Zune Updates - Good And Bad

posted on 11/14/07 at 12:33:26 am by Joel Ross

I was excited this morning when I got up. It was around 6:45 AM, and I knew the Zune update should be posted by then. And it was. So I downloaded it and installed it, including the updated firmware for the actual hardware. Overall, I'm impressed, but there are a few things that leave me wanting - specifically, something that was already there yesterday.

But first, what I like:

  • The Zune software interface looks a whole lot cleaner and looks better. It's more intuitive to get around in it. I've heard it's no longer based on Windows Media Player, which I'm neither happy nor upset about. I use Windows Media Player for playing podcasts locally, and have been pretty happy with it, so I didn't have an issue with the fact that the Zune software was based on it in the first place.
  • The Zune hardware interface is better. It seems snappier and just plain looks better.
  • Wireless syncing. I love that I can sync my Zune wirelessly, although it looks like it'll only work on one network at a time. That's not a huge deal, as I'll set it up for my home network, but being able to sync wirelessly at work as well would have been nice.

I don't really use the marketplace, so I can't really comment on that part of it.

Anyway, on to what is bad about the update:

  • No auto-playlists. I don't sync all of my music to my Zune, for a variety of reasons. Before, I had an auto playlist that monitored my podcast folder, and it picked up all of my podcasts. Then I could sync that playlist, and have all of my podcasts on my Zune automatically. I did the same thing with certain genres of music as well.
  • Podcasting support is, well, not bad, but not the way I want it. I want to keep all of my RSS feeds in one place - Newsgator online, FeedDemon, etc. That means my podcasts are all downloaded through FeedStation. That doesn't sit well with how the Zune software wants to do things. Right now, I have 12 podcasts in my FeedStation queue, but in Zune-land, there's only 9. It doesn't recognize DotNetRocks or RunAs Radio, for example. It can find them, but it adds them under music, not podcasts. It also has podcasts that are already deleted in the list, and isn't removing it from the Zune.

Bottom line, I like the interface better, but I fear that getting my podcasts and new music onto the Zune is going to be more of a manual thing than it was even with the original Zune software. Hopefully, they'll push out an update that will include auto playlists - then I'll be happy again!

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Categories: Podcasting, Software