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Why I ended up getting a Zune

I've been looking at getting an MP3 player for a while now because I want to make better use of my time, especially as I go to and from work. When the Zune was announced I looked at the specifications and was interested, but I had decided I wasn't going to buy an MP3 player until I could get a good look at it and "test it out."

One of the things I was interested in was the ability to watch video, so that ruled out the majority of the MP3 players. Now, I wouldn't watch a video as I'm driving, but there are a lot of down times where I have 30 minutes to an hour, such as when I was waiting to get my eyes checked. Therefore, any device I was going to purchase needed to have a decent enough screen... enter the Zune.

Shortly after Christmas I went down to a local department store and saw the Zune display. Playing around with it, I realized the display was watchable. Certainly it wasn't as great as watching on my laptop screen or anything larger, but I figured it was big enough for my purposes. After all, the videos I intended to watch where technology podcasts such as the Going Deep series on Channel 9. Another set is the ASP.NET Podcast, of which I'm woefully behind on, but there's hope for me yet. Speaking of being woefully behind, that's something else I was looking for: capacity. With 30 GB, I've only used about 10 GB for my podcasts and the limited music I listen to and have CDs of. While I love music, I admit that I don't own a lot of CDs and I'm not interested in downloading any music from iTunes or the Zune Marketplace. I looked very, very seriously at the iPod version that supports video, but the Zune screen is larger and it flips to landscape mode when playing video... meanng it's a better display. It's lighter and there are iPod versions with greater capacity than the Zune. However, given that I want to watch video as well and I believe 30 GB will be enough for me (given my current usage, that seems to have been borne out), that's what eventually caused the Zune to win me over.

Overall I've been satisfied with my Zune but there are a few areas that are irksome. First is the fact it doesn't support Windows Server 2003. One of my primary laptops is that OS because it allows me to test and setup things I can't with Windows XP (like Sharepoint Services) without having to resort to a virtual machine. Another is the time it sometimes takes to convert the video files. For instance, the most recent Going Deep episode - Anders Hejlsberg, Herb Sutter, Erik Meijer, Brian Beckman: Software Composability and the Future of Languages - was taking so long to convert I canceled the sync for it. I'll just view it on my laptop when I have time and that'll be that.

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K. Brian Kelley - Databases, Infrastructure, and Security

IT Security, MySQL, Perl, SQL Server, and Windows technologies.


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