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  #1  
Old 04-15-2010, 09:30 PM
Jason Dunn
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Default Yours Truly Chats with Ian Dixon on The Media Center Show

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://thedigitallifestyle.com/cs/blogs/podcast/archive/2010/04/15/the-media-center-show-252-jason-dunn.aspx?utm_medium=go.dstyle.us-twitter&utm_source=direct-go.dstyle.us&utm_content=bookmarklet-custom' target='_blank'>http://thedigitallifestyle.com/cs/b...kmarklet-custom</a><br /><br /></div><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//wpt/auto/1271363044.usr1.png" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb; float: left; margin: 10px;" /></p><p>A week or two ago, I spent an hour chatting with Ian Dixon from The Media Center Show, and today <a href="http://thedigitallifestyle.com/cs/blogs/podcast/archive/2010/04/15/the-media-center-show-252-jason-dunn.aspx?utm_medium=go.dstyle.us-twitter&amp;utm_source=direct-go.dstyle.us&amp;utm_content=bookmarklet-custom" target="_blank">he's published the podcast</a>. I really enjoy being a guest on a podcast because expressing myself - hopefully intelligibly - is something I enjoy, but I don't particularly want to tackle the work involved in producing a regular podcast. If you have a podcast, and you'd like to have me on as a guest to discuss, well, pretty much anything, <a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/about.php" target="_blank">drop me a line</a>.</p><p>In this episode, Ian and I talk about the Zune HD, Windows phone 7, and the way these two products intersect - as well as my prediction that 2010 is going to be a great year for Microsoft because all of their different assets (Xbox, Zune, mobile, Live) will finally come together the right way.</p><p><a href="http://thedigitallifestyle.com/cs/blogs/podcast/archive/2010/04/15/the-media-center-show-252-jason-dunn.aspx?utm_medium=go.dstyle.us-twitter&amp;utm_source=direct-go.dstyle.us&amp;utm_content=bookmarklet-custom" target="_blank">Have a listen</a> and tell me what you think!</p>
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2010, 03:15 PM
vangrieg
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Default Syncing is great? Really?

I was listening to the podcast and the stuff about syncing photos struck me as odd.

This is actually one of the major reasons why I refused to buy an iPhone. I appreciate that it's easy, but it is easy only if you have just one PC connected to your phone which stores everything. Now, my primary PC is a notebook with a 64GB SSD only. I'm really happy with it, and don't want any more storage simply because my media is stored elsewhere (a NAS primarily, but also a desktop PC at home), but I still want it to be my primary PC because, well, it is my primary PC. Sometimes I also want to copy some photos from my wife's notebook. Also, who says I want to have all of the photos on my phone? And at this moments the whole "syncing" paradigm shows its true ugly face. With the iPhone, I have to set up a special folder and copy all the photos there. And I can't store them there temporarily because if I delete them they'll disappear from the phone as well! What the heck???

It's easier with music because you can manually drag and drop some items, but then it's not any better than your good old copying. Or is it? How?

I can't test how Zune software deals with these issues because I don't have a Zune. Does it do a better job than iTunes?

Oh, and then you talk about files in general and how people have to think about where to save them. Syncing makes it simpler... Except that there's no feakin' way to transfer files that aren't supported by the sync software! What if I install a third party bookreader? How do I put my books there? Please? iPhone apps do it via web, so when my wife bought an iPhone I had to set up a web server on my HD2 so she could browse to it and download books. Is that really easier than dragging and dropping???

Last edited by vangrieg; 04-16-2010 at 03:43 PM..
 
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  #3  
Old 04-16-2010, 07:27 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vangrieg View Post
I was listening to the podcast and the stuff about syncing photos struck me as odd. This is actually one of the major reasons why I refused to buy an iPhone. I appreciate that it's easy, but it is easy only if you have just one PC connected to your phone which stores everything....Also, who says I want to have all of the photos on my phone?
Agreed 100%. The iPhone photo synching experience is idiotic. Truly, completely, and utterly idiotic. It's pretty obvious Apple employees don't actually use this feature or they'd realize how much it sucks.

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Originally Posted by vangrieg View Post
I can't test how Zune software deals with these issues because I don't have a Zune. Does it do a better job than iTunes?
I guess I didn't explain this very well in the podcast. Zune synching of EVERYTHING (especially photos) is approximately 487% better than the iPhone/iTunes approach. With the Zune software, you can set up a Sync Group for photos. You can control the sync in a variety of ways; I have mine set to pull the most recent 90 days of photos from my entire collection, up to a maximum of 600 images. There's none of this messing around with exporting copies of images into a magical iTunes photo folder just to get them onto my iPod Touch.

The Zune photo sync experience in particular is transcendent - it's just awesome...once your install of the Zune software is older than whatever day threshold you pick in the sync group. See, the Zune software doesn't scan EXIF data on the photos, it only marks the import date of the photos. So if you say "photos in the past 90 days" the same day you install the Zune software, guess what it does...it tries to sync all your photos. Stupid, right? I had a great conversation with the guy who controls this feature at the MVP Summit, and he understands why they need to scan EXIF data and use it rather than the ingestion date. I'm hoping they'll fix this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vangrieg View Post
Oh, and then you talk about files in general and how people have to think about where to save them. Syncing makes it simpler... Except that there's no feakin' way to transfer files that aren't supported by the sync software!
Yeah, I agree that the lack of a filesystem is a pain when the software developers don't code their apps in such a way to make it easy for the users to do what they want.
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Old 04-16-2010, 07:39 PM
vangrieg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
Zune synching of EVERYTHING (especially photos) is approximately 487% better than the iPhone/iTunes approach.
Well, that's great to hear!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
You can control the sync in a variety of ways;
Is there a way to manually add just several photos? Cause that's the only thing I really need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
Yeah, I agree that the lack of a filesystem is a pain when the software developers don't code their apps in such a way to make it easy for the users to do what they want.
Hmm, it's not that developers code their apps in some bad way. It's that the OS doesn't allow any straightforward way to add files for third party apps. They have to rely on the cloud, and that seems to be exactly the WP7 story, unfortunately. There are no APIs for third party developers to receive files in any way. I can't transfer them, I can't download them and save using a browser, can't send via bluetooth, there's just no way. Zune will work for built-in apps, fine. But third parties can't tap into that process.
 
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Old 04-16-2010, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by vangrieg View Post
Is there a way to manually add just several photos? Cause that's the only thing I really need.
Absolutely - you can drag and drop individual photos, or entire folders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vangrieg View Post
Hmm, it's not that developers code their apps in some bad way. It's that the OS doesn't allow any straightforward way to add files for third party apps. They have to rely on the cloud...
Yes, relying on the cloud for file transfer is going to be the way of things moving forward for Windows phone 7. I agree it's not ideal in all scenarios - do I want to store my FlexWallet file in the cloud? No way. But how else is it going to get from my computer to my phone? Only via the cloud. Painful.
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:30 PM
vangrieg
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how else is it going to get from my computer to my phone? Only via the cloud. Painful.
Well, of course, jailbreaking (or whatever it's going to be called for WP7) will get us filesystem access, and that's what I'll resort to if I decide to get myself a WP7 device (I probably will when/if it gets copy/paste).

Obviously, Microsoft could provide some functionality even without file system access. For example, Zune software could automatically copy files to relevant application folders. Say, I use an .fb2 bookreader, and file transfer could work like this: I drag a file to Zune software, and it copies it to the bookreader's "isolated storage". Also, they could provide a shared folder (this is supported by Silverlight 4, but not 3) where the OS would index files and create links to them from "isolated storage". Or whatever. Thing is, this could be done. Whether MS want to do it is another question. If they don't, jailbreaking is the answer.
 
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Old 04-19-2010, 06:35 AM
Twain
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Interesting comments that I couldn't help weighing in on to help clarify things. I would like to circle back on these points because either I don't believe the statements being made or somehow, they don't have the right context. Now, admittedly, I am using an iPod "Classic" and not an iPod Touch, but I can't believe that the iTunes synching software would really treat the two devices differently.

Issue #1:
Quote:
Originally Posted by vangrieg View Post
... This is actually one of the major reasons why I refused to buy an iPhone. I appreciate that it's easy, but it is easy only if you have just one PC connected to your phone which stores everything. ... Sometimes I also want to copy some photos from my wife's notebook.
Issue #2:
Quote:
Originally Posted by vangrieg View Post
Also, who says I want to have all of the photos on my phone? And at this moments the whole "syncing" paradigm shows its true ugly face. With the iPhone, I have to set up a special folder and copy all the photos there. And I can't store them there temporarily because if I delete them they'll disappear from the phone as well! What the heck???
Now, the part of Jason's response I'd like to explore a little further...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
Agreed 100%. The iPhone photo synching experience is idiotic. Truly, completely, and utterly idiotic. It's pretty obvious Apple employees don't actually use this feature or they'd realize how much it sucks. ... Zune synching of EVERYTHING (especially photos) is approximately 487% better than the iPhone/iTunes approach. With the Zune software, you can set up a Sync Group for photos. You can control the sync in a variety of ways; I have mine set to pull the most recent 90 days of photos from my entire collection, up to a maximum of 600 images. There's none of this messing around with exporting copies of images into a magical iTunes photo folder just to get them onto my iPod Touch.
So, for the Issue #1, maybe Jason can tell me if the Zune sync system really allows you to sync photos, songs, etc. from multiple computers? From vangreig's post, it seems this is the main reason he didn't buy and iPhone. If the Zune and iPhone sync approach are same with regard to this specific issue, then this really shouldn't have been a deal breaker for him.

Regarding Issue #2, the way syncing works on my computer/iPod/iTunes combination, is that all of my photographs are stored in the C:\Users\"user name"\Pictures directory. (This is one of the special folders Windows sets up for every user on a machine. Similar directories are created for Music, Videos, Documents, Favorites, etc.) Regarding Jason's comment, these folders are certainly not "magical iTunes folders." I have several collections of photographs that are organized into directories within "Pictures". So, when I want to sync with the iPod, I have the option of automatically syncing everything or a subset of the pictures, organized by the directories (and possibly subdirectories below). I've never checked to see if the iPod would detect photographs that aren't in the "Pictures" directory.

My point is that if one doesn't already buy into the "special folders" approach used by Windows, then yes, one might see it as a problem. If not, then iTunes allows you to be quite selective with regards to which collection should be synchronized. And, on the iPod, the photographs show up with the same collection (directory) names as on the PC. Bottom line: you don't have to sync ALL photographs.

I like the idea mentioned by Jason on the Zune in which you can synchronize photographs by date. I'm sure there are other filters as well. Perhaps Jason can state whether or not Zune only looks in the "Pictures" directory or does it search for photographs all over the machine, like Windows Media Player and Google's Picasa do?

Anyway, just trying to shed light rather than blasting more heat on this subject. Thanks.

Last edited by Twain; 04-19-2010 at 06:41 AM..
 
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Old 04-19-2010, 07:39 AM
vangrieg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twain View Post
My point is that if one doesn't already buy into the "special folders" approach used by Windows, then yes, one might see it as a problem. If not, then iTunes allows you to be quite selective with regards to which collection should be synchronized. And, on the iPod, the photographs show up with the same collection (directory) names as on the PC. Bottom line: you don't have to sync ALL photographs.
I think you're misunderstanding my problem. It isn't that iTunes is using some special folder. The problem is that you have to point to a folder and that's about it. Now way to take something from Pictures, something from a network share etc. So you have to copy everything you want to transfer to that sync folder. That's a lot of unnecessary tedious work if you have multiple sources of photos. Moreover, on my notebook that would be very undesirable because it doesn't have a lot of storage space for media.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Twain View Post
I like the idea mentioned by Jason on the Zune in which you can synchronize photographs by date. I'm sure there are other filters as well. Perhaps Jason can state whether or not Zune only looks in the "Pictures" directory or does it search for photographs all over the machine, like Windows Media Player and Google's Picasa do?
In Zune, you can add several directories to watch, where it will index content. When you add a directory, you mark it as one containing music, pictures or videos. It can be a local directory or a network share. I'm using Zune software as the primary music player on my notebook, and I've seen that. Now Jason is saying that apart from transferring the whole library (filtered or unfiltered) you can also drag individual files and folders (this is the part I couldn't see because I don't have a Zune device). It means that no matter how it indexes stuff you can have a complete library on your PC and a careful selection on your phone without copying things several times.
 
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  #9  
Old 04-19-2010, 08:20 AM
Twain
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Thanks for clearing that up. I now have a better understanding of what you're facing!

These differences point out, once again, how in the presence of competition, consumers will ultimately win out. As long as the iPod was/is "king of the hill" Apple only had to introduce new features whenever they wanted to. Now that Microsoft's Zune is out there, innovating with newer and better synchronization features, I wonder how long it will be before Apple includes these features in their software.

Similarly for Microsoft's Windows Mobile, we have seen how their complacency has nearly spelled the doom for their Windows Mobile business as Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platforms brought innovations that clearly resonate with consumers. Arguably, this competition has forced Microsoft to look for new ways to innovate and remain competitive with their Windows Phone 7 strategy.

I wonder if anybody will solve the "multiple computer synchronization" problem. I too have files not on my main machine but on a Windows Home Server. There should be no reason that device software can't look at multiple computers to determine what needs to be synched. I think the tougher problem is your wife's computer, which might have different passwords and clearly is a different user. The paradigm for most devices is that they are "personal" and that synchronizing with more than one machine creates privacy, security and maybe even digital rights issues that would need to be dealt with.

Interesting topic.

Twain
 
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:58 PM
vangrieg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twain View Post
I wonder if anybody will solve the "multiple computer synchronization" problem. I too have files not on my main machine but on a Windows Home Server. There should be no reason that device software can't look at multiple computers to determine what needs to be synched. I think the tougher problem is your wife's computer, which might have different passwords and clearly is a different user.
Well, I can connect to my wife's computer as a network share. The nuance here is that I really don't want Zune or iTunes to index the content there and add it to my library, I just want to be able to drag and drop a few files/folders to my device (without even copying them to my PC). If I understand Jason correctly, this should be possible with Zune.

On a more general note, this is why I don't like the idea of syncing as the only method of transferring files. Plain old copying works just fine with WM, and it doesn't require any special techniques to deal with multiple computers. Now, I understand that for some reason some users find it confusing, but syncing is even more confusing whenever you try to do something "non-standard".
 
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