Sunday, September 20, 2009

Metablogging (and Zune stuff too)

Several of my Canadian colleagues at work recently asserted that Windows Live Writer, Microsoft’s blogging application, was “very much not wrong”. So, to verify the assumption, I have installed Live Writer and am using it for this post. A pressing need? Not really – the Blogger web UI is more than adequate for my once-every-few-months ramblings. But still, the assertion was one I felt compelled to verify.

So far, seems like a basic word processor. In fact, it seems almost identical to what Blogger offers in their web UI, except as a snappy lightweight client app. It allows you to save drafts either locally or directly to the server. Preview is instantaneous.

So yes, Live Writer is in fact not wrong at all. It’s at least as good as editing on the web, and is lightning fast. The integration, even with the enemy, is impressive.

To continue the pro-Microsoft propaganda, the Zune software 4.0 update. As I mentioned earlier, the Zune client is basically Microsoft’s answer to iTunes. Latest update has a bunch of quickplay features blah blah something about being way faster in searching (it’s true!) la la app store, but the one that really changes the game is the “Smart DJ”.

That was always my biggest problem with my Zune Pass. With Pandora, I could just leave the music running for days at a time without actively having to choose something to listen to. Zune, while allowing me to download any music I want, still fundamentally required me to choose every song I wanted to hear. They had the “Just For You” picks, but the channel only updated weekly with about an hour of music – not enough to last through a commute, let alone a 40 hour workweek. The Smart DJ fixes this – any band or song, just click Smart DJ and it makes a playlist for you (around twenty songs). Click it again, and it chooses new music.

At least for the few bands I’ve seeded thus far, it seems to choose well. The variety is quite good, and it does well at determining suitable related songs to play. I’ve already discovered a couple interesting bands (eg. ‘Another Black Day’), and have yet to have to skip anything I didn’t like.

The kool-aid. It tastes so good.

Update: Windows Live Writer handled this post admirably. And this edit too!