Fix for Zune 30GB


Even though, or perhaps because, I still can’t buy a Zune here in the UK, I like to keep my eye on news relating to these wonderful devices. I saw earlier today a number of reports about the 30GB editions of the Zune locking up and “bricking” for no apparent reason.

**Update** It turns out that this was down to a Toshiba driver in the clock.

Microsoft have now released an official reason for the problem and, more importantly a fix for the issue. It all comes down to these particular devices having some issues with the leap year so MS have said “That being the case, the issue should be resolved over the next 24 hours as the time change moves to January 1, 2009. We expect the internal clock on the Zune 30GB devices will automatically reset tomorrow (noon, GMT). “

The full statement from Microsoft (which I saw via Gizmodo) is below. The official Zune Team blog is http://zuneinsider.com/ so you can check there for more info on this, and other Zune related topics :-)

Early this morning we were alerted by our customers that there was a widespread issue affecting our 2006 model Zune 30GB devices (a large number of which are still actively being used). The technical team jumped on the problem immediately and isolated the issue: a bug in the internal clock driver related to the way the device handles a leap year. That being the case, the issue should be resolved over the next 24 hours as the time change moves to January 1, 2009. We expect the internal clock on the Zune 30GB devices will automatically reset tomorrow (noon, GMT). By tomorrow you should allow the battery to fully run out of power before the unit can restart successfully then simply ensure that your device is recharged, then turn it back on. If you’re a Zune Pass subscriber, you may need to sync your device with your PC to refresh the rights to the subscription content you have downloaded to your device.

Customers can continue to stay informed via the support page on zune.net (zune.net/support).

We know this has been a big inconvenience to our customers and we are sorry for that, and want to thank them for their patience.

Q: Why is this issue isolated to the Zune 30 device?
It is a bug in a driver for a part that is only used in the Zune 30 device.

Q: What fixes or patches are you putting in place to resolve this situation?
This situation should remedy itself over the next 24 hours as the time flips to January 1st.

Q: What’s the timeline on a fix?
The issue Zune 30GB customers are experiencing today will self resolve as time changes to January 1.

Q: Why did this occur at precisely 12:01 a.m. on December 31, 2008?
There is a bug in the internal clock driver causing the 30GB device to improperly handle the last day of a leap year.

Q: What is Zune doing to fix this issue?
The issue should resolve itself.

Q: Are you sure that this won’t happen to all 80, 120 or other flash devices?
This issue is related to a part that is only used in Zune 30 devices.

Q: How many 30GB Zune devices are affected? How many Zune 30GB devices were sold?
All 30GB devices are potentially affected.

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2008


I was a regular watcher of the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in years gone by, but have found the last few years to be somewhat lacklustre. I’d still watch them but always feel a little short changed :-(

This year (2008) is much better though, this year’s lectures are all about computers and are being delivered by Prof. Chris Bishop, head of Microsoft Research in Cambridge! I know I’m a couple of days late with this post but my Sky+ has been playing up so today was my first chance to once them, and they’re definitely worth the wait. Today’s (Wednesday) lecture contained a great explanation of Binary counting which I think will be used as a reference base for a lot of people as it was very concise and easy to understand.

The 2nd episode (that was shown on Tuesday night) contains some great demo’s of some of the wonderful technology that MS Research have been/are creating including Surface and the Roundtable. It was great to hear the sounds of wonder and awe as the kids present saw what the Surface table was capable of…and I have to say I was pretty impressed by the Video puzzle as well!

MS Surface Video Puzzle

MS Surface Video Puzzle

 This next picture shows the 360-degree panoramic view of the Roundtable displayed on Microsoft’s spherical display. It looks much cooler in the video as Prof. Bishop scrolls the panorama around the sphere!

Roundtable on a Sphere

Roundtable on a Sphere

 Other posts on the Roundtable can be found here.

For anyone that has missed the lectures and/or simply wants to re-watch them, they are now available an DemandFive completely free.

Predictions for Microsoft in 2009


Mary Jo Foley has come up with her list of what she thinks Microsoft will, and won’t, do in 2009 and it looks like a pretty good list.

However the one I disagree with most is number 10:

“10. Become so completely consumed by Apple envy that it over-invests on the consumer side of the house. In 2009, Microsoft’s failure to tend to its enterprise knitting will begin hurting its business software/services sales.”

Although it’s clear that MS are looking to grow in many consumer based areas, I really don’t think they’ll let the corporate Enterprise market slip and/or lose focus. This area is where MS earn the most money and the most respect so they MUST keep tending to it and with all the releases we are already looking at for 2009 including OCS 2007 R2, Office 14, Sharepoint 14, VStudio 2010, SQL 2010, Biztalk 2009 and many more, I’d say that the Enterprise market is being pretty well looked after already.

On top of this is Microsoft’s Software+Services push, which is a HUGE focus for them as evidenced by the WPC 2008 and later events I attended at Reading campus. The US launch was November ’08 and has already taken off very well and the UK launch is due around May time. MS are getting partners ready to take S+S to the marketplace in a confident, well balanced way and I truly believe this will be a huge part of 2009 for anyone involved with MS on a corporate level; whether as a customer, partner or competitor. I’m going to say that Microsoft’s S+S will be a contributing factor to helping the UK get out of the credit slump faster than expected…how’s that for a prediction?! ;-)

I also think the Zune will start to make an appearance in Europe. I’ve already heard that France is slated to be the next country to get the Zune and I can’t imagine that the UK can be far behind if that is true.

I would put a top 10 list together but so many would be the same as Mary Jo’s it hardly seems worth it!

Microsoft eBook reader


I wasn’t aware that Microsoft had any real entry into the eBook reader world but thanks to MobileRead Networks, I do now! They have in fact, got a whole web site devoted to it here.

From that site you can download “Microsoft Reader” a “free, downloadable software application that allows you to read eBooks on Windows-based devices you may already own.” which sounds pretty good to me :-) There are 3 versions of the software for Desktops/Laptops, Tablets & UMPC’s and Pocket PC’s.

eBooks seem like a great idea but I can’t be bothered to get another device a la Kindle so being able to read eBooks on my HTC Diamond seems like a good idea. Yeah, the screen isn’t particularly big but I don’t mind-the convenience wins for me.

*Update* I’ve been doing a bit of Googling and it seems that MS Reader doesn’t yet work with WinMo 6.1, which is a bummer. It will install but won’t activate, which is always the key part with Microsoft :-) The forum post here shows that MS are aware of it (as do other Google finds) but there still doesn’t seem to be a fix. This is a shame as it’s going to put a lot of people off upgrading to 6.1 and then people like me who are already on 6.1 are stuck :-(

When and if I hear something further, I’ll update this post ASAP!

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Trailer


The trailer for the upcoming Wolverine film looks freaking awesome! I’m a big fan of Marvel and the X-Men are my favourite section of the universe and Wolverine is my favourite of all the X-Men. Ever since I was little I’ve been a big fan of Logan’s and he’s been well represented in the 3 previous X-Men films, so this should be even better.

The sheer number of other mutants it features is excellent too…both Gambit AND Deadpool are present as well as Emma Frost and Banshee (although I don’t think the latter two will feature particularly heavily) which sets up a great film if anything does!

Windows 7 Beta Leaked


A newer, seemingly more reliable version of the Windows 7 beta has been leaked to the internet and is apparently available via BitTorrent. This is version 7000 rather than 6801 so should be more stable.

I haven’t downloaded this, or any previous betas of Windows 7 as I’ve got such high hopes for this new OS, I don’t want to ruin the experience in any way. However a lot of people are running the betas and they only seem to have good things to say…as soon as the official beta is released, I’ll be one of them too :-)

win7-beta-sdljlq

Original article can be found over @ Engadget.

There is an octopus in the Goonies!


I got the Goonies on DVD for Xmas and have spent an enjoyable couple of hours re-watching what is one of my favourite ever films, and a true classic piece of cinema. Not only that but I finally got an answer to one part of the film that has always puzzled me…near the end when the kids escape and are fielding questions from the reporters; Data says “…the part with the Octopus was very scary” and I’ve wondered for years what he was on about.

Now, having watched the DVD deleted scenes in turns out there actually WAS a giant Octopus in it originally! After they’ve all jumped off One-Eyed Willy’s ship-it attacks them in the water and good ol’ Data saves the day :-)

Literal Videos Removed


It seems that most of the Literal Videos have been removed from Youtube due to Copyright claims, which is a real shame. It seems that only Tears for Fears are cool enough to leave theirs up…

I don’t really see what the issue is as the videos are affectionate and playful and I think they’ve caused an increase in people listening to those songs and bands as a whole…I know I’ve been rocking out to them a lot more than before.

Hopefully they’ll come back…

ViaPost-A New Way to Mail


ViaPost allows you to send physical post via your PC, saving money and carbon emissions.

It’s as easy as installing a driveron your Windows machine and printing it using the “Send to ViaPost” option. They’ll print it nearer it’s final location and then stamp it for the final past of it’s journey, apparently reducing overall emissions by 80%…and for a starting price of 27p!

If you can’t install the driver, you can use the ViaPost WebPortal to manually upload documents and mailing lists and there’s also an API for you developers out there :-) 

This sounds like quite an ingenious idea and I’ll be interested to see how it catches on as it is effectively another type of outsourcing for businesses. This service can save business the time and cost of folding, stuffing and mailing their own invoices, direct mailers etc (something Viapost estimate to cost 50p per letter); however I think a lot of people will be wary of sending anything personal/financial through this channel due to worries around data security-at least initially. The FAQ states:

Security information:
“As soon as you press “Send it ViaPost™” within the ViaPost print driver your letter will be securely encrypted by the software. This means that your letter cannot be read by others whilst in transit and will be printed automatically and securely at the ViaPost print facility closest to the destination address. If you have any questions please email security@viapost.com.”

Perhaps the biggest downside at the minute is that it takes 3 days for a letter to be delivered-which in many cases could be too long. Again from the FAQs:

Why does it take three days?
At the moment, we operate to the following print cycle: Day 0: You send your letter. Day 1: We print your letter. Day 2: We deliver to Royal Mail local office. Day 3: Royal Mail deliver to the door. Our aim will be to print your letter and deliver it to Royal Mail the same day you send it, so it will be delivered by the postman the next day. We hope to soon offer this service for addresses in London, later rolling out to the rest of the country.

Once they can get the letters received, printed and with Royal Mail within a day-that will make it an even more viable alternative to how we do things now.

I saw this over on Steve Clayton’s blog and would like to say I wish his friends all the best in this venture as it could make a real difference!

It’s all based on .NET and is another great example of how Microsoft software can help make new, fresh ideas a reality so Go change the World ViaPost :-)