Originally Posted by m_k
Some serious questions that I hope can get serious (and accurate) answers:
1. Is it possible to install/reinstall/flash/reflash the firmware without a live Internet connection? In other words, can the device be set up (or re-set up) without a server at MS being online and running the software necessary to set up the Zune?
I have several products (developer software tools) worth thousands of dollars that I can no longer use because the suppliers require product activation, and no longer provide it for those products.
I know that at least with the hard drive Zunes, it is sometimes necessary to reinstall the firmware (when mine went wheels-up that was the first thing they ORDERED me to do -- several hours of wasted time sitting there downloading over my dialup modem connection that which I already had stored on my hard drive, because the installer insisted on re-fetching via live online connection. I have since then found out how to coerce my older (3.1) version firmware to install WITHOUT online connection, but I have no idea if this can be done with newer versions, and I'm not going to find out. First, the current software package is far too bloated to successfully download over dialup modem, and second, I am not willing to gamble on the future usability of my device, by installing a version that MAY not be able to be maintained independent of the "Mother, May I?" protocol.
2. If the HD's firmware does require live online connection to the company's server, is Microsoft going to commit to keeping that server online and operational on an eternal basis? If not, then what timeframe will they provide? Since -- in a "mandatory Mother-May-I" scenario -- the device will go brickish the first time it NEEDS to be reflashed AFTER the server goes black, this would seem to be an important consideration to potential buyers.
The bottom line would seem to be that in a situation in which a product may need server connectivity to continue operating, a prospective buyer would need to either gain assurance that the connectivity will be there for as long as he owns his device, or, that he is willing to consider the device to be a disposable item.
1) Yes- there is a complete install package that includes software and firmware online. It's useful for folks who want to install on a different PC w/o internet, and for folks w/o windows update access. You could archive that, although you'd have to remember to go get the new versions occasionally.
2) N/A. And for any company who would make that commitment... yeah, right. It's good only for as long as they don't change their mind. I wouldn't depend on that.