Mailbag: September 7, 2010

This week in the mailbag:

Reaction to the iTunes 10 Review
New Version of the Zune PC Software?
Zune for Mac?
Windows Home Server Add-ons
Question About International Kindle Use
SSL Usage in Microsoft's Online Services?

Have a question? I can't guarantee an answer, but I'll try. Drop me a note! (And let me know if you'd prefer not to have your name published.)

Reaction to the iTunes 10 Review

I received numerous emails about my iTunes 10 review, which is exceedingly negative and, my opinion, deservedly so. Fortunately, most of the feedback I received indicates that readers are fed up with iTunes as well, and amusingly, a few of the emails I got noted that it was just as bad on the Mac, tossing cold water on my fanciful conspiracy theory. So iTunes is junk. But what are you going to do?

My reply to this question took up more space than I had expected, so I've posted it as an article, Just Say No: Is It Time to Say Goodbye to Apple?, elsewhere on the site. Is it time to take a stand? Let me know what you think, as this feedback will guide my Apple/digital media coverage going forward.

New Version of the Zune PC Software?

Keith W. asks:

Is there any word of a new, or at least upgraded, Zune software? I am sure the current Zune software isn't ready for Windows Phone 7.

Yeah, Zune 4.7 is coming out soon, with Windows Phone support. I've written about this on my Windows Phone Secrets blog.


Zune for Mac?

Derek M. asks:

Why has Microsoft NOT made the Zune compatible with Macs? I had a Zune when I was still using PC's, but when I switched to the Mac in 2007, I sold the Zune and got an iPod. I loved some of the features (hardware and software) it had and it looks very appealing now, but I don't use Windows any longer except at work. What's the scoop?

I wish they would make a Zune for Mac, actually, though I have to admit the potential market there is small. (Many Mac people probably have zero interest in Microsoft software.) But I know they're not making one for Windows Phone either, though there will be a Mac-based sync software solution similar to what shipped with the KIN, and made by a third party.

Windows Home Server Add-ons

Leandro D. asks:

I have a suggestion for your What I Use page. In the Windows Home Server section, can you specify an add-ins you use for Windows Home Server? I know you are a big fan of this server technology. I'm new to it, but I have been enjoying what it can offer.

I'm currently moving from my old WHS 1.x-based home server to a newer machine based around the "Vail" release, so I'm not using any add-ons right now. (There aren't any available for Vail yet.) But even when I used the HP server, my add-on use was minimal: I used a TwonkeyMedia add-on for more compatible DLNA-based streaming, and an HP add-on for Amazon S3 backup. The former is no longer required, since Vail includes improved media streaming capabilities. And I'm still examining cloud-based backup for WHS. I'll be going with something non-S3-based because my storage requirements are out of control.

Question About International Kindle Use

Rodrigo M. asks:

I was reading your Kindle 3 review (great as always) and something caught my attention: "...adds free 3G wireless connectivity with (non-free) global wireless coverage." What does "non-free global woreless coverage" mean? Do we have to pay extra if we live outside the US?

No, it means that if you travel internationally, you have to pay a per-download fee for each bit of content that's transferred to the device over 3G wireless.

Here's the revelant bit from the product page:

Kindle uses GSM technology?the most popular mobile wireless standard - with wireless coverage in over 100 countries and territories, such as Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, Japan, Norway, Spain, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and many others. Stay in touch with news from home by having your newspaper and magazine subscriptions delivered wirelessly while you travel.

For U.S. customers traveling abroad, additional charges apply for wireless delivery of periodical subscriptions. For details, click here. To avoid any charges, you can always download items via your computer and transfer them to your Kindle using USB or a Wi-Fi connection.

SSL Usage in Microsoft's Online Services?

Tim J. asks:

Am I correct in saying that currently Microsoft Office Live web applications do NOT support encrypted SLL connections over HTTPS? A quick Google seems to suggest this is the case.

Yes. But Microsoft will make a Windows Live-related SSL announcement this month. Stay tuned.

More next week...