Jeff Julian's Blog

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SharePoint Consulting (Kansas City Metro)

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Subscribers, you can now go to MSDN and download SharePoint 2007 Standard and Enterprise.


I know I have been a little Zune crazy lately, so I will tame it down after this post.  ZUNE ACCESSORIES ARE AT WALMART....

Last night when we went to Walmart to purchase some Christmas paraphernalia for our house, I walked through the electronics department as I always do now looking for Zune accessories and there it was.  The Zune car charger and FM transmitter! 

This device is average when it comes to FM transmitters and the charger cords is quite short and tightly wound in the coil so it is hard to pass of the Zune to other passengers.  The transmitter doesn't actually stick on to the device with buttons to remove like others, so it often comes unhooked from the Zune mid-song if you are moving it around.  Bad flaw in design there. 

Would I still suggest this product, yeah because if you want to listen to the Zune in a vehicle, you kind of need one.

[Update:  Yeah, I hate this product now.  Poor signal strength.  I am now using my Monster and Zune transmitter to make both these crappy tools work together for a semi-clean signal.]

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Well not from Microsoft, but a Zune branded accessory.  An FM transmitter by Monster Cable.  I found this at a local Target store (after walking around the campers) along with an actual Microsoft Home Kit (I don't want that $100 dock, remote, and cables).


Read more about this device.



Well I am still downloading (or attempting to, not looking so good) Vista from MSDN, but I am not sure how I am going to use it.  You see (and have probably already heard) that the Vista team is on one side of the campus and Zune team is on another.  The distance is so far that they were unable to communicate and test products together.  So the Zune doesn't work on Vista.  Now since Business Customers don't use Zunes, they will release an update just in time for the Vista Home release in January. 

So I am left with a dilemma.  I can:

  1. Install Vista and resurrect my Dell Inspiron 8600 for my Zune and Zune only (that thing sucks)
  2. Leave XP and wait for a Zune update on my Toshiba. 

I will probably choose 1, but I am building the Dell box first to make sure I can move the Zune Marketplace music to that machine and get the account working over there first, cause I really don't want to be force to download all that music again.

Now if MSDN can get their license generation service back up, I am good to go with installing Vista.


These pictures are from last night (Wednesday, November 15, 2006) in Lee's Summit, MO around 9pm in the Best Buy parking lot.  Amazing!!!!  They have already started.  Last time I waited in line was XBox 1.0 and prior to that was Dreamcast, N64, Playstation 2.  During this time, you just had to show up at 10pm and get it as midnight.  Now if you want one of these devices, you have to camp out in the 30 degree weather for a few nights. 

For all you crazy folks out there waiting in line, pick me up some Zune accessories if you see some when you rush the door on Friday.

[Click the photo so see the larger version]

Best Buy Campout - Lee's Summit, MO - Wednesday Night Best Buy Campout - Lee's Summit, MO - Wednesday Night


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Unless you are just looking for a case to protect your Zune, all other accessories were not shipped.  I would hope Microsoft would know that portable devices are nothing without car/home attachments.  You need to ship chargers and transmitters with the devices to the stores.  This was a lesson Apple needs to learn as well.  Every iPod I have purchased (1G, 4G, Nano) have not had adequate accessories at launch.  At least Microsoft announced what the accessories were, but with the delivery date set on most at Nov. 14, they didn't meet that goal.

  • One of the stores, OfficeMax, I visited said they Zune came via UPS and not their standard shipping service.  He said only the accessories they had which were cases were in the box.  He had no clue when they would come. 
  • Walmart was less than helpful and just stated that they didn't get them. 
  • has them Backordered for online purchases and marked Not available in stores.
  • only shows a case as an accessory, no chargers.

I have an old-school FM transmitter that works off of stereo out and not the iPod dock that would just have to get me by until I can get a real one.  I must commend Microsoft for branding all the Zune accessories with the logo, that was a great idea. 



Man I need some accessories.  Last night I downloaded so much music that I have been meaning to listen to (well over $249.99 in CDs), but I don't have anything for playback in my car.

Here is my review of features:

  • Radio - Robert's friends say it isn't good, but I am in the middle of a large brick building (center office, middle floor) and it comes in perfectly.  It is nice to just flip from CDs to FM, too bad I mostly listen to AM and there are no talk radio stations on FM in KC.
  • Buttons - Yeah this is annoying, but on day two I have only tried to wheel the buttons twice instead of every time I used it like yesterday.  I think Apple patented the scroll wheel or this device would have it based on first round user testing.
  • Zune Player - Yeah this thing is URGE, but a little harder to use.  Last night, right before going to bed, I had several CDs queued to download and CRASH....Would you like to send this report to Microsoft?  Hells yeah I do.  Restarted the application and "Welcome to Zune, lets set everything up".  You have to be kidding me.  4 hours of running the app and it never occurred to the developers to save settings without requiring the application to exit?  So if you get a Zune, set up your Zune Player and restart the application.
  • UI - I wish I could change some of the features of the display, like don't tell me what year the video is from.  I don't care!  You are just making the title look weird with "BT:2006" or "Paul Oakenfold:2006".
  • Playback UI for Music - Album Art is great, but please do stretch it to where it is pixilated and not give me the option to say, "Hey, not so big!"
  • Size - Sitting next to my iPod 20g (4G), it looks about right, so I think they got the size down.
  • Color - Black is the new Black, Brown looks funny to me, so I got Black.
  • I/O - Standard headphone, lock, and dock you would expect.  Why in 2006 (near 2007) does a device come out without a built-in FM transmitter?  Why?  Does Belkin pay Apple and Microsoft to not do it?  XM does it with their $50 radios, so why does my $250 Zune not have one?
  • Weight - Perfecto!  Looks heavier than it is.
  • Sticker - Where is my damn sticker!  These guys got one, why didn't I.  Microsoft messed up there cause I would have sported that baby on my XTerra (right below the Three Footer).  If anyone from the Zune teams want to send me my missing sticker, please feel free to contact me.
  • Volume - Scoble's guys were off again.  This thing gets very loud.  Louder than my iPods.  I have bad hearing from being stupid in my early 20s (3-4 years ago) and having my car stereo bumped from factory to 145db (which means when you yelled in my car, you couldn't hear yourself).  So you can imagine I often say, "Huh?"  The Zune has a crisp sound and I only put my volume at the half mark.  Unlike the iPods 3/4 mark I use.
  • Headphones - Brilliant!!!!!  Magnets on the back of the ear buds so when you put them away they don't tie themselves together.  You guys are smart.  Oh yeah, the sounds quality is great too.

Would I still tell you to buy one if you had the opportunity?  Of course!  This thing is great.  Much Better Than The iPod!


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Once I popped the top off my Zune box today, this is the phrase I saw, Welcome to the social.  I love this device.  I have iPods (4 to be exact), so all my music that I have previously purchased can stay on them.  My Zune is for the Zune Marketplace and a Zune pass.  I wanted this device solely for pulling music from the service (unlimited downloads) and sync only those to the Zune. 

First thoughts about the device is this is what an iPod should have been.  Big screen, more advanced UI, etc.  It is hard to get past the non-scroll wheel input device.  I give this device two thumbs up, now I need some accessories!



My dad sent me some photos of Brandon today when he was down at their house with Michelle a week ago and this photo is awesome. 


Brandon and Computer

So Proud...Not even two and working on two-handed typing.  No hunting and pecking here.



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All you subscribers come and get it…Office 2007 RTM is available for download. This post is coming from Word 2007 and the new blogger feature.

I haven't smiled this much for software since PDC 2003 and when we got the first bits of Longhorn (Vista).


One of my friends Scott Cate has just released some really cool Knowledge Base Server for Community Server.  If you are running CS on the side or at work and want a place to start a KB of your own, this is a great product for you.  Check out his post with how-to videos about the product.



With John and my contribution to an upcoming book (more detail later) and client load for Alexander & Julian Inc., we have been very busy lately.  Tonight, I am hoping with the hosting update we will be doing will help stabilize the site and get us back into high performance. 

The new support system we launched on has been pretty successful, but not everyone is using it yet.  If you have any problems with the site or content of the site, please email and we will try to get you square away as soon as possible.  I hope to have more knowledge base articles publish up there as well on how to best use your blog and the tools available.  Recently, I republished my Setting Up Windows Live Writer article in the KB.  If you want to see something else here, please let me know via comments.