Wednesday, 16 July 2008

There's some great news out of the Microsoft Xbox crew at the E3 conference - NetFlix integration with your XBox 360:

Microsoft revealed that beginning later this year, Netflix subscribers would gain access to the entire Netflix digital library through their online XBox 360's.  Gold membership is required to take advantage of this partnership, but the newfound capacity represents a large step forward in increasing the XBox 360's appeal as a living room media box.  The present Netflix digital library includes roughly 10,000 titles, and on the 360 will feature the ability for watching videos concurrently with friends over the Internet through the new community party system.

Xbox 360 will be the only game system that lets users instantly watch movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix. Xbox LIVE Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers will be able to streaming movies and television show episodes from Netflix at no additional cost. I'm really looking forward to that. All we need now is a Blu-Ray drive for the 360 console...

Also announced was a revamped user experience and interface (implemented completely through software updates, and allowing more personalization and social interactivity), new HD programming partners and content (including Battlestar Galactica, which I am looking forward to), a price cut on the "Pro" model of the Xbox 360 and a new model slated for August, a future feature which will allow you to copy your game disk to the Xbox hard drive for faster loading and smoother play (you still need to have the original disc though), and a bunch of new games.

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Movies | Random Stuff | Tech
Wednesday, 16 July 2008 11:11:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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On TechCrunch IT, in a post called "The New Apple Walled Garden," author Nik Cubrilovic makes a good point...

TechCrunchIT » The New Apple Walled Garden

Geeks and enthusiasts wearing Wordpress t-shirts, using laptops covered in Data Portability, Microformats and RSS stickers lined up enthusiastically on Friday to purchase a device that is completely proprietary, controlled and wrapped in DRM. The irony was lost on some as they ran home, docked their new devices into a proprietary media player and downloaded closed source applications wrapped in DRM.

I am referring to the new iPhone - and the new Apple iPhone SDK that allows developers to build ‘native’ applications. The announcement was greeted with a web-wide standing ovation, especially from the developer community. The same community who demand all from Microsoft, feel gifted and special when Apple give them an inch of rope. When Microsoft introduced DRM into Media Player it was bad bad bad - and it wasn’t even mandatory, it simply allowed content owners a way to distribute and sell content from anywhere.

How can people who preach and pontificate open systems be so enamored with a completely closed, proprietary system as Apple's? Now, don't get me wrong. I was in line at an Apple store last week with all the people Nik talks about in his article. I really like the iPhone and I think my Mac is great, hardware-wise (okay, the OS is not too bad either). But there's something that's always lurking there in the back of my mind, like a pestering little voice that doesn't want me to give in or forget lessons of the past. "A closed system is a system doomed to fail," the voice tells me. Either that, or it is so limiting as to stifle. Or both. Maybe I need to get my medication checked. On the other hand, maybe the voice is right. Or both.

Risking cliche cynicism, I think one has to consider whether The Church of The Steve congregation is further developing (or devolving, if you prefer) in its adoration, at the expense of long-term good. Blind faith, crazed unthinking people saying one thing yet doing another, the how-dare-you-question mentality... Sounds familiar. And that's coming from an Episcopalian. An imperfect, sometimes-questioning, sometimes-doubting, cynical one -- But you get the point. I hope.

Perhaps the scariest part of my thought process today is that I actually agree completely with Dave Winer on this one. He nails it right on the head. Okay, there are times when I agree with Dave, but until now I've never really admitted it in public. :)

What do you think about Apple's model? Fanboy? Concerned? Who cares? End of the world as we know it? Utopia? Told-ya-so?

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Apple | Random Stuff | Tech | Things that Suck
Wednesday, 16 July 2008 10:31:58 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

JibJab does it again, in it's classic style. Well-done. Unicorns and everything else, just perfect heh.

Want to put yourself in this video like I did here with my fuzzy bad picture mug? Wait til the end, then click the appropriate button and send it to your friends.

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Tuesday, 15 July 2008 22:48:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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You can spend literally minutes (many of them) watching Gary Busey comment on various aspects of business and entrepreneurialism, and laughing in the process. Awesome. Highly recommended, since Gary is one of my favorites. You can click the buttons at the bottom of the video screen to get to different sections, each with several "episodes."

And by the way, the gotvmail service this video series is meant to virally market is pretty great, too. You might want to check that service out if you need a more-formal call-handling system for your smaller-sized business but don't want to shell out the money to buy all the classic PBX hardware. Great for distributed teams and virtual offices, too.

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Humor | Random Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, 15 July 2008 17:57:26 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I know this isn't exactly a new thing, but as I was installing the IE8 Beta 1 for x64 architecture on a computer today to do some testing, I felt a warm-fuzzy sense of appreciation for the fact that more and more we are seeing software that checks for patches and updates before installing and running for the first time. It makes for more-secure system, which is nothing but good.


No matter what you think of Internet Explorer (and for the record/what it's worth, I like it quite a bit these days), you have to admit the safer installation process is a great improvement.

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IT Security | Safe Computing | Tech
Tuesday, 15 July 2008 16:58:44 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Gizmodo has a good article highlighting the analysis of the iPhone 3G's battery life (some loose methodology, and some only slightly more formal) by nine industry pundit sources. All I can add to the info is that it's good to burn the batteries in for a week with full charges and discharges (even in the modern battery world) before one can really experience accurate results (batteries tend to need a couple good cycles to provide optimum output).

The general consensus? No 3G phone on the market has great battery life, but in the grand scheme of suckiness, the iPhone 3G's battery life suck the least. Forgive the terminology, please. Just trying to make a point. :)


"One takeaway seems to be that as far as straight-up 3G talk time goes, the iPhone 3G is near the top of the range—Wirelessinfo and PC World both found it to be among the best 3G handsets they've tested for voice talk time. For mixed use and browsing numbers, the range is pretty wide, since the variables at play are nearly infinite."

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Apple | Mobile | Tech
Tuesday, 15 July 2008 16:40:53 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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