Quite some time ago, my wife was very sneaky. Oh, she’s sneaky again and again, but this is the piece of sneakiness that is appropriate for this post.
I logged on to woot.com one day, as I often do, and saw that there was a 30GB Zune for sale – refurbished, and quite a bit cheaper than most places had it for sale, but still more than I could plonk down without blinking.
I told my wife about it, and she told me that no, I was right, we couldn’t really afford it even at that price.
Then, months later, I found that my birthday present was a 30GB Zune – the very one from woot that she said we couldn’t afford.
Ever since then, I’ve been a strong fan of Zune and woot alike.
The other day, though, it dawned on me that I could use my Zune (now I have a Zune HD 32GB) to keep up with woot’s occasional “woot-off” events, where they proceed throughout the day to offer several deals. Unfortunately, I can’t actually buy anything from woot on the Zune.
I couldn’t figure this out for a while, and assumed that it was simply a lack of Flash support.
Sidebar: Why the Zune and iPhone Don’t Have Flash Support
It’s not immediately obvious that there’s a difference between the Zune having no Flash support, and the iPhone having no Flash support.
But there is – and it’s a little subtle.
The Zune doesn’t have Flash support because Adobe haven’t built it.
The iPod doesn’t have Flash support because Apple won’t let Adobe build it.
Back to the main story – why my Zune can’t woot!
I did a little experimenting, and it’s not that woot requires Flash.
I tried to logon directly to the account page at https://sslwww.woot.com/Member/YourAccount.aspx (peculiar that, the URL says “Your Account”, but it’s my account, not yours, that I see there. That’s why you shouldn’t use personal pronouns in folder names).
That failed with a cryptic error – “Can’t load the page you requested. OK”
No, it’s not actually OK that you can’t load the page, but thanks for telling me what the problem was.
Oh, that’s right, you didn’t, you just told me “failed”. Takes me right back to the days of “Error 4/10”.
The best I can reckon is that, since the Zune can visit other SSL sites, and other browsers have no problem with this SSL site, the Zune simply doesn’t have trust in the certificate chain.
That should be easy to fix, all I have to do on my PC, or on any number of web browsers, is to add the site’s root certificate from its certificate chain to my Trusted Root store.
Sadly, I can find no way to do this for my Zune. So, no woot.
Would this be a feature other people would want?
I think this would – for a start, it would mean that users could add web sites that were previously unavailable to them – including test web sites that they might be working on, which are supported by self-signed test certificates.
But more than that, adding a new root certificate to the trusted root certificate store on the Zune is a vital feature for another functionality that people have been begging for. Without adding a root certificate, it is often impossible to support WPA2 Enterprise wireless mode. So, the “add certificate to my Zune’s Trusted Root store” feature would be a step toward providing WPA2 Enterprise support.
How would that interface look on the Zune?
I’m not sure that the interface would have to be on the Zune itself – but perhaps the Zune could stock up failed certificate matches to pass to the Zune software, and then ask the operator of the Zune software at the next Sync, “do you want to trust these certificates to enable browsing to these sites?”
Similarly, for the WPA Enterprise mode, it could ask the Zune software user “do you want to connect to this WPA Enterprise network in future?”