Archives

Archives / 2007 / March
  • Zune: My feedback

    I came back from the Summit at Seattle with a brand new Zune.
    After 2 weeks of use, I found that I could be interesting to share my experience with the device, so here is my test !

    Cons
    - It is like an iPod, but uglier. None of the 3 colors version are attractive to me. Looks like a piece of plastic, cheap (one's man opinion).
    - Can't use wireless to transfert music from my computer : SO SO SO BAD!!!!!!!
    - Do not play DivX or XviD : BAD BAD BAD!!!
    - Do not work with DRM other than Microsoft
    - Do not display date or time, not a big deal but it would be nice. My 1998 cellular phone do it.
    - Use a software on top of Windows Media Player. I would prefer Media Player only and that's all, thanks.
    - No podcast section on software or device
    - Earphones are so cheap! Real music lovers have to change them quickly.
    - Current listening music is stopped while sharing songs wireless : this is SOOoo bad!!!! Why would I share music this way ?? I want to LISTEN to my music first.
    - Accessories are VERY expensives.
    - Battery life is so short while playing videos!!
    - When you have a LOT of music like me, search is not efficient at all, in albums view, you can sort by artists/genres/albums/single/playlists but you can't jump to a specific letter... The Creative Zen Vision has a far better system for that.
    - Do not provide data storage (external drive) by default, but there is a hack for that purpose.
    - Movies only plays on landscape format, this is ok but I'd like the screen to switch automatically landscape/portrait layout while watching pictures/movies, like my Canon Ixus digital camera.
    - Only 1 zoom level on pictures
    - Do not keep track of last played song
    - Proprietary USB cable
    - Case is too slim to be usable
    - Software/firmware needs an update the day you buy it, it's a Microsoft product ;-)

    Pros
    + Screen is just perfect!!
    + Accesories are cool
    + 30 Gb
    + UI and menus are impressive, specially for pictures
    + Zune do not exist in the country where I live : geek effect garanteed!
    + Works with Vista
    + Auto software and firmware update
    + Display music tags and information
    + Display album art!
    + Less expensive than iPod (note this is the only comparison point with an iPod here)
    + Scroll long titles: little detail but important to me
    + RDS tuner: radio displays station and tunes names
    + Video player can resume any previous played movie

    Conclusion
    Should this guy buy a Zune? Is it good ? is it bad ?
    Read my list above to help make yourself an idea, reality is Zune is a young product and there is a LOT to do to beat an iPod, because this is the only goal, right? I would definitly not (yet) recommand it to "standard" user (dad or sisters). Go buy an iPod nano and you'll be just fine.
    Anyway I like my Zune because it does exactly what I expect : allows me to keep a lot of music anytime, and watch movies/webcasts in public transportation. It takes care of my existing Windows Media Player library and plays wmv videos files.
    Some features like pictures zoom levels, date and time, external drive, podcast sync, will probably comes with next software/firmware updates.
    Moreover I'm not a "standard" user, I'm a Microsoft geek, I hate mov and Quicktime and I will never install iTunes. So I'm currently happy with my Zune! Hope to get lots of updates soon...


    Final words

    If you also have a Zune, you should be happy to learn that the Zune team is waiting for your feedback!
    Look at the bottom of each page on Zune.net and click "feedback". Or, here's the Direct Feedback link. I'm going to send them a link to this post.


    Note

    I do not work either for Microsoft or with the Zune team, this post express my personal opinion, comments are welcome, but constructives comments only please.

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  • Vista Desktop Manager with 3D Cube effect!!


    This is awesome!!

    Yodm3D Vista virtual desktop manager

    Yod'm 3D (Yet anOther Desktop Manager 3D): this little piece of software allows you to have virtual desktops with a 3D cube effect for the transitions. Note that it works on XP and Vista. It behave very well on my laptop and is not CPU consuming.

    [edit: this is no more free...]

    More info and download :
    http://www.otakusoftware.com/deskspace/index.html

    Someone to write this in WPF to have vectorial rendering and live preview during cube spinning ?

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  • Canadians rules the MVP Summit!

    Canadians MVPs totally blow out this Summit at Seattle !
    Our MVP Lead, Sasha Krsmanovic had the brilliant idea to make Microsoft Canada offer the Canadian National Hockey Team Official Jersey used for the Olympic Games to all Canadian MVP who attendee the Summit. As we stand all together in red at the Bill Gates keynote, this was a monster effect, we stole the show!!

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  • AJAX Control Toolkit now support theming!

    This was amazing that all the AJAX Toolkit Controls was not designed to support Theme and Skins !! Most of them are extenders and should respect the idea of decoupling design from behaviours like regular ASP.NET 2.0 controls.
    I voted for the issue on early february
    http://www.codeplex.com/WorkItem/View.aspx?ProjectName=AtlasControlToolkit&WorkItemId=6838
    and I'm glad to know that this has been processed!
    David Anson did the work and checked in support for real ASP.NET Theme/Skin since build 19000 that shipped on march 01, 2007.

    Note that this release of the toolkit also brings good things such as localization support and two new controls (ListSearch and SlideShow), along with a number of fixes.

    Why am I blogging this ?
    The point here is when you find a bug or you would like to add a feature, juste ask for it!
    For sure you can modify the source code, BUT I think it is far better to ask for the feature to the dev team, so it will be added to the library and you won't loose your changes on the next update.

    How to ask for a feature or report a bug ?
    Feel free to add an item in the official issue tracker :
    http://www.codeplex.com/AtlasControlToolkit/WorkItem/AdvancedList.aspx
    This can be voted by everyone, checked and prioritized by the team and hopefully processed on a futur version.

    In the same idea
    As you know AJAX Control Toolkit is a free library of controls that are built by both Microsoft and non-Microsoft developers. So you can develop your own control and bring your addition to the library (after validation by Microsoft team)!

    Note: In case you wonder I'm not (but maybe one day) part of the AJAX Control Toolkit team.
    If you need more informations please go to the official project website:
    http://www.codeplex.com/AtlasControlToolkit/

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