Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year-End Zune Catastrophe

I didn't really know what a "Zune" was until a couple of weeks ago, when one of my kids got one for a birthday present. Well, I'm an old guy, why would I know what a Zune is? In my mind, knowing what a Zune is is about the same as quoting Snoop Dogg songs in conversations. Uh, wait, do you call those "songs?" What is the word for them? Well, never mind. Turns out a Zune is like an iPod, except where Apple makes iPod, Microsoft makes Zune. And I do know what an iPod is, I don't have one but I am a hep cat who knows what they are.

It may be that Zunes are wonderful, but my initial impression was ... negative. First of all, Microsoft is evil. We have several computers in the house with Windows 2000 on them, they work fine, software runs on them, they serve us well, but Microsoft put something into the Zune software that tells it not to work on Windows 2000. I know that the guts of Win2k are the same as XP, and the Zune software will work with XP -- this is something they did intentionally. And of course you know why. They did it because they want to sell operating systems. It's not that XP and Vista are better than Windows 2000, they're just different, at least from the consumer's point of view, but Microsoft wants to sell you a new one for the simple reason that they want the money. I guarantee they could have made this thing compatible with Windows 2000. So the kid has music on the family computer, but can't listen to it on the Zune.

Oh, and it's also incompatible with the Macbook, which both of my kids have. Most software comes out in both versions, Mac and Windows, but not this. Microsoft is thinking about its own profits, they don't want to make a product that will run on the competition's machines. You might think that's good business, I think it's petty and insulting. This kind of thing pushes me closer to Linux.

Today the news came out that every Zune in the world crashed. No, really. They froze up and all you can do is let the battery run down. The latest word is that maybe it was only the 2006 Zunes, but still. Turns out there was a bug in the code having to do with leap years, which 2008 is (or was, depending on when you read this), and it didn't know what to do with the 366th day of the year. The experts are saying that tomorrow they ought to work again, but you have to re-synch blah blah blah.

Okay, everybody have a happy new year celebration. I have the feeling 2009 is going to bring good things.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little hilarity to start off the new year.

Here's a guy suing the government who acknowledges he'll probably lose. Do y'all think he's wasting our tax dollars?

Read the part where he says Obama should support him because atheists are just like blacks. He stole that tactic from the lunatic fringe gay advocacy movement. Maybe you guys could file a patent infringement lawsuit. You invented that little disinengenuousity yourself.

Another funny part is where he says having prayers at the inauguration makes him feel bad. Is there now a constitutional right to feel good?:

"WASHINGTON (Dec. 31) - A number of atheists and non-religious organizations want Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony to leave out all references to God and religion.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington, the plaintiffs demand that the words "so help me God" not be added to the end of the president's oath of office.

In addition, the lawsuit objects to plans for ministers to deliver an invocation and a benediction in which they may discuss God and religion.

An advance copy of the lawsuit was posted online by Michael Newdow, a California doctor and lawyer who has filed similar and unsuccessful suits over inauguration ceremonies in 2001 and 2005.

Joining Newdow in the suit are groups advocating religious freedom or atheism, including the American Humanist Association, the Freedom from Religion Foundation and atheist groups from Minnesota; Seattle, Washington; and Florida.

The new lawsuit says in part, "There can be no purpose for placing 'so help me God' in an oath or sponsoring prayers to God, other than promoting the particular point of view that God exists."

Newdow said references to God during inauguration ceremonies violate the Constitution's ban on the establishment of religion.

Newdow and other plaintiffs say they want to watch the inaugural either in person or on television. As atheists, they contend, having to watch a ceremony with religious components will make them feel excluded and stigmatized.

Plaintiffs are placed in the untenable position of having to choose between not watching the presidential inauguration or being forced to countenance endorsements of purely religious notions that they expressly deny," according to the lawsuit.

Among those named in the lawsuit are Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, who is expected to swear in the new president; the Presidential Inauguration Committee; the Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration Ceremonies and its chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California; and the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee and its commander, Maj. Gen. Richard Rowe Jr.

The two ministers scheduled to participate in the ceremony also are named: the Rev. Rick Warren and the Rev. Joseph Lowery.

The document includes a quotation from Warren on atheists: "I could not vote for an atheist because an atheist says, 'I don't need God.' "

Newdow told CNN that he didn't name President-elect Barack Obama in the suit because in addition to participating as a government official at the ceremony, he possesses rights as an individual that allow him to express religious beliefs.

"If he chooses to ask for God's help, I'm not going to challenge him," Newdow said. "I think it's unwise."

Newdow said that as a member of a racial minority, Obama should have respect for atheists, who also are members of a minority.

Newdow said religious references in the inauguration ceremony send a message to non-believers.
"The message here is, we who believe in God are the righteous, the real Americans," he said.

Newdow said it's unconstitutional to imply that atheists and others are not as good.

He acknowledged that his suit is unlikely to be successful."

January 01, 2009 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nothing new. Many various Christians have been claiming they are discriminated against just like blacks for years, as if once's choice of religion/atheism is the same as one's unchosen race. For example, look how some Catholic Bishops turned the 2004 "International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" into a day of eliminating "racial and religious discrimination."

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Eliminate Racial and Religious Discrimination:

See Every Person as My Sister or Brother

Pastoral Message by the
Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs

and the

Episcopal Commission for Interfaith Dialogue

March 21, 2004

We love because God first loved us…those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from God is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.[1]

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

The 21st day of March 2004 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This International Day was established in order to acknowledge that racism exists, and to deepen our understanding of how racial and religious discrimination militates against the fullness of life for all our sisters and brothers. We as Catholic bishops also wish to take advantage of this opportunity to recognize how deeply our communities are enriched by different religious and cultural practices and to promote harmony, respect and acceptance among all.

People have come to Canada from all over the globe, bringing with them their talents, hopes, dreams and aspirations. To them we say: “Welcome! Our lives and our history are blessed by your presence, and our common future dawns brighter with the promise of even fuller interaction among us.” Scripture tells us that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God, and is thus deserving of profound respect and dignity.[2]...

January 01, 2009 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea-not anon
Maybe the Zune thing is the Y2K thing that never happened.

January 01, 2009 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's nothing new. Many various Christians have been claiming they are discriminated against just like blacks for years,"

These non-evangelicals you cite are not claiming religion is a physical characteristic as homosexuals are claiming about homosexuality. They also aren't trying to encourage governemntal intervention. And, finally, one of them, Episcopalians, supports the gay agenda, for the most part.

BTW, is the atheist that's suing wasting the taxpayers' money, in your HO?

Another BTW, Jim's right about Microsoft. They purposely try to make their operating systems incompatible with software written by other companies. Boycott them as much as possible.

January 01, 2009 7:02 PM  
Blogger Tish said...

I hope the Zune thing works out for your daughter. I had a very bad time with my Sandisc MP3 player two years ago - it took me 9 months of sporadic attempts to get it all to work.

The first problem was that I wanted an iPod for audiobooks, but iPods don't work with the library's system. Himself did a lot of research (he says) and chose this particular MP3 player because the reviews all said it was easy for beginners to use and because he doesn't like proprietary software. The Sandisc was intended for use with XP and we had Windows 2000. Himself assumed that would not make a difference. It made a huge difference. Also the Sandisc did not have a user's manual. There were a couple of on-line videos which were not helpful, and the snotty on-line help-desk jerk told me the problem was that I "hadn't played with it enough yet."

My spouse's feelings were so hurt by my not being able to use it that I kept trying. I went through not being able to delete the music that came pre-programmed on the thing, not being able to download through a a USB hub, not being able to delete books I had downloaded after they had expired, and not being able to re-open the files in Windows Media.

But ...

I am practically welded to the thing now. We upgraded to XP (for other reasons), I got a better USB hub, I stopped using Windows Media and switched to Overdrive Media Console, and I now listen to two or three books a week. Housework and the treadmill go better when I have someone reading to me. Plus I get the books free from the County Library's databases. I also got myself an iPod which is less finicky, but not compatible with the expiration software the library uses. So iPod for music, Mp3 for books, and hope that the Zune will turn out to be OK after all.

January 01, 2009 9:21 PM  
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