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Cliczune Archives: December 2008


Zune Bug Roundup

Insectinfo0 The Zune 30gb was the center of attention today, however not for anything good.  In a device glitch, worthy of Y2K, it turns out that the Zune 30 is having an issue on December 31st, related to being the 366th day of the year, as we are in a leap year.  It looks like the problem is temporary, and hopefully that Microsoft will have a patch available before the next leap year, in a distant four years from now.  Then again, how many Zune 30's will be around them remains an open question.  In the meantime, here's all you need to know about the issue:

Apparently, Microsoft "warned" Zune owners of the issue, but I don't recall getting that memo.

The fix to the issue is detailed here, but it does involve some Zune surgery, so unless you have a strong stomach for your device's internals, I'd wait for the official fix.

Then again, for those that tend more to the software side to the hardware, these guys have detailed the source code that created the issue with the date.  Kind of neat to see what caused the issue.

Then again, it's kind of neat to see the Zune getting so much atention, especially their first model to the market.  Now only if Microsoft could generate this much buzz about the Zune without this type of problem, they could gain the market share that has eluded them thus far.

Zune pass subscribers: Last day to grab your 10 free tracks

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If you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to use the 10 track credits you have from your monthly subscription. If you don’t use the credits before midnight tonight, you lose them.

I personally bought “Pink Floyd - Wish you we’re here” (5 tracks) and “Pink Floyd – Meddle” (5 of the 6 tracks). One of the best way to optimize the use of your free tracks is to find albums with a low number of tracks. This way, you can get even more than one album with your 10 track credits. Classical or jazz albums can be good choices as well. As an heritage of the vinyl LP, older music also tend to have a lower number of tracks.

What were your monthly picks? Please share your music suggestions in the comments, I will have 10 new credits to use tomorrow morning!

All 30 GB Zunes Expired at the same time!

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Are you Zune 30GB owner? If yes, December 31st is not your lucky day. Tons of Zune owners are reporting that their Zune froze at the Zune logo screen when they turned on their device this morning.

The normal reboot trick doesn’t solve the problem and Microsoft hasn’t responded to this yet. This can’t happen at a worst time for the Zune support team, as the technical staff is probably all gone for the New year’s eve party.

We never now, if this is a date related problem(and it does look like it), January 1st might solve the problem. Can this be caused by the clock recently implemented?

Let us know if you find something to reboot the device…

UPDATE: The Zune team acknowledged the problem by posting this on Zune.net:

"Customers with 30gb Zune devices may experience issues when booting their Zune hardware.  We’re aware of the problem and are working to correct it.  Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for your patience!"

UPDATE 2 - "FIX IT YOURSELF": Isaac is suggesting that if you unplug the battery of the Zune, you should be able to restart the device. This should normally void your warranty, but most of the Zune 30GB out there are well over the one year warranty period. The detailed instructions are available here. I will personally wait until Microsoft provides a fix for this...

Zune Christmas Miracle?

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With the Christmas sales still being tallied, it will be a time before we know how well this year's Zune sold.  While many of us are still rooting for the Zune, there are some factors working against it including less interest in pure players, Apple's continued dominance of this segment, and overall slowing of the economy.  On the flip side though, let's not forget that the Zune lineup, particularly it's flash offerings continue to offer good value, and overall the Zunes were the strongest players put out by Microsoft yet.

One hint that the Zune may have a had a strong showing comes from Google.  You see, all those Google searches get tabulated and analyzed.  It turns out that this past Christmas morn, search terms with the word Zune in them, including Zune.net and Zune.net/setup had an unusual spike, and even broke into the top 20 search terms, which apparently they are regularly not even in the top 100.

So, does this mean the Zune sold well, or just that lots of folks had trouble setting it up and sought assistance online?  Too early to say, but intriguing nonetheless!  I'm hoping the final sales numbers are as good as these search results might suggest...

Tis the Season For Zune Predictions

30904_logo This time of year, as we wind down the holiday shopping, the tech predictions get ramped up.  It seems like every editor of every news outlet puts in their two cents of what will happen over the next year in the world of technology.

Over at PC Magazine, you know the place that decided to stop publishing their magazine (despite the name), is offering their soothsaying for 2009 from editor Lance Ulanoff.  Here's what he's thinking for the Zune:

Microsoft will discontinue the Zune in favor of Zune phones. The Internet is buzzing with rumors that Microsoft is planning to put Zunes into a whole new generation of smartphones. If this happens (and it will), the original Zune player will be collateral damage.

WTF?  I mean, huh?  Yeah, we've all been talking about the possiblity of a Zune Phone for many months now.  We also think that Microsoft is releasing some new smartphone stuff in the near future, probably at CES next month.  However, do we really think that the regular Zune will go by the wayside so easily?  I seriously think not.  After all, even with the success of the iPhone, I haven't seen the disapperance of the iPod Classic or the iPod Nano line.  I also think that Microsoft has too much invested into the Zune device to write it off, even if the zPhone's monthly fees might be more attractive in the short term.  How are you all seeing this?

Building A Bridge For the Zune

2421976391_30e1006d0b The great forces at Microsoft have done a great job of keeping the world of Zune apart from the ecosphere of the Xbox.  In retrospect, the was probably not the best idea, and there may be an effort to bridge the gap.

A job listing, found by CNET, indicates that they are looking to hire at least one new person at Microsoft to bring our beloved Zune into the Xbox family.  What can we hope for out of this?  The job posting gives us a hint:

We are looking for a strong, collaborative designer to work closely with the creative directors to propose innovative designs and content solutions for the Zune Device UI, Zune Xbox and Zune PC Application. You will be part of a small, but experienced, design team working with multiple feature teams to help ship exciting and emotionally engaging products for Zune.

Some are speculating that this will evolve into a Zune service for mobile phones.  Whatever direction this goes in, integration between these product lines can only be a good thing.  If you have 3+ years of experience in this type of thing, and are willing to move out to Redmond, WA, than this just might be the right opportunity for you!

Zune Team Merges To Work On Phone...Possibly

Windowsmobilelogo While I haven't given up on seeing a Zune Phone at CES next month, apparently another has.  This is the on again, off again, on again, and now it's off again story that keeps going round and round.  However, now there appears to be yet another twist developing.

Clearly the Zune team is more in touch with what younger folks want in a handheld device than the Windows Mobile team.  While many of us would like to see a "True Zune Phone" that could compete with the best of anythign out there, that still does seem a longshot (at least on the "off again" days).  Be that as it may, the latest thinking is that the Zune team will simply be merged with the Windows Mobile team into one big happy family.

In my mind, it's a bit of a risk because the device that could have been may never see the light of day under this scenario.  It also means that the partners will continue to manufacture the devices in all probability.  Finally, I doubt I'll ever get to dial with my squircle.  Here's hoping the Zune Marketplace makes it into a 3G connected device!

Zune Phone Cometh, Or Not

The issue of the Zune Phone has gone back and forth more times than that little white ball at the World Ping Pong Championship.  While recently, it looked like we were finally adding the Zune Phone to the Microsoft stable, once again, we're getting a denial from high up in the Microsoft camp.  What the heck is really going on here?  I seriously doubt all of this has been about (yawn) some new Palm OS phone!

The latest thinking is that while there won't be an official Zune Phone taking its place right among its brethren, there still will be a new Microsoft phone, and the Zune team will be heavily involved with it.  Is this as close as we're getting for a Zune Phone?  Does Microsoft not want to scare off its competitors partners?  Will I get to dial with a squircle? 

Once again, more questions than satisfying answers, but I can credit Microsoft with intriguing the blogosphere on whatever this product launch migh be that is (probably/hopefully) Zune related!

Get a Zune 80 for $229 and get a free 2 month Zune Pass

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Microsoft is currently running a nice special on the Zune 80. The offer is simple, if you purchase a black Zune 80 for the regular price ($229) you will be given a free two month Zune Pass. Which should be more than enough time to convince most people just how nice the Zune Pass really is. Of course, there are some catches, this offer is available through December 31, 2008 and limited to the US.

[Zune Store via ZuneBoards]

Zune Phone Coming To CES

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While some think this year's CES is going to be a yawnfest due to the economy, at least for me, it just got a lot more interesting.  We're now hearing yet another confirmation that the Zune Phone will make a debut.  With smartphones becoming pervasive, and Windows Mobile devices better suited to the business world, it would be a really smart move for Microsoft to enter this segment.  The Zune appeals to a much younger and hipper demographic than corporate suits, so this would be a great platform to build a phone around.

While Microsoft has denied this for over a year, some details are starting to emerge.  The zPhone is expected to have a physical keyboard, and also some touchscreen capabilities.  It will also utilize a special chip from nVidia to give it a graphics advantage.  The open question is that if Microsoft is making both the device and the software, as they do with the Zune, will there also be other manufacturers that use the software?

I'll be paying attention come Las Vegas time this January on this one!  The pics above are from a MS patent application.