10 Reasons why I’m buying a 2nd Generation Zune over any Apple iPod

By StrangeWork.com: After a lot of research and a lot of debating I’ve decided to purchase a 2nd Generation Zune instead of any Apple iPod currently on the market. Here is a list of the top 10 reasons why I made this decision.

2nd Generation Zune Family of Products

10. Display – The Zune display is 3.2 inches, which is slightly smaller than the iPod Touch 3.5 inch display, but much larger than the iPod Classics 2.5 inch display.

9. Video Out – The new Zune will have a video out resolution of 720×576 maximum. This is for TV output and easily beats the original Zune’s 320×240 output.

8. Wi-Fi – The Zune features 802.11b/g wireless networking allowing the ability to download music and sync quickly and easily from any Wi-Fi network.

7. Wireless Sharing – will let users share full-length songs, albums, playlists, pictures and even audio podcasts from one Zune to another. Shared songs can be played up to three times with no time restrictions, Microsoft said, and shared songs can also be pass along to other Zune users.

6. FM Tuner – The new Zunes will feature an internal FM Tuner allowing you to listen to local radio stations directly through the Zune. This is a feature that has been lacking on iPods since the beginning. Of course Apple will be happy to sell you an FM Tuner for a small fee of $49.99.

5. Landscape Mode – A feature missing from the classic iPod, Landscape Mode allows you to view videos and images in a nice widescreen format.

4. Zune Social – A new Zune social network will allow members to share their playlists and samples of the songs on their Zunes. Any Zune user will be able to can create a free, customizable Zune Card that automatically updates to reflect the music they are listening to on their Zune or with Zune software on their computer.

3. Zune Marketplace – One major reason the iPod has been so successful is because of iTunes. Until now there hasn’t been a great competitor software package available. The Zune Marketplace is changing that notion. The Zune Marketplace update will offer podcasts and the Music Store will offer one million DRM-free songs.

2. Wireless Sync – The Zune, both 1st and 2nd generation devices, will have the ability to wirelessly sync your music library from your PC using a Wi-Fi network. Imagine a world with no cords!

1. It’s not Apple – Apple has let their success in the past few years go to their head. The iPhone is a great example of Apple’s proprietary vision of what all their devices should be.

Zune Logo

I know this post will generate some controversy so let me go ahead and defend some of the comments I expect to receive:

To anyone that mentions the iPod Touch – Apple’s iPod Touch costs $50 more and has an 8GB hard drive, compared to the 80GB hard drive in the new 2nd generation Zunes. Do you want to store 20,000 songs or 2,000 songs? Next!

To anyone that mentions Microsoft – Yes Microsoft is big, we all know this. Most people are scared of big companies, we know this as well. Why don’t I care? Microsoft has done an amazing job at integrating all of their devices together. My Vista Media Center PC can talk to my Xbox 360 who can then talk to my Zune who can then talk to my Vista PC. My media is instantly shared throughout all of my devices. Make my life easier and I will love you forever!

To anyone that mentions slow Zune sales – According to Wikipedia, Apple sold 376,000 iPods in their first year of production. Microsoft sold 1 million Zunes in their first year of production. Now I understand comparing iPod sales from 2002 to Zune sales from 2007 isn’t apples to apples (pun intended), but it’s a good gauge as to where Microsoft stands. Nobody, including Microsoft, expected to sell 50 million units in one year.

Conclusion – Overall the 2nd Generation Zunes are a pretty amazing mp3 player. Microsoft listened to what people wanted in an mp3 player and incorporated those features in the new Zune.

That is why I will be at the store on November 13th to purchase my brand new Zune!

How To: Keep iTunes video window “always on top”

One small annoyance I’ve had for some time with iTunes is the fact you can’t keep the video window “always on top” of other windows. This is really annoying if you are trying to work and watch your favorite podcasts or movies.

Currently there is no way to accomplish this with iTunes. However I found a nice small program, for Windows and Apple, that allows you to designate any window you want to always stay on top!

For Windows: PowerMenu
Description: PowerMenu is a small application that adds some extra menu items to the windows control menu: Always On Top, Transparency and Minimize To Tray.

For Apple: Afloat
Description: Afloat is a small Cocoa plug-in that adds “Keep Floating”, “Always on Top” and “Make Transparent” commands to the Window menu of many Mac applications.

Once installed simply right-click your iTunes video window and select “Always on Top” from the menu. Now you can easily enjoy your favorite videos while working away!