Sometimes you deserve what you get. I got duped into buying a 30GB Microsoft Zune over a year ago. Why? Well, it was only $99 at Amazon and I was traveling more. Okay, it came in the ugliest shade of brown I have ever seen but, hey did  I say it only cost $99  for 30 gigabytes so how could I go wrong? I threw a skin on it and I was good to go.  I hate travel, I hate the movies on a plane and I hate engine noise. I figure a Zune combined with noise cancellation headphones would do the trick while flying. I don’t have a lot of bucks so I coupled the Zune with a pair of Audio-Technica noise cancellation headphones, remember I can’t afford the Bose cans and the pair has been great especially for red-eyes. That is until today.

I heard the Zune doom news at work and I immediately booted the trusty old Zune when I got home.  I was hoping this was just another online hoax but the sucker just froze at the splash screen. No combination of hitting buttons, prayers or curses would unfreeze it. I ran the battery down and now we will wait to see what happens. Some of the online fixes are downright nasty such as the ones calling for the removal of the battery.  Not for the squeamish, you be better off poking your eye and probably planted by Apple fanatics. My best guess is that the new 3.0 version of the Zune software isn’t playing well with the older Zune hardware and it makes you wonder what shoddy company in India does the QA for Microsoft?

Online the Mac fans boys are wetting their panties with glee over the latest Microsoft stumble and, frankly, I can’t blame them.  First, the Vista fiasco followed by those inscrutable Seinfeld commercials and now this Zune mess.  Let’s face it, Vista is a bloated mess.  It runs fine but frankly I find it a bit like bringing a pretty but fat girl to a party. Doesn’t matter how smart or fun she is because  all everybody is thinking is “Wow, imagine if she lost some weight!” As for Macs, well I can’t see paying a 50% premium for Intel hardware so that I can feel smug and reassured.  iPods are okay, we have several for the kids but again they are way over priced.  That said, on the PC front I am slowing breaking the Microsoft habit.  I am using Mozilla Firefox with greater frequency and it has become my preferred browser.  Why?  Well, out of habit I opened Explorer to get into Word Press but I had problems writing this blog with it.  I guess the new Word Press dashboard is giving Explorer fits but Explorer has always marched to its own drummer.

However, my biggest heresy is my recent install of Ubuntu.  Ubuntu is a very hot flavor of Linux and originally came with some unique artsy photos on its desktop. By artsy I mean nudes by the way.  I had an old Dell Pentium 4 with USB 1.0 ports that was useless for Windows and I figured what the hell give it a shot since it still ran okay.  I once ran Red Hat a few years ago but I found little use for it. I had an initial hiccup on the initial Ubuntu install; my fault frankly but since then I am in love with it.  It’s slick, much easier to use, the drivers worked well with the older hardware and is far less prone to hacker attack.  Plus, it runs fast on this old machine with less than a gig of memory and there is some great free software for Ubuntu including games.  We are talking geek heaven and it is far cooler than a Mac.  Hell, there’s only a few million of us using it, now that’s exclusivity baby! By the way the open source community has a sense of humor, I mean try hitting the windows minimize keystrokes and see  what I mean! I can’t find the nudes anywhere which is disappointing.

Anyway back to the discharging Zune. Oh crappola, recharging the Zune after draining the battery just brings you back to the same frozen screen! Damn, I survive Y2K only to get bitten by this 2K9 bug. I guess I’ll have more time tomorrow to complete my free “Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot” e-book. In fact, that’s what the Ubuntu box is for; to deliver the Flores Girl e-books online.  It will first come out in PDF format and then I’ll bring out the remaining e-book flavors including Amazon Kindle.  Check out www.floresgirl.com for the free e-book this weekend if you are into reading. I do mean free, no gimmicks and the complete novel by the way!

Oh, Happy New Year to all!  It has to get better in 2009, right?

P.S. oh, yes the fix from the Microsoft site and it did work on my Zune :

My Zune 30 is frozen. What should I do?

Follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect your Zune from USB and AC power sources.
  2. Because the player is frozen, its battery will drain—this is good. Wait until the battery is empty and the screen goes black. If the battery was fully charged, this might take a couple of hours.
  3. Wait until after noon GMT on January 1, 2009 (that’s 7 a.m. Eastern or 4 a.m. Pacific time).
  4. Connect your Zune to either a USB port on the back or your computer or to AC power using the Zune AC Adapter and let it charge.

Once the battery has sufficient power, the player should start normally. No other action is required—you can go back to using your Zune and keep buying Microsoft products!