I received an announcement from the team at screencast.com in my e-mail the other day. Screencast is now officially moving out of beta and into version 1.0.
For those of you that are not familiar with screencast, it is a file organizing and sharing site for online videos. The Web site is owned by TechSmith, the company behind Camtasia Studio, Jing and many other multimedia applications.
With an account at screencast, you can easily save your videos and upload them directly from your desktop. Once the file has been uploaded, you can share it across the Web.
In my last post, I discussed the latest software and firmware updates for the Microsoft Zune. There are a few things I forgot to mention in that post, and in my initial review of the Microsoft Zune. One of those items was the fact that the player refuses to recognize DRM-protected audio files in your “watched folders”. I also neglected to discuss the options available in the Zune software for converting your audio files before adding them to your Zune. I also failed to mention the fact that the Zune software updates finally added the ability to tag your video files.
For me, the fact that the Zune software would not recognize DRM files was especially annoying, because the only DRM-protected files I had on my computer were ripped directly from CDs that I own.
I did not realize, however, that there was an easy solution to my particular problem. I must have initially ripped the files using the Gigabeat Room software that came with my old Toshiba Gigabeat, as all of the files in question were in WMA format.
About a week ago, Microsoft released Zune 2.5, the latest update for the Zune media management software. Apparently this software update adds in some functionality that was previously removed (smart playlists) and adds quite a bit of new functions.
Other than the addition of smart playlists, Zune 2.5 didn’t really add any functionality that I envision myself using very often. I found a very good, accurate review of the new software and firmware on Paul Thurrott’s Web site.
There is a very quiet buzz about Hulu on the Internet. An old friend of mine blogged about the other day, making it sound much better than it actually seems to be. In one sentence, Jon said “I have been able to catch up on shows that I didn’t watch the first time around”. However, when I visited Hulu, I found that there isn’t much potential to catch up on episodes you missed, unless you just missed them within the last few weeks.
I visited Hulu for the first time expecting to see a huge collection of full episodes. Unfortunately, what I found was a site with a decent selection of series, but only a handful of episodes from each series. Hulu doesn’t seem to offer any episodes of new shows that you can’t currently find on the network sites (probably because Hulu is actually owned by NBC and NewsCorp – NewsCorp is the parent company of Fox Broadcasting).
It may just be me, but as long as the networks continue to offer streaming video of full episodes from their own Web sites, and as long as Hulu continues to hold only a handful of full episodes for each series, I just don’t see the point.
Well, I’ve now had a Zune 2.0 80 gig digital media player for a little while, and I’m ready to offer up my review.
First of all, let me preface this review by getting the following facts out in the open:
I, personally, have only owned one other digital media player, which was a Toshiba Gigabeat F-40 (which was actually an early predecessor of the Zune). I have a bit of experience with a Creative Zen and using a PSP as a digital media player, too.
I have extremely limited experience with iPods, so I can’t comment too much on how the Zune’s features compare to the iPod’s
Although I am in many cases anti-Microsoft and to a certain extent pro-Mac; I am, oddly enough, pro-Zune and very much anti-iPod.
Now that I’ve explained my limitations and biases, it’s time to move on with the review.
What’s in the box?
The 80 gig Zune comes with the Zune itself, a user’s manual, a pair of “premium” headphones and a Zune sync cable. It’s quite a step down from the box my Gigabeat F-40 came in (which included a cradle, a software CD and a remote control, too), but it seems fairly standard for today’s media players.