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View Full Version : Dave Winer Cronicles Struggle with Zune Setup

Jason Dunn
05-07-2007, 11:00 PM
I've been watching, a bit flabbergasted, at how much trouble <a href="http://scripting.wordpress.com/about/" target="_blank">Dave Winer</a> is having getting his Zune set up and ready go be used. I'm well aware of the many issues related to the Zune software and setup process, but Dave's inability to get the Zune working is, well, stunning. I sent him an email to offer my help, but he hasn't responded in several days so I suppose that means he's not interested in my help (or maybe he's just slow to respond to email like I am sometimes due to volume). So I figured I'd help him out in public. To properly de-construct this issue, you'll need to read <a href="http://www.scripting.com/stories/2007/05/02/zuneSetup.html" target="_blank">part one</a>, <a href="http://www.scripting.com/stories/2007/05/03/zuneDay2.html" target="_blank">part two</a>, and <a href="http://www.scripting.com/stories/2007/05/04/zuneStillNoLove.html" target="_blank">part three</a>. Got it? Good.<br /><br />Now Dave admits that some of the problems he's having might be because he's using Parallels on a Mac, but some of the issues he's having seem truly bizarre. The Zune says it's synchronizing, but when he looks at the device, there's nothing on it? I've never heard of that one before. I think many of the problems are between the chair and the keyboard/mouse - i.e., Dave himself. There are clearly some lessons here for Microsoft's Zune user interface design team - and I'd never argue that the Zune desktop software is elegant or particularly well-designed - but by the same token I think as a Mac/iPod user Dave probably has pre-conceived notions about where to look and what to do with the Zune.<div style="page-break-after: always;"><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></div><br /><br />He complains that when the Zune software starts it takes him to the marketplace, and he wonder where his content is. The answer? The left column has four clearly distinguished segments: playlists, the local library, the marketplace, and the Zune itself. I don't think Microsoft could have made it any clearer - sure, it's in a different place on the screen than in iTunes, but it's not hidden under a menu or a collapsed navigation element. He then wonders why he can't use &quot;Windows desktop copying file commands&quot;, meaning, I think, that he wants to drop to a command-line and move files that way. Isn't dragging and dropping a much easier process? I think it is, but it's not exactly obvious: you connect the Zune, select the sync tab on the right, drag your files over to it, then click sync. The hardest part of that process is realizing that the two arrows going in a circle means sync, but a quick mouse-over the icons will tell you what they are. A bit of exploration goes a long way when using new software.<br /><br />Another problem Dave has is trying to figure out how to get the Zune software to monitor another folder. I think this is something Microsoft could have fixed in the initial application set-up by simply asking the user if they have content in other folders that the Zune software should watch. That's not a hard or complicated step to add to the wizard, and it would make a world of difference for users such as Dave who obviously don't have all of their audio files on the &quot;Music&quot; folder, all their photos in the &quot;Pictures&quot; folder, etc. If you have an RSS reader downloading audio and video casts, you're not likely to put them in a &quot;music&quot; folder are you? Microsoft should take this into account. The solution after the fact though is to look under Options &gt; Library &gt; More Options, then clicking on Monitor Folders. It would be nice if this was a menu option right off the Library menu. The quick way to access this is F3, a command many users of Windows Media Player will know.<br /><br />One of the main issues Dave seems to have is that the Zune is synchronizing &quot;something&quot;, but Dave doesn't know what. The solution here is to click on Sync Results in the left-hand column when the Zune is connected. Doing that will allow you to see exactly what the Zune is synchronizing. Completely intuitive? Not exactly, though not hidden either. I think a better solution would be to make the progress indicator (&quot;45% Synchronizing&quot;) clickable, so when the user clicks on it they're taken to the sync progress section and they can see what's going on.<br /><br />Dave, I'm here if you need help.

Rocco Augusto
05-07-2007, 11:41 PM
I guess that it should be noted that my non-techie-can-barely-turn-on-a-computer mother was able to install the software and sync her music to her Zune in under 10 minutes without my help. In fact, the only time she did call me was to gloat that she had done it on her own!

If my mom can figure it out, there is no excuse...

Jason Dunn
05-08-2007, 12:42 AM
I guess that it should be noted that my non-techie-can-barely-turn-on-a-computer mother was able to install the software and sync her music to her Zune in under 10 minutes without my help

Hrmm. How interesting. ;) I did kind of think part of the problem might be technology blindness - sometimes people are SO experienced at being uber-geeks that the the "simple" things aren't so simple if they don't line up with how they think it should work. Whenever I review a product I try to reset my expectations and approach it like a "normal" person would...

Jason Dunn
05-08-2007, 12:59 AM
Oh, and Dave Winer did end up emailing me, so I'll try to help him directly now. :D

05-08-2007, 04:15 AM
I'll add one comment that may or may not be of any help Jason. When I first started using my Zune I would have intermittent problems with in syncing. It would say that it was but nothing was happening. A little trial and error and I discovered that to get it to consistently sync I had to plug it directly into one of the USB ports on my PC. Using a hub of any kind returned erratic results. It's possible Dave is having a similar issue with the Parallels emulation. Knowing nothing about Mac's I'm not sure how the USB interface is setup, but perhaps going through the Paralles interface is similar to using a hub in the Windows environment.