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Tutorials, How-to, Hacks and Tips

My Zune, my listening habits and my personal pet peeve all lead to a quick how-to

My_zune_80_250 I will start this by saying that I love my Zune, but based on my listening habits I have one small pet peeve. Thankfully that is able to be solved by way of an autoplaylist.

I am careful to say pet peeve, because my issue really just comes down to my listening habits. I regularly use both my Zune 80 along with the desktop Zune software. I also download new music primarily in album form.

Given that, it seems natural (at least to me) to want to listen to the most recently downloaded albums, which on the desktop software is easy to do thanks to the "albums by date added" layout. Unfortunately, there is not an option for that by default on my Zune 80.

That is where the autoplaylist feature comes into play. I am able to set up a playlist and customize it based on my needs and thankfully this is easy to set up.

To begin, go to Playlists, then click the button for "New Autoplaylist" in the lower left hand corner. From there you will be given quite a few options.

Once there, you name your playlist, for me it is simply called "Recently Added" and then begin to customize it a little. In order to accomplish my goal of having a recently added album section on my Zune I left most of the options as the default.

I did however change a few and those included changing the "Recently added" dropdown from the default of "All" to "In the last (days)." Personally I have that set to 14 days, but you can change that based on your needs. The only other option that I needed to change to fit my needs was the dropdown for "Arrange songs" which I set to "By date added."

All set and done, this only took about 1 minute of time, but it has also made my listening experience much much better. Long story short, playlists both in the form of the regular "New Playlist" option as well as the "New Autoplaylist" option can both really help make your portable Zune listening experience much better. Of course, given the audience here I am sure many of you already knew that.

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Zune Amidst all the news of Zune falling $100 million short of estimates, and concerns of Microsoft's continuing commitment to the Zune, it was good to find something, make that anything else, of a Zune nature.  What I stumbled across today was that a Zune Wiki, a Zunepedia if you will, was started recently.  Sure, you could just go to the Zune page of the Wikipedia, but it's also good to have the Zune have a wiki devoted all to it.

As a repository of knowledge, that everyone can add to and edit, you just can't beat a wiki for knowledge on a topic.  It was started by Zac Altman, a serious Zune fan.  So far there are pages for each of the models, and als pages for each of the features.  Some of the pages are just placeholders waiting for some knowledgable Zune owner to share this knowledge.  Isn't this what the "Get Into the Social" tagline is all about?

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


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!

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Zune Trick: Use a Zune V1 Dock with your Zune 80

Zune_trick_zune_v1_dock Jef from Jeftek has an interesting Zune trick that might be useful to many Zune 80 out there. The Zune fan managed to dock is brand new Zune 80 on a v1 Zune docking station. Why should you do that when Microsoft released a beautiful v2 Zune docking station? The answer is simple, with the heavily discounted v1 Zune accessories currently on the market, you will save a lot of money by doing that.

It appears Microsoft made it simple to remove the top faceplate, which gives more than enough room to dock all v1 and v2 Zunes in the v1 Dock!   You do not get the component out ability of the v2 dock, but it also means you don't need to throw away the dock to use it with a v2 which for me with 2 of them was great.  Without the faceplate, it also doesn't support the Zune snugly when you put it in and out of the dock, so you just need to be careful when docking it.

Check Jef's photo guide for more details. Nice job Jef!

You've got a Zune trick? Send it to us!


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How to Hack the 3-Plays Restriction


Well, we all know that the 3-days restriction has already been removed from the new Zune's Firmware, and so now we want even less of a restriction than ever before. The 3 day restriction can be quite annoying, and all you have to do to get past it is to set a song as a Podcast, and it will still play. The only problem is, it won't be in your music section, it will be in your Podcast section, which I don't really care for when it comes to music.

So, I'm glad I have a Zune pass and don't have to buy the songs sent to me anyway, I just get to download them instead. So, if you don't want to have to go through this hassle and also want to get a large amount of music for a small amount of money, you should think of getting a Zune Pass.


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Hack Your New Zune For More Benefits

Zune_hacks While I was searching for some Zune news, go figure right?, I found this interesting story on how many hacks are available for the new Zunes as of right now. While not surprised that the Zune has been hacked, I am a little surprised that there are this many hacks, in such a short time that the new Zunes have been out.

Sarah Perez over at blog, posted this story about all the available software hacks people can do to their new Zunes. There are surprisingly 10 hacks for the new Zune listed. Although some of them are not really hacks, like how to open up your Zune and stare at the unbelievable hardware inside the player, while others are actual hacks and actually improve the Zune quite substantially. Like for example, take Hack #3:

Hack #3: Use the Zune 2 as a flash drive - this hack makes your computer recognize your Zune 2 just like it's any ordinary USB flash drive

This Hack really caught my attention, because as one of exclusions in most media players, you cannot use your player as a hard drive/usb flash drive. Well worry no more, as this hack will as it says, act as any ordinary flash drive. Other Hacks include: Multi-Extension Support Mod, YouTube to Zune Converter, Custom Themes, etc. So why not go take a look for yourself and see which hacks interest you.

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Hack "Guest Zune" or Not?

ZuneguesthackI’m not sure if a lot of you will need this hack. But if you bumped into the “guest sync” feature of the Zune software one day and you need a quick turn around, this will help you.

But different people can have different perspectives. A few months ago, the Zuneinsider wrote on why the guest sync was the coolest feature of the Zune software.  Here’s how the program manager of the “guess sync” describe the feature:

You can take your Zune device, and sync it with multiple PCs - via guest sync. While you’re in guest mode, you can add content, manage your library, delete music, etc. And you can guest sync to an unlimited number of PCs - with ripped content, and with songs individually purchased from Zune Marketplace. Subscription content is a little different, though - there's a two device sync limit on ZMP subscription content.”

Without any hacking you can also “reverse sync” the content of your Zune to the PC. You can do that with pictures, songs or videos on your Zune device from your own library (not purchased from Zune Marketplace, preloaded in your device, or received via wireless sharing). Here a link to the tutorial.

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Zune trick: Use the Zune Remote Control With Xbox

Video: Zune Remote controls an Xbox 360

You bought the Home A/V pack or the remote control? You own an Xbox 360? Well, here the Zune trick! You can use the Zune remote control to control your Xbox with it. Not sure about that? Watch Cesar from Zuneinsider do it.

Thanks for the Zune trick Cesar!

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Zune Firmware Update 1.2 Available Now


Connect your Zune to your PC now for a firmware update! Don’t expect new features from this update, the Zune firmware update is only providing enhance stability and performance. If you find what the solved problems with the version 1.2 are, let us know by leaving a comment. According to one of our readers, Matthew (thanks Matthew!), the “skipping” problem with songs from the Zune marketplace is not solved… To be followed!

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Zune Video Encoding Tutorial

David-zune-video-tutorialOur favourite Zune technical team blogger, David Caulton, posted a Zune tutorial to help us do an easy Zune video encoding. The simple fact that we need a tutorial, shows again that video is not simple as music library management. Codecs issues are more difficult to understand and management takes a lot more time and energy.

In his tutorial, David said, “My favorite tool for most video work is TMPGEnc Xpress. It’s got several important virtues: It’s real, professional quality software. Basically never crashes. This is unusual among video products; It includes nearly every codec I know of, both for import and export; It’s clear, simple dialogs make a lot of vastly complex things simple “

David's tutorial is quite complete with screenshots and comments. A must for any home video enthusiast and Zune owner!

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