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  #21  
Old 06-14-2009, 10:04 PM
Olley Olley is offline
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I know bluetooth as a radio technology can suffer in environments where there is interference or overwhelming competing technologies. I just haven't had ANY difficulties. Of course I didn't start collecting devices until bluetooth 2.0 was the standard. I'm convinced early adopters built the bad rep bluetooth is known for when 1.whatever was the spec. The crappy mono phone earpieces didn't help. I also understand the limits like range and walls and even relative orientation between sender and receiver. I suspect many expect it to work perfectly despite the busy radio fields we live in (cell phone/WiFi/FM/AM/ATSC/etc.). I find it amazing that it works as well as it does depite the potential for it not to. My earlier experiences wth radio technologies (a wireless Laplink product comes to mind) were no where near as satisfying.
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  #22  
Old 06-14-2009, 11:08 PM
Ricardo Dawkins Ricardo Dawkins is offline
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Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS View Post
Thanks for forwarding the links - I checked them out. I actually wasn't aware of the Kicker issue, and I notice that a Kicker representative stepped in to figure out the problem:

http://www.zunescene.mobi/forums/ind...2240#msg482240

As for the VAF unit - I actually have one of those, and VAF issued a firmware update subsequently to fix a few bugs. If anyone is in need of help on the VAF unit, I can help more directly - send me mail at aussie@zune.net and we'll sort you out.

Speaking frankly, some fault lies on both sides here. For accessory vendors like VAF and Kicker, we publish specifications and details on connectivity so they can make a solid, working product. What has happened is that vendors have discovered they can use the connector on the bottom of the device in undocumented ways to add functionality. That's great while it works - but they don't tell us what they've done AND conversely, they might argue that we haven't explicitly told them what they CAN'T do with the connector.

We need to be more prescriptive in our documentation, and they need to stop doing things that aren't supported in the documentation. Otherwise these situations come along. We're aware of this, and working (both sides) to ensure it doesn't happen in the future.

Cheers, Dave.
Good and through response. I'm impressed.
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  #23  
Old 06-14-2009, 11:54 PM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Originally Posted by Olley View Post
I find it amazing that it works as well as it does depite the potential for it not to. My earlier experiences wth radio technologies (a wireless Laplink product comes to mind) were no where near as satisfying.
Not to mention vagaries in the Bluetooth core spec. I know that when I was in Europe visiting with a car maker there a year or two ago, they couldn't stop complaining about Bluetooth and the inconsistency of implementations by the various phone manufacturers. Each implemented the spec in slightly different ways, making testing even basic handsfree functionality a nightmare.

I remember they told me that for the BT handsfree feature alone, they had a team of 25 full-time staff PLUS 75 full-time contractors just testing various phone models to ensure compatibility. They begged us to evangelize to the PMP industry to skip BT and go straight to wifi because they couldn't afford the staff to expand their test matrix.

Cheers, Dave.
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  #24  
Old 06-15-2009, 06:38 PM
Olley Olley is offline
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The problem I see is that WiFi and Bluetooth were created for different end uses. I see no WiFi headphones, No WiFi keyboards or mice, No WiFi speaker either. I also don't know of any place to buy a WiFi handsfree phone headset. Nor have I heard of a Bluetooth network router. Then again we have bluetooth 3.0 mixing WiFi with bluetooth for faster data transfer when both devices support both technologies.

I'll admit Zune is doing with Wifi (gameplay) what Samsung is doing with Bluetooth (gameplay), but when I hear local area networking between devices talked about both WiFi and Bluetooth seem to have the same 30ft radius limit.
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  #25  
Old 06-16-2009, 02:11 AM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Originally Posted by Olley View Post
I see no WiFi headphones, No WiFi keyboards or mice, No WiFi speaker either. I also don't know of any place to buy a WiFi handsfree phone headset.
They're out there.

Wifi headset: http://www.consoleshop.com/product.php?productid=16678
Wifi A/V receivers: http://www.usa.denon.com/ProductDetails/3494.asp
Wifi home audio systems: http://www.linksysbycisco.com/US/en/products/KWHA700
Wifi speakers: http://www.linksysbycisco.com/US/en/products/DMSPK50
Wifi phones streaming music: http://www.nokiausa.com/find-product...n85/tech-specs
Wifi remote car control: http://www.intomobile.com/2007/10/18...functions.html

And so the list goes on. Yes, it is very early days for wifi in many of these verticals, but with BT and wifi on a convergence path and new innovation focussing on wifi, the legacy Bluetooth technology feels (to me) like it will be relegated to handsfree phone usage, and input devices (keyboards, mice, game controllers, etc...).

Cheers, Dave.
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  #26  
Old 06-16-2009, 06:48 AM
Nicole Nicole is offline
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I'm not familiar enough to talk about BT, but things like WiFi keyboards are scary. WiFi overall is very insecure and easily sniffed. You won't find me using WiFi for anything which might involve personal information. Speakers and such are a different story.

(Here at Uncle Sam, even wireless keyboards are forbidden.)
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  #27  
Old 06-16-2009, 06:52 AM
Olley Olley is offline
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True, WiFi is out there. Nintendo is at least using it for a headset. Doesn't seem too popular but is cheap. Denon and Linksys just use it for networking. My Tivo has been doing that for several years now. Networking, nothing original. Nothing unusual about wireless rear Speakers. I've got three sets around my house, and they all use some diffent wireless standard. Still requires the same added transmitter on the amp end. Nokia uses WiFi for networking, and bluetooth for everything bluetooth can do. Nothing orginal. The Touch with 3.0 essentially does the same with WiFi and leaves bluetooth for headsets and other Bluetooth protocals. Audi looks like they got inspired by what Wifi on the Touch/iPhone could do on your PC (remote control iTunes and Keynote) but not in their cars. Looks like they could have chosen any wireless technology and what they've done would cause they same headaches to port to other cars.
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  #28  
Old 06-16-2009, 12:58 PM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Ya, that's pretty much my point. BT seems great at low bandwidth handsfree phone support. Keyboards and mice too. Greater bandwidth applications like high fidelity audio are better for technologies like wifi. Sure you can do it with BT, but you're just compressing the heck out of your audio stream and forcing bits down a slightly too small pipe.

Cheers, Dave.
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  #29  
Old 06-16-2009, 02:44 PM
m_k m_k is offline
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Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS View Post
I joined the Zune team full-time just as we were shipping Zune v1, and came on board with responsibility for automotive, connectivity, and active accessories (ie: not cases and cables, but speaker docks and the like).
There's something that I have been completely unable to fathom, regarding the Zune FM transmitter/car adapter/charger.

It's definitely the fanciest, slickest such device I've ever seen -- LCD FM tuner display on the transmitter, pushbuttons for presets and tuning, automatic seeking for... and that's where we cross the sanity barrier.

For some odd reason (heavy emphasis on "ODD"), this thing is designed to home in on EXISTING broadcast station frequencies. It does NOT want to let the user set it to an empty (UNUSED) frequency.

It seems to rely heavily on the FM "capture effect" i.e., when two transmissions are present on the same frequency, the receiver's discriminator will lock onto the stronger of the two signals.

Even though the little transmitter's power is a tiny fraction of any broadcast station transmitter's output, due to the inverse square law, its EFFECTIVE strength will generally be stronger, since it's located so much closer to the receiver.

The problem is hinted at in the word "generally" -- when you have two signals contending for the same frequency, it ain't pretty. They will contend for the receiver's attention, there will be degradation of whichever of the two is chosen by the receiver, and, as the car MOVES, the various signals will vary... check the relevant forums for scads of posts from people complaining about how they can get it to work OK in their driveway, but have it go nuts as they drive -- or, it'll work OK in one location, but as they move to another, it'll go all flakey. Apparently it NEEDS a broadcast signal to piggyback.

The thing I find the the most amazing (or amusing) about this whole thing -- apart from the fact that this design was developed in the first place -- is that the FCC *approved* something that by design walks over the signals of licensed broadcast stations. An "innocent bystander" in another vehicle (or, walking down the sidewalk with a portable radio) will have HIS signal taken over any time a Zune-transmitter-equipped vehicle, tuned to "ride" the same station, drives by.

What on earth were they thinking? Common sense dictates that you want to have your FM modulator set to an UNUSED frequency, BETWEEN existing broadcast stations. This is the kind of surrealistic design I'd expect to see written up as an April Fool's joke ("Press Release: The Flotsamjetolacorp development team has patented a new type of FM modulator, which distinguishes itself by automatically seeking out EXISTING, IN-USE frequencies to use for its OWN transmissions!")

The next-most amazing thing is that when I first hooked it up to my Zune, the very first thing it did was to update its own firmware (an FM modulator with FIRMWARE? Gadzooks!) -- and, it STILL had the lunatic tuning scheme!

Can you shed ANY light on why they've done this? Frankly, as pretty as this thing is, the only REAL use I can think of for it is as a car-charger cord -- and, IF it's possible to dig into it, and fish out the audio line-level lines from the docking port (and, disable the transmitter), I'd add a cable and plug so that I could connect it to my car radio's Aux input jack.

Most likely though I'll probably try to sell it on ebay -- and feel guilty about unloading something with such a crazy design defect onto an unuspecting buyer.
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  #30  
Old 06-16-2009, 02:52 PM
m_k m_k is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS View Post
Anyhow - fast forward 9 years - I spent a year being a tester in Visual Studio
Were you involved with the pre-dot-net VS?

In an earlier life, I was "in that world" -- in fact, my name in mentioned once or twice in the Visual Studio help files (VS 5 or 6, I forget which, tempus fugit!) in reference to some magazine articles I'd written which the MSFT helpfile writers found worthy of citing.
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  #31  
Old 06-16-2009, 04:03 PM
jkj1962 jkj1962 is offline
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Originally Posted by m_k View Post
For some odd reason (heavy emphasis on "ODD"), this thing is designed to home in on EXISTING broadcast station frequencies. It does NOT want to let the user set it to an empty (UNUSED) frequency.
I didn't think mine worked that way...I'll have to re-check this.

UPDATE: I have the V2 Car Kit, and mine doesn't do that, it homes in on UNUSED frequencies. I hadn't noticed before, but it will count up the frequency, then stop and back up to an unused one. I tried it several times, and every frequency it selected was either unused or used by a far-off station. It never selected a strong station. And it will let you step the frequency manually and save 2 presets. It's kind of handy, too, that the control box is magnetic, since it sticks to my dash closer to the antenna.

I did however discover my Zune 16 isn't holding a charge anymore. That makes the second one in 4 months. As soon as service.zune.net is back up, I'll have to contact them.

Last edited by jkj1962; 06-16-2009 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Did some experimenting.
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  #32  
Old 06-16-2009, 05:46 PM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Originally Posted by m_k View Post
For some odd reason (heavy emphasis on "ODD"), this thing is designed to home in on EXISTING broadcast station frequencies. It does NOT want to let the user set it to an empty (UNUSED) frequency.

<snip...>

The next-most amazing thing is that when I first hooked it up to my Zune, the very first thing it did was to update its own firmware (an FM modulator with FIRMWARE? Gadzooks!) -- and, it STILL had the lunatic tuning scheme!
Hi M_K - actually it is supposed to find existing (taken) frequencies and then backup an increment or two to find a blank station. The logic is that major stations aren't usually on consecutive frequencies (like 102.7 and 102.9) if it can be avoided.

If your device isn't behaving like that, let me know.

As for the firmware upgrade - I'm actually pretty proud of that. We get firmware updates sent down to the device from Marketplace, and then when you next connect to the accessory, the device updates the firmware on the accessory. I reckon that's pretty cool.

Cheers, Dave.
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  #33  
Old 06-16-2009, 06:02 PM
jkj1962 jkj1962 is offline
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Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS View Post
Hi M_K - actually it is supposed to find existing (taken) frequencies and then backup an increment or two to find a blank station. The logic is that major stations aren't usually on consecutive frequencies (like 102.7 and 102.9) if it can be avoided.
That is what I find mine does.

Quote:
As for the firmware upgrade - I'm actually pretty proud of that. We get firmware updates sent down to the device from Marketplace, and then when you next connect to the accessory, the device updates the firmware on the accessory. I reckon that's pretty cool.
The only thing cooler might be including the desktop software on the device and having it install from it. On flash players you would have the option to delete it afterwards to save space.

Not my idea, I have an RCA Digital Voice Recorder that does this.
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  #34  
Old 06-16-2009, 07:55 PM
m_k m_k is offline
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I will confess to only having checked it one time (I am disabled, "don't get out much") after reading of others complaints of it tuning itself to the same freq as existing station, and it certainly did tune to the SAME freq as existing broadcast stations when I tried it. I tried several stations, it would scan, find a station, and lock in. The only rational explanation I could come up with was a pseudo convenience factor -- i.e., an attempt at avoiding support calls based on "how do I create a preset on my car radio to tune to this device?" -- by only using existing frequencies, the odds are that it'll eventually land on a station that does have a preset in the car radio, enabling the user to easily tune the radio to the modulator frequency. Anyway, the one time I tried it, it definitely did select existing frequencies -- by turning the modulator on/off, I could toggle the reception between my Zune and the broadcast station occupying the same frequency. I even tried bunching/scrunching up the cable (since it's the antenna -- to block its transmisison level) and sure enough, as I scrunched it up, the Zune transmission got worse, broke up, and was replaced by the broadcast station occupying the frequency it had selected for me. PS: the docs do say that this is how it behaves -- I didn't believe it at first, even after reading the docs and the numerous postings, but when I tried it myself, I was kinda blown away by the whole concept.
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  #35  
Old 06-17-2009, 12:42 AM
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copeys copeys is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS View Post
As for the firmware upgrade - I'm actually pretty proud of that. We get firmware updates sent down to the device from Marketplace, and then when you next connect to the accessory, the device updates the firmware on the accessory. I reckon that's pretty cool.

Cheers, Dave.
Does it ask before it downloads and/or updates your player?

I'd hate to just want a simple transfer of a song and then it starts a firmware update
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  #36  
Old 06-17-2009, 04:58 AM
Olley Olley is offline
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Dave: Any idea when (and if) they'll be sending out review models of the ZuneHD? I'd be happy to do a lengthy evaluation, keep it secret(n.d.a.), then post a write-up here (and a few other places) on the day the Zune comes out.

Olley
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  #37  
Old 06-17-2009, 11:48 AM
ma5tersplint3r ma5tersplint3r is offline
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Hi Dave, just a quickie, I'm not sure if you can or are allowed to answer, but...is Zune HD launching in the UK? I was looking for a new player last year and eventually opted for the Zune 120 and I love it, excellent player. However I had to import it (which wasn't a problem) but the lack of potential tech support, no warranty and no marketplace is a shame, but I'm not overly concerned as the various versions have been tried and tested now. If HD is going to be as good as I think it could be, I'd love to buy it but possibly not imported, as the lack of warranty would be a concern due to it being a vastly different device to the 120, and probably not cheap!
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  #38  
Old 06-17-2009, 06:38 PM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Originally Posted by jkj1962 View Post
The only thing cooler might be including the desktop software on the device and having it install from it. On flash players you would have the option to delete it afterwards to save space.
I think you'll find Microsoft would be pretty wary of having devices that automatically install software upon connection. There's a ton of rules and privacy and security stuff that would get in the way (rightly so) and frankly, I'm not sure I'd want people installing old versions of the client once newer releases came out...

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Originally Posted by copeys View Post
Does it ask before it downloads and/or updates your player?

I'd hate to just want a simple transfer of a song and then it starts a firmware update
Well, this already works today. When there is a new firmware update for the device - you're prompted in the Zune PC client to install it - it isn't automatic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olley View Post
Dave: Any idea when (and if) they'll be sending out review models of the ZuneHD? I'd be happy to do a lengthy evaluation, keep it secret(n.d.a.), then post a write-up here (and a few other places) on the day the Zune comes out.
I'm sure they will, for accredited press and bloggers, but not for some time yet I'd expect. No sense in having reviews written on not-yet-complete products.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ma5tersplint3r View Post
Hi Dave, just a quickie, I'm not sure if you can or are allowed to answer, but...is Zune HD launching in the UK?
Unfortunately I can't answer that at this time. Sorry.

Cheers, Dave.
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  #39  
Old 06-17-2009, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS View Post
Well, this already works today. When there is a new firmware update for the device - you're prompted in the Zune PC client to install it - it isn't automatic.
Rightio, thanks Dave .
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  #40  
Old 06-18-2009, 01:15 PM
ma5tersplint3r ma5tersplint3r is offline
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Unfortunately I can't answer that at this time. Sorry.
No worries Dave, I'll just have to be patient and see Forgive me mods if I'm overstepping the mark, I'll edit/delete my post if so. But Dave, is it more that Microsoft know but staff are tied to non-disclosure or have they simply just not started looking at launch plans yet? No worries if you are unable to answer, just curious really.
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