Zune EULA fail.

OK, I get it. 99.9% of people don’t read the EULA. So, The new Zune software update minimizes the space used by the EULA in the installer/upgrader:


Notice the scroll bar. It’s really not practical to read at that size. The window isn’t resizable, and it does not provide a quick link to an online version of the document.

Not to be thwarted by this evil EULA dialog, I printed it to PDF first:


The text is gray (grey):


Although easier to read because I can read it without scrolling, the light colored text makes it exhausting to do so.

Thinking it was maybe a Print to PDF fluke, I tried the XPS printer:


No better.

Back to the Zune software installer.

I tried to highlight the text in the text field. No. It’s actually not a text field, so none of the standard keyboard or mouse tricks work (it’s using DirectX). Even SnagIt 10 (which has an autoscroll feature for scrollable regions) couldn’t get the text. (See DirectX problem above).

I’m not going to waste a piece of paper to show how it prints as light colored gray text.

The old license is here:


After copying the text from the PDF to the clipboard, pasting into notepad, and manually scanning a few lines, I can say with certainty that the EULA linked above does not match the new EULA. In fact, it’s not even close. The new EULA appears to be more appropriately worded as free downloadable software, whereas the older license read more like a EULA that would be associated with Microsoft Word.

Oh Microsoft, How you Mesh with My Head.

imageMicrosoft, I’m confused. You release Windows Live Essentials and say that the new Live Sync is the Old Live Mesh, and that the Mesh as I know it, is going away. To add to the insult, the storage is dropping from 5GB to 2GB I’m told. It’s annoying, but I switch. I even switched early as a beta tester and had to suffer greatly through “cannot connect” and “please reboot or reinstall” errors.

Now, you’ve sent me a notice that Windows Live Mesh 2011 is available?

I’m confused. I must not be alone in this.

Windows Live Sync which replaced the Beta of Windows Live Mesh apparently has been renamed to a less consumer friendly name, but regained the features of the old Mesh beta product. 


XP isn’t supported any more. I wish Windows Home Server was officially supported. It would make for a great place to sync files and a easier way to gain access to the full WHS desktop from anywhere.

By the way, during this confusing period, I switched to DropBox anyway. Sigh.

Seriously Awesome Best Battery Charger (for AA & AA batteries)

I’ve never been excited about a battery charger before. Seriously, what’s to get excited about?


I purchased the La Crosse Technology BC-700 battery charger recently – and really love it. I’ve bought a few battery chargers over the years with a few features, but I always have been disappointed when batteries fail to charge fully. In the past, I’ve resorted to recycling them.

No more! This thing has brought back batteries that would only take a partial charge in other chargers! Awesome! I had a few recently purchased Sanyo Eneloop batteries that would not fully charge (80% charge). Worse, and to add to the insult, the new mini Apple battery charger refused to charge them!

After using the charger’s Discharge/Refresh cycle on the batteries, the batteries not only take a full charge now, but they also work in the Apple battery charger as well!Slick! It took a few days for the batteries to complete the cycle, but it was definitely worth the wait. I restored some seriously old rechargeable batteries that wouldn’t take a charge that was more than 20-30% of the full charge anymore. They now too take a full charge (I had to run one battery through two long discharge/refresh cycles).

Also nice about this charger is that each battery can be separately charged / refreshed using different settings. No worries about always finding a second battery to charge.

Apparently, there are some geek settings as part of the device, but I’m not a battery nut. I just want it to work, so I haven’t really paid much attention. You can get a lot more geekery by reading through the comments at Amazon. Based on my initial search, I discovered that there were some issues surrounding overheating of a few different battery charger models from more than one manufacturer. So, I put the battery charger on a cheap IKEA plate I recently purchased to prevent any damage that might occur if the charger exceeded expected operating temperatures. I’ve not noticed that the charger has been any warmer than room temperature, even after one of the long recharge cycles. I’ve only used the lower voltage charging option though, as I wasn’t in a rush.

You have to press a few buttons to get a non-default charge operation going – but it’s really easy to do.

Stupidly highly recommended. It’s around $26 US at Amazon right now. If you use more than a few AA (or AAA) rechargeable batteries, you need this. I don’t know why I didn’t buy it years ago when it first came out.