Searched for : xbox

On10.net has a video demonstrating the forthcoming Zune media players (the guys there got a couple pre-release models to mess around with). The video demo shows sharing pics and music between devices wirelessly.

I think I'm-a-gonna get me one of those... Looks like it will be a even better option than my iPod for video on airplanes maybe.

Watch the video here.

the Zune is scheduled to be available November 14th for $249.99. It includes a whole host of cool features:

WMA, MP3, AAC, JPEG,WMV, MPEG-4, H.264 media playback
Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) connectivity
30 GB Hard Drive
3 inch video LCD 320x240
White, Black, and Brown Colors
FM Radio
TV output connectivity 640x480
Dedicated song download site (Zune Marketplace)
DJ Mode
Podcast playback
Updateable Firmware
Estimated 12 hr battery life for audio, 3.5 hr video
3 day playback of Wi-Fi transfered songs from friends (hmmm...) 
XBOX streaming
XBOX (Microsoft) points compatability
Preloaded music videos
Over a dozen accessories at launch
5.6 ounces in weight, 4.4 x 2.4 x 0.58 inches size
Metric: 158 g, 112 x 61 x 14.7 mm size
Custom background images
WiFi transfer of photographs
Tag based storage system (Will not appear as drive)
PC Compatability (no Mac client at launch)
Zune tag enabled
Horizontal and vertical video orientation

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Sunday, 01 October 2006 15:53:32 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Yesterday at work, I had the privilege of spending a couple hours with this cool kid named Connor. He's the son of a friend and coworker, and is an all-around good kid. Every now and then he'll come to work with his mom for a day and we'll hang out for a bit. It sure beats back-to-back meetings, heh.

Sidebar: For what it's worth, I'd kill to be eleven years old again (if I could stay that age, that is - no point in going through all those intervening years again, heh...).

True to form, he asked if we still have an XBOX. People kind of freak out when I tell them I bought an XBOX 360 for work. We actually have a couple of them on campus. "Video games at work??" they ask me. Heck yeah - it's a great way for creative minds to take an occasional and much-needed brain break (as long as it doesn't become something that's overdone), and some of the best idea-generating conversations happen when you're kicking someone else's butt in DOA4 or some other game. It's also of great interest, it turns out, to eleven-year-old kids. Yeah, go figure.

But most of the time we spent hanging out on Monday was occupied with trying to find a clean whiteboard somewhere in the building that didn't say "SAVE" on it (what the heck is up with THAT anyhow?) and then talking about computers and networks and how they work. Teaching kids something they have yet to learn about is really a lot of fun. I explained the underlying technology basics of how web browsers and web servers work, using analogies like phone books (for DNS), mapquest data (for routes) and phone numbers (for IP addresses) to try to describe some pretty complicated, intangible and abstract stuff in a way that makes some sort of sense. You know - looking up a name in a phone book and finding the phone number is like looking up a URL in DNS and getting an IP address, and using mapquest to figure out how to get from one place to another one step at a time is a lot like finding the route to a web server... We got a little more detailed than that, but you get the idea. His face really lit up when - all of a sudden - he "got it."

Next thing I knew, he was explaining how it works to me. Which was really cool. :)

I used to teach middle school kids back in the day, and there's something about those "getting it" moments that are a lot of fun to watch. Seeing reality expanding itself in a kid's mind is a pretty amazing thing. They sure do learn quickly.

At any rate, Connor will be back again sometime soon, and we'll see who's teaching whom whenever that day comes. For my part, I'm betting on the kid.



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Personal Stories | Tech
Tuesday, 11 July 2006 21:44:02 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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I lucked out last night - big time. We dropped by the Best Buy store in Beaverton (that's Oregon) after a fun day hanging out at OMSI and cruising Portland, just in case by some random chance they had any of the complete Xbox 360 kits around (as opposed to the "core" system version). Sure enough, a hand-made sign inside the door read "Xbox 360's in stock!"

We headed back to the place where they have the consoles, and sure enough, there were about 15 white and green boxes stacked behind the table. So I bought two - one for me at home and one for work, where all the people that work for me can play during breaks (I have been promising them one for quite awhile now - they work hard, they should play hard now and then). Added a few games and extra controllers, and walked out poor (for what it's worth, the funds have been set aside for some time waiting for a store to stock them and for me to show up before they got bought up), but also a bit excited and with a feeling of accomplishment. Finally!

I hooked mine up at home last night. I played Battlefield 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted. I also got Quake 4, but have not played it yet. Maybe tonight. The graphics, digital sound and animation on this thing are all freakin' A-MA-ZING.

And today, my Xbox 360 decided to start blogging. Yes, seriously. My console has it's own blog. Go figure. I guess new posts will start showing up soon. And you thought those blogging Aibos were cool eh? Nahhh... Heh.

I have to say, this is one seriously nice gaming and home entertainment console. Projected on my wall at 120 inches, that's some serious game play, and of course DVD movies look and sound great, too. I need to fire up the Media Center PC (need to fix a hard drive issue first) and tie these things together - that will be a killer combo for sure.

(Thanks, Trevin for the blogging link)



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Blogging | Geek Out | Random Stuff
Tuesday, 09 May 2006 01:53:14 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Microsoft's Windows Live ID team has started a blog to communicate information about the new product, which is a replacement/upgrade for the Passport service. From the inaugural post:

"Windows Live ID is the upgrade/replacement for the Microsoft Passport service and is the identity and authentication gateway service for cross-device access to Microsoft online services, such as Windows Live, MSN, Office Live and Xbox Live.  Is this the authentication service for the world?  No :-)  It's primarily designed for use with Microsoft online services and by Microsoft-affiliated close partners who integrate with Windows Live services to offer combined innovations to our mutual customers.  We will continue to support the Passport user base of 300+ Million accounts and seamlessly upgrade these accounts to Windows Live IDs.  Partners who have already implemented Passport are already compatible with Windows Live ID.
 
"Windows Live ID is being designed to be an identity provider among many within the
Identity Metasystem.  In the future, we will support Federated identity scenarios via WS-* and support InfoCards.
 
"For developers we will be providing rich programmable interfaces via server and client SDKs to give third party application developers access to authenticated
Microsoft Live services and APIs.
 
"Over the next few weeks as we complete our deployment, you will see the Windows Live ID service come alive through our respective partners sites and services.  The first thing you’ll notice as early as today is that the word Passport is being replaced by Windows Live ID.  But isn't a rebranding exercise -- there is stuff going on under the hood.  This will be more understandable in the coming weeks and months when you start seeing the new, exciting Windows Live sign-in UI.  Not only is the page load time significantly reduced, but you will see some really cool innovative features that we’re sure you’ll love :)"

I'll likely be writing here on this weblog about Infocard (which I have early some experience with), authentication and other related topics, since I have a professional connection to all of the above. Glad to see the Live ID team getting their blog start - this is the beginning of what should be a great phase of changes and improvements in the area.



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IT Security | Tech
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 16:02:41 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Recently a couple coworkers at Corillian turned me on to TextPayMe, which is a cool service you can use to send money to others (and even to a few online merchants). Click the banner below to check it out and sign up for free - They'll even deposit five bucks in your TextPayMe account when you sign up. For real. You don't even have to provide a credit card or bank account info unless you want to transfer funds into the TextPayMe account, so there's no risk. It costs you nothing.

And, if 35 people sign up via this link, I'll get a XBOX 360. You can do the same thing. nice eh?

    SignUp at TextPayMe

TextPayMe services are used to send payments to (and receive payments from) people you know, using text messaging on your mobile phones or wireless PDAs (I'm using it on my Blackberry phone). Let's say you go to a restaurant with three friends. Instead of asking the waiter to split the bill, or even worse trying to find the right amount of cash to put in the pool and pay your part, one person pays the bill, and the other three send their part to the person who paid using TextPayMe. They send it to your cell phone number, nice and easy. And for the people sending the money, the security system (which is a two-factor secure system - nice) calls their cell as soon as they text the payment. They answer the phone and are prompted by the peppy IVR voice on the other end to enter a PIN (which you provide at the time you sign up). Only then is money sent.

So - a cool service to try, nothing to lose, and five bucks to gain! Click here to go to the TextPayMe site and sign up to give it a try!



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IT Security | Mobile | Tech
Friday, 24 February 2006 20:33:28 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Ipod_blackI broke down last week and bought an iPod. I got the 60GB model (5G iPod Video, black) and its a pretty cool device. Not without its quirks, but cool for sure. I like it, and I'll be adding some of the available (expensive) accessories as soon as I figure out which of the zillion accessory manufacturers actually makes something worth buying. Talk about a zoo...

iTunes is all hooked up (pretty cool app dontcha know), a few podcasts are subscribed (small list below for people who are interested) and a couple movies have been loaded. Great video conversion information and help can be found here, by the way. I've only bought one song on iTunes so far, and that will probably change but I think it says something that after having this thing for a week I've used it primarily to load some video for traveling and to subscribe to syndicated content (audio and video podcasts).

I really, really wish - every time I look at an apple product package - that they would at least tell me what is included and what's not. I know, I know... I could just ask any random human being on the street what came with their iPod and the zoo of accessories they own, since I am like the last person in the world to buy one of these things, but seriously - no compact wall charger? Leaving out the iPod dock is crazy enough, but I figured there would at least be an AC-outlet-to-USB thing in there.

One thing I learned early on: When it says "do not disconnect" on the screen, regardless of the fact that the message stays there for-freakin-ever, it's best not to disconnect it. If you do, and your iPod starts an endless cycle of reboot, power up, power off, flash the display, reboot, power up, power off, flash the... Yeah, anyhow the iPod updater has a "Restore" option that nukes the iPod, reformats the hard drive and installs all the software from scratch. Works wonders.

Oh and another thing - I can only sync this $400 device to one computer? Seriously? Ok, so I can hook up to a second computer and as long as I don't choose auto-sync, I can manually move files to the iPod. But this is not so good: Mac and Windows synced iPods are not compatible? Jeez, there's something worth spending some serious dev time on. Using the iPod updater to reformat the thing so I can use it on the Mac mini doesn't solve any problems, it creates them. And there's no way I'm buying Apple computers just to work with the iPod.

Oh, and copy-protection and all that RIAA crap aside, iTunes is a service, and it should flow from computer to computer with the authenticated user's settings and content, and I should be able to sync to the iPod anywhere I am logged in. In other words, some content everywhere, and associate the device with my user account, not my computer.

Anyhow, in the accessories department, it's pretty clear I need an iPod dock. I'll have to break down and ask my friends if it comes with a USB cable, or if I have to purchase that separately, too. I won't be shelling out the $20 for Apple's video cable so I can play content on my TV or projector - I think I'll just use one of the almost-exactly-the-same cables I already have lying around the house and just mix up the plugs as described at the Mac Dev Center site:

  • Plug the red RCA plug into your TV's yellow RCA jack.
  • Plug the yellow RCA plug into your TV's white RCA jack.
  • Plug the white RCA plug into your TV's red RCA jack.

Pure. Freakin. Genius. If it works.

But don't get me wrong here. I'm complaining a bit about the proprietary, non-standard and closed nature of the Apple way of business, but this is a terrific piece of hardware, as the marketplace has clearly proven. Audio quality is great. The user experience is simple, flows and just works. But you already know that.

HKCarPlayI stopped by a couple stores the other night between appointments and checked out the plethora of radio-transmitter accessories. I spend a lot of time driving (two hours of commute time daily), so having something that does a good job of transmitting relatively high quality audio to my FM car radio would be nice. On the higher end of the car-audio purchasing spectrum (about $200), the Harman Kardon Drive+Play looks really cool. Not sure if it's video iPod compatible, but I have emailed them to ask. The Monster iCruze also looks nice and it is confirmed to work with the iPod Video models, but I need to make sue my car stereo is compatible - And it's on sale in a huge way as of the time of this writing: $99 for a complete kit. A FAQ page is here.

Oh, and (sidebar comment here) you gotta check out the videos on this page at the HK Drive+Play site - especially the "Title and Registration" one. Heheh...

Below are the few podcasts to which I've subscribed so far. Now that I am coming back to podcasts (my first round with them was more geeky in nature than practical, which is my approach nowadays) the number of shows I am interested in subscribing to is relatively small. I'm pickier. You'll note these all tend to be either professionally produced shows or well-produced indi ones, and that the only common denominator is that they're relevant and matter to me. And none of them are podcasters talking about podcasting. Thank goodness we moved past that phase.

Note: The iTunes interface makes it pretty much impossible for me to figure out where the real home pages are for these podcasts, so it's hard to link you to them, sorry. If someone knows a trick, please tell me (hey Apple - seems like easy access to a phobos.apple.com subscription link plus a standardized "home site" URL in the iTunes XML and UI would be a nice thing to do for sharing subscription links?).

  • Diggnation (video and audio podcasts) - these guys sit around and discuss what's hot on Digg.com
  • Ebert & Roeper - movie reviews from the top critics, weekly audio from the broadcast television show
  • Engadget podcast - ultimate gadget geek site and podcast show (but their RSS feed is broken and iTunes is out of date, ugh)
  • Major Nelson Radio - podcast from inside the world of the XBOX and XBOX Live!
  • NASACast video - this Week at NASA video podcast - just a cool, short video update on what's happening at the space agency
  • Security Now! podcast - Consumer focused security audio show - We really need more security-focused podcasts
  • Superman Returns, Bryan Singer's Journal - The director of Superman Returns video-blogs lots of interesting stuff in the process of the creation of Superman Returns, which is set to hit theaters this year. Professionally produced video shows (I don't think Bryan is shooting any of these, but hey...)


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Random Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, 10 January 2006 16:15:04 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I have been awfully busy lately, with lots and lots of work projects, travel for work and personal purposes, and all the rest of life on top of that. As a result, there are over a hundred interesting tidbits of info I set aside with hopes of writing here about them.

But since I know in the real world that won't ever happen, here are the 48 random things that caught my eye ad attention long enough for me to save each one - These fall mostly in the tech category:



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Random Stuff | Tech
Saturday, 10 December 2005 17:22:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Everyone knows XBOX360's are in very short supply, and the ones that are available are being swept up as soon as they hit shelves. So, it makes sense that a few web resources have appeared to help you find one.

  • http://xbox.clambert.org/ - Best Buy stores in the US will be receiving fresh inventory next weekend (the 18th). This site lets you enter your ZIP code and find out how many will be arriving at a store(s) near you.
  • http://www.notify360.com/ - Sign up for a free or premium service that will notify you when online retailers have XBOX360 consoles available to purchase.

Sounds like there will be opportunities to find one before Christmas. Rumor on Friday was that there were Costco stores with large shipments at that time in some areas.



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Tech
Saturday, 10 December 2005 15:07:25 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Microsoft's Major Nelson, XBOX Live Director of Programming grand poobah, says they're cranking out new consoles and shipping XBOX 360s to stores weekly, so there' still a chance.

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Random Stuff | Tech
Sunday, 27 November 2005 01:38:15 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Last night I contemplated waking up earlier than usual, getting in the car and going down to the local Wal Mart (well, as local as can be when you live in the sticks) to get in line to buy a XBOX 360 console. After doing some rough calculations in my head last night, I realized that between travel and work, I'll hardly be home between now and the end of the year, so maybe right now isn't the best time for me to buy one anyhow. Oh, but I will be buying one, no worries there.

Still, Wal Mart is on my drive to work, and so I decided to grab my standard morning coffee from the little store at the bottom of the hill, drive into town, and do some people watching. After all, I realized, it's more the excitement and the weirdness of the hype around the event than the console itself. An XBOX 360 today is the same box and hardware as you can buy later. But the launch fans? That only happens once.

So I headed out for the big ol' St. Helens, Oregon Wal Mart. I listened to the radio on the way there, and heard stories of gamers in places like Manhattan, NY, where apparently people had been lined up forever (like lots of places around the country) and Bellevue, Washington, where Bill Gates went to the local Best Buy and picked up his own console. Somehow I don't think he needed to do that, but hey - it was cool. 

Honestly, I was more interested in watching the people when they opened the store than I was in buying a console on Day One. I'm more interested, too, in how much they'll be selling for on eBay later today, and about when the day will be that they start dropping them off the backs of trucks at stores in huge numbers. One friend says he thinks it will be on Thursday night. Another person I know tells me the store he pre-ordered from called and let him know his delivery would be delayed, and that they were not sure if he would get his before Christmas. People are lining up everywhere. Clearly, the demand is high and the supply (either artificially or in actuality) is short.

Anyhow, back to the local Wal Mart. I wasn't sure what to expect in the Big Town of St Helens. I pulled into the parking lot and saw a small crowd of about 15-20 shivering people huddled right next to the front door of the store. A couple of people were (smartly) waiting in their vehicles with the heat on. I pulled up and deduced that the Wal Mart store has probably handed out numbers to the first people to show up, but that's where things got more interesting. Every employee that came anywhere near the front door was the target of sly, mean-sounding questioning. "Are they coming to open the door? Hurry up, it's f***n' cold out here! What?!? No?!?!? G*d d*mnit!"

When it came time to open the door and head for the counter - and keep in mind, everyone had a number - the race walk through the door turned into a jog, and then quickly into a sprint for the back of the store, where ten boxes sat stacked neatly behind a counter. I followed (at a walking pace, of course) to observe. A couple of people commented on the foot race and we all laughed a little. Mostly the people (at least those who didn't have a number) noticed how strange the whole thing was. All this for a video game console? Hey, for some it's what life is all about, I guess.

So, I started to think about the gamer personality. Some of the people were needlessly quiet and cagey, not really letting on as to who had what number, and some were not even providing information about whether numbers were even given out. It was amusing, really. There was this competitive hype attitude. The need to be first, to sneak around that metaphoric corner on the battle map and shoot your opponent in the back of the head.

It's really kinda interesting.

Fist fights, secrecy, celebration, celebrity, short supply, bright green boxes, launch hype, auction hype and even more random hype. Some will be upset they can't get one, others will be upset they pre-ordered and the kid down the street was first, and others will be holed up in their rooms for the next five days with lots of Mountain Dew, Red Bull, Doritos and Little Betty Snack Cakes turning a whole new shade of pasty white with a day-glow green tint brought on by the magical glow of the XBOX 360, only to emerge into a world where the colors are not quite as bright, the definition is not quite as high, and the people with guns in their hands are the ones you want to avoid. Ahhh, the life...

Merry Christmas and all that. Earlier and more bizarre every year. 

But hey, dude, it's a sweet console.



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Tuesday, 22 November 2005 15:44:25 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Hard core console gamers are already camping out tonight in front of Best Buy stores and other retailers hoping to get their clammy paws on a new XBOX 360 console, which are in predictably short supply at stores as the launch happens Tuesday.

And be sure to check out the XBOX360 Fanboy blog for all the latest news. Heh. Bill Gates is even going to show up at the Bellevue Best Buy store to hand out the first one and play some games with the crowd.

I'm not, like, old or anything (ugh), but I'm not as young as I once was. Still, I might wake up early (I tend to do so anyhow) and truck it on down to the local WalMart, where they have exactly ten consoles that will be on sale at 7am tomorrow. Word is the Fred Meyer store (for those not in the northwest, take WalMart and fancy it up significantly) in the next town over got seven units and will be doing a lottery for whoever is in line at 5am, then selling them when the store opens at 7am. In the city, people are lined up at Best Buy stores to get one of the 50 units that each store supposedly has.

When I stopped by the WalMart on the way home, the phone at the electronics counter was ringing off the hook. The guy at the counter just shook his head, and told me that phone's rung more than a couple hundred times today with people asking about the XBOX 360 console.

So here are the real questions we're all wondering about:

  • How many units shipped for launch?
  • When will the truckloads of consoles hit the stores? Should we start a pool?
  • Is this possibly a planned shortage thing, or is the supply really that low?
  • What will they be selling for on eBay tomorrow afternoon?

I dunno... I know I'll be buying one of these, but I'm not quite sure if I'll be getting up bright and early to scrape the windshield and stand in the sub-freezing temperatures to gamble on something I might not walk away with. Heheh... Maybe I am getting old.



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Tuesday, 22 November 2005 00:15:58 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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If you already have a bunch of XBOX games, you've likely been wondering what's the dealio with the new console? Will you be able to play your old original XBOX games on the new XBOX 360? If so, will they play better? Will they be displayed in HD?

Well, Microsoft has posted the official backward-compatibility list of games you'll be able to play on the new console when it launches on November 22nd. There's also a Q&A page that answers a lot of questions about backward compatibility and how the legacy games will work. It looks like the list will likely grow over time, so you can check back to see if more games get added.

As of the time I am posting this, there are 207 titles on the list. Not too shabby, and definitely more than I expected.

And - even bigger news - every game title on the list will be up-scaled to HD resolutions of 720p and 1080i and will use the 360's anti-aliasing engine. Wow, that's great news! Yes, it's up-scaling, but the end result is better game experience on the old titles when using the new hardware. Nice. To do backward compatibility, you'll need a hard drive accessory (which is an option for the less-expensive "Core" XBOX 360 package, and is included in the premium package. 

Microsoft notes that: "A software emulator is required for each original Xbox game you play on your Xbox 360™ console. Please check back for more details as we approach the launch date."

From the Q&A page come these useful nuggets of information:

Xbox.com: How is your backward compatibility solution going to work?

Todd: As you’ve heard from us before, backward compatibility on Xbox 360 is done through software. Now that we’ve solved the technical challenge and the emulator is working, we’re certifying each original Xbox title by hand to run on Xbox 360.

What I’m really proud to tell you and your readers is that it’s easy to get the emulation software, and it’s free. We’ll give gamers a choice—you can get the latest software updates from Xbox Live, burn a CD from xbox.com or sign up on Xbox.com for a CD that can be delivered to your home at a nominal shipping and handling fee. Once you get the CD, put it in your Xbox 360 and you’re ready to go.

Xbox.com: Will there be any benefits to playing original Xbox games on my Xbox 360 console?

Todd: Absolutely. One of the great things about gaming on Xbox 360 is the satisfaction of knowing that every game will be playable in high definition. We are now proud to reveal that this extends to the original Xbox games as well. Every original Xbox game will be upscaled to 720p and 1080i, and will take advantage of Xbox 360’s anti-aliasing capabilities, delivering a picture that is clearer and crisper than anything available on Xbox.

UPDATE: Rory comments on the slashdot comments on the XBOX 360 backward compatibility announcement. Slashdot readers were typically (and predictably) assinine, and Rory is his typical genius self.



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Saturday, 12 November 2005 17:24:38 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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HO-LY CRR-AP!!

Okay, so... When Microsoft says the XBOX 360 is a whole new level of gaming machine, they're serious.

I just played a couple shooters on a XBOX 360 game console and that's it, I'm sold. The graphics are GREAT. The visuals make the gameplay amazing, and it's clear the processing and video power is extreme. Add to that the Media Center connections and, well... Wow.

If you want to get your hands on one, go to the Best Buy in Beaverton, Oregon on Cedar Hills Blvd. Apparently, at least according to the sales guy there, that store is the second one to get a working display setup (the first one was a WalMart in California, he said). Some Microsoftie walked in with a bunch of boxes, set up the display, and just left. "No one knew what to do!" said the Best Buy kid. Heh. Cool.

The crowd was excited. A sign is taped to the end cap where the 360 resides that says "5 minutes, please." The crew of giddy people (mostly adults by the way) quietly contained themselves and politely took turns splattering people with their virtual firearms. It pretty much rocked. Ooohs and Aahhhhs abound.

Check it out if you can. I'll try to post some pics in the next day or two if I can get back there. This was the first day in months I didn't have my camera with me, go figure.



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Sunday, 30 October 2005 22:41:55 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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The XBox 360 console will be released in late November, and Microsoft has announced that several games will be backward-compatible and will run on the new machine.

Here's your chance (for the next few days, anyhow) to vote on which games will receive backward-compatibility support:

"... when it comes to determining backwards compatibility, the ball is entirely in Microsoft's court. As you'd expect, they've already baked-in all the no-brainer Xbox games that will work on 360 (e.g., Halo 1 and 2, Knights of the Old Republic, Fable, etc.), but with the Xbox 360 launch just around the corner this November, the boys from Redmond are unofficially reaching out to the gaming community to learn what remaining games Xbox fans would like to see backwards compatible on Xbox 360.

"We present below (split into two digestible lists) 80 worthy Xbox titles Microsoft isn't sure about. 80 games that will, over the course of the next 5 days, battle it out to the death. While there are no guarantees that the top 10 or 20 games will make it into the backwards compatibility list, or even what the cut-off number will be for the top titles, the stakes here are unquestionably high. To be sure, Microsoft will be checking out these results to gauge consumer interest in many of these excellent games. And they will act accordingly. So know that your vote will make a difference."

http://www.1up.com/do/feature?cId=3143553&did=1



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Tuesday, 13 September 2005 06:51:09 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Steel Battalion ControllerI got a wild hair a week or two ago and picked up a Steel Battalion game and uber-controller on eBay.

Oh. My. God.

Wow...

This game - and it's incredible game controller setup (detail here, image at right) - is pretty darned cool.

At lineofcontact.net, they essentially say that Steel Battalion and Steel Battalion: Line of Contact are both "daunting games to be a novice at, even for very experienced gamers." That's an understatement. 

Line of Contact is the XBOX Live multiplayer sequel to the original single-player game: "The level of complexity entailed in the game is on a par with PC based massively multiplayer role playing games, but with a challenging controller interface, live voice-based communication and a stiff penalty for inattentiveness (eject or lose your pilot)."

Line of Contact Screen-ShotIt's an awesome simulator game, where you "pilot" a futuristic vertical tank (VT - basically like in Mechwarrior) and the controller has (get this) something like 40 freakin' buttons, and they all actually work! Mastering this game will be nearly impossible. So sweet!

I hooked it all up this evening, and immediately failed to make the thing drive very well, so I focused instead on shooting the heck out of stuff. And since I did not eject in time, my player got completely wiped out. Yep - you have to eject if your VT gets shot up bad enough, in order to keep your player alive and available for the next round. Talk about simulators, heheh...

If you've never seen this game, especially if you like simulators, you should check it out any chance you get. Heck - Call me and drop by (if you happen to be in the Middle of Nowhere anytime soon), I'll let you play this one.

It's a great addition to my pile of Microsoft XBOX stuff.



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Tech | Random Stuff | Geek Out
Tuesday, 28 June 2005 02:20:19 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Tons of high-definition Windows Media video files with some pretty amazing footage from a whole slew of upcoming XBOX 360 games are available for download over at Microsoft.

This is going to be a great console - the possibilities are fun to think of... Hook it up with Longhorn's version of Media Center and you have a super-cool HD Media Center extender. Great games, too of course.

Check out the videos. Amazing. Just make sure you have a big fat pipe for downloading or be prepared to hurry up and wait. These files are 720p hi-def format, so they're pretty darned big, but super cool looking.



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Geek Out | Tech
Sunday, 29 May 2005 19:35:45 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Xbox360logoKikizo.com has another (big ol') video of the XBOX 360 team discussing what's so cool about the upcoming console. This one's different than the Our Colony video from the other day (although it does share a little common footage).

Nice, and interesting how this marketing thing is happening... View the video here.



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Random Stuff | Tech
Saturday, 14 May 2005 15:36:25 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Xbox360The next version of the XBOX, called the XBOX 360, was announced today. They did this kinda lame thing for a half hour on MTV (but hey, what do you expect on that channel), but the device itself looks really awesome. Games, pictures, video, audio - it's a HD media center extender and game console and much more.

If you saw the MTV thing and found it lacking, check out this video. It's very good.

(found via Engadget)

UPDATE: Another preview video has hit the net.



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Geek Out | Tech
Friday, 13 May 2005 02:46:14 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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From now til June 8th, you can do your best to hack an IIS 6.0 server, and if you're successful, you'll win an Xbox. WindowsIT Pro has issues their Hack IIS 6.0 Challenge.

If you think you've got what it takes, head on over and hack away!

  • May 2 - Challenge begins with very basic static HTML web site to focus hackers on hacking IIS code
  • May 16 - ASP.NET web site put up to give more potential hacking angles
  • June 8 - Contest ends
  • June 9 - Winner (or lack of winner) announced at TechEd in Orlando.

All the details are here, and the rules are here.



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IT Security | Tech
Friday, 06 May 2005 04:16:21 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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The Game Developer's Conference is always an interesting even with lots of cool news for game geeks to get all anticipatory over.

Microsoft's released some screen caps showing off the user interface for the next-generation XBOX Guide - an entertainment gateway for users. The also describe the future XBOX experience: "games, friends, music, and more."

Screenshot 2Screenshot 3Screenshot 4

The sample images and more info are available here.

You can also listen to the keynote address by Microsoft's J Allard, in which he speaks about the next-gen XBOX:

(found via Engadget)



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Geek Out | Random Stuff
Thursday, 10 March 2005 13:22:47 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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This post is for the brain-dead and hermits among us.

Just in case you missed it, Halo 2 is coming out this week on Tuesday Noveber 9th. Thousands of stores are opening at midnight+1 to sell the game, so find the stores closest to you, choose one, and go get in line.

Meanwhile, here are a few new and nifty items to tide you over until Tuesday at 12:01 am:

So - is anyone actually taking vacation from work to beat the game? Heh.

Here is what Microsoft says you'll need - go to the xbox.com readiness guide page for more details...

The Essentials

  • A copy of the most anticipated game of 2004: Halo® 2. (Obviously!)
  • An active subscription to Xbox Live™.
  • An Xbox®-compatible router.
  • A Friends List full of potential opponents and teammates.
  • A linked Gamertag.
  • A TV and sound system to take in the whole experience. (HDTV and Surround Sound optional, but recommended.)
  • At least one day completely set aside for nothin’ but gaming bliss.
  • Supplies (food, refreshments, toilet paper, etc.).

Who's planning on getting in line and buying their copy at midnight? I'm game if someone else is going along, but I won't be skipping work, I'm not that hard-core, heh.



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Geek Out | Random Stuff | Tech
Sunday, 07 November 2004 22:50:49 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Among the many, many new Media Center PC news items to hit the street this past week, I forgot to mention one that has had me all excited ever since it was first mentioned some time ago: The Media Center Extender for Xbox.

I'm in the process building a Media Center Dev Machine so I can work on a few tech ideas I want to explore and try. Since I already have an XBOX, I will probably pick this title up and use it to set up part of my Media Center network at home. I just have to work out the details around tuning the satellite box and whether I am going to be able to get a decent Portland HDTV signal out here (and hence which capture device and tuner I'll use and whether I have to use one or two tuners).

The Xbox title is one of the Extender line (a set-top box is also available) that Microsoft is releasing with this new version of their media-centric operating system.

Information from xbox.com:

With a wired or wireless connection to the Media Center PC (sold separately), the Xbox console now allows you to enjoy the digital entertainment media from your PC when and how you want. The included remote control and IR receiver also support DVD movie playback. Just grab the remote, drop in the Media Center Extender DVD in your Xbox, and get ready for an entertainment revolution! A whole new world for your Xbox awaits …

  • Watch and record television shows.
  • Enjoy a free integrated TV Program Guide with no fees.
  • Access your Media Center PC’s digital media library music, videos, and pictures.
  • Stay connected with instant messaging and Xbox Live™.
  • Watch DVD movies.
  • Listen to FM and Internet radio.

Screen-shots are available at xbox.com:




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Tech | Windows Media Technology
Saturday, 16 October 2004 17:17:41 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Buy.com is taking pre-orders for the soon-to-be-released Media Center Extender devices made by Linksys.

What are Media Center Extenders? They are devices that communicate with a Windows Media Center 2005 (I believe that is an actual requirement, but will need to check) computer on your home network, allowing you to view and use media stored on the PC on your television systems. Think of it as an integration device that connects TV to music, images, live and recorded TV items on your Media Center PC. Note that Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 will also be released soon.

  • Connects your Home Entertainment Center to a Windows Media Center PC through a Wireless-A, Wireless-G, or wired network
  • Watch home or downloaded digital movies and browse your digital pictures on your television. Also watch, pause, and record live TV shows
  • Listen to your digital music collection and Internet radio through your stereo system 
    Select entertainment from on-screen menus with the easy-to-use remote control

So, what's so cool about that? Well, this device converges the media stored on your PC with the rest of your AV equipment - It means you can store all that video, music and image data and information in one place (on the Media Center PC) and view or listen to it anywhere you like on your home network (such as on your TV, your home theater system, the stereo system, etc). Plans are that you'll even be able to add a Media Center Extender title to your XBox system and watch movies, view pictures, and listen to music there.

Bobsled you say? Yeah. Code name for the Microsoft project while it was under development.

Find out more about Windows XP Media Center here, and more about Media Center Extenders here.

(info via Charlie Kindel)



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Tech | Windows Media Technology
Tuesday, 05 October 2004 22:56:29 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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I know he didn't mean to (so I won't act all flattered or smug or anything), but Robert Scoble just sort of summed up the better part of my topic/category list for this-here-blog of mine, over on his blog...

I thought it would be interesting to compare his list of cool upcoming topics for the future to what's categorized or searchable right now on my site. So, I did just that and have added the links, below. Not a bad start, and it points out to me where I am falling shorter than I had realized in my content. Hey Robert, thanks for the copy. :-)

“For the next 18 months, where are the business opportunities going to lie? Tablet PC. Bigtime. Windows Media Center. Gonna be a big deal. SmartPhones. Wanna watch how fast the Motorola MPX220 sells when it's released in the next few months? Xbox Live. You only need to say one number and everyone knows exactly the Xbox thing I'm talking about: "2." Visual Studio 2005. Tons of stuff coming there. MSN has a whole raft of things up their sleeves. And we haven't even started talking about BizTalk, SharePoint, Exchange, SQL Server, 64-bit Windows, SBS, CRM, LiveMeeting, and OneNote, among other things.”

It also gives me a gut-check on my existing blog categories. Here they are, with the ones that apply to this posting checked:



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Blogging | Mobile | Office 2003 | OneNote | SharePoint | Tablet PC | Tech | Windows Media Technology
Thursday, 23 September 2004 12:51:30 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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On Channel 9 today, there's an interview with Jason Flaks, a Microsoft program manager on the Media Connects team. He demos some of the new Windows Media Connect technology that's set to come out in the future. This is very cool stuff - and it looks like it will be a big market - I know I will be on the wagon!

There's going to be a real market not only for users of these devices and technologies, but for businesses that truly understand them and can help the "common-folk" adopt and use them. Building a complex home media system like we're about to see hit the market is not a trivial task. Sure, it will get easier over time, but for a while a least, there will be a real need for professionals who can take the technology investments made by consumers and make them work really well.

I'm excited about the next wave of media devices and systems. It's been under-reported and under-estimated. All your media (pictures, audio, video) usable across multiple systems and devices. Stream the program recorded on your PC across the network and view it on the screen attached to your XBOX. Project your digital images on the 10-foot projection screen. Listen to your MP3s in any room, and automatically sync your music and video with your portable media device to take with you. Browse your media libraries on the MCE PC from your DVD player. The possibilities are nearly limitless.



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Windows Media Technology
Friday, 09 July 2004 02:34:30 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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My back has started to feel a lot better, off and on, over the past couple of days. I am not sure how long the relief will last, but I figure I will enjoy it while I can.

In that vain, I jumped on my motorcycle this evening (was a bit chilly!) and rode into town to return an Xbox game (RalliSport Challenge 2 - lots of fun). I've stayed off the motorcycle since my last spinal injections, to let my back heal and all that, but it actually feels pretty good to ride the bike and flex my lower back a bit. No long distances, and I will still take it easy, but it was a fun ride.

I think that beyond the physical stretching, the freedom one experiences on a motorcycle ride is something I need right now, as well. I've been feeling a little of that isolated-no-matter-where-I-am stuff, so it's good to finally be able to get back on there, even if just for a little while, and get out of my head.

Here's to hoping the weather warms up, and the back pain stays away.



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Personal Stories
Sunday, 13 June 2004 03:34:58 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Not a truly exciting name, but the idea certainly is interesting: A machine that plays XBOX, yet-to-be-seen XBOX 2, and PC titles, includes a full release of Windows, and will sell for around $600. They're calling it “XBOX Next PC” in focus group studies.

Sounds good to me. If you're talking XBOX and Windows, we're looking at MediaCenter PC version of Windows almost certainly, which means the hard drive(s) are for more than just games (video and audio too). The Media Center extenders and other devices will take a new leap with this. Since this is planned for after XBOX 2, I'd have to assume it based on Longhorn, so my imagination is running wild.

I've been part of these MSFT focus groups in the past (for other products, can't say more than that), and I can tell you one thing from those experiences: Microsoft is a company that will put serious money into dreaming big, and then even more money into building the things that look like they'll fly high.

Can't wait to see where this goes.



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Windows Media Technology | Tech
Tuesday, 01 June 2004 03:02:13 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Some have speculated that Windows XP Media Center Edition was a dead horse (a stance I still don't fully comprehend), but then came the 2004 release, and now comes an announcement that they will be extending the Media Center reach to - get this - other devices, including (glad I bought one!) the XBOX. And hey - the Portable Media Centers have already got me sold. Wow - this is a big announcement, when you think about it.

The Windows Media Center Extender technologies and products were just announced at CES 2004. Arrival slated for later this year. Microsoft has a cool PDF brochure that gives a good picture of what's in store. It looks like you buy a remote and some software for the XBOX (in the case of that product) and off you go. Cool - maybe we can finally make use of that hard drive in there for real. Now if they would just put a web browser in the thing... :-)

The other options - Extender TV's (can you say “Borg?”) and what looks to be an Extender appliance-type device, also look interesting.

One way or another this looks like the way of the future for television and multi-source media use. Whether Microsoft's technology is the defacto standard or not, this is likely indicative of where things are going.

Anyone have a link to Gates' keynote video at CES? I can't find it. That would be cool. :-)

On a related (well, at least similar) note, Snapstream is stepping up their game. Nimble company there. Wow. My TiVo, as much as I love it, could - possibly - become a thing of the past, although they did announce HD support and other cool stuff for later this year.

Thoughts?



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Windows Media Technology
Friday, 09 January 2004 00:36:33 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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