Project Zune - The Unwrapping

Zune in the boxBack in July a bunch of Vancouver bloggers were approached to test drive a Zune. No, I wasn't one of them, but I have a friend who is one of them: A Zune for Me, and they could pick a friend to come along for the ride (Witness the ChatThreads logo at the bottom). Last week I received mine.

It's one of the fancier boxes I've received a product in, reminding me more of a medal case than electronic device packaging. I didn't get the fancy headphones or AC adaptor that Marina did, just the Zune, headphones, USB cable, and some manuals.

Thank god I'd been following some of the other Zune blog entries. The Zune doesn't come charged and there is no obvious indication that you need to charge it before use. I stumbled around for a bit until that little factoid bubbled to the surface.

Getting started with the Zune was one of the most frustrating experiences I've ever had with an electronics device. There's no software included, you to download it from a website. Before you can download the Zune software, you have to sign up for their social website. This has nothing what-so-ever to do with getting started, it's completely irrelevant to getting started and a waste of time (I've actually forgotten the account and password already). When you finally get the software installed, and your Zune is charged, it wants you to update the firmware. More waiting. And when all that is done, the real frustration happens ….

My biggest mp3 player usage is podcasting, so that was the first thing I tried configuring. I now know where the Sony programmers - my vote for worst designers of all time - went after Sony discontinued their mini-disc players. The Zune software is obtuse. I suspect it's probably easier if you're starting from scratch, but I have an existing set of files/directories set up with Juice. It appears Zune follows in the Microsoft tradition of not playing well with others, it sure sucks at importing files. The Zune software does understands how to download podcasts and life became simpler using it as my podcast downloader. God help me when I try to import my music, I certainly don't want to re-rip everything.

More to come.

Zune Box contents

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