The Long Goodbye: Darren Barlow
“In the beginning, the Zune was an unknown entity to me. Travelling through different states while listening to my RCA Lyra MP3 player, I was at the point where I refused to use anything Apple as it wasn’t unique. Everyone had an iPod of some sort, and loved to boast about it. For a while I wanted a device of my own to boast about, but always kept my little music players tucked away in my pockets in partial shame and embarrassment. One day in late 2007, after the Zune had aroused more interest, I came face to face with it in Seattle. There it was, on a stand of its own with others like it. That’s when I fell in love. The packaging, the presentation, and the device itself was something completely different. What really piqued my interest was the fact it came preloaded with content. Since then, I still listen to artists like The Editors that were featured on that first device. My 30GB Zune became a fascination; I was happy for once. A sturdy yet stylish way to listen to music, to not be ashamed of my little music player anymore. People saw me in public days later, and they ooh’ed and aah’ed, wondering what this mystery device was. Over a year or so later, slimmer iPods were released with more features and innovative changes. My 30GB Zune was old, but still ran like new. I couldn’t refuse the 120GB model: An upgrade to the old, this new model yet again allowed me to show off what I thought was unique and cool. New updates to the firmware continued to impress me, and the software wasn’t horrible like iTunes was. I didn’t know that could be possible, but the Zune software was fast, stylish, and very easy to use. But when it came time to buy a Zune HD, I never took the opportunity to do so. I may hate myself for the rest of my life for choosing not to, but at least I can say I’ve tried a demo unit or two. One other person I knew had one, and it just looked downright sexy. People in classes constantly asked him ‘What is that? It looks so cool!’ Perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to buy a used one, but my search continues.
A proud moment for Zune, made known to a small community or a large collective, was its power to captivate others. We will forever know each other through this device, and through this connection enabled me to learn more about people and the stories behind their lives. Aside from the crowded and noisy Apple forums (which there are too many to count), the few Zune forums that existed brought together many people much more intelligent and willing to help others.
I didn’t write as many articles like other people did but at Zuneboards I stood by the community, watching over it and seeing a community blossom, grow, and (unfortunately) die. Zunited became a second home for me, with Jared constantly coming up with new and cool ideas for the community. To all others, it was good while it lasted. During these sad days I hate to admit that my main music player is now a white iPhone 4S (I don’t say no to free things), but I shall never forget the joy and creativity that sprung forth from the Zune community and the way it changed my life.”