The Ideal Way to Sort Music

This is intended to be an open letter to all development teams working on media player software (from open-source all the way up to big companies like Microsoft).

Following is an outline of the ideal way to sort music by default. I know I can’t be alone in feeling this way (though I probably am one of the few that actually organizes his physical musical collection the same way), yet it seems to be the last feature any media player includes.

  1. Sort everything by artist name
    1. Sort albums by release year
      1. Finally, sort individual songs by track number

If two albums exist by the same artist, then you can sort them in alphabetical order.

Most importantly, you should have the option to choose, on each individual level, whether you want the items sorted in ascending or descending order.

Recent Zune Update Offers More Games – Not Much Else

In mid-November, Microsoft released a new update to the Zune software and device firmware. The update adds three new games to the Zune device, but doesn’t offer much else. Microsoft is calling the software Zune 3.1 (though the official Zune Web site is still promoting Zune 3.0).

The updates are pretty well covered on Paul Thurrott’s blog. As I said, there wasn’t much added to the new software and firmware except for a few extra games for the device.

An Idea for Media Players

I was thinking the other day about a really cool feature I would like to see in media player software. It’s possible that the feature already exists in some media player software, and I’m just not aware.

I think it would be very neat to have the ability to play something on my computer while I’m plugged in; then continue playing the same thing on my digital media player when I unplug it from my computer.

Zune Services Down For Up To 48 Hours

As of midnight tonight, Zune services will be going down for maintenance, and will be out of commission for up to two days. While this is probably devastating for Zune pass subscribers, at least the powers-that-be at Zune.net are doing things right.

On Sept. 26, I received an e-mail message letting me know that the services would be unavailable during that time. In addition, if you visit the Web site right now (there’s a screen shot to the right), there is a very blatant message informing you that the services will be down for up to 48 hours.

While I’m not sure this maintenance downtime is going to be good for the Zune bottomline or increasing its following, I am hoping that the maintenance will also include some nice upgrades to the service.

I simply cannot imagine iTunes being down for two days (although, I suppose it’s possible that it’s happened, since I never use iTunes, personally).

It seems like an odd business decision, but I am impressed with the level of notification.

Zune 3.0 Is Here

I realize I’m a little late to the party, as it’s been a few days since I’ve synced my Zune. However, Zune 3.0 is here. In addition to two new hardware models from Microsoft, those of us that already own Zunes (the original devices and the 2.0 devices) get to reap the benefits of the software/firmware update.

What I’d Like To See – A Partnership Between DirecTV and MS

Okay, so if the world happened to be an ideal place; here is what I would like to see. I would like to see Microsoft strike a deal with DirecTV, that would allow Zune owners to hook their Zunes directly into their DirecTV DVRs and transfer recorded programs onto their Zune.

I realize that I’m reaching here, which is why I said that it would have to be an ideal world. It’s not that far of a stretch, though, to imagine some company trying to compete with the iPod striking a deal with Dish Network, DirecTV, Comcast or some other major player in the pay-TV world. If the companies were somehow able to work out the legal implications, imagine how great it would be to be able to hook up your digital media player and download the latest episode of Heroes or Doctor Who (or whatever your favorite TV shows are). That USB jack on the front (and, in my case, at least, on the back, too) should be made useful for something eventually.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this something you’d like to see? I know that Apple already introduced Apple TV, which seems to be a similar concept; but I can honestly imagine a company like Microsoft partnering with DirecTV or Comcast or someone, and allowing you to associate a Zune with your DVR.

I’m sure it’s just wishful thinking, but I’ll keep on wishing.

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