Charles Petzold on writing books, reading books, and exercising the internal UTM

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Where’s the Grown-Up Version of Zune?

May 5, 2010
New York, N.Y.

I was installing the Zune desktop software on a newly rebuilt partition when it asked me to enter "three of your favorite artists," so I quickly typed in one of my very favorite composers:

Zune Fail

Huh? What kind of reaction is that to this towering figure in music — a man who Wikipedia calls "one of the most frequently performed and recorded of all composers," and whose music is currently available (according to on over 1000 CDs and 50 concert DVDs, and which also appears (according to Internet Movie Database) in over 70 movies?

Moreover, look at this list of representative "artists" that the Zune program does recognize:

All of which suggests that I must have accidently downloaded the kids' version of the Zune desktop software. But now I'm stuck. Where do I get the version for grown-ups?


You need to check the "Old fogy" setting in preferences, under the tools and options menus. ;-)

Jeff Lewis, Wed, 5 May 2010 10:12:55 -0400

Ha! Hysterical! I wish Microsoft would buy Pandora and integrate it into Zune.

Chris McKenzie, Wed, 5 May 2010 10:18:26 -0400

Now, to be fair, I do believe they are talking about recording artists and I haven't seen Gustov busting out any singles in, well, almost 100 years.

Have you tried searching for the New York Philharmonic?

Mister James, Wed, 5 May 2010 11:06:33 -0400

That's exactly the problem. The use of the word "artist" is a dead giveaway. Zune, and all MP3 players, and the entire digital music culture is oriented exclusively around commerical pop because, of course, that's where the money is. I discussed this problem in more detail in an earlier blog entry. — Charles

Yeah, I remember that post...I agree entirely. The world of music has been dumbed down to a flash-fire, sell-a-million-or-die marketable commodity with a very shallow classification and organization scheme.

Did you know Bruce Springsteen's first 10 singles didn't sell 1 million copies collectively? Or that 'Hit me Baby One More Time' shouldn't have?

It's hard reaching an age in your life when you decide to stop accepting change, that it's better to draw a line and say, 'it was better when...' I suppose I'm reaching that age.

Kids can have their MP3 players. I still love listening to Jazz on vinyl. ;o)

Mister James, Wed, 5 May 2010 11:57:31 -0400

I remember when MP3 players had to be hand-cranked, were monophonic and the wax cylinders cracked as I walked to school barefoot through the snow (uphill both ways).

Curt, Wed, 5 May 2010 12:07:52 -0400

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