Zune Music gets it’s death notice

 The Zune  No Responses »
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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Rent a Piano for your next event

 Business  No Responses »
Sep 092012
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There is something special about the distinct and classic sounds of a piano that hearken back to a time when music was created by real people and not blasted from a digital device. Piano music used to be the standard for events such as weddings, parties and gatherings of all kinds but these days you are more likely to hear a DJ shuffle his iPad computer than you are to hear a live musician perform a piano concert.

It saddens true music lovers who long for the days when you could expect a live piano concert at places other than church on Sunday and it would certainly be a delight to see more piano music played. On a recent occasion I had the pleasure to work with a local country club and even they had a digital DJ who would play oldie goldie hits from the past. I made the suggestion to them to rent a piano for live events and they choise to do so for a gathering.

Piano rentals are pretty simple to manage and for the right event they can make a huge difference in the performance and satisfaction your guests will have. Consider renting a piano for your next event and give people something other than a nightclub DJ.

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5 Ways the Internet Has Revolutionized Music

 The Zune  No Responses »
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 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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Offline versus Online Shopping {infographic}

 shopping  No Responses »
Jul 202012
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The pros and cons of internet shopping are pretty clear. The cons are; you can’t see the item up close and you can’t try items on, you can’t stop for an overpriced coffee and you can’t drive home in stony silence after a domestic with the husband in the middle of HMV. It’s pretty obvious I prefer online shopping, the pros far out weigh the cons and the truth is that when it comes to shopping, I’m just grumpy. I hate crowds and queues, double buggies and people that stop in doorways. I hate shop assistants that are either useless or pushy. With online shopping I can sit in my own home, TV or music in the background, cool and relaxed, and compare prices without traipsing around town getting hot and bothered. Internet shopping is progress at its best, and I now actually enjoy shopping for the first time ever!

If you want to browse the net and check out some ubercool beauty products from the comfort of your own home – visit Grazia Daily. 

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Zune to Expand Multiscreen Entertainment Services Into International Markets

 Zune  No Responses »
Jul 102012
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Zune to Expand Multiscreen Entertainment Services Into International Markets
Sept. 20, 2010
Major entertainment companies provide music and movie catalog to the U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

REDMOND, Wash. — Sep. 20, 2010 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the further international expansion of Zune, its digital entertainment service. This fall, Zune will expand its music and video footprint and bring the free Zune software, Zune Marketplace online store, Zune Pass1 music subscription service and enhanced features on to new markets, providing a comprehensive entertainment experience on Windows-based PCs, on the go with Windows Phone 7 and in your living room through Xbox LIVE.2

“The integration between Zune, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE is an exciting expansion in our entertainment offerings,” said Craig Eisler, corporate vice president, Interactive Entertainment Business Group at Microsoft. “Zune enables users to access the entertainment they want, wherever they want it — and now, more people than ever will be able to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that the Zune service offers.”

Zune software has been upgraded with new features and functionality and will serve as the Windows Phone 7 synchronization client. The new software (version 4.7) will be available to download for free in more than 20 countries, including the U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain, to easily manage your personal collection of movies, music, podcasts and pictures. Zune software continues to set the standard for entertainment software, providing best-in-class experiences to organize, discover and enjoy digital media with a variety of exclusive features. For example, the Quickplay menu enables immediate access to recently played content and personal favorites, and Smart DJ 3 automatically creates playlists from your personal music collection and takes the extra step of mixing in suggested music from the Zune Marketplace. The updated Zune software will also enable instant streaming of high-definition movies, allowing you to watch some Zune Marketplace movies in HD, with no download time, directly on a Windows PC.

Zune Marketplace online store is accessible from within the Zune software and offers the ability to purchase millions of individual songs or albums from its catalog, all in MP3 format. Here, consumers can also subscribe to Zune Pass,4 which provides unlimited downloads and music streaming capabilities from the Zune music library, including content from major music labels such as Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music and Warner Music Group, as well as thousands of independent labels. Zune Marketplace also has a large library of videos from major studios such as Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution for purchase or rental. Video purchases will be accessible through Xbox LIVE and Windows-based PCs, and can also be added to a Windows Phone 7. Simply buy your favorite video from Zune Marketplace and watch it on the screen of your choice.9 is the perfect resource for consumers as it allows them to download the software and set up a Zune account with a new or existing Windows Live ID.5 will also provide Web access to Zune Marketplace so you can purchase music or use a Zune Pass to stream music directly through an Internet browser,6 as well as purchase video content.7

Zune Expansion to New Markets

As Zune expands internationally, its music and video service will be tailored for each market. Genre experts will custom program Zune Marketplace and feature the top songs, videos, movies and unique promotions for each country.

The fall 2010 international expansion of the Zune music and video service includes the following:

Zune Marketplace will extend services to several markets in Europe and beyond.

  • Zune Pass (U.K., France, Italy and Spain). The monthly music subscription service will be available for 9.99 euros /8.99 pounds per month for unlimited download and streaming access to the Zune music catalog and will be accessible on Windows-based PCs, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE. The offer in the U.S. will remain at $14.99 per month for unlimited downloads and streaming access, with the ability to keep 10 MP3s per month.8
  • Music purchase (U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Germany). Expansion to these markets will enable consumers to purchase MP3s and listen on their Windows-based PC, Windows Phone 7 or any other device that supports MP3 format. Users will also be able to purchase music videos to enjoy on Windows-based PC, Windows Phone 7 and Zune on Xbox LIVE.
  • Video purchase (U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).Consumers will now be able to purchase movies to download and watch anywhere — on the big screen in the living room with Xbox LIVE or their Windows-based PC as well as sync it to their Windows Phone 7 to enjoy on the go.9
  • Movie rental (U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). In addition to Zune video on Xbox LIVE, consumers in these countries will now be able to rent movies for viewing on their Windows-based PC or choose to sync the rental to their Windows Phone 7.

The global expansion of the service is the latest step in a series of milestones for Zune, including powering Bing music search results, the added ability to purchase music and video on, and the forthcoming integration with Xbox LIVE and Kinect for Xbox 360. By continuing to integrate Zune across the most important screens to consumers, Zune provides an all-in-one music and video service for users to discover, enjoy and experience their entertainment wherever they want.

About Zune

Zune is Microsoft’s music and video entertainment service that provides an integrated digital experience across Zune devices, Windows-based PCs, Xbox LIVE and Windows Phone 7. The Zune platform includes a line of portable digital media players, elegant software, the Zune Marketplace and online stores, the Zune Social online music community created to help people discover music, and the online media player customization store. More information can be found online at

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 Zune Pass available in U.K., France, Italy and Spain.

2 Zune Pass on Xbox 360 requires an Xbox LIVE Gold membership and a Zune Pass subscription.

3 Only available with Zune Pass.

4 Zune Pass is a music subscription; some Zune Marketplace songs and content are not available via Zune Pass. Available content may vary over time.

5 For cross-screen functionality, the same Windows Live ID needs to be used on the Zune software, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE accounts.

6 Internet browser support for Silverlight required.

7 Service features may vary based on market availability.

8 Keep 10 MP3s per month feature available to U.S. Zune Pass subscribers only, on their PC or Windows Phone 7.

9 Content available for download on multiple devices may vary over time. Availability of content and video resolution will vary by device.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at

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Buying a Steinway Piano

 Business  No Responses »
Jul 022012
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Steinway Piano Company Website

For more than 150 years now the Steinway Piano Company has been the standard in quality and design for piano makers around the world. Their committment to quality and duration in business makes Steinway pianos some of the most desirable for all musicians both teachers and students and their history makes them incredibly valuable to collectors as well. Steinway pianos can sell for incredible sums of money and the prices for certain modals can reach a million dollars or more with many market place pieces selling in the hundreds of thousands regularly.

The market for used Steinway pianos has been stable for generations and vintage piano modals are considered a solid investment. Steinway piano sales are consistent in both new and used markets and the Steinway company still produces some of the finest pianos in the world. Their collection of grand pianos is rivaled by few and their pianos are played in concert halls and homes all over.

Buying a new Steinway piano from a reputable dealership in your area is a relatively safe bet with most vendors being vetted as quality service providers by the manufacturers but the used piano market is unfortunately not as safe a place. The used piano market has had issues with fraudulent claims for historical value on some Steinway pianos and the reputation of dealers is more difficult form some vendors and of course private sales. Verifying the reputation of your piano dealer is important when working with any company and doing as much research both online and offline is always going to be to your advantage.

Reputable piano dealers such as the factory owned Steinway and Sons in Los Angeles work to provide the complete experience to guarantee your satisfaction.

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Windows Phone Reviews:Samsung Focus S

 Windows Phone  No Responses »
Jun 252012
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Samsung Focus S

Samsung Focus S

Samsung Focus S The Samsung Focus S is one of three new Windows Phone Mango 7.5 smartphones on AT&T. It joins the HTC Titan and the smaller and more affordable Focus Flash, and it features Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus display for super-rich colors and deep blacks. The Focus S shares a lot of DNA with the Samsung Galaxy S II on AT&T, and like the GS II it has a 4.3″ display, an 8 megapixel rear camera and a very similar casing. The phone is only 0.33″ thick and it weighs just 3.9 ounces. The Focus S has HSPA+ 14.4 for “4G” on AT&T, Zune music and video, XBOX Live gaming, WiFi, Bluetooth and a GPS that works with Bing and AT&T Navigator.

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Microsoft files dispute for, domains

 Xbox  No Responses »
Jun 152012
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Looks like Microsoft is going after some domain squatters who purchased a series of domains related to possible new products from the worlds largest software maker.  The domains, and, are all owned by a Chinese resident named Cheng Juan and Case# 1445083 has been filed with the National Arbitration Forum.

According to UDRP rules, if more than one domain being disputed is held by the same respondent, all of the names may be included in the same complaint and so we may find that Microsoft only actually wants one or two of these names but made the decision to take them all because they can. In the past Microsoft has allowed fansites and website owners to use domains containing their trademarks so long as the domains were used in comliance with trademark laws.

For example our own site was an original Zune blog and online forums discussing the Zune music players and the future of Microsoft gaming and entertainment. We were invited to the Zune launch and participated in Zune MVP events and programs with their open permission to use the domain.

The case for Cheng Juan and these Xbox domains is very different as the owner attempted to sell the domains for their supposed value in the trademarks alone. This type of clear trademark infringement is where Microsoft is most likely concerned. I do find it pretty funny that Microsoft is still facing these domain issues with new products after all the issues they had with and even It’s been five years now and Microsoft is still slow to grab the domain names related to new projects, products and services. It would seem like it’s just cheaper to buy the domains in advance rather than to sue for them later but maybe Microsoft knows something we don’t about trademarks and lawyers and the $8 wholesale price of domain names.

We recently launched a new website for the Xbox Tablet that we hope will become a new community for tablet users and owners to share updates, tips and advice on using the new tablet game players from Microsoft if and when they arrive. Do you think Microsoft is going to go after all Xbox tablet domains?

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