The past work week was a woefully unproductive one, although I wouldn’t say I was especially bummed about it. We had a new intern start at the office this week, someone who will be entering the medical billing field. They won’t learn much at our office though, as we generate our bills manually with Excel. Apparently our clinic was a last resort. There was also an unusual amount of melodrama at the office this week that didn’t help either.Over the course of the weekend, I went with my parents to a couple furniture stores and Best Buy to shop for a new TV, something to put the TV on and maybe new living room furniture too. I helped Dad make a great choice for the TV but they’re still undecided on the furniture, even though we had been to several places in the last couple weeks.Recently, Woot.com had a deal on the Microsoft Zune, a first foray into the DAP market for just $150. Although I initially wanted to like the device, there were some serious shortcomings that kept me away. The crippled Wi-Fi and lack of DivX support are unfortunate. However, at such a bargain price, I figured what the hell. I received it on Saturday, earlier than I expected. That worked out well because I’ll have another new toy to play with next week.For me, using the Zune was a tale of two experiences. The Zune itself is a great little piece of hardware. I think the doubleshot injection molding look is attractive and the unit feels quite solid. It doesn’t budge at all when you try and twist it. The screen looks sharp but it’s not bright enough to be easily visible in broad daylight. The player’s interface is fluid and dynamic without being too flashy. I especially like the emphasis placed on album art in the now playing screen, as I already have a respectable collection built up.While the hardware itself is fine, the software associated with it just plain sucks. I was already biased against it as I find the idea of needing a dedicated program to load content on a DAP repulsive. There’s no good reason all MP3 players should not function as USB mass storage devices and enable drag-and-drop from Windows explorer. A lot of the ‘features’ of the software were just annoyances to me. Although I didn’t have serious issues loading my music the first time, the program later stalled in the middle of transfers and does not have a resume function. I had to transfer about 20 gigabytes of music in incremental steps to avoid having to pick through my collection repeatedly. There were some other small headaches that I learned workarounds for over the course of Sunday night.The state of the software is almost tragic because once you have your loaded on the Zune, it’s a pleasure to use. Too bad you have to wade through a mound of crap to get to that point.

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