My 3rd Zune arrived today.

The Zune HD is actually a birthday gift from my mother who has seen my original big brown brick Zune (that I got the day after Thanksgiving 2007 for $99) over and over and wanted to surprise me this year with something obviously cooler than the pants or gift card that I usually get. She even got on the internet and ordered it herself with an inscription and the whole bit.

My 2 older Zunes still work but after many airplane flights and rental cars, my reliable brown Zune has started rebooting itself and I even hear the hard drive inside making noise every now and then. It’s done quite well considering it is used almost daily thanks to my podcast habit.

So, how does the Zune HD compare to my wife’s iPod Touch? To me, there is no comparison. I am more of a music person than an app person and the navigation through songs and podcasts is much easier with the Zune HD. The interface is also quite an improvement over the older models. The few apps it does have are pretty cool – bowling almost reminds me of Wii Bowling. My biggest surprise is how much better HD Radio sounds than regular FM. I thought HD was a gimmick but you can definitely tell the difference between HD stations and non-HD stations. I think traveling with the Zune HD is going to be quite a treat. Thanks, Mom!

In other gadget news, my eBay birthday gift from last year, my Sony Reader, is back out and being used again after I almost gave up on it and put it back on eBay.


I had a very tough time embracing the e-book technology. I think it’s partly because I work with computers all day that I don’t want to have to deal with one at night and on weekends. But, my desire to remove some clutter has made me look to the Sony Reader for some of my light, throwaway reads where I don’t want to pay full price for a book that will just end up being traded at the used bookstore or given away. Right now I am reading “One Day” by David Nicholls. I guess Nick Hornby’s blog endorsement really worked. I’ll let you know how it turns out later on. Next up in the Sony Reader - “That Old Cape Magic” by Richard Russo.

So, I’ve got two gadgets to keep me occupied as I return to the road a bit during the month of September.