The Zune

All posts on everything there is to know about the Zune from Microsoft.

Zune Music gets it’s death notice

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Sep 242012
 
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It looks like Microsoft is ready to pull the plug on Zune Music finally. The much maligned Microsoft music service which still has many fans and users will be transitionig to the more popular Xbox Music name and dropping some very popular features along the way.

The Zune brand was never really able to make a dent in the market even with the high level of customer satisfaction among the few of us who actually bought the music player from Microsoft. It seems like the choice to make a brown Zune in the very first edition was too much for them to overcome and the Zune was D.O.A. among most in the tech world.

The Zune Music Pass and Zune Software were the two most popular services but those were not enough to keep the brand alive forever and the decision has been made to transition to the Xbox brand which is far more popular and has global recognition. If you are still a big fan of the Zune service you can still have your music on the Xbox service with a few missing features.
Some Zune Music features ending as Zune moves to Xbox Music brand | Microsoft Pri0 | The Seattle Times

Some Zune Music features ending as Zune moves to Xbox Music brand | Microsoft Pri0 | The Seattle Times

Among the features being axed, according to Microsoft: Social experiences and music sharing: Users will no longer be able to send and receive messages, invite friends, and share songs, playlists and albums they’re currently listening to. Mixview playback and channel playlists. The app catalog for the Zune player. Channel playlists — they will not refresh with updated content Availability of music videos for purchase or streaming as part of the Zune Music Pass from Zune PC software. Availability of previously purchased music videos for re-downloading or re-licensing (though videos downloaded before Friday will still be playable and transferrable to other devices).

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5 Ways the Internet Has Revolutionized Music

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Jul 242012
 
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If you don’t stop to pay attention, changes in the music industry might not be noticeable. For a young person or teenager, there’s no difference at all. But if you grew up in the 80’s with Walkmans and MTV, you’ll definitely know how things have changed. We simply live in entirely different world, and people enjoy music in ways that were previously unimaginable. Needless to say, the Internet has played a vital role in all of this. It’s changed everything from the way we interact to the way we cook, and it has similarly revolutionized the music industry. It’s impossible to go back to the way things were, nor would anyone want to. Here are some of the ways music has been changed by the net forever.

Music Videos – music videos hit their peak in the late 80s and early 90s. They are still important today, but they don’t have the same cachet or appeal, probably because we’ve seen it all before. In the past, kids would watch MTV and hope their favorite videos would come on. Nowadays, all they have to do is click a few buttons and they can find their favorite videos on YouTube. In a strange way, so-called music channels like MTV and VH1 have become the home of reality television shows. YouTube has taken their place as the destination to visit if you want music videos.

Itunes – is there anyone who hasn’t used iTunes by now? There’s no other way to put it, the iPod and iTunes have totally changed things. Being able to easily access any music you like for a reasonable price has put traditional record stores in jeopardy. No one really seems to mind, and even vintage fans have found something to rave about when it comes to downloadable music. It’s changed marketing completely, and the most popular artists of the day know how to take advantage of it.

Illegal downloads – let’s not forget the dark side when it comes to the music industry and the Internet. There are still plenty of people illegally downloading music without paying for it. Company executives and artists claim they lose a lot of money on this, exactly how much is debatable. Some acts have made their music free online on purpose to appeal to their fans. Others have to tour more in order to make up for lost revenue. One thing is clear, the music industry is still a relatively strong despite illegal downloads. It seems that if you produce quality music and connect with your audience in some way, people will still buy your work.

Youtube Stars – even a decade ago, people would have to go through regular channels in order to become famous. Now you can do it all on your own with videos that you post on YouTube. Whether it’s a karaoke video, or something completely silly, there are everyday people getting millions of hits. And if you actually have talent, then you might actually find a career. That’s exactly what happened to Justin Bieber, and he still going strong today.

A More Social World – when you throw in blogging, Facebook, twitter, and social sharing, music has become a viral entity. Popular videos are shared right away, and people have a chance to post their own work like never before. There are also vibrant communities in separate niches that have rabid fans. Whether you love country music, karaoke singing, or Lady Gaga, there’s probably a website out there for you. Don’t forget about chat rooms, forums, and discussion boards either. Music isn’t just something you enjoy on your own anymore, it something that you find, discover, share, and love with thousands of people at the same time.

One great hobby that combines many of these elements together is karaoke. Not coincidentally, this article comes from our friends at karaokemachineguide.com where popular media and home fun come together. It’s a great place to visit for product reviews, entertainment news, and all things music related.

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Microsoft Files For New Zune-Docking Headphones Patent

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Jul 102012
 
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Technology giant Microsoft has filed a patent for headphones with docking stations built-in, opening up the way for users to carry the Zune players and speakers with them at all times.

A figure showing the Microsoft headset (image: USPTO)

According to the patent filed with the US Patent Office, the headphones will have the ability to dock rechargeable battery packs, storage, Bluetooth or WiFi reception modules and media players, as well have buttons to control the volume.

“The accessories can range from a personal media player that can render audio, such as MP3 (Moving Pictures Expert Group, MPEG-1, audio layer 3) content, to rechargeable battery packs, storage devices, and modules that can support wireless communication between the headphones and other devices such as media centers, game consoles, and personal computers (“PCs”). A user can pick an accessory and snap it into the receiving space of the headphones. When so installed, the accessory becomes physically and functionally embedded so that its functionality becomes seamlessly integrated with operation of the headphones,” an extract from the filing said. Read more here

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When Buying And Installing A Car Stereo System

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Jun 042012
 
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car stereo installation and beatles
Image by vanRijn

Everyone knows that the primary purpose of a car is getting from point A to point B, but sometimes arriving while blasting one’s favorite Necrophagist song is the only way it feels right.  The stock speakers and stereo can hold up for a while but there is a huge chance that the speakers will be blown fast if listened to at too high a volume.  If this sounds familiar, it may be time to simply replace the aging speakers and head unit with something a little more suited for blasting audio waves at the highest intensity possible.

The most important pieces to start with in a revamp are all of the speakers.  Every car has different sized speakers, so going to Walmart and getting the best clearance special kit will simply not work for most people.  Instead, there are car audio websites out there that allow an individual to easily input their specific car and get the sizes of the front and back speaker slots.  Sometimes the spaces will not be standard, but in these cases there are usually adapters or ways of installing that will fit a standard replacement.  Unless the person is adding an extra amplifier, most speakers can be used for great audio quality, and reviews are a person’s best friend for determining what will fit their listening style.

Do Your Thorough Research

Head units range greatly in cost and features, and as a result, research is very important for the individual to decide which is right for them.  Most will offer similar speaker wattage, but some have features that are significantly better than their competition.  Besides audio quality, it is important to pay attention to what inputs the stereo supports so the individual can easily interface their phone, MP3 player, CDs or even vinyl record albums if desired.  It is a good idea to get as many inputs and features as possible in order to future proof the unit if a person wants to pick up a new music medium down the road.

After getting everything, it is time to install it all.  The head unit usually has to be installed with a dash kit that allows it to fit into most cars’ abnormal stereo areas.  The installer will also have to look up and create a graph matching what color of the car’s stereo wires match the stereo wiring harness.  Usually the plug that enters the stock stereo has to be cut, but wiring harnesses that preclude this are available.  Installing the speakers is incredibly open ended based on the type of car, but is usually easy once one figures out how to remove the door and rear dash panels.  After installation, it is time for a test with one’s favorite Lady Gaga CD and Radiohead vinyl albums to test the different inputs properly.

Seth Frank is an honored factory-sealed vinyl records expert writing about Beatles vinyl records from SoundStage Direct and different types of turntables.

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Online Poker and the Complete Social Gaming Experience

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Apr 292012
 
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Are you a online game player like me? I spend hours per day playing all forms of online gaming, from simeple Facebook games like farmville and Mafia Wars to more interactive games such as WoW and even some online poker games like FaceupGaming.com on occasion. I really enjoy the social aspects of some game platforms while others leave somethig to be desired.

For example I think the gaming on Facebook is dead. Who wants to solo play games on a social network and who likes the social games that they offer on FB? I’m not knocking the worlds largest social network but they are lacking when it comes to top hits on social games or the overall social gaming experience.

FaceupGaming.com has a very cool interactive and social gaming platform with lots of tips, advice and tutorials on how to play online poker games such as Texas Hold’em Poker, Blackjack and other free online poker games. Their online gaming experience is robust and well defined unlike some other gaming communities. Dedicated game players will find this community to offer something for everyone from the newbie player with no experience to the pro level player looking for some new strategy and practice play. Stop by and check them out

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A toast to Champagne!

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Jan 122012
 
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‘Champagne’, one of the world’s most extravagant, exquisite, and expensive delicate wines, is also one of the world’s most storied.  This story starts some 300 years ago, in the late 1600′s, with a monk by the name of Dom Perignon, in a small section of France, called ‘Champagne’ (hard to wonder where the name originated…).  What many may be unaware of however, is that the bubbles in champagne, were actually unintended, which Perignon spent a great deal of his time trying to prevent.

However, after wine drinkers began to develop a taste for the ‘bubbly’ wine from Champagne, the rest became history.  Wars were fought, and to the winners went the spoils, champagne .  One of Winston Churchill’s most famous quotes was in regard to Champagne.

Remember gentleman, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!

The little bubbly wine won over not only the tastes of wine purists, and generals, but royalty also; many of whom drank it regularly.

Another quick fact:  Champagne is only true champagne if it was produced in the ‘Champagne’ region of France, made with specific kinds of grapes, and distilled in a certain manner.

So, the next time you are shopping for a delicate wine perfect for that special occasion, want to brush up on some wine related trivia, or for the aficionados out there, interested in all the latest, up to date news regarding their most favored delight, check out Wine.com for anything and everything wine, and wine related!

wine.com infographic Champagne

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Zune’s “squirting” may be resurfacing as “beaming” in Windows Phone 8

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Dec 112011
 
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There’s a new rumor in town that claims Microsoft may be resurrecting an old Zune 30 feature that allowed users to send songs from one Zune device to another via a Wi-Fi connection. Debuting back in 2006, it was called “squirting” (for some reason), and quickly disappeared due to the Zune’s inability to saturate the market. But now the file sharing feature is supposedly resurfacing in future Microsoft products as “Beaming,” and will do a lot more than just sling songs across 30 feet of air.

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Net10 Unlimited is a great deal for mobile phone service

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Sep 242011
 
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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Net10 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Net10 Unlimited really is an incredible value for your mobile phone service when you consider that you get nationwide coverage along with unlimited talk, text, and data, for the low monthly price of only $50. That’s as much as half of the regular price of other more expensive phone services and you have to sign a 2 year contract or take a bundle of other services which you will never use.

With Net10 there are no contracts or surprise bills for additional charges and best of all there are no credit checks so anyone can qualify for a mobile phone. Net10 has excellent range and coverage for their clients and their excellent tower reception and network connectivity makes them an excellent choice for personal and small business clients who need a nationwide phone plan with no strings attached. Best of all, Net10 only sells high quality phone hardware from internationally recognized handset manufacturers like LG, Kyocera, Motorola, Samsung and Nokia.

Net10 has phones starting as low as $15 and even has full QWERTY keyboard slide phones as low as $60. Most other discount phone service providers sell cheap phones which always malfunction or drop more calls then they can make. These are non issues with Net10 due to their high quality phones and reliable network.

You can check out this Cute NET10 commercial at YouTube or even one of their Real NET10 customer reviews or you can find Net10 on Facebook or Twitter and check out the great values they offers for mobile phone service.

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