Random, I know…but it just had to be said. One of the absolute banes of my history with the Zune software is how freaking long it took to install it. Even when updates were released, those typically took a little while from start to finish as well. So imagine my delight earlier this morning when I fired up the Zune client to download the latest Zune 2.5 Spring Update, and having the entire process last less than two minutes. Fit and finish, indeed.
As of this moment, Microsoft’s Zune team is deploying the new Zune 2.5 software out to the Internets, with the hopes that it will result in many more people getting down with the Social. We got a sneak peak at some of the new features that the crew is rolling out, and we must say, it’s very apparent that they’ve put a lot of thought and a lot of work into tightening up some of the loose ends.
So, first things first, a huge part of this update is about connecting with friends, and discovering new music. This is being done by way of the overhauled Zune Card, which is a quick snapshot of anyones Zune profile. It auto-updates to reflect the latest music played by a user, their favorite songs, and top songs from most played artists. Even cooler, you can take these Zune Cards with you by syncing them up with your Zune device. This will give you a glimpse into what your friends are listening to, and if you are a Zune Pass subscriber, you automatically get the last 6 songs from each category of the Zune Pass, for each person you add. That’s a new 18 tracks per Zune Card that you choose to sync to your device.
Read More | Zune 2.5 gallery
A few days ago we told you that Windows XP SP3 would be released April 29. Well, that just happens to be today, so we felt it was our duty to remind you. This long-awaited update to Windows XP is the last, but seriously, we are expecting this to pretty much be the best currently-available version of Windows out there, so get to downloading. If you aren’t seeing it in Windows Update yet, then just go here to grab it manually.
Man, April is just shaping up to bring us all sorts of goodness - Mario Kart Wii, Grand Theft Auto IV, and now Windows XP SP3. Don’t get me wrong, I sure as hell am not saying that XP SP3 will be anywhere near as enjoyable as two of the biggest console game releases of the year, but seriously, if those rumors about a 10 percent speed increase hold true, that is just one more reason to stick with XP over Vista. Look for WIndows XP SP3 in the Microsoft Download Center, as well as Microsoft Update, on April 29th.
Read More | Microsoft TechNet
Hey, if the Amazon Kindle news from earlier didn’t suit your fancy because you just aren’t into e-books, then maybe you prefer your books in audio form. If you do, you’re in luck if you are a Zune owner. Paul Thurrott of WinSuperSite got word from Zune support that Audible compatibility is coming by the end of the year:
While we do not have an exact date as to when the device will be officially AudibleReady, we expect to make the Zune compatible before years end. Our Device Center on our website will be updated upon the Zune becoming compatible, so please be sure to check there periodically.
Not too bad. With this, plus games coming soon as well, the Zune is shaping up quite nicely when compared to the iPod, wouldn’t you say?
Read More | WinSuperSite
We got rather spooked after reading PayPal and Unsafe in the same headline. Having used the service for several years, we always wonder if it is really secure. The company says that those who use Internet Explorer 3 and 4 are the ones at risk because they don’t have enough security features to prevent phishing. If you use one of these you will be warned on the site and expect to be possibly blocked if you try to get in anyway.
The newest version supports EV SSL certificates. The comments were made in a paper written by the site’s Security Officer Michael Barrett and Risk Management Director Dan Levy. Our best advice? Head on over to IE and update to 7.0 or switch to Firefox.
Read More | BBC
In this episode of Unboxing Live, we open up the Microsoft Zune 80 and Zune 8. These are both from the Zune 2 line, which features the Zune Pad - a touch-sensitive pad that also functions as a button.
The Zune 80 features an 80GB internal hard drive, matching it up with the current entry-level iPod classic at $249 USD, while the Zune 8 has 8GB of flash storage available in its smaller frame, which sells for $199 USD. Of course, you can find both products for less than their MSRP if you do a little looking around. We also give you a look at the included accessories with each in this episode.
Those of us who are still PC users but don’t want to give up our XP for Vista were very unhappy to realize that it will cease and desist by June, and that support will eventually end, too. We can blog about it all we want but we are not sure that will convince Microsoft to change its mind, although they did extend the deadline once. Galen Gruman began a petition that you can sign to voice your displeasure, but so far the company doesn’t seem interested. Still, it can’t hurt to join the over 100,000 signatures already obtained. And if that fails, there is always Linux or Mac.
Read More | InfoWorld
Microsoft will be releasing a special edition of Notebook Optical Mouse 3000 in colors, no doubt in an attempt to get in on the fru-fru crowd. Choose between pomegranate, dragon fruit, aloe, creme brulee, and milk chocolate. Like its duller brother, the mouse features its MS Intelligent Tracking System and a compact shape with rubber side grips and finger grooves. Look for the 3000 next month at Best Buy and other retailers in June for $29.95.
Read More | Microsoft
Microsoft has come up with a Notebook Mouse that does more than a singular function. It will also put on slide presentations up to a distance of 30 feet, and act as a laser pointer and media remote. With 2.4 GHz Bluetooth connectivity, it has 4-way scrolling, instant-view, 5 customizable buttons, and magnification capability. At a size of 3.68 x 2.22-inches, it features an on/off switch to save some energy and a battery status LED. The multi-talented mouse is available for $79.95.
Read More | Microsoft