Monday, January 29, 2007


I was just reading another review of Microsoft's Zune. This one is published at Digital Media Wire and was written by "jay."

It was pretty clear early on that jay's "review" would be a bit biased. The third sentence of the review reads, "But I still prefer my video iPod."

Interestingly though, jay then spends the rest of the review describing the advantages that Zune has over the iPod, all the while still insisting that the iPod is better.

"If only Apple could just find a way to make the screen a little bigger" is followed by "In the end, I prefer the video iPod when it comes to size and design."

Jay then describes some of the other features – he gives a nod to the Zune on its UI, and iTunes takes the cake in the 99 cents vs. points argument.

In his conclusion though, jay sums it up very well: "The video iPod is the clear short-term winner."

But wait, jay then says, "If Apple manages to fit in a larger screen, add wireless capabilities and possibly a subscription service to iTunes, it will also likely be the long term winner."

Huh? The iPod is the winner, but it doesn't have a nice large screen, wireless capabilities or a subscription service. The Zune does have all of those features but is the loser?

This brings me to my point. All of this "fanboi" behavior, cult-like allegiance and fire spitting hatred is getting old. It's the same thing regardless of what the product is. Microsoft people will trash Apple stuff. Linux people will trash Microsoft stuff. It's all so sophomoric.

Here's an idea. Let's all realize that there is a place in this world for each of these companies and their products. Linux has an important role in shaping the "open source" world. Microsoft makes great software that millions of businesses rely on every day. Apple has the most elegant and well designed products I have ever seen.

iPod is great. Zune is cool. Sansa is sweet. OSX rox. Vista kix. Oracle works. SQL Server works. PeopleSoft is a great product. So is SAP.

They all have their place, and the competition between these companies and products will continue to drive those companies to give us better and better products.

Apple will respond to Zune with a better iPod screen and perhaps an FM tuner and WiFi capabilities. Microsoft will continue to improve the Zune and will release new versions with bigger capacities (hard drives) as well as smaller capacities (flash-based Zune).

All fanbois will benefit from this!

It's all good!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Feeling Better…

In an earlier rant, I was venting about my issues with technology. Several days later, I've calmed down a bit.

My "failed to start" problem was my problem. I had a typo in an XML definition file. Easily fixed and everything worked great.

I did resort to putting Windows XP back on my laptop so I could use an AirCard while I was out of touch, but I've since reinstalled Vista and things are running great.

10 deep breaths. Ah…

Is Zune Gaining Favor?

No, I still haven't purchased my Zune, so I haven't had the opportunity to explore it firsthand. But I have been keeping up with all of the Zune blogs (ZuneScene, ZuneThoughts, Zunerama, and my favorite, ZuneInsider) as well as the various reviews of the device.

It seems to me that after the initial hate-filled garbage was written at the time of the Zune launch, some of the criticism is starting to die down, and more favorable reviews are surfacing.

I theorize that this is because folks are beginning to realize that the Zune of November 2006 is nothing like what the Zune of summer 2007 will be. Microsoft is working hard on the product and updates are coming. It's already been leaked that a flash version is coming, and that MSFT is working on building Podcasts into the Zune Marketplace.

And there was news that a meeting between MSFT and the record companies may ease the sharing restrictions, which seem to be the biggest gripe of Zune haters.

I still believe that one day the Wi-Fi capability will be huge on Zune. Not only for song sharing, but for also downloading new music while on the go (like when you walk into a Starbucks, for instance).

Yes, Microsoft probably did rush the product to get it in stores for Christmas, so they didn't have the "killer-app" features ready for prime time. But I've been around the Redmond folks long enough to know that they will eventually get it right, and it will be a killer product.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Screw Your Technology!

I'm sick of my crap not working.

Understand I've always been one of the "early adopter" types. I love checking out the new stuff, even when it's not quite ready for prime time.

But I've run into issues recently that are about to drive me to drink (more). And I even waited for the production versions to be released.

I'm running Windows Vista Business. Vista hasn't been released to the general public yet, but it has been released to businesses and Microsoft partners. Of course, running a brand new operating system will always present challenges, but when Office 2007 (also brand new) keeps crashing, you know there's a problem.

And don't even get me started on trying to set up an AirCard on this Vista machine. Ugh.

Then there's SharePoint. The brand new version of SharePoint has just been released. One of the great new features of this version of SharePoint is the ability to build custom workflows. I have a client who needs just this kind of functionality. So, I'm trying to build a simple workflow to rename a document when it gets put into a Document Library. No dice. It took 2 days just to get something built that would install into SharePoint successfully. Feeling good about that, I set out to fire off my workflow to test it.

"Failed on Start." That's all it says. No error message. Just "Failed on Start."

I wrote previously that I'd decided to buy a Zune. I still plan to, but am wondering what kind of headaches that will bring.

Maybe it's because I'm getting dangerously close to the age of 40, but I'm starting to get pretty cranky about being on the leading edge. I think I may have to start creeping back toward that trailing edge a little bit.

I'm sure it will reduce my blood pressure.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Podcasting via Zune

I haven't purchased my Zune yet. I have been reading up on some of the Zune blogs, and noticed an interesting bit on Clikzune regarding podcasts. One of the big criticisms of Zune is the "lack of podcast support." Of course, that's not correct as the Zune can play podcasts just fine. What's missing is the lack of a podcast directory on Zune Marketplace.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, a lot of which I retrieve using iTunes. Several are not DRM'd by iTunes, so my Zune software (yes, I've downloaded and installed the software without yet having a device) picks them up and can play them. I assume they will sync and play on a Zune.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I shall soon Zune

I've decided to buy a Zune. I'm not sure when the purchase will be made – perhaps this week – but it will indeed be made.

You may be wondering why I've made this decision. I have a perfectly good (back from the dead) iPod. It is an old sucker that nearly bit it last month, but it's still cranking out the tunes.

And now there is word that the killer feature of the Zune, its wireless music sharing, is crippled at best. Even if it worked as promised, the "3 days, 3 plays" restriction just kills any excitement about this feature. The record companies and their paranoia are nixing all of the innovation around these exciting technologies.

Still, I will buy a Zune. Part of the reasoning is my job. I work for a Microsoft partner, and so I am a bit biased when it comes to Microsoft. But I'm also very interested in Microsoft's future plans for the Zune. We all know that Microsoft will expand the Zune's wireless capabilities. The technology is there, so I can see a day when the Zune will allow users to wirelessly purchase music and sync. I can also envision an entire line of Zune-branded devices and technologies for home entertainment.

At any rate, the time has come for me to get a new digital media player. I've decided on the Zune. I'll keep you posted on my impressions of the device when I get it.

Welcome to the social.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Person of the Year

I am Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

I am very grateful to receive prestigious award. So as not to disappoint the folks at Time Magazine, I offer these bits of random thought:

  • The ads say it only happens once a year, but I believe Toyotathon is a year-round event.
  • Of the thousands of videos on YouTube, I would venture to guess that only 2-5% of them are worth watching.
  • Debt is dumb; cash is king.
  • If Microsoft really wants people to buy Zunes instead of iPods, maybe they should offer it with either more disk space or a smaller price tag. (BTW – I'm fighting the urge to buy one)
  • Yes, "LOVE" by the Beatles is just another attempt to make money off of some dead guys, but it is a joy to listen to.
  • Maybe I'm a baseball romantic, but I love JoPo's optimistic outlook on the Royals this year.
  • Vista is quite beautiful, but only if you have the video hardware to support it. Otherwise, it's a pain in the ass.
  • I'm starting to believe my wife: Lamar Hunt is responsible for the Chiefs' making the playoffs. There is no other explanation.