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Why the Zune HD will fail.

Dramatic title, right? Well, it's just my opinion, but from the confirmed specs listed on Microsoft's release about the new Zune HD, I believe it is doomed to reside in the shadow of Apple's iPod alongside the rest of it's brethren. If things change between today and it's release then maybe the Zune HD has a chance. The people are eager to have choices in a Portable Media Player and therefore eager for the Zune brand to succeed. I know I am.

Zune HD
Zune HD

At first blush, the Zune HD is beautiful, inside and out. OLED multi-touch screen, HD Radio, HD Video playback, Wi-Fi, and web browsing all in a nicely designed package. Then, a closer look reveals that the unit is missing some important information. Is there going to be an "app store?" Did they increase the DPI on the screen? (The iPod Touch DPI is 163ppi.) Internet Explorer based browsing? Really? Cost? Hard drive size? (If you want HD video, it'd better be larger than 32GB.)

The biggest issue here is some sort of third party application delivery. Without the app store, the Ipod Touch would just be a fancy media player. The applications bring it to a whole new level. Not really a PDA but not only a media player. In order for people to switch over to the Zune HD, they have to know that they'll receive the same experience, i.e. downloadable applications of all types and purposes. So far, a few games aren't going to persuade users. I want to download my email, send a "twit" on Twitter, I want to be able to post on WordPress from it! That is the strength of the iPod touch. If the Zune HD really is meant to go "head to head" than that app store needs to open soon.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for Microsoft succeeding and providing us with more choices for out entertainment delivery. The Zune HD does some things right. HD Radio is the future (distant, but certain) and I am glad that it is included. Although I wonder about the reception, our car's HD radio reception isn't all that great. OLED screens will save on battery power and, unlike LCD technology, OLED can display true blacks.

If the Zune wanted to pull ahead of Apple, they would add a microphone and a video capable camera to the unit along with their own app store. That's the winning combination right there.

Like I said, I hope that the Zune HD becomes a viable option in the PMP market, but I really doubt it will. That seems to be the Zune legacy.

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Creativity and Art in My Family

My sister, Tanya, has been drawing since she was a little kid.  Her and my brother are part of the reason why I didn't push myself to sketch and draw more when I was younger.  They are much more talented and gifted than I am with the pencil and brush.

Speaking of creativity in the family, many of our uncles and aunts are VERY good artists.  My uncle Miguel has art all over my grandparents house using the Pointillism (or is it Divisionism?) technique.  They're amazing and beautiful paintings.  On my mom's side, a few of my uncles used to draw a lot of caricatures and other cartoon stuff.  The creativity genes exist from both sides of our family so it's no surprise that the four siblings are all creative in one way or another.

Anyway, so, Tanya posted a video on her Facebook profile that I wanted to share just to prove my point and to show off how good she is. 🙂

UPDATE: Changed the video. This one has her coloring in the drawing.  Much  more interesting to me since I have trouble with color theory and stuff. You can see the rest on her You Tube page and on the website I set up for her at MoiNoir.com.

She is starting her own web-comic soon and I am sure she will do well with it.  I put a link somewhere around here when she starts posting her comics.

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Ma’ Birthday’s Comin’

It's wishlist time. Last year was a pretty successful year for my annual personal holiday, I got Mario Kart, my sub-woofer, and a few other doo-dads. This year is a tough one for many people including my family and friends. I never expect gifts from them but they always ask what I want. It's also fun to just list the things I am excited about.

Protomen
Protomen

One of my biggest things this year is creativity and art focused around the things I grew up around: video games, puzzles, and toys. One of my favorite art forms to indulge myself with is music. Lately, when I am on my computer, I'll be listening to Last.FM's video game channel. I discovered an awesome band called The Protomen. They're widely popular right now - and rightly so - their music is based on the Mega Man universe and has a real dark apocalyptic tone to it. Beautiful music. Me want.

I'm also trying to return to my electrical-geek days by making my own USB powered LED lights. I bought a big bag of random LED's off of eBay some time ago thinking my parents still had my electronics toolkit that I left behind. Nope. My Dad must of taken it years ago. The only thing I really need right now is a breadboard. I'd love to get a new soldering iron, a bag of random resistors, and some perfboard... but that's for later.

While I am on the subject of electronics, I have been itching to play with one of those Arduino boards. I like the LED email alert widget that can sit on a desk. I long time ago, I wanted to make a unit that attaches to the trash can that will send me a text message when the trash can is not on the street Monday night. It's an expensive idea that really outweighs any benefit I get from it, but that's how this geek rolls!

ventura
Ventura County Photgraphy

I have enjoyed photography for decades. I can't even say when I really started to love it - that's how far back it goes. I never took classes on photography, instead I learned and gained inspiration through the works of others. I bought photography books left and right. Today, I am doing the same with drawing and art. I'll take any good books on photography, watercoloring, pencil sketching... anything. Books on graphic design, typography, web design, and pretty much anything design is also on my list. I'm absorbing knowledge like a friggin' Sham-Wow right now.

The last thing on my list are gift cards, specifically for downloadable content. I am really into the iPhone apps and WiiWare downloads, more-so than buying actual games at the store right now.  I think iTunes gift cards work with the app store and Wii Points cards are everywhere.

I'm trying to be good this year. Ciri says it's really hard to shop for me because everything I want is very expensive. As you can see, not one gift passes the $50 mark!  Yay me!