How To: Download Podcasts with iTunes and Sync with a Zune

By StrangeWork.com: As most of you know I purchased a Zune 80 last week, just in time for my road trip to North Carolina for the holiday. My new Zune was a godsend. Zune LogoThe 10 hour drive flew by as I listened to hour after hour of audiobook and podcast. After returning from my trip I really made the effort to stop using iTunes and use the Zune software as my primary mp3 program. Well after day one I can honestly say that isn’t going to happen.

The Zune software makes it too hard to determine which Podcast shows have new episodes. So I decided to switch back to iTunes for downloading and listening to podcasts/music, but I still wanted to sync to my Zune.

Below are the steps I used to download Podcasts/music from iTunes and sync to my Zune automatically.

Step 1: Unsubscribe from all of your Podcasts on the Zune Software. This will stop your Zune software from downloading new episodes when they are released. iTunes will do this for you from now on.

Step 2: Find your iTunes media folder

1. Open iTunes
2. From the Edit menu select Preferences
3. Click the “Advanced” tab

Your media folder is listed where it states “iTunes Music folder location” Remember this location

Step 3: Change your media folder in Zune Software

1. Open up your Zune Software.
2. Select Settings > General
3. Click the “Change Folder” button and point to the media folder you pulled from iTunes in the previous step.
4. Save your settings

Step 4: Change your Podcast folder in Zune Software

1. Open up your Zune Software.
2. Select Settings > Collection
3. Under the Podcast section add the media folder you pulled from iTunes in Step 2 and select the Podcasts subfolder (ex: c:musicPodcasts) The folder will already exist.

That’s it! The Zune Software will now look in your iTunes media folder for new Podcast episodes and add them to your collection automatically.

Hopefully Microsoft will update the software soon to fix many of the complaints we have about their Podcast section.

No Zune for You, Microsoft drops the ball!

By StrangeWork.com: Well ZDay has come and gone and I’m sitting here writing this post without a Zune in my hand. If you read my previous post 10 Reasons why I’m buying a 2nd Generation Zune over any Apple iPod then you know how much I was looking forward to the launch of the new Zune.

I talked to 6 Circuit Citys, 2 Best Buys, 3 Game Stops, Frys Electronics, and a Wal-mart, all of who had NO Zune 80s in stock. In fact the only stores that actually received any Zune 80s was Circuit City and Wal-mart, both of which had a very small supply. Microsoft isn’t even selling Zune 80s on their online store!

I’m extremely disappointed at how Microsoft has dropped the ball on the Zune release. How does Microsoft plan to be a major iPod competitor when they can’t even handle a major product release? One compliment I can say regarding Apple is at least they know how to launch a new product. They make sure to have enough stock ready for the launch. Obviously Microsoft can’t figure this out and they wonder why Apple dominates the market.

Get a clue Microsoft. You just really pissed off a major supporter of your Zunes.

Zune Originals: Microsofts big secret for ZDay

By StrangeWork.com: Well just when we all thought ZDay (Zune Day) would come and go with no surprises, ZuneScene.com has leaked some new information.
Zune Logo
Rumor has it that Microsoft will be announcing Zune Originals on Tuesday. People who order their Zune from Zune.net, will have the added bonus of being able to customize their zune. Customization options include color, up to five lines of custom text, and the choice of 25 preset logos that they can have etched into their Zune prior to delivery. There will be no added cost, but it is only available through Zune.Net.

Is it true? No one knows for sure but apparently Microsoft does own ZuneOriginals.com and ZuneOriginals.net which currently only displays a Zune logo. This throws my Zune buying plans for a loop as I’ll now have to wait and see if the rumors are true. If so it looks like I’ll be ordering my Zune from Zune.net.

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!

Halo 3.0 meets Web 2.0

By StrangeWork.com: Halo 3 was released this past Tuesday to record sales as most predicted it would be. One of the major improvements for Halo 3 is the player/game data available to the public to view on Bungie.net. Bungie records absolutely every stat imaginable and makes those stats available on their gamer portal.

My XBox Live GamerTag

view my profile



Bungie.net tracks every in game stat in real time including total kills by weapon, detailed game history, ranked medal chest awards, and more! Halo 3 ScreenshotOne of the coolest features is the new File Share system. Using the file share system you can easily upload snapshots and videos from your past games to share with the public. Click the thumbnail to view the full size screenshot of me shooting down a banshee last night.

Not only is this fun for the gamer, but a great marketing tool for Halo 3 and Bungie. Gamers are scattering videos and snapshots across the web to show off their Halo abilities. Bungie has done an amazing job expanding Halo 3 to the Web and we can only hope that other game developers take notice.

Halo 3: My Addiction!

So everyone digital knows Halo 3 launches tomorrow. I am one of the million or more gamers out there that has a reserved copy with my name on it in a big box in the back of Best Buy with all his other little buddies.
Halo 3 logo
This Halo short movie popped up on Digg today and if you haven’t seen it watch it right now!

Watch Halo Short Movie

Just a small taste of what a Halo movie could be! I’ll be gaming it up on Halo 3 for the next few days (gamertag: JohnnyMongoloid)

Game on Master Chief, Game on!

Xbox 360 repaired and returned

My Xbox 360 repair journey has come to an end. I received my Xbox 360 back from Microsoft support last Friday. It took a total of 19 days from the initial call to receiving my Xbox back and working. Xbox 360 logo

It was very apparent that Microsoft has spent a lot of money on the repair process. The entire process was very streamlined and efficient.

Overall I have to give Microsoft props. I don’t think they could have made this process any easier. I’ve spoke with gamers who sent there system in back in June and had a horrible experience, but it appears they have worked out all of the bugs in their system.

If your Xbox is busted I suggest you get the repair process started ASAP. Halo 3 will be here before you know it and then there might just be a line to get your Xbox repaired.

Xbox 360: Coming home to daddy

I just received an email from Microsoft informing me that my Xbox 360 repairs have been completed! It’s pretty amazing how quickly my Xbox 360 was fixed:

8/6/2007 – Mailed Xbox 360 to Microsoft support via UPS

8/10/2007 – Microsoft received my Xbox 360

8/12/2007 – Receive email stating repairs are done

Microsoft received my package on 8/10 and my Xbox was fixed by 8/12. Keep in mind 8/10 was a Friday, so this means they are working weekends to complete these repairs. I should receive my Xbox this week!

I’ve actually been too productive without my Xbox, so it’s return will be very nice! Now I can finally finish up Saints Row.

Xbox 360: Sent for repairs

If you read my earlier post titled “How to return an Xbox 360 for repairs” then you know the troubles I’ve had with my Xbox 360. I received my packaging on Friday and shipped my Xbox out this Monday morning.

Xbox 360 packaging

I was told by Microsoft Tech Support that it would take around 4-6 weeks to receive another Xbox 360. I’ve also heard from some Xbox owners that they received a refurbished Xbox 360 within 2 weeks. Only time will tell.

How To: Return an Xbox 360 for repairs

If you read my post Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death, you know my Xbox has recently died. I got motivated today and called Xbox support to start the process of returning my Xbox for repairs. Here is a quick guide outlining the steps I took to get my Xbox repaired.
Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death image
Step 1: Call Microsoft Xbox support at 1-800-4MY-XBOX (1-800-469-9269)

Step 2: Get a support specialist on the line. Go through their basic troubleshooting steps to determine your Xbox is indeed broke.

Step 3: Microsoft will send a pre-paid UPS box for your Xbox to be shipped in. Make sure you write your reference number on the side of your Xbox before sending it off.

Step 4: Remove all attachments from your Xbox including your hard drive and face plate.

Step 5: Send your Xbox to Microsoft in the UPS package and wait for a refurb to arrive.

The support tech said the normal turn around time is 4-6 weeks. I have a feeling that wait time is going to increase dramatically when Halo 3 launches in September.

It’s too bad we have to do this, but at least Microsoft has stepped up to the plate to cover these repairs.