Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Treats: FREE DVD Ripper & Video Converter for Zune HD

www.winxdvd.com is offering a fully functioning download of a few of their products. Apparently there are no strings attached to this deal. I scanned the download for Spyware with Microsoft Security Essentials and found nothing.

I tested the ripping software and video converter software on my 'I Love You, Man' DvD, (hey, I own it after all).

The software gives you several choices of video formats to convert to. There is even a Zune option. That used WMV and for whatever reason, I couldn't sync the WMV file with my Zune. Zune 4.0 reported it as a corrupt or invalid file type.

I finally did something ingenius by selecting the output as MP4; Zune 4.0 liked this apparently because it allowed me to sync this one to my Zune HD.

AWESOME! So far, so great! It looks amazing on my Zune HD and sounds amazing as well.

Have yet to test output to a TV but will update this post if and when I do test it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Treats: Apps for Zune HD

I keep saying (posting) that it would be only a matter of time and from this article I think it is safe to say that we are about to witness something amazing (forgive me, dramatic effect if you will).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tips, Tricks, & Treats: How to Go Back a Screen

How To 'Go Back'
If you are playing music, it is very obvious, the back arrow in the upper left.
If you are navigating most other features like Marketplace, Social, Apps, Settings, it is not so obvious and more then one journalist has commented on this.
In actuality it is very simple to 'Go Back'.
I have read criticisms of the large page titles, in that the titles do not fit on the screen. Well it is very obvious as to why they did this. Those titles aren't really there to remind you where you are, they are your 'Back' button.
Try it. Tap MARKETPLACE. See the giant letters at the top of the marketplace page, tap them and you will be taken back one page/screen.

Tip, Tricks, & Treats: Clear Web Browser History

How to Clear Your Zune HD Internet History*
  4. WAIT
  5. The 'delete history' text will stop glowing after it is done deleting
*This action will clear all stored website passwords. So, any sites you entered login credentials for and originally clicked 'save info' on, will now prompt you to login once again.


Waking the Zune HD from power save mode...
While listening to your music the screen will eventually go into power saver mode. Like a fool I was pressing the home button, power button, tapping the screen, and pressing my own buttons so to speak just trying to wake it up. Admittedly, I did not read the included manuals. Odd because I am an owner's manual junkie - great bathroom reading material.
Eventually I figured it out, just press the media button on the upper left edge of the Zune HD and Eureka! Argh! I am absolutely sure that this little tidbit is in fact included in the manual somewhere.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tips, Tricks, & Treats: APPS

How to Use Google Mobile with the Zune HD Pins/Quickplay Feature as "Apps"
[image: Zune HD 16 GB with Google Docs, Google Maps, GMail, Bing, and MSN Weather*]
If you are lucky enough to own the new Zune HD you are likely well aware of the APPS debate. Luckily, Microsoft pulled through and Zune HD has APPS. You are also very likely well aware of the limited availability of APPS at present. I expect, from logical assumptions and from reading certain technology articles, that Microsoft will be releasing many more APPS in the very near future. It is my opinion that the Zune HD is absolutely perfect and while I am not an APPS addict, there are a few features that I would like to have simply for their convenience. So, i've outlined for you a way to add some cloud based APP functionality to your Zune HD right now. By the way, you will be tempted to tap the 'install' link that appears on some of the Google mobile pages; this does not seem to work at present, but I kind of like the idea of not wasting device storage space with downloadable APPS anyway. Once more, so the non-enlightened ones understand, Zune HD has APPS, just not a lot of them yet.

So we begin.

Prerequisites: Updated and charged Zune HD, Zune Sync Cable (if you don't have a wifi signal), Google Account ( I have not yet tested this with Windows Live, Bing, Etc. )
1. Tap INTERNET on your Zune HD, let the browser initialize
2. In the 'search with Bing' field, type google then tap search
3. Tap the Google Mobile item in the search results (should be m.google.com/m)
4. Tap the More link at the top of the page
5. The list of available Google mobile Apps appears. Again, do not tap the download link
Now, if you prefer to take the lazy route, you can skip the next few steps and just use this list as a sort of 'Google App Launch Page', otherwise, proceed to next step...
6. Go ahead and tap GMAIL, scroll down to the link for http://gmail.com/ and tap that.
7. Enter your GMAIL login credentials, for fast access but less security, tap 'save password' or whatever. You will be taken to your GMAIL inbox.
8. Tap the star (favorites) icon at the bottom.
9. Notice the + Gmail at the top bar of your favorites view. Tap the +. You are back in your Inbox.
10. Tap the star gain.
11. Hold your finger on the Gmail entry that was added. Release finger when the prompt comes up.
13. Press your Zune HD home button.
14. You have added the Gmail favorite to your Quickplay list. You can add the 'real' Zune HD Apps to quickplay too, that Weather* thumbnail in my image up top is a real App. You can add almost anything to quickplay.

You are done! Repeat these steps for other Google Mobile Apps or other sites, as I did with the Bing site. It is worth pointing out again that the Weather* thumbnail is an actual bona fide Zune HD app from Zune Marketplace. I simply added it to my Quickplay. They all kind of fit in nicely together, doncha' think?

Notes: Be mindful of how deep into a site you are if you want your thumbnails to look as nice as the GMail, Bing Search, and Google Maps do. GMail and Bing were no problem. Google Maps was tricky in that it just showed up as a black thumbnail in Quickplay with the url. I fixed it by removing that one and navigating back to Google Maps, and entering in my home state into the location search field. After I clicked Local Search, the map of NJ loaded. This is where I added it to Favorites. Then to Quickplay. And as you see from the image, I got what I wanted.