoft will tweak this in the next firmware update. ;-)

And now it's your turn to savour the moment. Delete an album or two off your Zune and Zune software, or your entire music library if you're feeling gung-ho, re-add the media, ensure that you have relatively high-resolution album art embedded in your tracks, and re-sync. Can you see the difference?

Note: If you're familiar with the Folder.jpg album art system in PlaysForSure devices, you may be interested to know that the Zune utilizes a similar mechanism. Prior to the availability of Firmware / Zune Software 1.2, 200 x 200 Folder.jpg files would be generated from embedded album art, transferred and converted to another file format on the Zune, and then upscaled to 240 x 240 (blurry). With the updates in place, Folder.jpg files are now 240 x 240 in size - perfect for the Zune's QVGA display. The end result? Clarity.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Zune and Windows Vista: The Pictures

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Software" @ 08:00 PM

Interested in seeing what Zune looks and feels like in Windows Vista, but don't have a copy of the OS to experience it for yourself? We'll give you a short tour. It feels very similar to the Windows XP version, but there are some minor differences. Read on for more.

Zune Desktop Software Update Released

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 11:31 AM

If you fire up the Zune desktop software, it should detect that there's a new version of the software available for download. I did the update and it went smoothly - the download took perhaps 30 seconds, and the install took a few minutes. Unfortunately, it demands a reboot - wasn't there some initiative inside Microsoft to cut down on the number of reboots that software requires? I'm in the midst of burning a DVD with my Windows Media Center Edition 2005 machine, so I can't reboot just yet. Anyone else gotten further than me care to report in on what's new in this version? I couldn't see any notes about updates during the process.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Zune Firmware 1.2 Released

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Software" @ 07:40 PM

Microsoft has released Firmware 1.2 for the Zune. It's a great early Christmas present, but if you were hoping to see some new features (proper podcasting support, wireless streaming - you name it), you'll be sorely disappointed. Read on for a drill down of the update experience.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Support for Vista, Podcasts, and Device-Based Marketplace Access

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 10:00 AM


"And although Microsoft is starting with a small feature list, Erickson said the company will be able to make additions fairly quickly through software updates. First on that list is compatibility with Windows Vista."

Yes, we all know that the Zune is a little crippled in its current form. First, the lack of Windows Vista support, but they're working on that (expect an update by November 30; if not, well before January 30). The lack of support for podcasts is a deal breaker for some, but that's going to be amended in the short term too. You can also expect a new and easy way to get videos on to the device (cryptic, I have to admit). In the long term, Microsoft is hoping to open up the Wi-Fi and perhaps reach out to enemy territory. Flagging and purchasing songs direct from the device? Mac support? It's all under consideration. The Zune team at Microsoft has ideas and wants the consumers to tell them what's hot and what's not, so go on, post 'em in this thread and we'll do our best to ensure they read it. ;-)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Zune.net Updated

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 03:00 AM


Microsoft has updated the Zune.net site to coincide with the official launch of Zune. You can download the Zune software or hit the Support page for your fix of how-to and troubleshooting guides, FAQs, manuals, and warranty information.

On an unrelated note, be sure to connect to the net when installing the Zune software. There's a Zune software update and Zune firmware update available for download during the installation process.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Microsoft Gives the Xbox 360 Some Zune Love

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Software" @ 12:07 AM


"Part of the change to the streaming story is the addition of Windows Media Player 11 and Zune™ as supported PC streaming software. If you install WMP 11 or Zune, it takes over for Windows Media Connect, and you manage connections from within the player itself (look for Media Sharing in WMP 11 or the Zune software). You can, of course, continue to use Windows Media Connect if you don't install WMP 11 or Zune."

Yesterday's Fall Dashboard update for the Xbox 360 added many new features - among them, support for Zune. With the update in place, the Zune software (or Windows Media Player 11 or Windows Media Connect) allows you to stream content from your Windows XP-based or Windows Vista-based PC to any Xbox 360. The upside here is that you no longer need a Media Center PC, which was originally a requirement when the Xbox 360 launched late last year. In addition, the Dashboard update allows you to stream music, pictures, and video (we're assuming wirelessly) directly from your Zune to an Xbox 360. The moment Zune launches (and the moment we can get our hands on one), we'll show you how the Xbox 360 and Zune add up.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Misunderstood Zune Upgrade Ability & Why I'm Still Excited...

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 12:00 PM

Since launching this site and diving deep into everything about the Zune, I've noticed a repeating pattern over and over: Zune bloggers, and even Microsoft Zune staffers themselves, have touted the ability to upgrade the Zune as being some sort of amazing ability that other digital media players lack. I'm not sure where this comes from, but even Robert Scoble has fallen into the trap of thinking that this is somehow special. It's not. Every digital media player going back five years or more, has had the ability to be upgraded with new firmware. New firmware usually offers bug fixes, new features, or sometimes removes features (like Creative did with the new Zen Vision:M firmware update that removes FM radio recording).

I believe that confusion comes from people thinking that because the Zune has WiFi built in, that somehow the device will be able to perform stand-alone upgrades without needing to be connected to a PC. Nothing I've read to date indicates that will be possible out of the box - when there's a new firmware update available, you'll get it installed by connecting your Zune to your PC and downloading it with the Zune desktop client software. That's the way it works with the iPod, and that's the way it should work with other players as well, except most have such horrific desktop software clients that no one wants to install them. At best, the Zune has parity with the iPod in this regard: you'll connect your Zune to your PC, and the software will (presumably) inform you there's a new update for your Zune.

Now here's why I'm still excited about the Zune: for all of the frustration I feel about the massively limited WiFi capabilities, I believe firmly that the Zune will evolve more rapidly than any other digital media player on the market. Here's why: since the release of the Xbox 360 about a year ago, there have been three major updates. Read more...

Friday, September 1, 2006

The Newest of the New Zune Thoughts Templates

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Thoughts Site Updates" @ 11:18 AM

What's this? A new layout for a site that's only a couple of weeks old? Yes, that's right dear readers, we've put the Zune Thoughts template through the wringer and come up with something new, and I believe, better. The original template was a departure from the traditional Pocket PC Thoughts template in that it pushed the content up and to the left, making it more obvious. There were still things I didn't quite like about the template though, namely it felt too restrictive from a content standpoint. We've always aimed a delivering a great experience in 800 x 600 browser window, but I felt strongly that limit was outdated. Sure enough, after looking at the Pocket PC Thoughts site statistics, over 96% of our readers were viewing the site in browser windows that were at least 1000 pixels wide. It was time for our template to "grow" and put more information onto the screen. The big deal for me was bigger images - I love big, glorious images, and being limited to 400 pixels wide always felt limiting.

This new template accomplishes several things that are important to me: we now have more room for content, can support 500 pixel-wide images, and we have front page support for 336 x 280 ads (which, like it or not, is vital for the life of my business). We've also added a search box up top (which searches the vBulletin forums), expanded the RSS feeds up top to show more text, and fixed an assortment of bugs and issues. This site is still in beta, but it's inching toward completion. Thanks for your support as we continue to improve things!

Tags: template, update

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