Playing With My Weiner

Gaming at the mercy of miniature daschunds.

Pain Unimaginable January 12, 2009

Filed under: Mac,Microsoft,Other Folks,PC — Gwyddia @ 8:25 pm

It began a few days ago.  Microsoft, apparently non-ironically, introduced their “Garage Band killer”, Songsmith.  

(Note the kid is using a MacBook.)  

But moving on, today this appeared on the intarwebs (thanks Gizmodo). It appears to be the developmentally disabled love child of Van Halen and a Casio keyboard demo button.

Why? WHY?

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360 Install Base Passes Original XBox Installed Base November 25, 2008

Filed under: Hardware,Industry,Microsoft,PS3,XBox 360 — Gwyddia @ 10:41 am
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154466-xbox_xbox360_originalAnd it only took 3 years! This week Microsoft’s Xbox 360 hit the 25 million console mark. Of course, there are almost 150 million PS2s, even today, so who really knows what that says about the state of the console wars.

 

Microsoft seems to have scuppered their plans for a box in every home, and is rather focusing on the 10 million folks on XBox Live. The New Xbox Live Experience still has a few hiccups, like frequent network drop-off, but the company continues to patch the product. Nothing like load testing to put a spring in your step, eh, Microsoft fans?

 

“The Guild” is Coming to a 360 Near You November 24, 2008

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Congrats to Weiner and Twitter friend @feliciaday!

 

The folks responsible for internet sensation “The Guild” have signed a semi-exclusive deal with Microsoft’s Independent Video Channel. The show, a comedy which features the “real life” experiences of a small MMORPG guild, will air its second season exclusively on the IVC for four weeks before releasing the episodes on The Guild’s own site. The deal also includes a holiday episode shot in HD especially for the service.

 

Full of Patchy Goodness November 20, 2008

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Well, as promised, the New XBox Live Experience appeared this week. So far, so okay. The green blades are shiny and smooth, the avatars are like Miis all grown up and Netflix is working. Sorta.

 

The vaunted Netflix service has been up and down all day, with frequent patches. When it works, it works well, with instant streaming of lots of good stuff. The visual quality is pretty good for streaming video, much to my surprise.

 

The Marketplace is the real stumbling point at the moment. There is no easy way to get a complete list of what is on offer, and everything is incredibly slow at the moment. Microsoft is monitoring the situation and says it will be all better soon, and I really hope so.

 

XBox Live Issues Are Not All In Your Head November 16, 2008

Filed under: Hardware,Microsoft,XBox 360 — Gwyddia @ 12:47 pm
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It's not just for the console anymore.

It's not just for the console anymore.

If you can’t get on or stay on XBox Live today, you are not alone. Microsoft’s Major Nelson himself copped to the connectivity issues, stating:

 

In the past few hours, the Xbox Operations Center noticed that large number of members were disconnected from Xbox LIVE, some more than once. Our Engineering teams are actively working to determine the root cause of this issue and to prevent it from happening again. If you are disconnected, you should be able to reconnect after a few minutes. Thanks for your patience as we work quickly to solve the issue.

As of this writing, things are still iffy, despite a quick “All clear!” and “Nah, just kidding” from the Major this morning.

 

Preview: The New XBox Live Experience November 4, 2008

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Are you experienced?  As Jimi rock and rolls in his grave, Microsoft prepares to roll out their “New XBox Live Experience” on November 19th.  First announced and shown at E3, the NXLE is essentially a giant Dashboard update, which means that ready or not, it is coming to your system in two weeks. In response to a “can I keep my old system?” FAQ, Microsoft replies, in near-Orwellian fashion:

 

“Why would you want to? The New Xbox Experience is the same experience you had before and so much more! As a matter fact, the blades that people have come to know and love are integrated directly in to the guide button so that every aspect of the Xbox experience is always only one button click away. The new Xbox experience is built with community as its foundation and requires everyone to upgrade.”

 

Microsoft is touting NXLE as the “ultimate social entertainment experience”.  Apparently concerts, clubs, coffeeshops, and the like are done for good.  But enough of slagging on the change for change’s sake. What’s new?

 

633608089139281317First up, move over Miis.  Avatars are here.  Immediately after downloading the new interface you will be asked to create an avatar, which will take the place of your gamerpic and will be used in games ranging from Scene It! to . . . Scene It! 2.  

 

Next comes Themes 2.0. This PS3 Home-esque feature gives you your own little piece of virtual real estate. Each graphic you see in a theme ties into the overall effect, and there are rumors of purchaseable theme items for that “special touch”. People with friends can invite them into the Friends Channel to host an avatar party, complete with dressup dolls and pudgy unicorns. Ok, I made that last part up. Still love your Penny Arcade blades theme? Microsoft assures us that we won’t lose our old gamerpics and themes, but as of this writing, they “haven’t given out specifics about how your Gamerpics and Themes will be used when the update launches”.

 

One of the biggest new features, both in terms of impact and hard disk space, is the new Netflix on Demand feature. If this works like the PC version, XBox Live users will be able to watch any of thousands of movies on their large shiny TVs without having to wait for a disc to arrive in the mail. This feature requires membership in the Netflix unlimited subscription plan and, I’d imagine, sufficient hard disk space to store the data. This should become interesting to Comcast subscribers, who have a shiny new bandwidth cap.

 

But they were both the streets of shame...

But they were both the streets of shame...

Where does this leave “Arcade” and “Core System” users? Microsoft states that “to download the update, Xbox LIVE members will need to have at least 128MB of memory available. However, we recommend having a hard drive for the best experience.” Right. So upgrade now, folks, lest ye be judged.

 

All in all, I think that some of these changes are decent. The streamlined interface will be nice after the learning curve, and avatars look fun, if useless. The big draw is really Netflix, and we won’t know how well that actually works after launch. Here’s hoping they can keep the system up longer than Sony has of late with Little Big Planet.