The unthinkable happened… why I love my Zune, and what is my dilemma

I recently got back from a two week trip, and the “unthinkable” happened. Four weeks ago, when I was packing my luggage, I noticed that I couldn’t find the cable for my Zune. I had my Zune … but no cable? I started panicking: a two week trip without my third most trusted companion? What were my options?

My first thought was to search the whole house, again. No luck. Then I tried to bribe my kids: “if you find my cable I will get you a cool XBOX 360 game.” That didn’t work either. Then I started to look for a replacement cable. Way too expensive considering the price of the Zune.

I ended up leaving my Zune behind. What a pain. Instead, I brought an older MP3 player, one with a USB adaptor built in and one that would work on regular AAA batteries. That’s when I realized how much I missed my Zune.

My Zune and the software that comes along with. As I wrote earlier, I listen mostly to podcasts. My Zune software is configured to download particular podcasts and my Zune, through the Zune software, is configured to only retain the 3 most recent unplayed or partially listened to podcasts (for each particular podcast series). I just plug my Zune in every day (or other day) and receive new podcasts I haven’t listened to. Older content is erased transparently.

I was back to the dark ages. I had to drag and drop podcast files. I had to see what files were new and what files were old. I had to make room for newer files because my old MP3 player only had 512 megs. What a torture. On top of that, the Zune has a special menu and way to show podcasts. For example, they are sorted showing the most recent file first. There are classified by podcast. When you do ‘back’ or ‘next’ (i.e. rewind and fast forward), it will skip to 1/4 of the file, 1/2 of the file or 3/4 of the file depending of where you are. This is much better than say skipping to the next song, something you would want to do if you were listening to music. Anyways, if it wasn’t clear enough before, it became perfectly clear that the Zune was the most convenient MP3 player I had ever used.

Now here comes my dilemma. My mother also wants to get an mp3 player to listen to podcasts. I definitely think the Zune is the best choice, but the Zune HD is just around the corner. I am considering upgrading, but the form factor of the my Zune 8G is simply too practical. Then again, when I gain access to a device that will have better Internet support, how long before I realize upgrading was the right thing to do?

And for those wondering where my Zune cable was, I had already packed it in my suitcase. I discovered that the moment I opened my luggage when I arrived at my destination.

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