It's the law of entropy: as your digital music collection increases, you're bound to run into mislabeled songs, duplicate tracks in multiple file formats, and other problems. Apple's iTunes does a fine job of displaying song data and letting you edit it--as long as the song's in a format that iTunes supports (if you try to import a WMA file, for instance, iTunes will ask if you want to convert it first). Microsoft's Windows Media Player has an advanced tag editor, but it's buried a few menu options down, and it only lists songs … Read more
I've posted plenty about the new Zunes, but I have to blow off a little more steam before leaving this topic behind for a while. It's surprising to me given Microsoft's long history as a desktop applications company, but once again, the weakest link in the Zune lineup is the PC software.
Every Sunday during NFL football season, I watch the Seahawks (often an exercise in frustration) and record LPs to WMA files using Microsoft's Digital Media Plus Pack for Windows XP (sadly, it's been discontinued, and so far there's no Vista equivalent). The … Read more
(Update: As of 2/01/08, many of the bugs discussed in this blog post have been addressed in Firmware update 2.3 and the PC software update 2.3. While no software is 100% perfect, the Zune software development team has been making significant strides in the past few months, and most users shouldn't experience these same hiccups that were encountered early on.)
Legions of first-gen Zune owners are are downloading the latest version (v1.2) of the PC-based Zune software, and profoundly regretting it. If the Zune support message boards are any indication, there are some bitter first-gen Zune owners out there who are feeling slighted by Microsoft's all-inclusive upgrade to their Zune line.
The major sticking point on the forum (with 9,200 views and counting) seems to be abducted library metadata (album art, ID3 tags, playlists, song ratings) caused by upgrading to the latest version of the Zune PC software. The Zune support team has posted a seemingly viable solution to the problem, but not everyone is happy having to poke around on their computer's Local Settings folder to rename and delete files.
To see if the complaints had any merit, I upgraded from v1.1 of the software (the version I was given for the official CNET review) to the latest version. The result? The majority of my personal music library had been scrambled--artist and album information got all mixed up, and album art was reassigned randomly across my collection. My Zune Pass subscription music files, however, survived unharmed. To be clear, the Zune software upgrade didn't scramble my actual music files, they just appeared scrambled within the Zune software. The same files displayed perfectly fine in Windows Media Player. Instructions posted in the Zune forum solved my metadata scramble problem, but it was a hassle.
Another problem people are running into with the new Zune software… Read more
Updated: Microsoft now says image uploads to non-Microsoft photo sites will be possible.
BURLINGAME, Calif.--Microsoft developed Windows Vista in part to make it easier for people to manage their digital photos. Now it has released beta software that's trying to refine that experience further.
Windows XP leaves much to be desired with photo management, Mike Nash, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Windows Product Management, said Wednesday in a talk here at the InfoTrends Digital Imaging conference. On the list of gripes: XP lacks abilities to edit, archive, search, tag and edit images; it can't support the … Read more
SnapVillage, the brand-new microstock from late entrant Corbis, has just fired up a revamped Web site, and it features some notable changes for photographers--chiefly, the ability to upload images with IPTC metadata such as captions and keywords. But the more interesting information from the company is in the future: the potential for raw-image support at SnapVillage, which I just wrote about at CNET News.com.
SnapVillage has added support for Adobe Systems' XMP, which can record raw-file settings as well as other metadata. Part of the reason for the move was that it would make it easier to handle raw … Read more
MediaMaster is one of many companies worth keeping an eye on, mainly for the potential of having your entire music library available anywhere you go, as long as you've got an Internet connection. Their Facebook app, which went live just a few weeks ago, is a prime example of a great use of the service.
The app lets you set up a huge playlist of music, and serve it up right on your profile in a miniplayer. Anyone who comes by your profile can then get the full quality versions of the tracks streamed in whatever order you set … Read more
One of the key benefits of using Google Desktop rather than the search functionality that ships with Microsoft Windows XP is its speed and online functionality. Vista has improved the built-in search, but for XP users, Google Desktop is a powerful search tool that does a much better job at helping you find things, even if they're online. This morning, Google released a version of its Desktop search client for the Mac operating system. Sure enough, the release has a lot of people asking why? After all, Macs have been shipping with Spotlight, OS X's built-in system-wide search … Read more
MediaMaster is a Web-based jukebox service that launched last week. MediaMaster gives users free storage space to upload their tunes and listen to them anywhere they have Internet access. The interface is clean, simple, and intuitive--if you're used to iTunes or Windows Media Player you'll feel right at home. Users can upload their tunes with two uploaders, a simple one for a few tracks and an advanced version that lets you simply drag and drop files from file folders right into the uploader.
Once your tracks are uploaded, you can create and manage playlists, rate individual songs, and … Read more