A Zune Tip

So after three years of telling everyone in my family that all I really wanted for Christmas was an MP3 player, this year someone finally stepped up to the plate and delivered. My partner, bless her, bought me a Zune.

“A Zune?!” I hear you sputtering.

And after a moment’s thought, I her you thinking, “OK, well, those new Zunes are pretty cool, what with the squircle and all.”

Except I didn’t get a new Zune.  I got one of the old, 30GB models.

“Well, OK,” you’re thinking.  “The white and black ones are kinda OK-looking.”

Except I didn’t get a white or black one.  I got a butt-ass ugly, Soviet-era design, monkey-crap brown (with baby-crap green highlights!) Zune.

I love it.  Does this woman know me, or what?

The nice thing about the Zune is that Microsoft, out of some strange and I have no doubt foreign to them urge, decided to make the firmware of the new Zunes backwards-compatible with the first version — which means that, after a short update, my brown 1st-generation Zune has all the capabilities of the latest Zunes.

Among those new features is integrated podcast support. You can subscribe in the Zune software, either to Microsoft’s selection or by inputting your own feeds.

What a lot of people find frustrating — including me — is that if you go to the Podcast section of your Zune, select an episode, and listen to it, when it reaches the end of the episode, it stops. You’d like it to go on to the next episode, right? So you could avoid, say, manually selecting the next episode while you’re driving to work? But it doesn’t do that.

I looked at a lot of websites looking for a way to make it play the next episode automatically, and all I found was lots of other people frustrated, even angry, about the same thing.

But I figured it out, and in the interest of giving all those Zune owners a helping hand, I’d like to share the answer I’ve come up with.

Instead of selecting an episode and hitting play, select the title of the series you want to listen to and hit play. When you do this, the Zune will move directly from the end of one podcast episode to the beginning of the next, just like you want.

There are a couple of hiccups that I don’t know how to deal with, unfortunately:

  1. Unless the last thing you listened to was an episode of the podcast you want to listen to now, the Zune doesn’t remember where you were and starts the series from the first episode you have on your Zune. You have to manually skip through each episode, one at a time, until you reach the episode you want to listen to next.
  2. There’s no other way to sort podcasts. You can’t, say, listen to podcasts from different series in the order they were released, or all podcasts older than a week, or the most recent ones, or anything like that.  You can only listen to the podcasts in a single series, and in the order in which they were released.

It’s not perfect, but at least it will help keep you from rear-ending the truck in front of you on the freeway as you try to select the next episode of your favorite podcast!

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