October 8th, 2008
With the help of a bookmarklet on your web browser (Firefox, Opera, or Safari) and iTunes, you can easily and quickly put YouTube videos on your iPod without the need for any other software. With the large amount of videos on YouTube, you will always have something to take with you watch on your iPod. Read the rest of this entry »
November 22nd, 2007
Playing around with the Zune software and device and finding out that some features, while not really intuitive, come in quite useful from time to time. The first one is directly jumping back to the Start Screen on the Zune device, regardless of what screen you are in. While pressing the back button on your Zune will take you to the previous screen, holding the back button down will take you all the way back to the Start Screen in a matter of seconds. This makes jumping around to different types of media much quicker than continually going back step-by-step.
The Zune software also has it’s hidden little tricks. There is a dynamic search function for location artists or videos. By simply typing while you have selected an artist or video will begin the dynamic search with your text appearing in semi-transparent black box. Behind the box will be the search results. This seems a little buggy to me with mixed results and doesn’t seem to work on very many of the fields. I still recommend using the Search box to find media, plus the Search box also checks the Zune Marketplace.
June 28th, 2007
The MySpaceTV beta has finally launched.Â If you saw yesterday’s post on getting YouTube videos on your Zune by using RealPlayer 11 and WM Converter then you’ll know what to do when you see something like this:
If not, then go check it out.Â RealPlayer 11 makes it dead simple to get internet video downloaded onto your computer.
As far as the MySpaceTV site goes, it is definitely still in beta.Â I saw more of this than I did actual videos:
June 27th, 2007
Back in December, I posted a quick tutorial on putting a YouTube video on your Zune using TubeSucker and SUPER. While it did do the trick, it seems that quite a few people had various problems with getting the process to work for them. This time, we will you use the new RealPlayer 11 and a great piece of freeware called WM Converter to accomplish the feat. You can download RealPlayer 11 here and WM Converter here.
Install both applications. Make sure that when you install RealPlayer, you keep the Enable browser download button checkbox selected. If you have already installed RealPlayer and unchecked this option, see this tech-recipe for the steps needed to enable this functionality.
Note: If you are running Windows Vista, you will need to right-click on the shortcut and select Properties. Then select the Compatibility tab and check the Run this program as an administrator checkbox.
Now, journey on to YouTube, to find some videos to download. When you find a video that you want to download, notice the Download this Video button above it (if it doesn’t show, mouseover the video).
Click the button. RealPlayer will then begin to download the video. While it is grabbing that one, go find some more to add to the download queue. The videos, by default, are placed in your Videos directory in a folder named RealPlayer Downloads.
After all of your videos have been downloaded, you’re now ready to convert them from FLV to WMV for playing on your Zune. Open WM Converter. Click the Add Files button and browse to the RealPlayer Downloads directory. From the Files of type dropdown, select Flash Media (*.flv). Select the videos to be converted. On the Convert to bar, click WMV Zune. On the Quality bar, click Better. Click the Output Folder button and select the directory for saving the converted video. Click Start Conversion to convert the desired video(s) to wmv format.
Once that has completed, Open your Zune software and sync the converted videos to your Zune. Mission accomplished!
For added video download action, journey over to SoundPedia and click the video tab. Find the video you want, click the Download this Video button and off you go. Then simply follow the above steps for the WM Converter.
Another option is to go to Yahoo! Video for some downloading fun.
December 22nd, 2006
If you’re like me, you are hoping to receive some tech goodies and gadgets this Christmas. If you do happen to get a new iPod, Zune, or Wii under the tree, Tech-Recipes has some helpful tutorials on how to start enjoying your gadget right away:
If you find a Wii under the trii, then you should feel very blessed. The popular console is packed full of all kinds of fun. Recipes by Davak and seamonkey420 aid you in your quest for Wii knowledge:
- Sending Photos On a SD Card to Your Wii Friends
- Sync a New Controller to the Console
- How To Find Your Wii Number and Register Friends
- Send Photos to Friends (video)
- Turning Off/On Wii-Spelling (Dictionary/Word Complete)
- Adjusting Wiimote Volume/Rumble, Rearranging the Main Menu/Channel Screen, How Friends Work, Rearranging Messages on Your Message Board, Mii Channel Tips and Photo Channel Tips
- How To Control your PCs Winamp with the Wii Opera Browser
Also be sure to check out seamonkey420′s blog for even more on the Wii!
If you found an iPod in your stocking, then consider these tidbits:
- How To Copy Music from your iPod to Your PC or Mac
- Put Your 4th Generation iPod into Diagnostic Mode
- Use Your iPod Headphones as a Microphone
- How To Enable iPod Video Screensaver or Kiosk Mode
- Sync Your iPod Calender and Contacts with Outlook
- How To Reset Your nano if it Locks Up
- How To Use Your iPod as a Drive
- How To Store Full Resolution Images on Your iPod
Maybe Santa felt you were more of a Microsoft person and gave you the new media player. If so, you’ll find these useful:
- Increase the Quality of Converted Files
- How To Remove All Content from Your Zune
- How To Change the Background Image
- How To Manually Add Album Art
- How To Reset Your Zune
- How To Change Your Zune’s Device Name
- How To Prevent Zune Software from Sending Your Usage Data
- Re-Register WMDM if Zune Software Cannot Detect Your Zune
- How To Transfer Your iTunes Music Store Songs to Your Zune
- Zune to Zune Picture Sharing
Additionally, if you did get a media player for Christmas, you will need some free music and videos for it. Check these out:
December 19th, 2006
Microsoft has updated the Zune software and now it will run on Vista. Now all those who were ticked off about the software not running on Vista can calm down. I think MSFT did fine since the new OS hasn’t been released to the masses yet anyway. Still, I guess everybody needs something to complain about and Microsoft always seems to be a good target.
Go to http://www.zune.net and get the software.
December 18th, 2006
A new firmware is available for the Zune device. While it doesn’t seem to add any new functionality, it does improve the performance of the unit. The area where I noticed the most difference is in viewing pictures. When viewing a folder containing a lot of images, the device would lag and give the circles image while it loaded the next picture. That is now gone and the Zune moves smoothly through the directory.To manually update your Zune to the latest firmware:
1. Connect your Zune to your PC.
2. In the Zune software, in the left pane, locate your ZuneTag.
3. Right-click your device and select Check for Zune Device Updates.
The firmware will then be downloaded and installed on your device. The unit will reboot a couple of times, make sure to not unplug it until the installation is complete.
December 5th, 2006
Now that I’ve had ample time to explore my Zune, its time to talk about the pros and cons of Microsoftâ€™s new device. In order to do this, we’ll need to split the Zune experience into two categories: the device itself, and the Zune software that is needed to sync your media with the device.
The Zune Device
The Zune itself is a very solid feeling product, and while definitely thicker than the iPod, it fits well in your hand. The plastic casing is lightly textured providing a decent grip. The wheel is actually a disguised D-Pad that works quite well. No need to rotate to navigate up or down, simply pressing the edges of the wheel take you where you want to go with little effort or confusion. Along with the nice control set, the Zune provides a good headphone jack that tightly holds the plug in place. The screen has a excellent brightness and an acceptable refresh rate providing very good display of video playback. Even though it has the same resolution as an iPod, the increased refresh rate allows for a better viewing experience. The sound is quite impressive with a good range and crisp notes. I was very pleased with the device and prefer it over an iPod. I don’t think that it is an “iPod killer” but then Microsoft never said it was. The media spun that line and ran with it.
The Zune Software
I must say that I find the software to be mediocre at best, it is quite a disappointment. First off, why didn’t Microsoft utilize Windows Media Player to sync media to the Zune? Instead you are forced to use a rather clunky piece of software that seems to be half-baked. As much as the device can be seen as an equal to the iPod, the software compares equally with iTunes – equally unimpressive. While I didn’t run into the nightmare some people did with the installation, I am not sure if I lucked out or if it was because I downloaded the software instead of using the disc. The software seems to stray from Microsoft’s usual method of intuitiveness and you end up hunting for what you are looking for. Make sure to not change any of the sync settings unless it is to change it to manual sync, you can set yourself up for hours of frustration trying to get things working right again.
All in all, I think Redmond’s first attempt at a portable media player has turned out well. I am looking forward to future firmware updates and software modifications (and hoping for some future compatibility with WMP!).
December 1st, 2006
While involving a few steps, it is very simple to put YouTube videos on your Zune. First, you will need a couple of utilities to accomplish this. You will need one utility to download the video off of YouTube (the FLV file) and another to convert the file to a Zune compatible video.
I used TubeSucker to download the YouTube video and SUPER to convert the file (both are freeware applications). After installing the two applications, go to YouTube and find the YouTube video(s) you want on your Zune. Copy the url for the video, it should look like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8KfdYgE1Uc. After copying the URL, open up TubeSucker and go to the Batch Download Multiple URLs tab. Past the URL and click the Download URLs button. You can add multiple URLs or just one. These will download to the My Videos directory under My Documents. You can also search YouTube for videos using the TubeSucker Search feature.
After you have grabbed the FLV files for your video(s), open SUPER and select the Output Container to be mp4 (MPEG-4). Keep the default settings, however make sure that Use Direct Show is unchecked. Now drag and drop your new FLV file into the lower portion of the application. Check the corresponding checkbox next to the file and click the Encode button. The files will be encoded to Output directory in SUPER’s installation directory (C:\Program Files\eRightSoft\SUPER\OutPut).
Open the Zune software and add the SUPER Output directory to the list of folders to be monitored by the library. Connect your Zune, select the video(s) to be put on your Zune and sync as usual. Presto, YouTube video on your Zune.
November 26th, 2006
I find it interesting how many blog posts there are out there that slam the Zune device. If you don’t believe me, go to Google Blog Search and do a search for the term “zune”. You will notice post after post that put down Microsoft’s new portable media player. These posts really started popping up with Zune’s release on the 14th of this month, but if you take a closer look at most of them, you will find that they are total and complete garbage. They post negative comment after negative comment showing a comparison between the Zune and an iPod or Zen. Some have been quite responsible with their opinion and backed it up with side-by-side comparisons and great explanations as to why they do not like the Zune. My problem is not with them, in fact I find their input quite useful. I am concerned with the group of people that start spinning negativity strictly because the product is from Microsoft. These radical time-wasters literally worship at the House of Mac or some version of a penguin idol. I’m sure you’ve met people like this, they think their technology is so great and yet they can only prove how great it is by slamming the competition. I guess they will all have futures in politics. They are writing rubbish, trying to sway people away from trying out the Zune instead of simply stating their case using reality and letting the people decide for themselves.
I like my Zune. I find the vertical navigation of the Zune to work better for me than the circular navigation of the iPod. I don’t think that iPods suck or that they are evil because they have a different navigation than what I like. I just think that I like the Zune’s better. I plan on sitting down and doing an indepth comparison on the two players. I want anyone who reads the post to be better informed when they decide to make their purchase. I have no need to go pro-Microsoft or anti-Apple.
The bottom line is simple, don’t fall for the spin being laid by those with an agenda that doesn’t include helping you find what works best for you. Look for reviews that do a fair comparison and do not lean completely on way or another. The truth is that they are both good pieces of hardware. Each on has its own strengths and weaknesses. Any article that completely negates that from either one is biased and cannot be taken seriously. Buy the technology, buy the product, not the hype.