Archive for windows media player

Microsoft Surface, a Better UI than Cover Flow for the Desktop

ms surface cf Microsoft Surface, a Better UI than Cover Flow for the Desktop

Cover Flow is a nice looking interface, but it is eye candy far from a practical and useful interface. The biggest problem with Cover Flow is that the user can only view the currently selected album, the one before, and the one after (and only a fraction of the latter two). The reason why this is not useful has to do with the way we mentally process ordered lists.

Typically we view lists in words made up by letters- since the alphabet is standard and consistent, we are used to making sense of where a “G” falls in reference to the rest of the items in the list. It is an automatic mental process developed by our mastery of the alphabet and language. By contrast, Cover Flow forces us to constantly relearn our mental processes of ordering visual cues in the form of album covers. While you could argue that it is possible to learn the order of album art covers, it would take time and would be difficult since the list is dynamic.

We are all obsessed with album art and love visual interfaces, but a different approach needs to be taken in order to circumvent our natural understanding of language and ordered lists.

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3 Things Windows Media Player Needs for Mainstream Adoption

windows media player 3 thin 3 Things Windows Media Player Needs for Mainstream Adoption

Let’s face it, Windows Media Player is a dog- its slow, fails to play anything outside of a few major codecs, and it fails to extend its usefulness to portable devices. Microsoft’s own Zune media player even outperforms WMP in many aspects, only failing at more of the hardcore features such as library organization and tag editing.

Ditching the WMP code and building on top of the Zune software or opening the Zune software up to all all MP3 players would be an ideal approach, but I doubt either will happen. So instead here are 3 extremely critical aspects WMP need in order to be a viable media player for the masses.

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Sony WA1 Wireless Boombox

sony vaio wa1 Sony WA1 Wireless Boombox

Looking for a way to listen to your entire music collection anywhere around the house? The Sony VAIO WA1 wireless boombox certainly provides a convenient way to do it by streaming ATRAC, MP3, WMA, and AAC music formats over an existing wireless home network from any PC.

The WA1 uses SonicStage, iTunes, and Windows Media Player, but on-unit controls, a remote control, and an LCD displaying five lines of text makes selecting and viewing music simple. Analogue and digital audio-out ports connect your computer’s music to your home stereo, but music isn’t limited to your computer’s library, as the option of listening to internet radio is also given. Music can be played independently of a computer with 128MB of internal memory and a line-in stereo input to connect to a portable device.

Considering that Sony’s wireless boombox is mostly for use around the house, the four-hour battery life shouldn’t be too limiting. The $350 price tag includes a six-band graphic equalizer, headphone jack, and alarm clock.

[Product Page via Akihabara News]