Top 10 reasons not to buy a Zune

What smells funny? 10. Doo-doo Brown. I mean, who wants a brown mp3 player? Yeah, they have standard black and white. But honestly, what is up with the brown? And what would possibly possess a Microsoft designer to have the inclination that a brown Zune is a good idea? I don’t want nor do I need a device in my pocket that, every time I take it out, will remind me of a thick, brown, block of human fecal matter.

9. Secrets Secrets. I was listening to the TWiT podcast this week, and one of the guys on it was going to test out one to review it. And before he got his Zune, Microsoft sent him a ridiculous agreement loaded with restrictions about what he can’t do to the Zune or say about it. Are you serious? They said that you can’t take it apart and other such things. How can you review an item without knowing how it works? What are they trying to hide? What satanic, unearthly technology do they have inside that bloated Zune shell that they want to keep from the public? I’m not a big fan of secrets. Open Source forever!

8. Childish Marketing. From what I can tell, Microsoft wants to make the Zune hip and cool and attractive (as attractive a brown brick can be). But their big marketing ploy centers around the following idea. “Zune. It’s not an iPod.” Wow. Great. So I should get a Zune simply because it’s not an iPod. Now, some will buy one for this reason alone. More power to em. But, really, how bout we market the things that are really good about the Zune instead… Unless…..

This an actual, real scroll wheel.  Less frustrating.7. Fake Scroll-Wheel. Everyone has used an iPod. Whether you have one yourself or not. You have used one. You’re accustomed to the iPod scroll wheel. Well, look at the Zune. See something familiar? Behold, it appears it too has a scroll wheel… except it doesn’t. That’s just a big 4-way directional button disguised as a scroll wheel. I’ve heard from some reviewers that they intuitively try to scroll as they are accustomed to, only to grow frustrated in the fact that their emotions have been toyed with and they can only press the little buttons on the end of the faux-wheel. And don’t you have enough frustration in your life already?

Accepted everywhere... except Microsoft6. Points… the new US currency. So, with iTunes, you want a song, you pay 99-cents. You get the song. Simple. Logical. Of course, with the Zune, we’re talking about Microsoft. So, obviously, using actual money to buy songs will not do. No, now we’re stuck in some ludicrous points-based payment system. So instead of buying a song with real money, you pre-buy a number of points (at a minimum of 5-points per pre-purchase), and then a song will cost you a certain amount of points. Can I ask, what is wrong with the American dollar? It has done so well for us the past several hundred years. I mean, honestly… I heard someone figure out that you need to buy somewhere around 495 songs from the Zune Marketplace until you reach a point where your purchases reach an even dollar amount, divisible by 5. So, you need to buy almost 500 songs or you will either have extra points left over or you will be short points. So you’re screwed or Microsoft is screwed. And you know that Microsoft isn’t going to let themselves get short-ended. So good luck with your points there, buddy.

5. 150,000 viruses and growing. Microsoft product means more viruses. You know people are going to write viruses aimed right at the Zune. And this is no fault of Microsoft. People just like attacking it. So you know you’re going to have to get some kind of funky new antivirus that will work with the Zune DRM in the files, so you will be forced to pay some crazy fee for this exclusive antivirus which probably won’t catch all the viruses and spyware anyway. Joy. Now I know some of you will say how recently some iPod were shipped with a virus on them, but lets be realistic… you know that this one virus, which didn’t even affect the iPod but just used it as a host to transfer to PC’s once connected, will be dwarfed by the amount of virus that will plague the Zune.

Wonders of wireless4. Wasted WiFi. Now, here is the one place, when I heard about it, that Microsoft could have one-upped Apple. This idea is brilliant. Built in WiFi. The possibilities are so amazing for this. But, in true Microsoft fashion, they took a great idea and pooped a steaming pile of brown Zune all over it. Here’s how it works. Zune allows you to share songs with your friends. (Great idea). You can wirelessly beam said song to said friend with the Zune’s built-in WiFi. (Even greater idea). Said friend can listen to said song on said friend’s own Zune for 3 days or 3 plays. Now, I understand the restriction. I even agree with it. But after the “trial period” for said song ends, said friend’s Zune deactivates the song… and then…. Nothing. What? Are you serious? You have a freakin WiFi built into the thing! How hard can it be for Microsoft, one of the leading tech-based companies in the world, to write some software to have the Zune use it’s built-in WiFi to connect to the Zune Marketplace and ask said friend if he/she would like to buy the song? That way said friend can continue to enjoy the song, Microsoft gets another easy song sale, and everything stays legal? What a waste. Now, I have no proof, but just watch the 6th generation iPod have improved WiFi capabilities over the Zune.

Zune vs iPod3. Tale of the Tape. In this corner, coming in at a sleek 4.41 cu-in and weighing only 4.8oz, the reigning champion, iPod. And in this corner, at a bulky 6.12 cu-in and weighing a bloated 5.6oz, the challenger, Microsoft Zune! I mean, granted, both of these devices pale in comparison to the magnitude of sizitude of their predecessors, the Walkman and Discman. But common, the Zune is massive for today’s technology. People will start asking you, “Are you happy to see me or something? Oh, that’s just your Zune in your pocket.” I mean, it’s bigger than my wallet. And what if you get mad at someone and mistakenly think your Zune is a brick and hurl it at your opponent. You may very well kill the fellow. And then you’d have to carry that on your conscience for the rest of your life. Now, I understand that the Zune has a bigger screen than the iPod. But both the iPod and Zune screens have the same resolution. So what’s the point.

2. DRMed! I hate DRM. Hate! Hate! Hate! Of course, it’s everywhere. Even the iTunes store has it. But Apple’s DRM is somewhat friendly compared to the others. And, if I really wanted to, I know how to get around it. I don’t really have the need to, though, because Apple DRM cooperates with the user to a satisfactory level. I can deal with it. Microsoft’s MSN Store had its own evil DRM that all the music is locked into. So, naturally, you’d think that the Microsoft Zune will be able to read Microsoft MSN DRM, right? Wrong. Zune doesn’t support the MSN Store’s DRM. So any of that music you bought from Microsoft before is worthless. You have to buy all your music from the new exclusive Zune Marketplace, with it’s own brand new DRM from hell. And, from what I hear, the DRM on the songs makes it very difficult, if possible at all, to transfer music or re-download were something to happen to your library. You’re just stuck.

I Love Podcast.1. What-Cast? Anyone who knows me knows that I love podcasts pretty hardcore. I’ve already started one for The Sanctuary (which you should subscribe to) and will be starting one for The Bridge as well. I mean, millions of people listen to podcasts every day, whether from iTunes or Feedburner or wherever. It’s a rapidly expanding medium to deliver content. There is so much you can use them for. And they’re just pretty cool in and of themselves. So, of course, Microsoft sees the unlimited potential of this medium and, into the Zune, incorporates NO PODCAST SUPPORT. Are you kidding me? It’s like they said, there’s a huge market for this technology, people like it, it’s easy to do and incorporate… let’s not do it. Makes perfect sense. I mean, Zune should still play the mp3 or AAC podcast files once you get them, but will not organize and maintain them as the iPod does so exquisitely. And the Zune Marketplace does not support their download, so you’ll have to get them elsewhere.

Also, a bonus reason, Zune doesn’t have a Product Red unit. iPod does. So, you can either buy a Zune and get screwed by Microsoft or buy an iPod Nano (PRODUCT)RED and help a child in Africa survive the AIDS epidemic. The choice is simple, really.

Microsoft Z<p>une

It is finished!

It's hereIt’s official. Windows Vista is “complete” and ready to go.

Microsoft released the final version of Vista to computer manufacturers like Dell and Gateway and HP so they can begin prepping the widespread release of the OS on new systems to be released in January.

I am still hesitant to try it out. I actually don’t even know if my current system will run Vista properly. I have to do a diagnostic to see. (See if your system meets Vista specs).

I still think I will buy a Mac Pro next year, but we shall see.

I must return to work.

Of the electoral process and Skype

Vote or die!I’m sitting here right now at Carlos’ house calling people to remind them to vote as today is the general election for his City Council election. If he wins tonight, he’s officially the 4th Ward Concilman beginning in 2007.

Most people are using their cell phones to make the calls, but I don’t have free minutes until 9pm, and I don’t want to use up all my minutes calling everyone, so I’m using Skype to make the calls.

It’s awesome that I can make calls via Carlos’ WiFi connection in his house while surfing the web and blogging and such.

I love technology. 🙂

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UPDATE:

Carlos won… by a lot.

Webtastic awesomeness

The Sanctuary on your iPod!

It’s here!  The Sanctuary Podcast is online and available for immediate subscription.  You can download the teaching from every week as heard in The Sanctuary by our various speakers.  The latest teachings will be made available sometime Monday evening following The Sanctuary.

You will need iTunesto be able to listen to the podcast, so download it today.  It’s free!

Once iTunes is installed, click on THIS LINK to be brought to The Sanctuary Podcast page and then click on the “Subscribe” button.  It’s that simple.  iTunes will automatically download the latest podcast, and you can go back and download the older ones if you wish as all of 2006 is already posted for download.

If you have an iPod, iTunes should automatically send the podcast over to it so you can listen on the go.  If not, you can always listen right on your computer or put the podcasts on CD.  If you want to buy an iPod, buy this one.

Subscribe today!  Jesus would want you to.  🙂

Gaming 3.0

Playstation3

So the PS3 is going to be released on November 17.  If you really feel the need to get it early, you could always book a flight to Japan as it will be released there on November 11.

It look’s like it’s got some pretty nice specs.  20Gb harddrive, bluetooth, Blu-Ray compatible.  They have new wireless controllers that take advantage of the bluetooth capabilities.  You can surf the web on it, download and rip music.  You can also opt for the higher-end model that boasts a 60Gb harddrive and WiFi capabilities.

It looks really nice.  Of course, it’s ridiculously priced.  ::start sarcasm:: The low-end model comes in at a modest $499, while the high-end model is practically being given away with the low low cost of only $599.  ::end sarcasm::

Yeah, I think I’ma stick with my PS2 that I play so infrequently it’s practically still in out-of-the-box condition.  I have my three games I like and will play when I get a free moment, as sporatic as they are. 

Of course, all of these pale in comparison to the greatest gaming console of all time, boasting some of the greatest games ever.

Super Mario BrothersMike Tyspn's Punch OutThe Legend of Zelda

Nintendo's Wii | Available 11.19.06If you want a more reasonably priced new console, go for Nintendo’s Wii, for only $250.  I hear they have a brand new Zelda game to be available on the release date.  You can get your Wii on November 19.

 

 

 

The eternal debate

There has been a debate raging for as long as I have been alive. A debate of mammoth proportions. A debate between two ideas that could change the very course of human history. Sometimes it gets more heated than others. Sometimes the two seem like the could co-exist, side by side. Other times it seems as if the two seek only to destroy each other. You know of which debate I speak of. Of course, it can be summed up in three simple words: “PC or Mac.”

Seems like their friends, doesn't it.I recently bought my first Mac, a 13″ MacBook, a few short months ago. I will admit that I love it… very much. There is so much you can do with it. So many awesomely cool little apps, not available for PC, that can just do the coolest things. Not life-changing things. But things that make the computing experience even slightly more enjoyable and that give the feeling that you are somehow special and part of a special group to have these things available to you. I understand where the “Mac people” are coming from. But I love my PC. Make no mistake. It’s home built. I grew up with it. I know how to make it do things that many Mac people I know can’t even do on their “elite machines.”

But things have come up recently that make me question the future of my computing environment preferences. I think that there is a good likelihood that I may switch to 100%, or near 100% Mac. The major reason for this thought process is based on the news I’m hearing about Windows Vista. Pure evil?Rumors, yes, but they make me wary. Rumors of all the new security blocks they put up to protect from Spyware. They’re needed, I understand. I tried to install a 3rd-party program add-on a month or two ago on my PC, and upon opening the file I saw a small black command prompt open and close within a microsecond and instantly realized, “I’m in trouble.” I’ve been fighting this piece of Spyware since and cannot rid myself of it. It’s nasty. And annoying. So I understand these added security measures. But they sound a little too over-the-top for me. They sound like they will annoy me and slow me down too much from doing actual work. All kinds of password verification requests and a thousand confirmation boxes to do simple tasks.

But the most troublesome rumor I’ve heard is how WGAis going to handle possible illegal copies of Vista. As it stands, If WGA finds your copy of windows to possibly be illegal, it will annoy the crap out of you to get you to register. Reminders over and over and over again. Maybe it contacts Microsoft. I’m not sure. With the new Vista WGA, the OS will lock up, only allowing you to surf the web for a max of 1-hour and not allowing you to do much more than copy and paste files within the actual OS. It will hijack your computer from you and, basically, shut it down.

Now, I understand that too. I have a legit copy of XP. I got it in college while there, and have kept it ever since. And you may say that this new protection won’t affect legitimate Windows users, but the truth is that WGA is so buggy in and of itself that there are thousands of false-positve and false-negative piracy identifications. People who have legit Windows are said to have bootleg copies. As it stands, they can still use their legal Windows, albeit while being annoyed every day with reminder bubbles, but with the new Vista WGA, these legal users will have their computers locked because WGA “thinks” they’re pirates.

Goodbye Xp, hello VistaThere’s more. I just don’t like how it sounds. I mean, I like my XP. I will continue to use it. But I don’t think I’ll be switching to Vista. And as such, eventually I’m going to have to move on to a new OS because XP will get too outdated. So it’s either Mac OS or Linux or something. I like Mac. I think I may buy a new iMac or Mac Pro with my next bonus/tax rebate checks. We shall see.

New beginnings

So here’s something new.  WilliamHartz.com, huh?  Yeah, I decided that it was time to get my own “real” website.  So I registered my own domain.  Creative URL, isn’t it?  I thought so.

Anyway, I don’t know exactly what will become of this.  I orginally registered a MySpace account back somewhere near the end of 2005/beginning of 2006 in hopes of reconnecting with high school friends.  I knew about this phenomenon known as “blogging” but really wanted not much to do with it.  Then I started posting once in a while, and enjoyed it.  I like the MySpace blog.  But I realilze that using MySpace’s blog is about as effective as using the AOL-Browser instead of IE in the 1990’s (JavaScript, anyone?)  Great tool with useful features, but completely limited in its ability.

I learned a bit about RSS  and XML and broadcasting things in recent weeks.  I learned just some of the awesome technologies available to us, here in the year 2006, thanks to great podcasts such as MacBreak Weekly.  I decided it was time to take this to the next level.  So I registered this new blog here, to start off with.  What else will be added on to this page?  A forum?  A fully-functional website with all kinds of cool content – audio, video, etc?  I don’t know.  Time will tell.

For now, we have this nifty little blog available, which will be updated periodically.  Possibly daily.  Maybe bi-daily.  (Is that a word?)  Again, we shall see.  I’ll talk about the things I learn about God, as I am always questioning, probing, and searching for greater and deeper truth of him.  I shall post about the latest and greatest in technology as I learn it.  And, of course, as one would expect of me, look forward to plenty of random and pointless “crap” to appear on here as well… anything that catches my fancies or makes me laugh.  I’ll post of the odd circumstances that beset me or my experiences while at work or play.

One thing that I really am excited about is that this very blog is RSS-enabled.  What does that mean?  Well, look down in the very bottom-right corner of the page to the little button that says “Simply Headlines.”  Click on there and subscribe and you can receive an email every day on what is posted here or changes or other things.  It’s setup in a convenient newspaper format.  Really cool stuff.  There’s a Google button there as well, which will allow you to add this Blog feed onto your main Google search page.  I’ll add more items in the near-future.

One thing that will really make this fun is if people comment and ask questions and discuss.  I’m not fishing for attention a la so many millions on MySpace who define their character by how many pic comments they have, but rather I want to encourage open discussion and interaction.  Again, I will add more in the near future to promote this.

You can always check my older blogs via myspace at http://blog.myspace.com.  I may try to transfer the others over here, but I haven’t reached that decision yet.

Until then, I take my leave.