Further issues with the Zune software:
- No dynamic play lists. While I occasionally will listen to a particular album or artist, my primary method of listening to music is a modified shuffle of the entire library, slightly culled by dropping any tracks that I’ve played in the last 1-3 weeks (My full library at home gets 3 weeks, my smaller library at work gets 1 week). This means that I really do often hear stuff that I haven’t heard lately which usually makes up for the other quirks in the default shuffle play systems of both iTunes and any version of Windows Media Player I’ve toyed around with.
- Media updates will stop playback of that media. So after figuring I would at least try and listen to something in the interface, despite the aforementioned lack of dynamic playlists, so I queued up a recently acquired album (You Are Here by Banco de Gaia, which is really quite good world beat electronica) and started listening. Six minutes into the first track (which clocks at nine minutes and 15 seconds) the music suddenly stops. Somewhat mystified I pull up the player and notice a little banner at the bottom saying “Updating You Are Here…” or something similar. While that banner was displayed I could queue up other music, but not the one that was being updated. Again, iTunes and Windows Media Player don’t have this issue.
- Does not minimize to system tray. I tend to keep a lot of windows open while I am working during the day and so being able to remove one item from the taskbar to reduce clutter actually makes quite a difference to me. Unlike iTunes and Windows Media Player, I cannot find a single option that allows me to minimize to the system tray.
I think the strangest thing about all of those points is that otherwise the interface looks and behaves almost identical to Windows Media Player 11, which I spent a fair bit of time playing around with over the past couple of weeks. Playback works okay and audio quality isn’t an issue that I can tell, but I see absolutely no compelling reasons to keep this installed on my computer.
I had also honestly been considering the possibility of getting a Zune, but until at least the minimize and dynamic playlist issues are fixed it’s just not an option for me.