Zune Reviews Less Than Stellar.

Reviews of the Zune have been coming in in anticipation of its release next week and the trades have not been kind.

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal writes:

[The Zune has] too many compromises and missing features to be as good a choice as the iPod for most users.

I found it’s interface lacking and that it left a filmy residue on my fingers. It’s also an odd choice by Microsoft to make the Zune radioactive.

Its penchant for restarting at inopportune times should probably not be considered unusual for a device coming from Redmond, but the sudden sounding of a boat horn when it does might make using the device problematic.

The New York Times’ David Pogue was likewise unimpressed.

Competition is good and all. But what, exactly, is the point of the Zune?

I mean, really. After fifteen hours of fiddling with the damn thing, all I got was a severe electric shock. I haven’t seen this written anywhere else, but the Zune doesn’t actually do anything from what I can see.

I’m serious. It doesn’t play music. It doesn’t play videos. It just gives you an electric shock.

What the fuck?

In an attempt to bolster Microsoft’s fledgling device, Rob Enderle, Paul Thurrott and John Dvorak held a brainstorming session this afternoon to come up with positive things to say about the Zune.

“Um…” Enderle said, looking at the brown Zune in his hands.

“Er…” attempted Dvorak, poking at another Zune with a pencil.

“It, uh…” started Thurrott. “I has an odor.”

“Yes,” Dvorak agreed. “But not a good one. Kind of like old sweat socks.”

“Let’s just try free-associating,” Enderle suggested. “It… it has a round button thing and two other buttons and… uh…

“Ow! Mother fu… the damn thing just shocked me!”

Microsoft, when reached for comment, insisted that it was Apple that made the Zune. When pressed, the company suddenly adopted a fake Mexican accent and said it couldn’t “Speeka de English.”

Mac Users Switching Back to IE.

ZDNet reported late this afternoon that a security flaw in Internet Explorer is being exploited by porn sites. ZDNet warned that the flaw could be used to install adware featuring lots and lots of porn.

Tonight, all across the Macintosh community, users are struggling to reinstall Internet Explorer before randomly surfing the Internet hoping to get hit by an adware installer.

“Crap!” said iMac owner Darren Siers. “How the hell do you install IE again? I mean, is it in the Tiger disks? Can I get it from Microsoft? Where does one get an install program for a six-year-old web browser?”

Crazy Apple Rumors Site reporters were at first uncertain why Mac users didn’t simply avail themselves of any of the ubiquitous free porn to be found on the Internet.

“Part of my sickness is that I like them to force it on me,” Siers admitted glumly while attempting to find Microsoft’s Mac download page.

“C’mon… c’mon…

“C’mon! Darren needs a spanking!”

Turning to reporters, Siers said “Uh… can you leave now?”

Vista Making Threats.

According to ZDNet, Cisco executives feel that Windows Vista is “scary”.

“Parts of Vista scare me,” [Cisco chief technology officer Bob] Gleichauf said at the Gartner Security Summit here on Monday.

Gleichauf said publicly that the yet-to-be-released Microsoft operating system may create just as many security issues as it solves, but sources indicate that Vista has also been threatening technology executives.

“Vista just barged in here the other day,” said a visibly shaken executive at a prominent database software company who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals. “It said ‘This is a nice place you got here. It’d be a shame if something were to happen to it.’

“Then it took a picture off the wall, smashed it over my laptop and said ‘Oops.'”

As a result the firm is expected to announce Vista compatibility next week.

Stories of the Microsoft operating system throwing its weight around have been making the rounds as criticism of the Vista delays and reduction in feature set have grown louder.

“Vista’s angry, man,” said a source who would only talk to Crazy Apple Rumors Site on the condition he be lit from behind. “I’m scrambling to make sure our hardware’s going to support it, but it’s a little hard when my fingers are broken, you know?”

Microsoft declined to comment for this story but did lower its sunglasses briefly to glare at reporters.

Microsoft Admits It Sucks And Is Stupid.

News broke on Friday that Microsoft had admitted that reports of its purported iPod killer – including details of its features – were true.

Analysts quickly determined that this admission means that the company has consequently fully admitted that it sucks and is stupid.

According to a Microsoft spokesperson, the device is, in fact, called “the Zune”, which is apparently a play on the word “tune” and some other unidentified word that starts with “z”.

Possibly “Zod“, the name of Superman’s nemesis, played by Terence Stamp, in Superman II.

“While all will bow before Zod,” technology columnist Glenn Fleishman said, “I don’t think the Zune is going to be as fearsome.

“Partially because the name blows.”

Other analysts noted that the technological “features” of the Zune – a subscription-based download service and the ability to transfer songs to other subscribers wirelessly – were distinctly “less than Zod.”

“People just love the subscription model,” Macworld magazine editor Jason Snell said snidely.

“Oh, please, recording industry. I’ve already bought ‘Rubber Soul’ on vinyl, tape and CD. Now make me pay for it every day!

Snell went on to point out that there was no better way to get the best out of a wireless network than to try transferring a 20 GB music collection over it.

“And I’m sure everyone will now start calling podcasts zunecasts,” Snell said, moving his fist up and down above his lap and rolling his eyes.

While Microsoft did not say in so many words that it sucks and is stupid, it did shift uncomfortably and attempt a weak smile.

Mac Developer Challenges Gates to Wager.

In South Africa last week, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates made some much-noticed comments about the supposed January release of Windows Vista.

Seemingly laying the groundwork for a delay in the operating system’s release, Gates said he would be happy to hold Vista should the beta program reveal problems.

Judging by his application of this standard, Gates has apparently not been involved in any other Microsoft beta program since the company’s inception.

Gates went on to say that he was 80 percent sure that Windows Vista would ship in January. This lackluster vote of confidence prompted Delicious Monster CEO Wil Shipley to challenge the Microsoft Chief Technologist to a bet of $10,000 that Vista would slip yet again (link via TUAW).

Shipley’s announcement of the one-sided dustup brought out a rather surprising number of anti-Shipley trolls, their origin unknown.

While many commenters praised Shipley on both his personal blog post regarding the proposed wager and posts on other blogs referencing it for tilting at windmills, a vocal minority complained that Shipley was an “attention whore” and a “douche bag.”

“This is just a pathetic attempt at self-promotion,” commenter Anonymous Coward said when reached by phone. “And, as everyone knows, self-promotion is immoral.

“Take me, for example. I posted my comment under the name ‘Anonymous Coward’ so as not to make this all about me. Because it’s not about me. It’s about Wil Shipley and what a douche bag he is.

“Now, yes, ‘Anonymous Coward’ is also actually my given name, but it looks like a pseudonym, so it’s really the same thing.”

Asked if he worked for Microsoft, Coward quickly became belligerent and then hastily explained that he had “to hang up now, but only because he wanted to beat the afternoon traffic going west over the 520 bridge.”

But Coward’s comments were backed up by other commenters who were also certainly not Microsoft employees.

“This is all just a sales ploy!” warned commenter MSTrollBot4000.

“Shipley’s using his blog to generate attention to himself!

MSTrollBot4000 claimed that this is not the first time the Delicious Monster CEO has absconded with sacred Internet resources in an attempt to stuff his already overflowing coffers.

“Look at that ad over there in the CARS right column for Delicious Monster. He paid you guys money to sell his software! He’s totally using you!

“What a douche bag!

Others were unsure what to think of Shipley.

“Gosh,” mused Mac user Jeff Levitas, who read about Shipley’s challenge on Daring Fireball. “I’d hate to think that the huge emotional investment I’ve made in this online wager that I’m not a party to and has zero chance of being accepted has been misspent on some cynical ploy to gin up software sales.

“I just wouldn’t want to think we live in a world where someone would do something so awful.”

Apple declined to comment for this story as it wasn’t really involved at all.