Archive for Computer and Internet

Getting Started with Zune: 7 Hours of Hell

imageI’ll preface this whole thing by saying that I’ve been a hold out when it comes to a "media device".  I have never owned an MP3 player, iPod, Zune before.  I was getting ready to buy an iPod touch, but got swayed by the excitement of the Zune launch that I had to see what it was all about.  I got a Zune Arts Original ("Bird 2") with my name inscribed on it.  I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Zune80 in the mail. Opening the box was like getting a present in the mail: a beautiful white box with a gold envelope and suede satchel inside.  I quickly took my Zune out of it’s home and turned it on – hoping to immediately experience some of the music and videos that I knew came pre-installed on the device.  Instead, sadly, the message I got was:

Please go to http://zune.net/getstarted

Or something to that affect.

When I try to type the URL in from memory I was directed to an error page on the Zune site.  I finally was able to navigate on my own, through the Zune web site, to a getting started page where I was instructed to install the Zune software.

Even though I had already created a Zune ID I still chose the "Download and Sign Up" option because I wasn’t sure if there was something else that I was supposed to sign up for.  When you’re already signed in to your Zune ID the "Download and Sign Up" button is confusing because it routes you to a page to customize your Zune card.  If it knows that I’m already signed up – why does it even show me the button?!  Stupid, but I can overlook that.

So I navigate back to the download page and click the download button.  Then I watch the progress dialog update itself to inform me that I have 2 hours, 37 minutes and 8 seconds more to wait before my Zune software is installed and I can being using my Zune.  WTF!?!

I decide to let it run – what other choice to I have?  I then immediately head to the Zune forums looking for troubleshooting topics on the issue.  I rummage around the site and can’t find what I’m looking for.  I spent another fruitless hour conducting Internet searches in hope of finding something – zilch!  2 hours later the install times out.  AWESOME!

So then I get the bright idea to save the installer to disk before trying to run this.  An hour and half later, I complete this successfully.  Now I’m ready!

NOT!  I run the Zune installation software and it gives me an error saying it can’t complete and redirects me to a KB article.  I then install the package from the KB article.  This takes another 2.5 hours.

Now I’m really ready!  Let’s get to it, f’ing Zune!

NOT!  I try to run the "startzune" executable extracted onto my system and it fails the same way.  I then have to rummage through a mysterious "x86" folder and randomly click on the various installer packages in there to figure out which one might be the fix for my problem.

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After each "package" I try, I repeat my attempt to run the installer and continue to fail 2 more times.

I then go back to my desktop to try to run some of the other things that were extracted from the KB article installer and realize there is a shortcut for the Zune software on my machine.  Somehow it magically got installed.  I click it and it launches.  Great…but weird.

Just as I began to think that I solved my problem and I’m now really ready to use my Zune I have to get a firmware update:

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Just another half hour – no big deal – it’s already been 5 and-a-half HOURS!

Now, officially 7 hours later, I’m synching my music to my Zune.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll get to actually listen to something.

Dare I say I’m wishing I got the iPod Touch.  F$*#!
This Zune better get really good, really quick!

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Improve Your Reading Instantly with Kindle!

Amazon just announced Kindle a wireless device for reading books, newspapers, blogs and more.  The best part is the no-glare screen that works more like paper than the common display of today’s laptops, cell phones and PDAs.

There is so much to Kindle that rocks you just have to explore for yourself:

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Maybe now I have chance in hell at finishing War and Peace!

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Announcing Windows Live Writer 2008

Come and get it! http://www.windowslive.com

The very first beta release of Writer was in August 2006.  Since then we’ve had 2 more beta releases and over 1.5 million people, all over the world, installing the product and send feedback our way.

This has been a really fun product to develop and I look forward to planning out the next version with even more cool and exciting publishing features!

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Testing Flecktor

This is a way cool service that lets you create photo, video, static and interactive widgets that you can then federate on your blog or popular social networking site.

This is a test of a photo widget.

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Adding a Printer in Vista Just got Worse

Last week, I got a beautiful new laptop at work with Vista on it. 

I approached my first week of Vista with patience and an open mind: I knew that things were going to be different – that’s kind of the point.  All the nooks and crannies of the old Windows that I knew so intimately have changed and now I feel a little less adequate as a person.  But overall, I’m learning quickly (the Search bar on the Start menu is becoming my friend) and darn – my glass bubble screen saver and side bar are SO PRETTY!  They do make me smile.

I’ve gone over a full week before I had the need to print something (which makes me feel proud of technology).  So I finally reached the point where I needed to configure a printer to my laptop on my corporate network.

On Windows XP, this used to be so easy:

1. I would go to the Start Menu and click on "Printers and Faxes"

2. A window would launch and there would be a big task bar on the left hand side.  The top section said "Printer Tasks" and the first task was….you guessed it!  "Add a printer"

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3.  In the "Add a printer" wizard I would click the Next button three times: once to get through the "welcome" screen and twice to accept choosing a printer from the network (which was the default option selected) and third time to find the printer on the network.

4.  Then the "Find printers" dialog would come up and I would click "Find Now".  It would show me a list of printers available to me on the network in my building.

5.  I would then select the printer I wanted and click OK.

6.  The printer would be added and I would have two more clicks to determine if it should be my default printer and complete and exit the Wizard.

I’m glossing over some clicks in these bullets – so while conceptually there seems to be 6 STEPS I think overall it’s about a 10-click process at best. 

While very smooth, this process stands for tons of improvement.  In Vista, it just got worse.  Here’s how:

On Vista I want to add a printer.

1.  I go the Start menu and I have no idea what to click on.

2.  I type the word "Printer" in the Start menu search box and click on the "Printers" item listed under "Programs". 

3.  I now get a new looking window that lists the default printer and fax connections. 

4.  I’m now looking for the big "Add a printer" button.  I have a million folders listed on the left side…a bunch of printers on the right…Where is my "Add a printer" button?

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5. I have now had to perform DOUBLE the amount of steps that I did previously to get to this point.  Now I’m in the "Add a printer" wizard.  This looks like an improvement (below).  I choose the second option to add a network printer.

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6. Unfortunately, no printers are found:

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7. Searching again gets me the same result so I have to click "The printer that I want isn’t listed" (or Cancel and add no printer).

8. Now I have to find a printer by name or TCP/IP address

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Of course there must be a good reason I couldn’t have just come straight to this dialog in the first place, or bypassed it completely when the wizard tried to search for my printer on the network.  I’m just not sure what that reason is.

9. I click "Next" in this dialog and get to my friendly "Find printers" dialog FROM STEP 4 (I’m now on STEP 9) in the previous scenario on XP.

10. I select my printer and wait for it to be added.  It’s taking a long time….Vista is thinking and:

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I have to INSTALL THE DRIVER for the printer!!

11. I click to "Install Driver".  Did my machine just crash….wait, what is going on?  Some other applications just crashed and….oh: I get the security prompt from Vista to allow the driver to install.  Lovely.

12 – 13. Now I’m done and the printer has been added and it takes two more screens to set the printer name and print a test page:

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Now 13 steps later I am convinced that adding a printer just got worse on Vista.

LAME!

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http://im.live.com

http://im.live.com

Today, Microsoft launched an initiative in the United States called: IM

The initiative connects Windows Live Messenger with nine of the world’s most significant causes and the leading non-profit organizations associated with them. The more IM conversations you have using Window Live Messenger, the more money will go toward these urgent social issues.  Microsoft will share a portion of the program’s advertising revenue with the user’s chosen organization, and will guarantee that each organization receives a minimum of $100,000 in donations during the first year of the program.  There is no upper limit, so greater usage can increase the contributions.  Go to http://im.live.com today to download Windows Live Messenger 8.1 and start talking with your friends and family and know that every time you connect to someone you know you’re giving back to significant causes of your choice.

If you are already using Messenger 8.1 you can type the following codes in your personal message so that your IM donations go to the organization of your choice:

Text Code Cause
*red+u American Red Cross
*bgca Boys & Girls Club
*naf National AIDS Fund
*mssoc National Multiple Sclerosis Society 
*9mil ninemillion.org 
*sierra Sierra Club 
*help StopGlobalWarming.org 
*komen Susan G. Komen for the Cure 
*unicef The US fund for UNICEF 

You can even change it up day to day or week to week to spread your charity around.

You can append the text code to the beginning of end your existing message and you will see an IM logo appear where you types the code:

 

Chat. Feel Good. Give Back.  Windows Live Messenger.
http://im.live.com

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Click for the Cause

This week Microsoft launched “Click for the Cause”, a campaign which raises awareness of the world’s 9 million refugee children and offers us all an opportunity to contribute to an education fund for these refugees.  

Any searches you do online using http://Click4TheCause.Live.com/ between January 17 and March 31, 2007, Microsoft will make a contribution to ninemillion.org. All contributions benefit ninemillion.org to support educational programs for refugee youth.  This worldwide campaign is available in 23 markets.

ninemillion.org is a campaign lead by UNHCR to promote education and sports to refugee children worldwide.  Microsoft has a seven year relationship with UNHCR which began during the Kosovo crisis when employees built a registration database for refugees.  Both Microsoft and OSG have been involved in the campaign since it launched in June by hosting the site, setting up a space and now with the Click for Cause campaign. 

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You can also become a friend of ninemillion by visiting the Windows Live™ Space at http://nine-million.spaces.live.com.


Searching for a way to help? You’ve found it.

Support ninemillion.org by using Live Search. Each time you search here until March 31, 2007, Microsoft will make a contribution to ninemillion.org, a UN Refugee Agency-led campaign providing educational resources for the nine million refugee youth around the world.

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