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Zune Software: FAIL.

When I bought my Zune, it was after careful research and investigation that I decided to purchase one.   I knew it was a device with huge dreams of being the number one portable media player.   I knew that the path to that dream was long and dangerous.   But I bought one anyway.   I did it because I thought it had the potential and the drive.

I was wrong.

Zune Video Playback Issues
Zune Video Playback Issues

A recent update on the Zune software for my computer has caused some incompatibility with my hardware.   I download a lot of video podcasts, and I have a few of my DVDs on my Zune as well.   Before the update, they played beautifully.   After the update, well I'll just say I am now in the 1970's - jagged lines everywhere.   Vertical lines across the video and green pixel artifacts at the edge of the video too, overall lowering the quality of the video, not to mention annoying as heck.

The video file plays fine on different software on my computer.   It plays fine on the Zune itself.   It plays fine on my other computer.   I know it's a hardware issue, but if my computer can play the video fine with different software, then the Zune software is wrong.

I had issues when I first bought it months ago.   It would restart at random times while I played music.   I was THIS close to returning it.   I called Microsoft and they said a software update was coming that would fix it.   I gambled with my return policy and stuck with it until the update.   I gambled right; the update fixed the issue and times were good again.

Now when I want to watch a podcast on my computer I have to watch it in such a horribly low quality that I am discouraged of watching the video at all.

Microsoft promised me a fix last time and they delivered.   To be fair, I will call them up again and see if they have any fix this time.   If not, I bought the warranty for it and I plan on using it.   Ugh.   I hate being in this position.   I. Do. Not. Want. To. Buy. An. IPod... EVER. But I'm a sucker for gadgets and I have to give in.

If only Microsoft would put out a simple version to the software.   I don't care about the "enhanced graphics."   I hate to admit it, but why can't it be a bit cleaner like the iTunes software?

Microsoft...   Zune software = fail.

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Ikea is coming to North Carolina

Ikea
Ikea

During our time in Germany, we made many trips to the local Ikea store.   Ciri's little Mitsubishi Eclipse would get stuffed to the back seat with lights, shelves, furniture, and much more.   That car could fit an uncanny amount of items!

We furnished our home with tons of Ikea products, and we built many of the Ikea products with Ikea tools!   We used Ikea light bulbs, Ikea batteries, Ikea plants, Ikea picture frames, Ikea everything!   Ikea is not only a great place to furnish a home on the cheap it's also a great place to have lunch (Ligonberry juice!!!)!

When we moved to NC, we knew we were going to need some furnishings and immediately looked up the nearest Ikea store.   We were saddened to find out that the nearest store was about 4 hours away.   Many of the items we needed were on their website, but were marked as an item that could not be purchased online (Ikea, what is the point in listing it, if you aren't going to sell it to me?!).   The drive would be long and expensive, and in the end, not worth it.   So we settled for other sub-par stores.

Out of frustration of the situation, I checked Ikea months ago for an explanation on how the furniture capital of the US did not have an Ikea location.   Actually, I found out that Ikea had plans to build   in Charlotte, NC.   Charlotte is about 2 hours from us, making it a much easier drive for us.   The only problem is that it won't be ready until Spring of next year.

I remembered today that they were supposed to start construction in the Spring.   I Googled Ikea and Charlotte and found out that they started building the day before Izzy was born!   That must be a sign.   Anyway, we are on track to get an Ikea by next Spring and in all honesty, all I want are some Swedish meat balls covered in Lingonberry sauce and a glass of Lingonberry juice.

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My Canon AE-1 Program

My parents bought a Chinon SLR camera a loooong time ago.   I kinda sorta kept it and taught myself how to use it.   When I left for Germany, I found out, after not using it for years, that the lens was broken.   The aperture blades are stuck completely open.   I wanted to have a nice camera but couldn't afford what I really wanted: the Canon Rebel.   I also didn't like the overall quality from digital prints.   Prints made from 35mm film have a different feel to them, so I decided I wanted another film camera.

I wanted either a Canon or a Nikon, and after researching the two, I found some older cameras that people rave about as tough and great to use.   I am more of a Canon person so I gravitated towards the AE-1 Program from the early eighties.   I did more and more research on the camera; looked at available accessories, checked prices on EBay, and read users' opinions on photography forums.   I looked on EBay for the perfect camera and I found one at the perfect price.   It came with the body, a few accessories, a bag, and a pretty good lens.   When the camera finally came in (it took about two weeks since we were in Germany), I immediately started taking pictures of everything with it.

I took that camera with me everywhere!   To all of our Euro-trips, friends places, dinner outings -   EVERYWHERE!   When we went to Spain I forgot it on the bus.   The bus left to take another group of people to the beach when I realized that it was on the bus.   There were many issues with the bus people, so many that I think they stole it.   I had told them that I left it on the bus and they said there was nothing there.   At the end of our Spain trip when we finally saw the bus again, they let me look before anybody got on.   It was gone.   I still had some undeveloped film from our last trip to Paris.   That was the worst part of losing my camera.   I also lost a couple hundred dollars in accessories and, of course, the camera itself.   I was sad for months.

I finally decided to buy another one.   Now that I knew more about the camera, I could look for a better one.   I found one with four lenses, tons of accessories, and a bag.   I ordered it and realized that this camera was not as well taken care of as my last one.   All but one of the lenses were broken, one of the three is probably broken beyond repair.   I have one good lens and two that will cost me $35 each to repair.   The body was really dusty, but was in very good condition.   For what I spent on it, I still got a great deal.

Since I last purchased my camera, I have purchased a power winder that automatically winds the film to the next frame after exposure.   It's been great when taking pics of Izzy.   I still miss all my lens filters that were stolen; I had a star burst that I used during Christmas, a polarized filter for outdoors, and a blue filter that I used for effect.   I also miss the lens and my flash.   The lens was a zoom lens that was perfect for general use.   The lens that is badly broken is just like the lens that was stolen, but I can't use it due to it's current state.

In time I will slowly start building up my stuff again, and this time I will keep a record of serial numbers and information.   The photography community can help me track stolen stuff down a lot easier if I have serial numbers.   The first thing I want to buy are some filters, but my potography hobby is at the bottom of stuff to do right now.