Tech Tuesdays With BenSpark #17

This was posted by me on FuelMyBlog’s Blog. Reposted here for my reader.

In Tech Tuesday post #15 I wrote about hosting contests on your blog to drive traffic. Well, since that time I have won another contest. No, I am not going to the Super Bowl taping and no I didn’t win the Postie Battle Royal for a Roomba. I won a Zune from I Rate My Day. This was a totally random win and it surprised the heck out of me. I wanted Microsoft’s version of an iPod for some time but opted to purchase and iPod instead. So, now that I have both devices I thought I would compare them a bit and talk about MP3 players.

I have to tell you I have had my iPod for a much longer time and I love all aspects of it. I love how easy it is to find podcasts that interest me. If you would like a Tech Tuesday about that in the future please let me know I would be happy to talk about the ones I watch and listen to. And how to find ones that interest you, for free. I also like that I have my entire collection of music on my iPod. Something I finally figured out how to do because I didn’t do it the first time I started iTunes and was lost. The iPod has been my companion on long flights, waiting rooms at doctor’s offices and I use it to listen to music at night.

I wanted the Zune because it was a Microsoft Product. Yeah, I am part of that camp. Despite the love of PhotoShop and photography I am firmly entrenched in the Microsoft world. So when I heard about the Zune I was thrilled. It had many things that the iPod did not. there was the wireless connection, the radio tuner included and the larger screen. Sign me up. Then I started looking at stats. A Zune was only 30GB. I could get an iPod that was 80GB for $100 more. For 50 more GB that was a no brainer for me. As Tim the ToolMan Taylor used to say, “More power! Arrh Arrh Arrh!” And in the world of gadgets, more memory means more power. So I bought the iPod.

I was still interested in the Zune however and it made a tiny ripple in the world of MP3 players or rather media players as the Zune can play music, video, show photos and allow you to listen to the radio. So far the Zune has delivered on that promise. And with a much larger screen. But after using the click wheel of the iPod I was taken aback by the clunkiness of having to actually push down on the buttons rather than run my fingers lightly over them in a circular motion. No worries, simply a learning curve.

A little background on my media storage setup. I have moved all of my media off the computer and onto an external hard drive. My music and a backup of all my images. Images are backed up in three places because I am that dang paranoid of losing them. So because of that I pointed my Zune to my external drive to get all the files that were contained there. Then I freaked because I have so many GB worth of data and my Zune only has 30GB of space. I thought all that data would automatically try and stuff itself onto the Zune. No, that isn’t how it works. The music automatically gets added but the photos and videos can be pulled onto the Zune manually.

First thing I did was get rid of all the “way too hip for me” stuff like the DJ photos and videos. Those were tossed. I kept the music and will give that a listen. I’m sure I could get the videos and photos back if I really wanted to. Anyway those went right out. My music came off my external hard drive and I should have the same music on both my iPod and my Zune now. What I like about the Zune is that I can set where I want the computer to automatically look for files to add to the libraries. That can be found under Options> Sync> More Options. Then choose Library > Monitor Folders. Zune is a Microsoft product and assumes that all your files are in the “My” Folders however you can stop the Zune from monitoring those folders and only monitor the ones you want. Here is an example of that that screen would look like.

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See that I have set my Zune to monitor my :S Drive. I probably should have just made it monitor :S but I also had it monitor the music folder there too. So that is redundant since it found everything in :S. And because I also point my iTunes to My :S drive in the sync, Zune found all my podcasts.

You can set your iTunes to store media to a specific drive by going to Edit > Preferences > Advanced. There you can change the folder location for your iTunes music. I did this because my hard drive was getting completely full of podcasts and video podcasts. I wanted to get them off the hard drive and onto the external drive.

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So now I have two media players that can sync up the same media and play it back on each device. While the iPod automatically adds the podcasts to itself I can decide which ones I want to convert for use with the Zune. But I like that I can easily drag those videos onto my Zune and have then convert and sync. I also like that I can pull on all the photos that I want to have on my Zune by browsing through the library and dragging and dropping them. Adding photos to my iPod did not seem as simple. So I never did it.

I do need to explore both media players more and will keep you apprised of any tips or tricks I learn along the way. I hope that you can see that both the Zune and the iPod can live in harmony. I have yet to pick my favorite but as children I will most likely love them both in their own ways.

Photo-A-Day #885 09/10/07

BenSpark Writes four blogs, is an avid kayaker and a Transformers fan, he also takes at least one photo every single day and posts it to his BenSpark Blog. You can visit him at The BenSpark, BenSpark 2: Electric Boogaloo, Flatwater Tech or The Wired Kayaker.

Benspark is also a contributing writer for blogs such as Photowalking.org, The Blogging Den and most recently Blue Ribbon Bloggers. He is also expecting his first child in October and never sleeps and will somehow sleep even less in a month.

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