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Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology. The moon has only four major phases, but as the Zune -- that satellite around Microsoft's gravitational pull -- enters a familiar fifth phase, what some consider a pale reflection of the iPod has made few waves despi...

August 7th 2010 at 9:00pm 0 Comments
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Ever wonder why we loath DRM around here as much as we do even when companies come along offering free, all you can eat deals? Well, if the Sony ATRAC debacle didn't serve as a warning there's always this: Microsoft just announced that it will no longer supply authorization keys for songs purchased...

April 23rd 2008 at 6:46am 0 Comments
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Although Taiwan's A Team Computer doesn't actually have anything to do with the TV show, the company's MC-213NF PMP has a lot in common with Murdock, BA, and the rest of the gang: it's tough, versatile, and shamelessly derivative. The flash-based unit comes in capacities from one to eight gigs and...

August 7th 2007 at 1:27am 0 Comments
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The new iriver clix is officially out, and as usual we have a bevy of pics for ya. In case you missed the announcement back in January, the clix gen 2 is the follow-up to the original clix (AKA the iriver U10). Specs include 4GB of storage, a 2.2-inch display, built-in FM tuner, integrated digital...

April 30th 2007 at 12:54pm 0 Comments
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We're the first to admit that we're not experts when it comes to things like video codecs -- we leave that job up to our friends at Engadget. Don't get us wrong, we know a little something about codecs (see above!), but eych-dot-two-sixty-four? Em-peg-four? Dubbya-em-dee-are-em? Yeah, these are all...

April 10th 2007 at 10:09am 0 Comments
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Color us tickled, but we totally missed some of the finest points of all in Microsoft's Xbox 360 spring Dashboard update: they're totally tricking out the video (finally!). No longer will we be confined to our very least favorite video codec, WMV -- the new update will enable Windows Media Connect o...

April 9th 2007 at 2:19pm 0 Comments
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Color us tickled, but we totally missed some of the finest points of all in Microsoft's Xbox 360 spring Dashboard update: they're totally tricking out the video (finally!). No longer will we be confined to our very least favorite video codec, WMV -- the new update will enable Windows Media Connect o...

April 9th 2007 at 2:19pm 0 Comments
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Even before the Zune came out we heard that while the software wouldn't sync to other players (and the player to other software), the DRM the Marketplace used was basically compatible with PlaysForSure. Although we haven't seen anyone try and document the process, Zune Pass user AIZEE showed off a...

February 26th 2007 at 2:04pm 0 Comments
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Ken Fisher at Ars Technica thinks something smells fishy about Steve Jobs's claims that licensing a DRM system will lead to its defeat. By comparing the security track records of iTunes's FairPlay and Microsoft's rival and heavily-licensed PlaysForSure, Ken might also have a good point. As history...

February 9th 2007 at 11:00am 0 Comments
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Besides being snarky and asking why Microsoft bothered in the first place, I've been thinking about the more significant aspects of the Zune, such as what it means (and could mean) to the market and the culture of the industry. There is a lot to be said about the fact that Microsoft is paying a reco...

November 30th 2006 at 2:30pm 0 Comments