Before my Zune came in the mail, I wanted to get everything prepped on my computer to welcome it’s new mp3 player friend. I hopped on over to the Zunewebsite and found that they had their own software to sync with the Zune (for some reason I thought that I was going to be using Windows Media Center). I downloaded the software to get my music and playlists ready for when the Zune came, so I could start using the device as soon as possible. What I was surprised to find out was that I completely fell in love with the Zune Software! First, you do NOT NEED A ZUNE to use this software. You will probably want to buy one after you start using this software though!
When you load up the software it will search your hard drive for the music you already have (including within the iTunes folder). It isn’t going to move your music anywhere either, so if you ever need to go back to using iTunes (which you so aren’t going to want to… tee hee) it’s not going to be an issue. Your music will still be exactly where iTunes thinks it is. So once the music is all loaded up it will ask you if you want to make some Smart DJ lists. I picked my 5 favorite artists and the Zune Software made playlists both from my collection and from the Zune Marketplace with related songs and artists of my favorite artists.
Now that it’s all set up, when I load up the Zune Software I get this great screen, called Quickplay, of the 5 “Smart DJ” playlists (which I can change the 5 artists at any time), anything that I have “Pinned” to the Quickplay area, the items in my collection that are “new” and the most recently played items. This is much like how I explained the actual Zune device works as well. Super quick access to either the last place I was watching/listening or just my favorite areas. The new section will also have new podcasts, so I can quickly see which podcasts have been updated and start them up right away.
The first thing you will notice is how incredibly useful and graphically stunning the user interface is, but we haven’t even gotten started yet! So in my images here, I’ve clicked on my Christina Aguilera Smart DJ playlist. You can see that as the song plays a collage of my albums artwork appears in the background. The screen changes colors and I’ve got a list of the upcoming songs in the playlist in case I want to skip ahead to a different song. It definitely makes a richer experience, especially for someone like me, who enjoys music, but I don’t really understand how sometimes my husband can just sit and listen to music. I need to be doing something else or watching something in order to really enjoy it. When Zune has images of the band it will, instead of the collage, show various images of the artist or group and scroll the song name, artist name, album name etc across the screen in different patterns.
Really, we are just getting started with how incredible this software is! Come back tomorrow, when I discuss other great features like Mix View, and Channels!
*Disclosure – Microsoft gave me a Zune HD device and one to give away, but did not give me any stipulations on what to write about, and really didn’t even mention the software, so all opinions are my own, and Microsoft did not pay or compensate me in any other way.
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com