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All posts tagged "wireless"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do You Have A WiFi Network At Home And If So, How Many Devices Are On It?

Posted by Ed Hansberry in "Thoughts Media Off Topic" @ 08:00 PM

I was just wondering how many readers of these three sites (Zune Thoughts, Pocket PC Thoughts and Smartphone Thoughts) had wireless networks at home. By just having a device that these sites cater to, it is likely you have a WiFi enabled device. I just got a Zune 8 about 3-4 weeks ago, my first Zune, and love how I am able to sync with my PC's media database over the network, which only increases my frustration with my Windows Mobile device's inability to sync via WiFi.

My list of WiFi enabled devices that I use daily include:

  • Work Laptop (Vista Ultimate)
  • Wife's Laptop (XP Pro)
  • Three Series 2 TiVo's
  • Wife's T-Mobile Dash with Windows Mobile 6.0
  • My K-Jam with Windows Mobile 6.1
  • My HTC Universal with Windows Mobile 6.0
  • The family Wii

So I have 9 devices used online in any given week on my WLAN, plus the family desktop PC that is connected to the router via Ethernet. Note that I have a few other devices like an older iPAQ 3900 with the sleeve and WiFi card (2003 all over again!) and my son has a Nintendo DS that we just haven't bothered to put on the network. I even have a 1999 Dell Latitude that works on the network, but to say it is slow would be an understatement. I am sure that looks like a lot to some here, but I am sure more than a few of you will be able to make me look like a Luddite by comparison.

Tags: wireless

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Free, Wireless Access to the Zune Marketplace at McDonald's

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune News" @ 07:55 AM


"Revealed last week, the new software will allow Zune users to wirelessly stream and download music from the Zune Marketplace store on the go; tag and purchase songs directly from the built-in FM radio; and tap into new, personalized music recommendations and programming. To allow customers to take full advantage of the new wireless functionality, Zune today announced that it is working with high-speed Internet access provider Wayport Inc. to deliver Zune users free, wireless access to the Zune Marketplace from more than 9,800 participating McDonald’s®restaurants across the U.S. "Wayport is pleased to be working with Microsoft to make it easier for Zune users to access music on the go," said Dan Lowden, vice president of business development and marketing for Wayport. "Our ability to enable and manage applications and devices over converged networks creates exciting new opportunities for our clients to attract new customers whose digital lifestyle extends beyond their home and office.""

Fancy the idea of free, wireless access to the Zune Marketplace? Microsoft has partnered with Wayport to offer exactly that at over 9,800 McDonald's restaurants. Zune Pass never looked so good!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Partial V3 Feature List Leaked. Thanks Fry's!

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Announcements" @ 08:30 PM


"A cool new "Buy From FM" feature lets you listen to FM radio stations and tag the songs purchase when you sync with a PC."

So much for a surprise. Fry's has let us in on a few of the cool features we can expect to be announced this Tuesday, including "Device to Cloud", "Channels", and one I've been hoping for for a while, "Buy from FM." It also looks like Games are coming out of beta, and maybe we'll see more details soon. Buy from FM sounds a bit like the deal between HD-Radio and iTunes, which should be a good competing feature for Zune.

It looks like the long-awaited "Marketplace Anywhere" will be coming too, allowing you to buy songs, sync your collection, and download media on-the-go at any wireless hotspot. And if all that wasn't enough, Microsoft's throwing in a blue Zune8 for good measure. Of course, none of this official, and this Tuesday might prove to offer something that will put all these other features to shame. But for now, bravo Zune team, bravo.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Changed My Mind

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 08:16 AM

One of the new features we got in the second go-around of the Zune was the ability to wirelessly sync your library with your Zune. I really like the addition of this feature even if its not something that I use much. Not at the moment at any rate. I really wouldn't mind setting up stereo dock elsewhere in my house and since I have several floors to my house it would be a pain to have to go get my Zune just to put new music on it. So I appreciate the utility of this feature.

The wireless sync, however, wasn't what some people wanted. No, some people wanted a wireless store. Now, at the time of release I was ok with not having it available. I didn't think WiFi networks were pervasive enough to make it really worth it. I still don't think they really are and I think the Zune team was smart to focus on more usable features for the moment. So why do I bring this up then? Here's a conversation I had at work last week:

Co-Worker: "So can you download music on it?"

Me: "Well, no, but I can wirelessly sync it down from my computer."

Co-Worker: "Ah, that's cool. Too bad you can't buy music on it."

Me: "Yeah..."

I honestly felt a bit stupid since when you say it out loud you realize how much better being able to actually buy music right there would be. I really hope that this is a feature the Zune team can work into Zune firmware 3.0.

Tags: wireless, feature

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Competition: SanDisk's Sansa Connect

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 10:30 PM


"The stubby little antenna, of course, is the secret sauce. It makes the Connect the most exciting advance in music players, at least in concept, since the iPod Nano. Now, this Sansa is not the first wireless music player. Microsoft's Zune, for one, preceded it. But the Zune's Wi-Fi is wasted. It can't sync with a computer wirelessly or download music wirelessly. All it can do is beam a song to another Zune owner, if there is such a thing. The song self-destructs after three days or three plays. When you are in a Wi-Fi hot spot with the Sansa, though, you can tune into any of 200 Internet radio stations. And if you have signed up for Yahoo's music-rental plan ($144 a year, or $15 a month), you can download all the music you like, straight to the player. No computer necessary. That's a delicious twist indeed. Surely this is the future of music players: instant access to any song, any album, whenever and wherever you are in the mood."

David Pogue reviewed the SanDisk Sansa Connect, and on the whole it seems like a fairly capable device with regard to how the wireless works - so the question is, how did Sandisk end up with such vastly enhanced wireless access compared to the Zune? Was it because they had the buffer of Yahoo Music in between them and the music companies, allowing SanDisk to only focus on the technology aspect of wireless, and not care about the DRM issues? Or was it Microsoft's rushed schedule with the Zune that resulted in the crippled wireless functionality we have now - meaning that the Sansa Connect was in development longer than the Zune and had more time to bake? No matter what the reason is, it seems that the Zune's main differentiating feature - the wireless sharing - is no longer special (if it ever was). Will the Zune ever be as functional as the Sansa Connect? I sure hope so, though I have my doubts if SanDisk maintains their edge.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sandisk's Sansa Connect: What the Zune Should Have Been?

Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Talk" @ 08:00 AM


"The Yahoo Music Blog announced the release of the Sandisk Sansa Connect, the Wifi enabled MP3 player that will free you from your USB cables, at least until you need to charge it. You can listen to personalized radio, share music over Yahoo Messenger, view photos from Flickr and download music. They are offering unlimited downloads from Yahoo Music Unlimited for only $12 dollars a month, but I see no mention if they are cutting a similar deal of DRM less MP3’s from EMI... I’m not buying any more MP3 players, with three different iPods, a Zune and various generic MP3 players, I don’t think that me or my kids needs another, but if someone wants to send me one for review, I’d sure like to try one out. Maybe someone should send one to Microsoft so they can see what their wireless should look like."

Well, Sansa's done it again, beating the competition at their own game. The way they've implemented their Wi-Fi is so superior to Microsoft's they shouldn't even be considered the same type of thing. The Sansa Connect's Wi-Fi is something I might actually use, whereas I've never once turned on the Wi-Fi receiver in my Zune. So what do you think? Is this the Wi-Fi implementation you were hoping for in the Zune, or another example of close but no cigar?

Monday, March 5, 2007

Steven Levy Disappointed He Couldn't Find More Than One Zune

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 06:31 PM


"A few weeks ago, Newsweek technology columnist Steven Levy spoke to a group of Microsoft employees about the iPod and the book he wrote about Apple's music player. During his talk, Levy pulled out his Zune, the new pocket music and video player that Microsoft hopes will give the iPod some competition. One thing a Zune can do that iPods can't is use built-in Wi-Fi to find and swap songs with other nearby Zunes. It's Microsoft's attempt to introduce that MySpace digital community vibe to the world of portable media players. But guess what? Even in an auditorium full of Microsofties, Levy's Zune couldn't find another Zune to talk to. Levy wrote on his blog that when he told the crowd that his Zune was feeling lonely, one person eventually popped up and sent him a song. It made me wonder: If the people who make and sell the Zune aren't buying into the music-player community idea, what's the chance that the rest of us will?"

While Ric Manning's points later in this article about the things that the Zune does well (big screen) and not so well (song sharing limitations) are all accurate and fair, it's become a popular hobby for the media to bash the wireless sharing feature without actually thinking it through. In the example with Levy, the first key question to ask is why would Microsoft staff members (we don't know how many exactly) bring their Zunes with them to a presentation? I sure don't carry my Zune with me everywhere. And, better yet, why would they have them turned on, unless they were ignoring Levy? What so many people seem to forget is that the Zune needs to be turned on in order to send or receive wirelessly, just like every other electronic device that uses wireless. And let's not forget that we're talking about a device that's been on sale for just coming up on four months now - it's still early-on. There's lots of room for improvement, to be sure, but judging the success or failure of the Zune on a room full of Microsoft employees seems rather silly to me.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Zune Wireless Remote Controls Your Xbox 360

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 02:00 PM


"Hope everyone had a great weekend. Me? Good. For those of you who went and got the Home A/V Pack or the Zune Wireless Remote and have an Xbox 360, here's a back door tip/trick. I actually learned this the other day from two of my buddies from the Zune team: Damon and Jeremy (what's up guys!). Check the video I made - thanks Jeremy for the camera work."

The video says it all - I don't think this is something I'd use personally, but it's fantastic to see that Microsoft made sure that their hardware worked well together.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

CES 2007: Memorex Wireless Zune Shower Speaker, Cradle

Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Accessories" @ 03:00 PM


"The speaker uses 2.4Ghz wireless technology and should be interference-free. The specs says 100 feet range but like any of those specs you can divided by at least 2 to get real life experience. As we mentioned, the speaker is waterproof and designed to be used in wet environments. The speakers should be JI56 compliant and are not recommended to be submerged under water. A cool feature is you can pair up to four wireless speakers with a base station – at the touch of a button! The speaker should also come with a wireless remote that will operate the Zune and speaker system functions."

This is one of those 'would be' cool products. That is, it 'would be' cool if I were into shower radios. It 'would be' cool if they could release it at a decent price. Somehow I doubt that though. So tell, me, shower listeners, does this interest you?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

All Fun and Games, Until Somone Gets Squirted in the Eye

Posted by Aaron Roma in "Zune Talk" @ 02:00 PM


"Spontaneously browsing a nearby music collection could result in any number of fascinating outcomes. How cool would it be to sit in a subway or take a break in a gym and check out the contents of the nearby music players, then try to visually identify the Miles Davis fan, the Ramones rocker and the Barry Manilow sentimentalist?"

Ah... "squirting". That wonderful, visual inducing phrase unofficially coined by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in reference to Zune's wireless sending capabilities during a BusinessWeek interview. Much ado has been made about Zune's wireless capabilities, or lack thereof. The first wave of devices are quite limited, using wireless for simple Zune to Zune sharing of photos and songs. (Unless you plan on playing Santa this year, and buying Zunes for all your friends and family, how useful is this feature right now?) Newsweek talks about how Zune's wireless comes up a little short, and discusses how Microsoft might make the Social a little more Sociable, such as allowing other Zunes to browse your library to see what you're into. So how about it? Would you allow your Zune library to be viewed by the public? Would you actually approach a stranger and use their Zune playlist to strike up a conversation? (And please, Mr. Ballmer, can we come up with a better term?)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Jobs on Zune's Sharing: Too Slow

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 08:52 AM


"I've seen the demonstrations on the Internet about how you can find another person using a Zune and give them a song they can play three times. It takes forever. By the time you've gone through all that, the girl's got up and left! You're much better off to take one of your earbuds out and put it in her ear. Then you're connected with about two feet of headphone cable."

That's a quote from Newsweek's interview with Apple's head honcho, Steve Jobs. While the Zune's wireless sharing feature is a little crippled in its current form, I do think it has potential, yet Apple appears to not even embrace the concept. Could this say something about future iPods? Will they never incorporate any sort of sharing capabilities?

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