johnvisiomvp

Life with Visio and other Microsoft Toys!

Archive for the ‘Zune HD’ Category

I have published my phone app, now what??

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So you have survived the development process and were able to get you phone app on the marketplace, what is the next step?

Ignoring the market aspect, the main thing is to keep testing, enhancing and updating. Just because you were successful, it does not mean there are no bugs. I found out after my second app was certified that though I restricted entry to a numeric keyboard, I needed to ad extra logic to make sure my number only had one decimal place. The certification process can only test so much. Of course, they are always adding new tests. Even the certification team does not sit back and say they are finished.

Make the user part of the solution. Provide the user with means to provide feedback.

When you do provide updates, be honest and provide an explanation of what has changed. I have two apps on my phone that do basically the same thing, adult versions of a Pokemon game. The apps are Foursquare and 4th and Mayor.  Both have gone through updates, but only Jeff Wilcox’s 4th and Mayor lets you know what is in the updates.

Most users will explore a new app and set up mental warning signs if there are problems. Too many warnings, the app gets uninstalled and you have lost a user. Without clues as to what has changed on the update, the user will not explore areas that they have mentally blocked off. Update notes will let the user that it is safe to explore that area.

So, I have an app submitted to the marketplace, so I will add to this blog when I find out more.

John Marshall… Visio MVP       Visio.MVPs.org

Written by johnvisiomvp

May 17, 2013 at 6:11 pm

End of the Zune HD devices?

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Early this summer Zune Originals closed down and yesterday Jessica and Matt closed down the Zune Insider podcast. If you look at the Zune.Net website, using a Zune device is not one of the displayed options. I picked up my Zune HD at Fry’s in Renton and Fry’s no longer has any Zunes on their website. So has the Zune device gone the way of the Kin?

Everyone has to grow in their jobs and Jessica and Matt have to move on. So thier leaving says nothing about the future of the Zune devices, but the fact that they did not hand the riens for the show over to someone else does.

The indication that the WP7 is the replacement to the Zune HD is a bit disappointing. The WP7 UI has improved over the Zune HD UI, but there is a need for both devices. I will not elaborate over why you need a WP7. It is a great device and sells itself. So why keep the Zune HD? It has far more storage than the WP7. You can kill the battery on it listening to music or watching videos and you still have power on your phone to call. Though streaming media gets around the WP7 capacity limitations, it is not always the best route. There are places in the world where you can not get internet or the cost is excessive (this summer, my daughter had a $1,500 roaming charge on her phone for using her phone for a few days on a cruise in the North Sea). So yes, there is the hassle of carrying two devices, but I think the benefits outwiegh the hassle. Besides both are sleak small devices unlike the old days of the multi pound cell phones.

Hopefully this is all unnecessary speculation and there will be an upgrade to the Zune HD with the WP7 UI.

Of course, today is October 1st and MVP awards are being announced. The award is for community activity in the past year and I have seen someone awarded as a Zune MVP. Maybe things are not as bad as it seems.

Update: It looks official: Zune.Net reports that the Zune devices are out of production. http://www.zune.net/en-US/support/zuneplayers/supportzuneplayers.htm

John Marshall… Visio MVP       Visio.MVPs.org

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October 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Zune HD

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Zune HD going international?

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As I travel around the North Sea and above the Arctic Circle, I have enjoyed playing with my Zune HD, a nice little device, I have loved since I got it a few years ago even though It is an American device being used in Canada. Other than teething pains with the radio presets the only thing missing in Canada was the Social feature. Not something I really miss. The Zune team was able to fix an issue with Canadian call signs not being recognized for radio presets, but that does not appear to have been fixed for other countries. In the UK, the call signs do not show up as the four letter callsigns used in North America, but rather as BBC 1, BBC 2 and BBC 3. When the preset is made, the UK call signs are replaced (at least for me) with a Canadian call sign, CFJM, so it does not appear to be using the data transmitted by the station or there are some checks and the default value remains. Even Iceland had a few radio stations, but their station information seems to include other information. I did try to document the various screens, but taking pictures with my camera ended up being a CSI delight. Excellent detail on the fingerprints, but the images on the screen were washed out.With a touch UI, fingerprints wil always be a problem. So to make the Zune HD international, Microsoft needs to find out the standard of information that is transmitted by radio stations to identify their signals and use the frequency, call sign and hopefully the station’s catch phrase to make the radio presets. The information is displayed while the station is playing, so it is just a matter of properly catching it when the preset is created. One other point for making the Zune HD a nice traveling device is to remove the requirement for power when creating alarms. I have fell asleep many times listening to the radio, so the power drain for using the Zune HD as an alarm can not be any worse. I use a laptop to charge my Zune HD while traveiling, but like me it likes to sleep when it becomes inactive. The one downside I have had with the Zune HD is the cover I chose. On this trip, the magnetics in the cover have successfully wiped out my room card three times.

John Marshall… Visio MVP       Visio.MVPs.org

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August 3, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Posted in Travel, Zune HD

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WP7 / Zune HD poor travel clocks?

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Is there no way to change the time zone on a WP7? Or did I not properly RTM?

We are taking a break from the heat and we are cruising around the North Sea up to the Article Circle.

I have tried to use my Zune HD and WP7 as travel clocks and have been frustrated. The Zune HD will let me set the time, but the alarm clock app wants me to plug the Zune HD in. I guess I should have brought a USB power supply because the thought of leaving my laptop on overnight is not really an option. Like me, it likes to get its’ sleep.

I would have liked to have done the same with the WP7, but it seems it likes to talk to the net. I have no big problem with this, but the Canadian telecommunication costs are a quite excessive. Add to that the roaming charges and I tend to travel with my data communication off. I only need my WP7 as a phone.

John Marshall… Visio MVP       Visio.MVPs.org

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July 26, 2011 at 6:00 am

Mangoed

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Last night’s project was to try out Mango on my phone. I am not a heavy phone user, so I did not have a lot to lose if anything went wrong.

The instructions were relatively straight forward, but there were a few issues.

The preamble could have hinted that all your settings in Zune would be retained after you deleted the previous version. As a Canadian, not all the functionality of the Zune HD is supported in Canada. After installing the new Zune software, all my previous settings were restored, including the ability to download podcasts. It was though nothing had changed.

Since the beta bits of the Mango development tools were released earlier, there was no explanation about whether you needed to reinstall them.

Step 5b indicates that you should connect the device, but no where in the previous steps does it say to disconnect the device. It also did not indicate to close the Zune software. It went into step 5 and indicated that there was an update (Mang0) to applied.

Overall, a very painless process. Now to start trying it out.

Since it is 3am, I only was able to do a little poking around. The only disappointment I found was that when running OneNote, it warned that it was going to use the SkyDrive and that would incur costs. Before OneNote used local storage, which was fine, but in Canada, phone plans are expensive. Most of the time I just need to keep notes on my phone, I do not need to sync them with the cloud. If that is the only way to go, I prefer the old version of Office on the phone.

Time for bed.

John Marshall… Visio MVP       Visio.MVPs.org

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July 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Posted in Windows Phone 7, WP7, Zune HD

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Mix 11 is Killing me!

I have just added Mix 11 to my podcasts and it is taking forever to put the sessions on my Zune HD. Okay, I know, these are huge files, but the quality is worth it. My issues are with how the Zune software handles large collections of large files. This is a two sided issue. On one side you need to download to the PC and on the other side you need to download from the PC to the Zune HD. The critical problem on the first is a time window and on the the second, a space problem.

I have mentioned this in the past, the user should be able to specify the number of simultaneous downloads. If you have a time constraint, for example sitting at a hotspot and you only have fifteen minutes to download., you want as much completed as possible. So that means one at a time. It does not make sense to have a time contraint and have to kill four downloads at the 99% mark when you could have downloaded at least three if they were done one at a time.

On the transfer to the Zune, it is possible to have more content than the 32Gs allowed. That is one of the reasons, the WP7 phone will not be making my Zune HD obsolete. It just does not have the space. For the last fifteen minutes, the zune software has been saying it is Syncing:68% and Now Syncing 3 items. So, do I unplug my Zune HD to listen to the content and free up some space or wait till it says 2 items? In other words, is the current syning file almost complete or just started? Yes, Mix11 has more content than will fit on a Zune HD!

When I first had my Zune HD, I had to go through several sessions of subscribing to podcasts and running out of space and then having to delete the content and resubscribe one at a time. As the material was listened to and space was freed up, then new subscriptions could be added.

So Zune team, can we get a means for limiting the number of simultaneous downloads and in addition to the overall Syncing indicator, a progress indicator of the currently syncing file. Of course, I could ask that the Mix sessions be short and be done at low def, but I do not want to go there.

John Marshall… Visio MVP       Visio.MVPs.org

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April 27, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Radio on the Zune HD

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In February 2010, I picked up a Zune HD while traveling in the states and have loved it. At the time, the device was not available in Canada. Since I already have a large collection of music, the lack of access to the Zune marketplace from Canada was not a big issue.

One problen I do have is how the Zune HD handles Radio presets. While playing a radio station, the Zune HD provides all sorts of information on the radio station and the song being played. In the middle of the screen is the frequence that the radio station is broadcasting on. At the top of the screen is the radio stations call sign and below it is the tag line for the radio station. Beneath the frequency is the name of the song and the artist.

But….

When I set the radio station asa preset, none of that information is used. It seems to fill in the call sign from some other source. Our local station for FM 106.1 has a call sign of CHEZ, but the Zune HD records the station as WFCL with no tagline. (CHEZ’s tag line is “Classic Rock”).

So what should happen?

The Zune HD should be using the callsign and tag line displayed by the radio station when the preset is recorded.

John Marshall… Visio MVP  Visio.MVPs.org

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March 25, 2011 at 11:53 am

Posted in Zune HD

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