It’s no secret that there’s an app shortage for Zune HD. Right now, there are only 15 high quality apps available for Zune HD and more will come. I know, I know I’m making it sound like there’s an awful amount of hope. Anyway, you can add two additional apps(-ish) on your Zune HD. These not really native apps, they’re web apps but they are good enough. Here’s how:
Point your web browser to http://m.flickr.com, once logged immediately exit the browser by pressing the home button. On the main screen, your history should show a Flickr icon, press and hold that button until the context menu shows up. Select the ‘Pin to Quickplay’. Viola! You have your own Flickr app right on your main screen.
Follow the same steps like the Flickr app except this time point your browser to http://m.tripit.com
The icon (favicon.ico) of the web app makes a lot of difference. With that, its nice to pin it on the main screen. Anyway, web apps can satiate your hunger for apps in Zune HD for the mean time. Here are other web apps that you can use on your Zune HD.
Digg – http://m.digg.com
Facebook – http://lite.facebook.com
Flickr – http://m.flickr.com
Tripit – http://m.tripit.com
Google Reader – http://www.google.com/reader
Gmail – http://mail.google.com/mail
Windows Live Messenger – http://mim.live.com/wlm
Yahoo Mail – http://m.yahoo.com/
Yahoo Messenger – http://delaware.ebuddy.com
Filed under Gadget, Tech, Zune
Now that my Zune is back on it’s feet, I wasted no time to update it’s content. First, I loaded two new games (Alien Games and Name That Song) in addition to the existing ones (Hexic and Texas Hold’em). There are a lot of available apps and games for Zune already considering that the XNA Platform is still in Beta. However, most of them are not yet ready for primetime. Most of their UI are poorly implemented.
Next is I enabled the “Audio Books” feature of my Zune. An audiobook is basically a recorded audio version of a book, usually read by the author or somebody else. This is really cool since I’m a heavy podcast listener/watcher. Enabling this feature for Zune is relatively easy. First, you need to download and install an Audiobook Manager. Currently, Zune supports only two of them, audible.com and overdrive.com. In this guide, I’ll be using audible.com’s audio book manager. During the installation, the manager will prompt you to choose a device from the pull down menu, choose Zune and click Ok. The installer will download the necessary files so that your Audible Manager recognizes your device.
Attach your Zune via USB cable. Once connected, your Zune’s screen should flash “connected” as if is connected on the Zune Software.
At this point you need an audible.com account to activate your Zune on the Audible Manager. You can get one for free here.
Once you have your audible.com account, Right click the “Microsoft Zune” icon on the lower left panel of your Audible manager and choose “Activate”. You will be asked for your audible.com’s account credential, supply as necessary.
That’s it! You’re Zune can now load audio books. Here’s a free audio book from Zune.net , “Black River” by Dean Koontz. The Audible Manager should open the link and download the file for you. Once it’s done, it should automatically synch the file to you device.
Ok, I’ll admit, I had trouble connecting my Zune 80 to my Desktop PC (with Windows Vista SP1) for almost 2 weeks (I know that’s quite a long time). The problem is every time I try to connect my device, Vista is able to detect it, however, installing its driver fails.
I scoured the Internet just to find a solution, I’ve been to forums, tech sites with no success. I tried so many things like rebuilding my INFCACHE.1, Manually installing the drivers, completely wiping out the Zune software and even resetting my Zune device but my PC is still unable to recognize my Zune. I suspected that it’s connected with my USB drivers because I had the same problem with my USB devices. Rebuilding the INFCACHE.1 did fixed this problem however but not with my Zune. Until I found this really, really weird solution from http://www.technologyquestions.com from a forum user named Davis (Thanks man!). I’m pasting his solution here since the forum thread is really long.
I realise this is an older thread, but I found a solution after several hours searching the net.
I am currently running Vista Home Premium, 2GB Ram, etc…
I was unable to use USB Flash Drives, as when vista tried to install the drivers, it would come up with an error similar to: cannot find the file specified.
To fix this and install the drivers, I had to do the following:
- Open Windows Explorer, then go to the following address line: C:\Windows\inf\setupapi.dev.log…double click
- This should open up Notepad..or equivelant.
- Go to the bottom of the log and press Ctrl + F, and search upward for ‘cannot find the file specified’
- I few lines above that you should see ‘SourceFile – [FileName]’ and just above that ‘SourcePath – [Path]. You will find that if you go to that path, the specified file will not be there.
- If you then go to C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\ and find the specified file…copy it and paste into C:\Windows\inf
- When you try to install the drivers again, (using device manager -> reinstall drivers) direct the wizard to C:\Windows\inf and make sure ‘include subfolders’ is checked, and it should say drivers have been installed.
Hope this helps
And it worked like magic! When I plugged my Zune, Vista automatically installed all of the necessary drivers.
Ok, so I was watching CNET TV where Tom Merit countdowns the “Top 5 Best Digital Music Stores” and I noticed something, before showing the top spot for the countdown, he showed the “Top 5 MP3 Player”, and guess what who’s #1: Microsoft Zune! Here’s a screen shot:
Here’s a direct link to the video:
Since Microsoft have been unabashed for Zune updates lately, I can’t help but blog about it for more.
I personally don’t like the Zune software. Not because it’s a crude product – all in all it’s decent enough – but because I love Windows Media Player. My music library is already in WMP (I think WMP 11 is one MS’ great products that’s unappreciated). Yes, you can create a separate one for the Zune software but I don’t like it that way. I like one universal music library. I’m even thinking of setting up one of those NAS devices and place all of my media elements there.
But with Zune 2.5 update, I think the Zune SW has become a decent media player that I can actually use from time to time (hehe, WMP would still be my main player). There are some cool features that I really like. One of them is the wallpaper mode:
pretty neat, huh? Thanks to swtndspcy for sharing it on the Zune.net forum.
OT: Below is the list of installed games and apps on my Zune and their respective links. All of them were installed without any problems except for the Zuneboard clock. If you’re deploying this using an XP computer, it will fail with a font error since it uses a font that’s present only in Vista (Segoe UI). You can either change the font or download the font. I deployed on my XP laptop and changed the font to Arial. But I’m having a kerning issue (the clock’s hands look pixelated so I’m gonna try and deploy it on my Vista desktop) :
– Galactic Wars
– Alien Aggressors
– Tetris – a really nice version of the game.
– The ZuneBoard clock app
– Rock Rain Zune
I’m also thinking of creating a game or app for Zune. It’d be cool to create and distribute it on the community. For more Zune games checkout Zuneboard’s thread on Zune games.
I know it’s a very tacky title, it’s a usual flame bait for fanboi’s around but I don’t care because I have just deployed two XNA games to my Zune! Translation: My Zune 80 can now play games. Before you react with “so what my <put your mp3 player’s name here> can play games years ago“, hear me out first. It’s not just about the game, XNA is a platform. It allows developers to create games and applications for Xbox 360 and Zune. So expect a lot of applications that will be developed for these devices. Since basically its .NET, expect a lot of .NET developers leverage their skills to develop applications for Zune.
It’s a CTP release so it’s not yet stable though I haven’t encountered any hiccups while installing it. Here, I took a few shots:
If you’re an early adopter like me, give it a try. Here’s a link on how to do it. If not, wait an official release from Microsoft.
P.S. About the title, I believe Zune is now gaining critical mass in the PMP arena. Its features are starting to mature. The “social” aspect of Zune is now being realized. I’d give it a year or two.