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Windows 7 is quickly becoming the bane of my existence. I travel quite frequently for business. As such I figured I would install Skype in order to keep in touch with my family at home and to provide myself with the ability to do video calls with them (it’s nice to be able to see one’s family and not just hear them). It took me a while to get my Lifecam NX-6000 (which is, allegedly, compatible with Windows 7 according to Microsoft’s gospel) installed and working both with the Lifecam software and with Skype. However, for reasons I CANNOT fathom, whenever I plug the webcam into a different USB port (and my laptop has 4 of them) Windows 7 wants to reinstall the driver. Well…today, it tried to reinstall the driver (I couldn’t remember which port I last plugged the webcam into) and failed – repeatedly. This for a product that is considered COMPATIBLE with Windows 7 (the Lifecam NX-6000 is only 2 years old at most!).

So, now, I cannot use the webcam and Skype crashes when I try to do a video test. This is utter BS on the part of Microsoft. I have tried looking up the help for this problem only to get some ridiculous crap about a) making sure that automatic updating is turned on (HELLO! This is a corporate system – they are only pushing patches that they approve!) or b) manually updating the drivers (tried that…no luck) or c) installing the software for the device from the manufacturer (uh…Microsoft…YOU ARE THE MANUFACTURERS OF THE FRIGGIN DEVICE AND THE OPERATING SYSTEM!!!!!). I’ve even done the usual uninstalling and reinstalling of the driver (Several times in fact – all to no avail). I’ve even done the sane thing of rebooting Windows. What I can’t understand is that Windows won’t provide for me any detailed information as to WHY the driver is failing (the only thing I can surmise is that the driver being used for the 1TB USB drive I got yesterday is the culprit…however, I’m not sure which one it is). This is beyond stupid and represents a truly, phenomenally crappy operating system. I’m starting to think that I will be looking to get a second laptop to travel with just so that I can stay in touch with my family with hardware that actually WORKS!)…perhaps a MacBook Pro…if only I can swallow the fact that I will be selling my soul to “The Steve”!

Well this morning started on a sour note…I put the leash on the dog, picked up the pooper scooper and grabbed a travel mug of coffee. I was all ready to head out the door to take the dog for his morning walk. I picked up my 30GB Zune (Microsoft now calls it the Zune 30 but for me it’s always the original Zune). I pressed the on right button to turn it on, watched the Zune start booting and put it in my jacket pocket. About halfway up the street I decided to listen to NPR while walking the dog. I took the Zune out of my pocket and looked at it. It was still stuck on the boot screen with the progress bar almost all the way to the right. Another Zune bites the dust…or did it?

When I returned home I just left it alone and let it drain the battery. I figured that since we (yes, I work for Microsoft — although not in the Zune product group) didn’t include a hard reset button or a way to remove the battery that the only thing I can do to reboot it was to try and do the restore sequence or let the battery drain. I tried the restore sequence first…no joy there. So I left it alone and let the battery drain. Once the battery was drained I plugged it in and let it charge for a little bit and then tried to restart it. Guess what? It didn’t work.

So, I think, should I take it apart and unplug the battery? It’s out of warranty…what could I lose? I’ve already lost my 8GB Zune (little did I know that when it died it had 3 days left on it’s warranty and I could have had it fixed for nothing…grrrrr) so… Before going down that route I decided I’d e-mail the internal Zune discussion list within Microsoft. Lo’ and behold I got an almost immediate reply that this is a problem being faced by all Zune 30GB owners and is considered a major issue (good thing I didn’t get the tools out yet). So, I decide to just get to work and keep an eye on the Zune discussion list.

Now I see that not only has MSN picked up on this story, but also CNN as well. This is not looking good as far as publicity. The good news is that I do know that the Zune team is hard at work identifying the problem and providing a solution. What that is I don’t know and even if I did I couldn’t say at this time. I’m very hopeful as I love this thing (good thing I also have a Zune 80 as a backup…but you never really forget your first Zune 🙂 ).

April 2020
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