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Eulogy for a Zune

For a long time, I had planned to write a bit, long love letter to my Zune on this blog.

My Zune had been my most trusted electronic sidekick since my wife first gifted it to me six years ago.  Everything about it had been a pleasant and seamless experience.  The sound quality was great, the interface was intuitive and comprehensive, the Zune Pass subscription service introduced me to literally dozens of new bands, albums, and podcasts, and I never wanted for storage space.

Unfortunately, right before Lulabelle was born, my Zune's hard drive gave out.

I don't think it's an indication of the overall product quality.  I think it's simply that hard drives are not meant to operate indefinitely.  I listened to my Zune for no less than three hours every single day, and often for much more.  When I did dishes, it was there for me.  When I folded laundry, it entertained me with podcasts.  When I drove to and from work, lamenting my ridiculous commute, it soothed me with new and interesting music.  When I first became health-obsessed a few years ago and decided to work out constantly and ended up dropping 50 pounds, my Zune was playing for every workout - and when I gave up on my workouts and gained 40 pounds back, my Zune was still playing while I ate comfort food and despaired about my weight.

And most importantly: whenever I wrote, my Zune was there to keep the wheels in my head spinning.

All of the novels, stories, screenplays, blog posts, or pretty much anything else I've written since December 2008 have been put to the page with my Zune's soft glow at my left elbow.  It's been such a ritual that nothing else really works - even listening to my library with MediaMonkey and a pair of earbuds just somehow doesn't feel right.

All told, I'd say a conservative estimate is that I listened to my Zune for about 6,500 hours, minimum.  (That's six years at three hours a day.)  I wouldn't be surprised if the actual figure was much higher - more like 10,000 hours or beyond - as there were plenty of days where it was literally running from sunrise to sunset.  Whether that's "good" or "bad" for a hard drive lifespan, I have no idea.  I just know that I can't point to any other electronic device in my life that I've used nearly as often.  No phone, no video game consoles, no computer - not even any of my cars have gone through that kind of use.

My Zune, which I named "Pseudonym" on the Zune software, was so inseparable that my wife actually referred to it as a person: "You guys go everywhere together."  It was a source of endless amusement for her when I worried about whether or not I misplaced it, and a source of endless patience / frustration when I asked her to hold onto it for a minute if I was even remotely worried I might drop or lose it.  I think I took better care of my Zune than I did my wallet.

I could go into a long rant about how why I liked my Zune in particular as opposed to any other MP3 player, but why?  All you need to know is that it did exactly what I wanted it to do and it did it well,  That's more than I can say for most products I buy in this world.  More than I can say for most people, too.

I'm sure the hard drive can be replaced, but even having gone a month without it has felt like I've lost a close friend.  And if the drive can't be replaced, then it is well and truly dead - Zunes are no longer manufactured, so there's no such thing as buying a replacement.  Best case scenario is that I win a used one on eBay for less than $250, which is far more than I can afford now.

In the event that Pseudonym remains dead, I wanted to close out my love letter today with a list of bands that I "discovered" through my Zune.  (Keep in mind that I don't really listen to the radio, so even if some of these folks seem overplayed to you, I only ever really learned about them through my trusty black box.)  I'm sure in time I could train myself to get over the psychological hurdle of not having the Zune physically next to me.  The additions to my music library, though, even if just in my head, are going to last a lot longer.

So, thank you, Pseudonym, for introducing me to, in no particular order: Metric, VNV Nation, Muse, Icon of Coil, And One, MGMT, Hot Chip, Justice, The Advantage, Zedd, Infected Mushroom, Martin Solveig, Zero 7, Alice Cooper, Angelspit, The Birthday Massacre, Walk the Moon, The Trucks, Thievery Corporation, Teddybears, Sneaker Pimps, Sleeper Agent, Oceanlab, Shiny Toy Guns, Coburn, Electric Six, Faithless, Folk Implosion, Gravity Kills, Hybrid, How to Destroy Angels, Hyper, Imagine Dragons, Rogue Traders, Prophet Omega, Remy Zero, The Presets, The Postal Service, Mr. Scruff, Lorde, Neon Trees, and probably many others who I'm forgetting at the moment.

Now here's hoping I know how to fix things...