Lessons Present and Future

November 14th, 2006  |  Published in etc  |  1 Comment

Engadget says “Installing the Zune… sucked .”

Lesson One (the present): Even if the engineers working on making the Zune the very best music player ever are the nicest people, the proof being right there in their blogs with all those awesome corporate-speak buzzwords like, er, “awesome” and “passionate” and “create” and “kick-butt” and “no prisoners,” Microsoft has several layers of corporate bureaucracy that not only don’t care about the Zune but go through a recruitment phase where they can be disqualified for not turning rabid dogs loose on an effigy of a customer quickly enough.

Lesson Two (the future): All that aside, if Casey (the Little Engine Who Could) fell into a wormhole and ended up in the Delta quadrant where a Borg cube merged him with an iPod then sent him back to our quadrant, you’d have the Zune. We won’t be rid of it for a long time to come because every single incremental improvement on a lamentably poor baseline product is inevitably greeted with coos of delight by Windows enthusiasts, who have learned to take joy not in things rocking, but in things sucking a little less than they did before the last 120MB update they downloaded.

How do I know all this? Because I stupidly mocked the original XBox, too, and it’s about to become the sensible middle ground between Sony’s insane $600 flaming market suicide initiative and Nintendo’s hippified $250 “games should be fun” attempt to corner the old people market (of which I am a member).

Anyhow, if you’re buying a Zune I hope you enjoy it. I mean … I’m sorta amused that it appears to be user-hostile out of the gate, and the craptacular splash screens on the installer are cute because they’re Really Contemporary in a way that’s going to look really stupid in six months. But if it lets you listen to music in a way that’s comfortable for you, then there’s no point in wishing ill on your choice. Some of my best friends are Windows fans.

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  1. pk says:

    November 14th, 2006 at 12:16 pm (#)

    Kinda funny that you got trackbacked by a Z(z?)une hype aggregator. Or is that the way it works in tekworld? All data is summoned to mother without qualifier?

    It’s fun to have a minor and thoroughly uninformed stake in this. I am a consumer of this device or product! Did you see that I linked to a story on it? I linked to a tek story! Except I referred to it with a political metaphor, rather than with an insider’s ref to the 1992 rollout of whatever gadgetry would be the laff-factor equivalent of New Coke or the Edsel.

    “Zune.” WTF?

    “Dude, I got a Zune!”

    “Psh. Why?”

    “Because I want to have SEX! Look at these people! Here’s an orgy at Dodger Stadium! And here are two people DOING IT under the Brooklyn Bridge! Many of them are unclean, unfit, and unattractive–just like me!”

    “Yeah. And they’re Zuners. I guess you’ll fit right in.”

    Seriously, dude, I think polite equanimity is not what’s called for here. Now, cruel-epithet wise, I think finding the most insulting “moon” reference is the way to go. “Zune unit,” “Zune buggy,” “Governor Zunebeam,” something like that.

    Then set to work drawing connections to other examples of cultural lameness:

    “I just got the new Justin Timberlake!”

    “Oh, really? Did you load it on your ZUNE?!


    “Dude, check out this YouTube clip!”

    “Oh, on your Zune? What is it–the new K-Fed video?”


    You know everybody wants it to flop. Who would want one? The best they can hope for is some kind of anti-cool, trucker-cap revival in eight years.

    Ironically drinking a Zima in an ironic hipster mall food court, alt-polka musician Grilled Cheese fiddles in mock frustration with his Zune. “I LOVE this thing! It’s so stupid and hard to use!”

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