Some of the Visio MVPs:

Visio Experts
bVisual Microsoft Visio & MapPoint Solution Providers John Goldsmith's visLog Groupe utilisateurs Microsoft Visio

Zune HD

I LOVE my Zune HD, but...

Let's talk about the Zune HD I acquired February 2010. So far I like the device, but as an MVP I cannot keep my mouth shut when it comes to talking about ways to improve.


The Zune HD device does not handle PDFs for Podcasts, but the Zune software does, well almost. Several websites have PDFs to supplement the podcasts. For example, Rich Steves has small maps to go along with some of his audio tour guides. The software recognizes that a Podcast site has PDFs, but does not download them. The next time it syncs, it notices that there are files it has not downloaded and tries to download. It recognizes that they are PDFs and goes on to the next download. Over time this collection of un downloaded files builds up and time is lost as the sync process goes through this check and ignore routine. What should happen is the sync software should download the PDFs so the user has a local copy of the file rather than searching for it on the Podcast's site. This is not a big deal, but the constant failed attempts at downloads is annoying.

Podcasts on the Zune

The timer for the audio Podcasts shows how long the podcast has played and how long is left to play. For the video podcasts, it shows the total time rather than the time left. They should be consistent and I would prefer time remaining to total time.

When selecting a Podcast, there should be an indicator of how long it is rather than having to open it. Sometimes you may have only ten minutes to listen to a podcast and you have to waste time opening hour long podcasts to find one that is short enough for the time available.

Software on the Device

Radio Presets

The radio has a line of text above the frequency number and two to three lines below it. The line above is a catch phrase (or tag line)for the radio station. The first line below is the radio's call sign and the second and third lines are the song name and artist. Sometimes the song name and artist are on one line.

For my presets, only the frequency number is saved in the presets. During the syncing process, the preset list appears to obtain the call sign of US stations. This may be due to the Zune software making assumptions on where the Zune is located. Since the software on the Zune seems to be able to determine the radio station's call sign, this information is what should be used.

Zune Desktop Software

Podcasts with Data Graphics

The Zune designers for the desktop software should take a look at the Data Graphics in Visio. The podcast collections could be improved by adding a Data Graphic like feature to the podcast labels to indicate if it is to synced, how many times and how many podcasts are kept. The current method required you to select a collection and then click the settings button.

(It appears that they have made progress. The preset now gets the call sign right. Can we wish for the tag line to be included? )

PowerPoint on the Zune HD

One of the features of PowerPoint 2010 is that you can save a presentation as a WMV file. When the file is added to the video collection on the Zune HD, the forward and backward buttons will take you to the transition point on the next or previous slides in the presentation. This makes for a very nice portable PowerPoint presentation device. Of course, you have to obey the standard presentation rules and avoid busy slides. If the slide is not readable on the Zune HD it is definitely too busy for a regular presentation.

Limit Downloads

When using a slow speed connection, show the size of the individual download and let the user select the number of concurrent downloads. This will allow the user to download some of the material without wasting time by having to kill the downloads because time ran out. Yes, I have seen download estimates of over 6 hrs and I am sure the coffee shop owners do not want me to stay that long.

App/Podcast Access outside the US

Most of the Zune apps are free, make them available outside the US. The same for the free podcasts. Rather than music, the podcasts are the big thing I download to the Zune. Since my Zune was bought and setup in the US,I have enjoyed a year of downloading some great free podcasts, specifically CH9,WP7 and of course, Zune Insider. About the same time as I received the latest update to my WP7, I lost access to the Zune HD apps and podcasts. I can no longer subscribe to new podcasts or download apps. Luckily, I can still download episodes of the podcasts I have subscribed to.

(It seems like the boys and girls in Redmond were listening. It is now possible to download Zune HD apps in Canada. Thanks Jetherealz)



Direct sync to Outlook

I prefer not to split my life between my desktop and the cloud. There are things I do not want to have floating around the cloud, like birthdays.

All day Events

I like having reminders of what happened on certain days or all day events. Unfortunately, the WP7 has a rather cluttered approach. Above the event information is the phrase "All Day" and below it is the duration "1 day"  I would prefer it if I could optionally choose whether this extra text is displayed.

Pictures - Orientation

LG has a nice app to take panoramic pictures and stick them together. The problem is displaying the pictures. The landscape picture appears rotated when the phone is held in portrait mode. When you rotate the phone to landscape mode to view the picture, the picture rotates. It would be nice to have the ability to turn off the automatic rotation.


Could they not have standardized on a normal location for the charging jack? The current location on my LG is unsuitable for a cradle.

It seems to take forever for my phone to charge.