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Old 06-06-2007, 08:00 PM
Jason Dunn
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160
Default Why Doesn't the Zune Software Sign Me In Automatically?

One of the things I'm constantly thinking about when I'm using software, or any type of hardware that has a user interface, is whether or not the design is such that it's as efficient as possible. Does it allow me to do what I want as quickly as possible, or does the design make me wait - or worse yet - ask me to click this or what to make what I want happen? The Zune desktop software is one such application that could use some optimization. There are about a dozen high-need improvements that this software needs (stability, speed, DVR-MS transcoding support, podcast support, and many other things), but there's an easy fix they can do for one of my irritations. When I start up the software it takes a few seconds to initialize, then it downloads the latest Zune marketplace catalogue. On a fast computer, this entire process takes no more than four seconds, so in that regard the software is great.

Here's the problem though: if you want to listen to any of the music samples in the Zune Marketplace, you need to be signed in. Fair enough. You can configure the sign-in process to sign your profile in automatically, without prompting for a sign in. Yet it doesn't sign you in until the last possible moment, right when it tries to start a stream for an audio sample. Is there a single good reason why the software wouldn't sign you in when the software first loads? This is a variant of Windows Messenger, which has an option to sign in at start-up. Why can't the Zune software do the same? Depending on network congestion, I've seen the sign-in process happen as quickly as two seconds, and take as long as ten seconds - most of the time it's around four seconds. Then it needs to start the streaming of the first audio sample, and again that can take anywhere from two seconds to ten seconds. If the Zune software signed the user in at start-up, they'd cut the wait time in half for the first audio sample that the user initiates. That seems like a worthwhile improvement to me.
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