Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

Just a Happy New Year post. Gaming in 2007 should be quite a ride with all the next-gen systems on the market and working hard to add features to their platforms to give us gamers more bang for our buck. Anyhow, to you and yours I wish you a successful and fun 2007!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Site Update: The Label Cloud

I finally finished labeling about 80% of the archived posts. After doing all that work I noticed the label link list was not to my liking. So, I set up a label cloud instead. A label cloud is a link list where the label with the most posts is listed with the largest text, in this case gaming and the smallest text label wii is the least used label in the cloud. The larger the links size the more posts are listed under that label... nothing special really, I just think it has a better look to it than a page long list of links with numbers out next to it. To see how many posts are listed under a label, hover over it in the label cloud box on the right. I also widened the main column by a decent amount which should make reading the blog a bit easier.

Label Cloud code found here.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thoughts on the PS3 and Xbox 360


After all my talk about the Sony PS3, I ended up getting one at Christmas this year. I can't explain why, other than I am a gamer. I have read just about everything I can on the Sony's PS3, Microsoft's Xbox 360, and Nintendo's Wii. I know all the specs, the performance issues, the bugs, etc. and all it comes down to good games. I enjoy playing good games, whether those games are on the PSP or the Xbox 360. So, I had always planned on getting a PS3, just not this soon. Just as I plan on getting a Wii as soon as I can find one.

After using the PS3 for the past week I thought I would post my thoughts on the 60 gig PS3 system. Right out of the box I knew it was going to be an experience too. My first gripe is no disk, I had this gripe about the XBox 360 as well. After spending all that money on the initial system, I had no way of playing the thing and since I received it late Christmas Eve, I could not get anything to play on it until the day after Christmas. Anyhow, I digress. Let me tell you about my setup, I am playing the PS3 on a Pioneer 43" HD plasma. The Xbox is hooked up to a 65" Mitsubishi HD rear projection TV. The Mitsubishi does not have HDMI and does not support 1080p so I chose to put the PS3 on the plasma since it had HDMI and I happened to have an HDMI cable on hand (Sony does not supply an HDMI cable). I ended up buying Resistance: Fall of Man and Untold Legends Dark Kingdom. Both games run well and look good.

The SIXAXIS controller is very light, in fact it feels like a toy. I started with the trepidation that I might break it. This wore off relatively fast though as I played with the system. Playing a game without rumble is, well, kind of a distraction. So it did not really change the game experience over all, once I got over the initial shock but it is still useful to have for certain games. I do not have any games that support the motion features of the controller.

The PS3 has a typical boot time and the load times on the games are typical as well. By typical I mean they are on par with all the other game consoles I have played including the Xbox 360, the original Xbox, the PS2, Gamecube, etc. I would have thought that next-gen gaming meant faster boot and load times, I guess not. Neither the Xbox 360 nor the PS3 improved in this area over the last generation, so far anyhow.

The integration of the Playstation Portable (PSP) with the PS3 is interesting. I can buy and download games for my PSP through the PS3 using the PlayStation Store. Once I am ready for the download I just plug my PSP into the PS3 through USB and save the games to the PSP's memory card. There is also a remote play feature where I can control the PS3 with the PSP through a custom wireless connection. I am still checking the PS3/PSP functionality out and I will write more on it later when I have a better understanding of what all it can do. I have read I can use it as a remote to play media on the PS3 though right now I have no media on the PS3, it is all on my computer's hard drive.

The PS3 has no connectivity with my existing network other than to connect to the Internet. I can't see the computers on my network or access media on those computers with the PS3. So, I can't transfer music from my collection without transferring it to a memory card or burning it to CD. I have to say, this seems like work. I have quite a few albums on my hard drive and the time involved with transferring it in this fashion is not worth it to me. The PS3 is doomed to stay strictly a gaming system for now. I will keep using the Xbox 360 to watch media since I can stream music and movies from my MCE machine to the Xbox 360 and see it all on my big screen without having to spend hours copying everything to CD then ripping it to the PS3 or (shudder) re-ripping all the originals to the PS3.

The online offering from Sony is very limited. There is no way to chat with friends unless they are doing the same thing on the PS3 that I am, meaning they have to be playing the same game since each game has a separate friends list which does not integrate with the PS3's friends list. The browser functions OK, though in HD it is relatively small with no way to enable zooming that I can find and it is not full screen if the TV is wide screen (I think all HD TVs are wide screen). I know the Xbox 360 does not have a browser but the third party browser I can use on the Xbox 360 through Windows MCE can zoom pages and does full wide screen. I am hoping Sony will roll out more functionality for it's online services as time goes by as Microsoft has done for the Xbox 360. Currently there are a couple of retail demos, PSP games, arcade games, and movie trailers available on the PS Network for download. The arcade games are clones of more popular games, nothing original. For example, one of them is called Cash Guns Chaos which is a complete ripoff of Smash TV. Downloading games is somewhat a chore as well. Once you start a download you can't do anything else until it is done. The Xbox 360 has a system to allow you to stack your downloads and do other things while you are downloading your list of things. The PlayStation Network timed out on me after every download. While the downloads did arrive and install fine, the PlayStation Network would time out after the download meaning I would have to exit out of the store and reconnect if I was not finished using the store.

The Blue-Ray player is something I have no use for at this time. I am not going to support either Blue-Ray movies or HD-DVD movies until one format comes out on top. I could justify moving my entire movie collection to DVD. I can't justify buying all them again in a format that could disappear within a year. So, until there is a clear winner I will buy my HD content from DirecTV, Xbox Live, and/or online.

Overall, I think the PS3 has a long way to go to be the system Sony says it is going to be. I would suggest waiting to buy a PS3 for another six months to a year but if everyone waits, Sony might not get those updates done or roll out new online services as fast if sales are dismal. With some work the PS3 could end up being the gamers choice but many things have to happen before it does and from what I see, Microsoft is not waiting around to find out if Sony can catch up. Microsoft is off and running with new offerings like the XNA Game Studio Express tools which allows games to be created by users and be played on the Xbox 360 and HD content such as movies and TV programs available for download. No matter which console comes out on top, I think the winners in this round of consoles will be the consumers.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Site Update

Blogger moved out of beta so I have been working on re-organizing the site a bit. The column on the right has received a few changes and I have labeled about 65% of my posts and I will continue, as I have time, to label the archives. Posts will be sparse until some time in January. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Microsoft Launches XNA Creators Club For Xbox 360


From Microsoft PressPass -
"Microsoft Releases XNA Game Studio Express and Launches XNA Creators Club, Enabling the World to Play Their Creations on Xbox 360

Global game development competition, “Dream-Build-Play,” offers an opportunity for winner’s game to be published on Xbox Live Arcade.

REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 11, 2006 — Your World. Your Game. With today’s release of Microsoft® XNA™ Game Studio Express and the launch of the XNA Creators Club, this phrase has never been more true. Based on the easy-to-use Visual C#® 2005 Express Edition and Microsoft .NET Compact Framework, XNA Game Studio Express opens up the world of game development to the masses and is now available for free to anyone with a Windows® XP-based PC at http://www.msdn.com/XNA. With the release of XNA Game Studio Express, Microsoft Corp. unveiled the XNA Creators Club, opening up video game development to untapped creative minds, enabling anyone to affordably build and play amazing game ideas on Xbox 360 systems for the first time ever.

The XNA Creators Club is available on Xbox Live® Marketplace for $49 (U.S.) for a four-month subscription, or $99 (U.S.) for an annual subscription. Both subscriptions provide aspiring game developers with access to thousands of game assets from Microsoft and key supporters such as Turbo Squid Inc., as well as white papers, specialized starter kits, samples and technical product support to help turn Your World, Your Game into a reality.

“The XNA Creators Club is really the first of its kind — an opportunity to join a community of other developers who are empowered to bring their game ideas to life on a next-generation console system,” said Chris Satchell, general manager of the Game Developer Group at Microsoft. “When it comes to encouraging development on XNA Game Studio Express and through the XNA Creators Club, the limits are truly endless. What users will see today is just the beginning of the plans we have to revolutionize game development one creative game idea at a time.”

In addition, to celebrate the worldwide launch of XNA Game Studio Express, the “Dream-Build-Play” contest will be open to XNA Game Studio Express customers on Windows as well as those on Xbox 360 through the XNA Creators Club membership. The contest offers the opportunity for the community to showcase its innovation and talent to the world, culminating in the incredible chance for the winner’s game to be published on Xbox Live Arcade, the premier source for downloadable independent, retro and original games. The “Dream-Build-Play” contest will be launched in January. Additional contest details will be available at http://www.dreambuildplay.com.

“Xbox Live Arcade has opened up a wealth of new publishing opportunities for established and independent developers alike, so it made perfect sense to also extend this privilege to hobbyists and amateur programmers,” said Greg Canessa, group manager of Xbox Live Arcade at Microsoft. “We have a tremendous opportunity to shine the spotlight on up-and-coming talent through the ‘Dream-Build-Play’ contest, and we can’t wait to share their creativity with our gaming community around the world.”

To coincide with the release of XNA Game Studio Express, XNA supporter GarageGames has launched an open beta for its Torque X platform, including Torque Game Builder. Based on the XNA Framework, the easy-to-use Torque X tools bring drag-and-drop game development to Windows and Xbox 360. Final availability of the Torque X platform is scheduled for early 2007."

I have plans on getting a club membership in January. I will blog more on how this all works and what is available from the club as I play with it.

Interested in XNA? Check out 15 Great XNA Tutorial Sites.

**EDIT(1-10-2007)
If you are looking for an easy way to keep up with the XNA Community head on over to http://xnaportal.com/.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Wii Bit O' Holiday Humor.

I Really Wanna Wii, Please

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sony releasing PS4 in 2010?


Paul Miller over at Engadget.com has posted about Sony confirming rumors of the PS4 to be built in 2010, three years after the release of the PS3.
Quote: "In response to some fairly bogus claims by an "analyst" last week, Sony has come out of the woodwork to state that yes, it is indeed planning to build a PlayStation 4, but not until at least 2010."
I do not know about you but I am not willing to spend $600 on just a console (no games, controllers, upgrades, etc) that will be replaced within four years. Did I not see a quote from this article on Cnet's News.com?
Quote: Sony Computer Entertainment of America President Kaz Hirai - "We look at our products having a 10-year life cycle, which we've proven with the PlayStation. Therefore, the PlayStation 3 is going to be a console that's going to be with you again for 10 years. We're not going to ask the consumers to suddenly buy another PlayStation console in five years time, and basically have their investment go by the wayside. So for all those reasons, I think at $599 we're offering a very good value to the consumers."
Seems to me Sony is trying to beat everyone else to the punch for the next next-gen system, err well the generation after this next gen... Bah! (Can we now call them current generation games since all the consoles have been released please??) Sorry, got off topic there for a sec. Sony should reconsider this and plan there next console no less than 6-7 years from now, I figure $100 a year is a decent price to pay for a console. Of course, given that logic, I expect Microsoft's Next XBox sometime within the next three years...kidding.
So what gives Sony, are you trying to screw us gamers by trying to beat the competition to the punch? The article does not say the date is written in stone or anything and Sony could very well wait almost ten years before releasing the PS4 but I will not take the chance this year even if I can find one available. After all, we all know how I feel about Sony gaming products. Anyhow, head over to Engadget and read the full article.

I'm Bringing Xbox Back

Laura Foy over at Microsoft's Channel 10 has posted this parody video of Justin Timberlake's "Sexy Back"


We all know the "console wars" are very serious to the fanboys so it is nice to take a break and laugh at something making fun of the whole situation, though I think they are making more fun of the PS3 and the Wii than the 360. So, if you like it, head over and let her know! While your there, check out the high-res version, much better quality ;)

Via: Michael Klucher's XNA Blog

Sunday, December 03, 2006

IRS to Tax Online Game Virtual Assets??


Daniel Terdiman over at Cnet News.com reports the IRS will likely start taxing in game assets, Quote:

"NEW YORK--If you are a hard-core player of virtual worlds like World of Warcraft, Second Life, EverQuest or There, IRS form 1099 may someday soon take on a new meaning for you."

"That's because game publishers may well in the not too distant future have to send the forms--which individuals receive when earning nonemployee income from companies or institutions--to virtual world players engaging in transactions for valuable items like Ultima Online castles, EverQuest weapons or Second Life currency, even when those players don't convert the assets into cash."

I would think, unless you make real world money from the said assets, they should not be taxed. If I go out and defeat a bunch of NPCs(Non Player Characters) or players to get their equipment and it comes up worth $50,000 in game money that is worth maybe $500 real world dollars, I should not be taxed on that money unless I convert it to real world dollars. Then again, I am no analyst, tax accountant, nor law maker. Anyhow, go check out the full article, then take the time to write your Congressman and let them know you in no way support taxing virtual assets unless you transfer it to real world money. Tell them you do not want a tax on potential income, taxes should only be applied to actual real world income.

Source: Cnet News.com - IRS taxation of online game virtual assets inevitable

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Future of grand gravey...


The Holiday season from the end of October through January is a very busy time of the year for me. I usually do not have time for blogs and such, as you can probably tell, since my posts have spread out to one every week or two. Part of the reason for this is I do not have time to keep up with news properly, which I normally do through RSS feeds on Google's homepage. Long story short, I read news only once a day right now because of my time shortage, meaning it is done late at night and most times I am so tired I either do not remember to blog or I do not have the thought process to form a coherent post, so the blog suffers. I am reworking my schedule a bit to be able to blog a summery every day or two. In these summaries I will attempt to write what news I have found for the day or days since the last summery. I am hoping this will get me back into the habit of blogging more. I want to do a series of blogs on some of the sites I get news from and why I use them. I will start the summaries in the next day or two. I hope I have not alienated any readers by not posting more, this was an over site on my part. I just got overloaded with things and had no time.

Anyhow, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. You will definitely be hearing from me soon :) I plan to write my first site article this weekend so check back Monday, if you wish to learn about good resources for news.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Xbox Live Getting HD Movies and TV Shows for the 360


Microsoft announced new downloads for the Xbox 360 today in the form of HD Movies and TV Shows in 720p, Quote:

"Xbox 360 will become first gaming console to offer downloads of over 1,000 hours of TV shows such as CSI, Robot Chicken and South Park, and movies such as V for Vendetta and Nacho Libre."

This announcement, just before the Christmas buying season, is a major play in the console war. What's better, they have some popular titles to start with. Of course having a 6 million member installed gamer base to sell the content to is guaranteed money for the companies that own the content. I hope this means more content will be forthcoming. The announcement included this list of downloadable contnent, Quote:
"The initial lineup of TV shows available for download to own and feature films available for download to rent will include a growing catalog of popular hits. Examples of content that will be available on the network by the end of year include the following:

Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force from Adult Swim

CSI, Survivor and Star Trek from CBS

•Emmy and Peabody award-winning South Park and Chappelle’s Show from COMEDY CENTRAL

The Real World and Pimp My Ride from MTV

Avatar: The Last Airbender and SpongeBob SquarePants from Nickelodeon

Skyland and The Nicktoons Network Animation Festival from Nicktoons Network

M:i:III, Nacho Libre and Jackass: The Movie from Paramount Pictures

Carpocalypse and Raising the Roofs from Spike TV

•Race Rewind provided by NASCAR.COM

•Select episodes of the original season of The Ultimate Fighter reality series and the UFC: All Access shows from the UFC

Breaking Bonaduce and Hogan Knows Best from VH1

The Matrix, Superman Returns and Batman Forever from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Xbox 360 gamers can access Xbox Live Marketplace with a free Xbox Live Silver membership and a broadband connection. More information about the content available on Xbox Live Marketplace can be found at http://www.xbox.com/marketplaceentertainment."

Read the announcement here: Xbox 360 to Digitally Deliver TV Shows and Movies to Gamers

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Firefly Fans Invoice Universal Pictures


Is Universal shutting down it's own viral marketers(Browncoats) by sending out a Cease and Desist Letter to 11th Hour Art demanding $8,750 in retroactive licensing fees and the immediate shut down of their shop? This has outraged the community and led to the Browncoats creating a mock invoice showing how much Universal would be retroactively billed for if they were paying for the man hours put into the viral marketing the Browncoats have done.

Via: SlashDot.org

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Judge and Jack Thompson have Words


Over on Destructiod.com, Niero has posted a video of the contempt hearing against Jack Thompson. In the video, Mr. Thompson seems more annoyed than anything. I have no respect left for this guy. If he knew what he was talking about and put some kind of effort into understanding the culture of gamers he would not waste his time, nor the tax payers money on these ridiculous antics. Anyhow, the judge is much more calm than I would have been considering Mr. Thompson's complete contempt for even having to be there. Check out the video here: Jack Thompson home movies: Mua, contempt?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Grand Gravey down but not out...

So, the month of October is almost gone and I have not posted most of this month. Truly, I have been busy with many projects and have not had time to post much. The time I did have, I used to post on my XNA blog. I have been ignoring gaming news recently, well most of it anyway. I am still into gaming and follow gaming news, I just have not posted anything on it. So, for any of you who were reading my blog on a regular basis for the gaming news, I apologize for dropping the ball.

I am going to be blogging more. I expect that the blogs will include more than just gaming news. I plan to start posting blogs with more opinions and comments in them instead of just links and quotes. I hope to get better at writing and may even include stories, art projects, etc here. This blog is just a heads up to anyone who reads this blog for gaming news that it will not only be about gaming anymore.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mad TV's R&B Xbox 360 Humor

Mad TV's parody R&B video about being a gamer.

Study: Games Effective Teaching Tools - Next Generation


It is nice to see something positive in the news about games, specially with all the ESRB and violence in video games drama going on. Next Generation has an article on a recent study about teaching with off the shelf video games, Quote:

"A one-year study sponsored by Electronic Arts has concluded that commercial games can be effectively utilized to teach in the classroom."

Check out the full article here: Next Generation - Study: Games Effective Teaching Tools

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Microsoft's X06 Coverage


Today Microsoft is hosting X06 out of Barcelona Spain. X06 is Microsoft's Xbox brand experience for the games and entertainment industry. To keep up with news and announcements coming out of X06, you can find coverage on a few different sites, some of which are listed below.

Joystiq is offering live-blogging throughout X06 from Barcelona, Spain, check it out here: X06: Press conference liveblogging - Joystiq

Gamespot has live coverage of X06 here: X06: Microsoft briefing in Barcelona--LIVE! - Gamespot

TeamXbox.com has coverage of X06 here: X06 from Barcelona, Spain - Team Xbox

Via: Major Nelson: Here are the direct links to the LIVE stream of the press conference if you want to watch. (You'll need Windows Media Player.)

http://dl.groovygecko.net/anon.groovy/clients/xbox/live/hb_1.asx

http://dl.groovygecko.net/anon.groovy/clients/xbox/live/hb_2.asx

MSN and Control Room Bring Music Performances to MSN Video


MSN and Control Room have signed a multiyear agreement to bring concerts to MSN Video, Quote:

"LOS ANGELES and REDMOND, Wash. ? Sept. 26, 2006 ? Control Room (formerly Network LIVE), the No. 1 provider of live digital entertainment and the producers of Live 8, and MSN, a leader in delivering compelling entertainment to consumers around the world, today announced a multiyear, global live content distribution agreement. Under this new arrangement, MSN will be the exclusive online worldwide destination via live and on-demand streaming for Control Room?s slate of live music programming, and visitors to MSN® Video will have ongoing access to live concerts from the most popular, top-selling musical artists as well as today?s most talked-about breakthrough acts."


Check out the full article here: MSN and Control Room Team to Bring Music?s Biggest Performances to Fans Worldwide: Exclusive multiyear agreement for live concerts launches with John Legend live from the Royal Albert Hall in London on Oct. 2.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tokyo Game Show


Many things announced today at the Tokyo Game Show. I had planned on posting about some of it but it seems I can't. I am totally tied up on a project at work and do not have the time to blog much. So, I just wanted to post a couple of good sources for TGS Coverage. Check out Team Xbox's TGS report for all the low down on what is going on. I am sure a few of the other sites such as Gamespot, Qj.net, or Next Generation will cover it as well.

I have seen that Microsoft is bringing coverage of TGS into the living room through Xbox Live, which I think is very cool. Anyhow, I am out of here and back to work. I will not be blogging much until after the weekend, not even my usual article links. Enjoy the TGS coverage.

Xbox 360 Platinum Hits Set to Launch - Next Generation


Next Generation has posted an article on the Xbox 360 Platinum Hits, Quote:

"Microsoft revealed today that the Xbox 360 will be getting its own line of budget-priced software beginning October 15."

The article goes on to mention the games will retail for $29.99 and four titles will be available at first with more titles going platinum in spring of 2007. Check out the article here:Next Generation - Xbox 360 Platinum Hits Set to Launch:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Microsoft Fights Piracy: Twenty Lawsuits Filed


Microsoft announced today that they have filed suit against twenty different companies for piracy, Quote:

"The lawsuits, filed against 20 defendants throughout the U.S., are against companies that allegedly distributed counterfeit software or software components or participated in hard-disk loading. Hard-disk loading is the installation of unlicensed software on computers that are then sold to unsuspecting businesses or consumers who will be denied the benefits of genuine Microsoft software. Lawsuits were filed against companies in nine states: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Texas."

The announcement also discusses forensic testing of the conterfit software media wich, they say, could pose a risk to consumers. Check it out here: Microsoft Legal Action Aims to Help Fight Piracy: Twenty lawsuits allege illegal software sales, while new forensic analysis shows risks of counterfeit Microsoft software to consumers and businesses.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Video Game Violence in the Media


There has been a lot of talk lately about video game violence in the media. The story of late is about Kimveer Gill. Mr. Gill went on a shooting spree injuring about twenty people before taking his own life. One of the first reports out about Mr. Gill's suggested a link between video game violence and the shooting.
From everything I have read there is no proof that violent video games lead to homicidal rampages with guns in real life. Why can't the world just see a crazy nut with a gun who happened to play games? Because his games of choice, Postal and Super Columbine Massacre, are very violent games with a link to the real world.
As you undoubtedly know by looking at my blog, I am a gamer. When I heard about this happening, I knew some people would blame video games. Just like they blamed music, TV, movies, etc in the past. If violent video games are creating such demoralizing, violence inducing, traits in youths, why has the crime rate in teens and youths declined with the incline of video game sales? If these things make us monsters, should not the rise in sales also show a rise in violence in youth?
All the studies I have read and seen are jaded to some aspect. They get reworded or taken out of context so much that they loose all real meaning. There has not been one genuine study that proves video games cause violence. Meanwhile, some representatives in Capitol Hill are using these flawed reports to try and enact laws to protect us from games.
What I want to know is, when are we as a society going to quit blaming someones past time for the cause of all their woes? When we, as a society, start making people take responsibilities for what they have done and that won't happen so long as politicians and lawyers are looking for ways to create sensationalism to achieve their own agenda.
The best way to fight this misinformation is to vote, get rid of the ones causing the trouble. Quit watching or reading the articles that you know are wrong, do not support the ones who report it and let them know you won't stand for it. With tools like the Internet, we are more in the know than any other time in history and yet society keeps doing the same things, refusing to move ahead with the times.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Microsoft's Zune Delivers Connected Music - Press Release


Microsoft Press Release - REDMOND, Wash. ? Sept. 14, 2006 ? Marking the next big milestone for its Connected Entertainment vision, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled details of the first products to be released under its Zune? brand. Designed around the principles of sharing, discovery and community, Zune will create new ways for consumers to connect and share entertainment experiences. The Zune experience centers around connection ? connection to your library, connection to friends, connection to community and connection to other devices.

?The digital music entertainment revolution is just beginning,? said J Allard, vice president, design and development, at Microsoft, who is leading the charge for building the family of Zune products. ?With Zune, we are not simply delivering a portable device, we are introducing a new platform that helps bring artists closer to their audiences and helps people find new music and develop new social connections.?


The Zune Experience

Available this holiday season in the United States, Zune includes a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service and a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music. The Zune device features wireless technology, a built-in FM tuner and a bright, 3-inch screen that allows users to not only show off music, pictures and video, but also to customize the experience with personal pictures or themes to truly make the device their own. Zune comes in three colors: black, brown and white.

Every Zune device creates an opportunity for connection. Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends between Zune devices. Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days. If you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device and easily purchase it from the Zune Marketplace.

Zune makes it easy to find music you love ? whether it?s songs in your existing library or new music from the Zune Marketplace. Easily import your existing music, pictures and videos in many popular formats and browse millions of songs on Zune Marketplace, where you can choose to purchase tracks individually or to buy a Zune Pass subscription to download as many songs as you want for a flat fee.

To get started with great music and videos out of the box, every Zune device is preloaded with content from record labels such as DTS, EMI Music?s Astralwerks Records and Virgin Records, Ninja Tune, Playlouderecordings, Quango Music Group, Sub Pop Records, and V2/Artemis Records.

Zune Accessories

To enhance the Zune experience, three accessory packs help Zune users enjoy their music where they want to, at home or on the road. The packs and the individual accessories, all designed exclusively for Zune, will be available at launch:

* The Zune Car Pack includes everything needed to hit the road with a Zune device, such as the built-in FM tuner with AutoSeek and the Zune Car Charger.

* The Zune Home A/V Pack enhances your experience in the home through five products that integrate Zune with the TV and music speakers: Zune AV Output Cable, Zune Dock, Zune Sync Cable, Zune AC Adapter and the Zune Wireless Remote for Zune Dock.

* Zune Travel Pack is a set of five products designed to keep friends and family entertained on the road: Zune Premium Earphones, Zune Dual Connect Remote, Zune Gear Bag, Zune Sync Cable and the Zune AC Adapter.

Providing consumers with additional options to customize and personalize their Zune experience, Microsoft is also working with leading accessory manufacturers Altec Lansing, Belkin Corp., Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO), Dual Electronics, Griffin Technology, Harman Kardon and JBL, Integrated Mobile Electronics, Jamo International, Klipsch Audio Technologies, Logitech, Monster Cable Products Inc., Speck, Targus Group International Inc. and VAF Research

The Future is Bright

In addition to the features available at launch, built-in wireless technology and powerful software provide a strong foundation to continue to build new shared experiences around music and video. As Zune evolves, the device can be easily updated. The Zune software on your PC will let you know when these updates are available for download.

About Zune

Zune is Microsoft?s music and entertainment platform that provides an end-to-end solution for Connected Entertainment. The Zune experience includes a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service, and a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music. Inspired by the vast and varied community of music fans, Zune focuses on helping emerging artists shape the digital canvas. Zune is part of Microsoft?s Entertainment and Devices division and supports the company?s software-based services vision to help drive innovation in the digital entertainment space. More information can be found online at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/zune.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq ?MSFT?) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft sued over Xbox Live Messaging


The Inquirer online has an article about Microsoft being sued over Xbox Live, Quote:

"A CASE has arisen in a Texas district court alleging Microsoft breached patents over multiplayer games this week.

Delaware plaintiff Paltalk Holdings Inc alleges Microsoft has breached its patents relating to methods and systems for communicating over networks."
According to the deposition the Xbox Live messaging service infringes on patents held by Paltalk for messaging over a wide area network. Check out the full article here: Microsoft sued over Xbox internet and the deposition here: http://www.theinquirer.net/images/articles/PaltalkversusMicrosoft.pdf

Could Nintendo Return to Console Dominance?


Nintendo announced the price on the Wii this morning at a NY press conference, Quote:

"Nintendo will reshape the home entertainment and video game landscape with the launch of its heralded Wii? home video game console. Wii will go on sale in the Americas on November 19th and Japan on December 2nd - European launch date, price and software line up will be announced at a press conference in London tomorrow (Friday 15th).

Wii will be sold as an affordable, mass-consumer product at an MSRP in the US of just $249.99. The price includes one wireless Wii Remote controller, one Nunchuk? controller and the groundbreaking collection of five different Wii Sports games on one disc, which anyone can play using simple physical movements, experienced or not."
I expect the Wii will be a huge hit this year. With Sony only releasing 400,000 units in the US and both next gen systems, Sony's PS3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360, having higher price tags, the Wii packaging a five game disk with the console, the MSRP of Wii games being $49.99 ($10 less than the 360 titles and $10-$50 cheaper than PS3 titles), and the Virtual Console with hundreds if not thousands of games from the NES and SNES, the Nintendo Wii could end up being the number one console sold during the holiday season this year. Specially since Nintendo is targeting their marketing of the Wii as a console for the non-gamer and the dedicated gamer.

Funny, getting a Wii for $250 and an Xbox 360 core package of $300 put the combined costs close to the price of a PS3 core system of $500 and less expensive than the full PS3 system of $600. Check out the announcement here: Nintendo Announces U.S. Launch Date and Price - Team Xbox

Monday, September 11, 2006

Windows Live Services Go Live


Microsoft announced today that Live Search and Live.com have been released from beta in 47 markets worldwide including the U.S. and the U.K. Quote:

"The launch of Live Search is a significant milestone for our services business, with our core search and monetization platform ready for prime time for MSN and Windows Live? as well as for partners through syndication deals," said Christopher Payne, corporate vice president of Live Search at Microsoft. "We now have the base to weave search through our services in ways that bring value to customers. This is just the beginning. We look forward to continued investment in search to deliver services that bring new levels of control and personalization to the Web experience."

ANALYSIS: Science and Videogame Addiction - Next Generation


Next Generation has posted an article by Aaron Ruby about Onslaught 2.0, the movement to make gaming a bad thing. Quote:

"Questionable scientific 'evidence' of game addiction is giving the industry?s critics ammunition for a new onslaught against the medium. And this time, it?s not just violent games that are under fire."

The article touches on the history of crusades against video games and the sensationalist popular science being used to target video games. This is more threatening than the violent video games debates, addiction brings on a whole new argument and studies to use against video games. Quote:
"Onslaught 1.0 focused almost exclusively on ?games with violent content.? Among other things, it allowed most of the industry to take a giant step backward (or as far away as possible) from studios like Rockstar and Running With Scissors.

Onslaught 2.0, however, will target the medium in general. There?ll be no slouching back to Tiburon this time round. And thanks to the kind of uncritical, sensationalist popular science that has found its way into places like NewScientist, the crusaders have acquired precisely the ammunition they need to stoke the stigma against videogames and renew their campaign to make gaming a sin that demands government temperance."

I believe this is the gaming industries wake up call, a call to arms if you will. If things continue as they have, gaming will soon find itself regulated like tobacco, drugs, and gambling. Gamers should sit up and take notice, mail your representatives to let them know you are not an addict, you are a gamer. You are not addicted to games, games are a way to enjoy a story interactively. Respond to NewScientist, tell them they are wrong to publish sensational claims on limited research that proves nothing and is based on a flawed model. Take the time to read the article, it points out many of the flaws inherent in this type of research. Check out the four page article here: Next Generation - ANALYSIS: Science and Videogame Addiction

Video Games Live Concert Inspiring Talent Show Act?

Video Games Live (VGL) is an immersive concert event created by the game industry featuring game music performed live with synchronized effects and audience participation. VGL seems to be inspiring the youth of today. Check out this rendition of Halo put on for a talent show by local high schools. Whoever says gaming can't be a positive influence should see this video.


Running just over seven and a half minutes, these kids put on a great show. A very VGL like rendition, this act moves from the Halo theme into the Mario theme and back into Halo. Much better than the talent show at my high school back in the day. The best act back then was guys in pantyhose singing some country song. The original video and a second video of the same act can be found on YouTube here: YouTube - Halo Theme Song School Talent Show

Via: Qj.net

Ben Heckendorn's Xbox 360 laptop: best mod ever? - Engadget


Wow, what to say? A fully functional Xbox 360 as a laptop! Talk about your portable platform. I talked with a friend about doing this very thing to a PS2 a few years ago, before the Xbox claimed me as a follower. Anyhow, great mod. Check it out here: Ben Heckendorn's Xbox 360 laptop: best mod ever? - Engadget

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx Author Eric Nylund Interview at Bungie.net


Frankie over at Bungie.net posted the weekly update and in that update is an interview with Eric Nylund, the author of the Halo novels. Quote:

"Eric Nylund, author, bon vivant and debonair man about town, sat down with Bungie over a glass of excellent port and discussed his latest tome, the gold standard and the price of cravats."

The interview discusses why Mr. Nylund wanted to write the Halo novels, his current job at Microsoft, the up and coming book Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, and his future plans. A very interesting read with some good information. Also posted in this update is the cover picture of the new book Halo: Ghosts of Onyx. To see a larger picture of the cover or read the interview, go check out the post here: Bungie.net : Top Story

Via: Qj.net

Friday, September 08, 2006

New XNA Resources and Tutorials

Just a quick post to say I have added many new XNA resources on my XNA Project Blog. Included in the resources are links to the XNA Team Members Blogs, other XNA games/projects, and other XNA related websites. So, if you are looking for a more complete list of XNA resources, check out the project blog here: rijit's XNA Project. Yes this is a shameless plug to get you to go check out my XNA Project. Besides, where else are you going to find such a large XNA link list? (If you have found one or an XNA site or project not listed, let me know so I can list it!)

Interested in XNA? Check out 15 Great XNA Tutorial Sites.

**EDIT(1-10-2007)
If you are looking for an easy way to keep up with the XNA Community head on over to http://xnaportal.com/.

Fall 2006 Dashboard Update Full Res. ScreenShots - Xbox-Scene News


XanTium over at Xbox-Scene.com has posted some screenshots of the September SDK release with the features that will be available on the next Xbox 360 Dashboard update. Quote:

"The September XDK has been released and with it developers got a first look at what to except in the fall 2006 dashboard update for the Xbox 360 that will be released in November 2006 to the public."
Looks like a slick update with some new features including the Launchpad for booting XNA games. Check em out here: Xbox-Scene News: Fall 2006 Dashboard Update Full Res. ScreenShots

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Firefox: Not as Secure as You Think


Many people have switched to Firefox because of security vulnerabilities in IE. In July I blogged about an article called Microsoft vs Firefox Myths which debunked many of the reasons I myself starting using Firefox such as: Firefox is more secure than IE: False!

Now, Adam Harrsion on g2zero.com has an article about the security of Firefox and it seems it is in worse shape than previously mentioned. Quote:

"Using Klocwork's K7 static analysis tool, I examined the large and complicated code base of the popular open source browser, Firefox. Overall it is clear that Firefox is a very well written and high quality piece of software. Several builds were performed on the code, culminating in the final analysis of version 1.5.0.6. The analysis resulted in 655 defects and 71 potential security vulnerabilities. The Firefox team has been given the analysis results, and they will determine if or how they will deal with the issues."

Seventy one vulnerabilities, that is a lot of security problems to fix. It seems to me all these browser Dev teams should get together and trade ideas on how to fix these vulnerabilities. After all, Microsoft invited Mozilla Devs over to make sure Mozilla and Firefox run on Vista. Would they not all make greater strides by sharing information and making security more open source? I think so but I am not part of either Dev team. Anyhow, read more about the Fierfox vulnerabilities here: g2zero archive: Examining defects in the Firefox code base

Xbox 360 User Experience Feedback


Ozymandias points out that Wildchicken is taking feedback on the Xbox 360 UI. It seems Widlchicken is the User Experience lead within Microsoft's Entertainment Experience Group, a team whose charter is defining great end-to-end user experiences across Microsoft's gaming and entertainment products including Xbox 360, Xbox Live, and Zune. Quote:

"Xbox 360 User Experience Feedback
Until I figure out how to put a permanent article for getting feedback on the Xbox 360 UX, I'm going to start by putting this blog entry in specifically for that. Feel free to leave comments, issues, suggestions, etc. Know that I or someone from the UX team will be reviewing them, if not necessarily commenting."
So, head on over to Wildchicken: Xbox 360 User Experience Feedback and let them know what they need to add.

Via: Ozymandias.com

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My XNA Project: Ringpod Warz


I have put up a site on Windows Live Spaces to document my experience in creating a game using XNA Games Studio Express Beta. I have posted a concept image and I will get the game notes posted today. So, as you have probably noticed by now, I have been posting less. I do not see my time allowing me to be a prolific poster and create a game, therefore my posting will suffer. I will try to keep up with important things going on the the tech and gaming world but it will probably be behind by a few hours. You can check out the progress on the game or volunteer to help by going here: rijit's XNA Project.

Interested in XNA? Check out 15 Great XNA Tutorial Sites.

**EDIT(1-10-2007)
If you are looking for an easy way to keep up with the XNA Community head on over to http://xnaportal.com/.

THE TOP 100 PC GAMES OF THE 21ST CENTURY - Next Generation


Next Generation has an article by Joe Keiser about The Top 100 PC Games of the 21st Century. Quote:

"Next-Gen has ranked the top 100 PC games released since January 2000, based wholly on unit sales. Revenues, aggregate review scores, commentary, franchise information and more are included."
Each game on he list has commentary on it's claim to fame. The list is copyrighted so if you are wanting to see what game was number one in sales, take a look at the article here: Next Generation - THE TOP 100 PC GAMES OF THE 21ST CENTURY

Sunday, September 03, 2006

XNA 101: Learning to Code Games

So, you want to create a game for the Xbox 360 or a Windows PC. Your looking for examples, tutorials, videos, and samples. You have found the place you need to be. I have a list here of sites that hope to help you achieve your gaming goal, a round-up of the latest sites I have found from around the web. So, without further ado, let's jump right in. (All links in this article open in a new window.)

MSDN.com is the Microsoft Developers Network, an online community for developers using Microsoft's developer tools. MSDN has forums for Game Technologies Forums available from Microsoft and the XNA Forum is located here as is the XNA Team Blog. Several other blogs of note on MSDN that include tutorials, tools, or commentary about XNA are:

XNATutorial.com - Video tutorials.

Krishna's XNA Space - XNA training/learning site.

George Clingerman's Blog - Tutorials and game.

XNADevelopment.com - Tutorials and source code.

Dev360.de - Site in German.

Xbox360Homebrew.com - Tutorials, discussions, and code.
TheZBuffer.com - Articles and resources.

TheHazeyMind.com - Tutorials and articles.

LearnXNA.com - Video tutorials and articles.

XNASpot.com - Tutorials, articles, and code.
Also, check out 15 Great XNA Tutorial Sites.

**EDIT(1-10-2007)
If you are looking for an easy way to keep up with the XNA Community head on over to http://xnaportal.com/.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Gamasutra Quantum Leap Awards for the FPS Genre


Gamasuta has an article in which they ask some game industry professionals which FPS game made the biggest leap in the genre. Quote:

"In August 2006, the editors of Gamasutra asked its readership of game industry professionals to chime in and vote for which game in the first-person shooter genre "brought the genre forward" in the biggest way - whether it be an early game that helped define the FPS, or a more recent one which took those core ideas and developed a more rewarding experience than before. Specifically, we asked: "Which first-person shooter/action title over the entire history of the FPS game do you think has made the biggest 'quantum leap' in the genre, and why?" "


The developers included in the article is a long list which I won't list in full detail but some of the quotes are from: Alex Swanson, GarageGames, Inc.; Toni Petrina, Cyprox Studios; Patrick Redding, Ubisoft; and many others. The games discussed are Alien Vs. Predator, Descent, Deus Ex, Doom, GoldenEye 007, Half-Life, Koronis Rift, Marathon, Quake, System Shock, System Shock 2, Tribes, and Wolfenstein 3D.

What I found peculiar is that Halo was not named in the article, I would have expected it to at least get an Honorable Mention since it was and still is one of the most popular console FPS game to date. This may not represent a quantum leap forward but I believe it is definitely worth a mention since it practically drove the Xbox console sales during the first year. Me and many of my friends bought the original Xbox in part to play Halo. I have not played all the titles listed but I am starting the process of hunting them all down to give them a try. I enjoy the historical side of gaming as much as I do the next-gen hype and hope to add these games to my gaming experience.

I put the above list of games in alphabetical order, if you want to find out what game was voted number one, you will have to go read the article here: The Gamasutra Quantum Leap Awards: First-Person Shooters

Thursday, August 31, 2006

New XNA Community Sites


A couple of XNA community sites have turned up. Both sites offer tutorials, news, and discussion. Let's examine what these sites have to offer:

LearnXNA.com has video tutorials and news articles. On the site right now are three tutorial videos. These videos are well done and easy to follow. So far, the videos cover installation of XNA, C#, and the DirectX SDK, as well as working with the various programs mentioned. This community site has no member sign up and discussions are handled in the comments section of the site's blog posts. With a few updates, such as community sign up and maybe submissions, this site could be even more useful.

XNAspot.com has taken a more tradition approach. Available on this site so far are static tutorials, pictures, sample code, news, and a link to the MSDN forums. There is a submission page to submit articles, games, etc. This site also has no user accounts to sign up for and they no comments area to discuss anything, though they claim changes are coming to allow reviews of the community. I assume they will need to have a user accounts to keep abuse down on reviews and if they include a discussion area, this site will be a great one.

Considering how new XNA is, both of these sites have great potential and are, so far, the best sources for tutorials for the XNA tools. The information available is well worth the time to check out. There is one other site to mention and that is Microsoft's MSDN site which is a community site devoted to programmers using Microsoft's products such as XNA, ASP.Net, Visual C#, etc and has been around for quite awhile. There is a section for XNA called the Microsoft Game Technologies Center. So, if you are wanting to start creating a game there has never been a better time than now. I am off to watch more video, play with some code, and learn how to create a game to dominate the universe. Have fun and happy coding.

Interested in XNA? Check out 15 Great XNA Tutorial Sites.

**EDIT(1-10-2007)
If you are looking for an easy way to keep up with the XNA Community head on over to http://xnaportal.com/.

Via: Let's Kill Dave

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Halo: Ghost's of Onyx Novel Coming Soon


Halo fans rejoice, 1up.com reports a new Halo novel is on the way. The novel, called Halo: Ghost's of Onyx, has been announced for a November release by Tor. Quote:

"In addition to word on Ghosts of Onyx, the announcement release also promises an additional two more Halo-related books to be published by Tor in 2007, which will apparently be accompanied by "exciting news" that more than likely has something to do with that third Halo game Bungie seems to be working on."
The first three books in the Halo Universe start with the Master Chief as a child and tells the story of how he came to be who he is. It is a pretty detailed trilogy with a lot of information about the Halo universe that wasn't covered in the game. A great back story that really hooked me and roped me into the game even more. Once I finished the original trilogy I just had to play my way through the game again and with my new found knowledge, the victory was even sweeter. To read more about the new trilogy, go here: Another Halo Novel on the Way news from 1UP.com

XNA Game Studio Express Beta Download Ready!

In case you have not heard by now, the XNA Games Studio Express Beta is available for download. This program will eventually allow you to create games for the Xbox 360. It can be used to make games now for Windows XP PCs. Also needed is Visual C# Express Edition and DirectX SDK (The XNA Team pointed out that you don't NEED to download the DX SDK, just having the latest runtime will be fine, unless you want to use XACT to author/modify your audio). Once you have Visual C# and DirectX SDK get the Beta here: DirectX Developer Center: XNA Game Studio Express

Interested in XNA? Check out 15 Great XNA Tutorial Sites.

Via: Let's Kill Dave

**EDIT(1-10-2007)
If you are looking for an easy way to keep up with the XNA Community head on over to http://xnaportal.com/.

Next Generation - A Short History of id Software


The final part to Next Generation's "A Short History of..." series has been posted. Quote:

In the final piece in our "A Short History of..." series, Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh details the journey of id Software from a moonlighting programming outfit to a leader in 3D gaming technology.

The history of gaming is an important look at where we came from and with the inspiration it can offer to independent programmers and forward thinking designers, it is a subject worthy of further study. Check out the article here: Next Generation - A Short History of id Software

Links to the entire series:
A Short History of Activision
A Shirt History of Electronic Arts
A Short History of LucasArts
A Short History of Rare
A Short History of id Software

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Original Star Trek Getting a CGI Makeover! - TrekMovie.com


Trek Movie Report has an article about the Original Star Trek being re-released to syndicated networks this year with a CGI makeover. According to the article the space scenes will most likely be redone with new CGI scenes. Quote:

"Before JJ Abrams gets to bring the TOS era back to the big screen in Star Trek XI, CBS Paramount has a secret plan to get it back on the small screen, but with a makeover. Over a month ago it was announced that CBS was selling a new broadcast TV (not cable) syndication package for the original series. At the time it seemed a bit odd to try selling a 40 year old show to local TV stations, especially after it has just been sold to yet another cable outlet (this time TV Land?home of retro TV). The Trek Movie Report has now learned from trusted insiders, that CBS Paramount are actually offering an HDTV enhanced version of the Original Series with new state-of-the art CGI visual effects."
I am not sure about things like this. George Lucas tried this and now we have so many versions of the Star Wars movies it is quite expensive to buy them all. So will new CGI special affects be enough to get a whole new generation of people interested in Star Trek? If it is done right, maybe. Check out the entire article here: Original Star Trek Getting a CGI Makeover! | TrekMovie.com
Found via: Slashdot

Can the PS3 Save Sony? - Wired Magazine


Wired magazine has an article about Sony and the PS3. In the article, they discuss how Sony came to depend on the release of the PS3 as the companies saving grace. Quote:

"Sony has always been at its best as a personal hardware company, coming up with nifty gadgets that delight consumers. In recent decades, though, it's become oddly fixated on imposing its own standards ? Betamax for VCRs, the Mini-Disc for digital music players, the Universal Media Disc for PlayStation Portable, the Memory Stick for anything you can think of ? despite the world's unwavering rejection of those standards. And Sony has never displayed an aptitude for software or had great success with networking, the key feature Microsoft has built into the Xbox. Yet Sony has to face Microsoft not just in videogames but across the entire panoply of home electronics, which Microsoft is determined to control through software. And Sony has to do this with cash reserves of $6 billion ? compared to Microsoft's $38 billion hoard ? while losing hundreds of dollars in manufacturing costs alone for every PS3 sold. Eventually, Sony's costs will come down. But in the meantime, Goldman Sachs projects, Sony will lose nearly $2 billion on the PS3 by the end of this fiscal year in March."
The article goes on to discuss the differences between the game platforms and companies that made them. Quite a bit of information about the Sony corporation is included in the article. A very interesting read, check it out here: Wired 14.09: Can the PS3 Save Sony

Next Generation - A Short History of Rare


Next Generation has posted the fourth part in it's five part "Short History of..." series. This part talks about the history of Rare. Quote:

"In continuation of our "Short History of..." series, Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh recounts Rare's journey from a ZX Spectrum developer to an icon of innovation--and to a company searching for its next big hit."
Check out the entire article here: Next Generation - A Short History of Rare

Microsoft Say No to Engadget and FairUse4WM


The other day I posted about Engadget's letter to Microsoft. It seems Microsoft has answered with a resounding no. Quote:

"On August 25th, 2006, Engadget.com reported on a software tool that would allow consumers to decrypt WMDRM protected content. In response, on August 28, 2006, Microsoft released an update to the individualized blackbox component (IBX) designed to ensure that client applications using the Windows Media Format SDK version 9.5 who individualize to this latest version are robust against a new circumvention tool."
So, I guess Microsoft had better prepare for battle because I imagine this will challenge the programmers/hackers behind the DRM decrypting program FairUse4WM to find another way. To read the full article, go here: Microsoft already on their way to patching FairUse4WM - Engadget

Monday, August 28, 2006

Next Generation - A Short History of LucasArts


Next Generation has the third part in a five parts series on the history of gaming companies posted. This part covers LucasArts. Quote:

"At its start, LucasArts didn't immediately latch onto the powerful Star Wars license as it does today. Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh explores the publisher's transition from titles such as The Secret of Monkey Island to Knights of the Old Republic."

These articles have looked into the past showing us gaming culture from the inside. I think gaming culture is a very interesting subject and well worth the time to read. Check out the article here: Next Generation - A Short History of LucasArts

Snakes in a Theater watching Snakes on a Plane!


A prankster in Arizona released two live Diamondback Rattlesnakes in a theater full of people watching Snakes on a Plane. The following link has a video of the news coverage of this incident: CollegeHumor Movie: It's irresponsible and dangerous, but releasing poisonous snakes in a theater showing Snakes on a Plane is undeniably funny.

**EDIT

After reading some comments on this article being bogus, I did a search on Google and came up with this link: 'Snakes in a theater' turns out to be hoax. From the article, Quote:

"There is some shred of truth to the story, Phoenix police Sgt. Joel Tranter said. A 10-inch-long rattlesnake was found Friday in a hallway at AMC Desert Ridge 18, near Tatum Boulevard and Loop 101. But it likely slithered inside on its own, Tranter said."
"An AMC spokeswoman told the news organization Reuters that the rumors were true, but Tranter has been refuting the story to news outlets from across the U.S."

So, there you have it. To quote a saying from Paul Harvey "... and now you know [pause] the Rest of the Story."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

An Open Letter to Microsoft - Why you shouldn't kill FairUse4WM - Engadget


Endgadget has posted an open letter to Microsoft explaining why they should not fix the security problems with it's PlasForSure DRM. Quote:

"We know that you're already probably working to fix the, um, hole that's been discovered in Windows DRM 10/11, but we're going to ask you this anyway: please don't stop consumers from using FairUse4WM to remove copy protection from music they've downloaded.

We understand why you put DRM on these files in the first place ? the major labels won't grant you (or rather the companies that are using your DRM) a license to sell their music without it ? but there are some good reasons why you should let this one slide."

The letter covers many good points about the DRM and PlaysForSure services and the problems people have been having with DRM in general not just Microsoft's DRM. Read the letter here: An Open Letter to Microsoft - Why you shouldn't kill FairUse4WM - Engadget

Microsoft's Zune aims to be life of the party.


Ina Fried over at CNET News.com has written an article on Microsoft's Zune citing plans gleaned from FCC filings by Toshiba. Quote:

" Microsoft's forthcoming Zune player is shooting to be the life of the party, allowing users to create mobile social networks and stream music to nearby friends or strangers, according to a government regulatory filing."

No mention of gaming in the article for the Zune though Microsoft did mention the Zune will be a line of products so maybe the next Zune in line will be a handheald game. Many gamers and Xbox fans are eagerly awaiting the day they hear Microsoft announce the Xbox Zune. Check out the full article here: Microsoft's Zune aims to be social butterfly | CNET News.com

Saturday, August 26, 2006

More from PAX 2006 - Gamerscore Blog


Gamerscore Blog, written by employees of Microsoft Games Global Marketing team, has posted some pictures and commentary about PAX 2006. Quote:

"PAX is just amazing. Since it's really a show for gamers, rather than for media or industry insiders, it's been amazing just hanging around and talking about games. It's been quite amazing feeling so comfortable and having so much fun here. In fact, we're not really doing any demos or anything structured, we just wanted to put out some pre-released games like Splinter Cell and Lego Star Wars II, and let people play. We're such nerds..."

Read the rest of the post and check out the pictures here: Gamerscore Blog : More from PAX 2006. They also have pictures from day one here: Opening Day of PAX

Judge Blocks Ban on Violent Games - Wired News


Wired News has an article by the Associated Press about U.S. District Judge James Brady's block on Louisiana's ban on violent games law. Quote:

"BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- A state law that would ban sales of violent video games to minors violates free speech rights and cannot be enforced, a judge ruled."

The judges keep blocking these bans on games. I do not think the government should have to police these kind of things. Specially in this case where the video game industry has a very good rating program in place. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is tougher on content ratings than Hollywood. After having these laws shot down in Minnesota, Illinois, California, Michigan, and now Louisiana law makers should get the idea that it will not be allowed. Read the rest of the article here: Wired News: Judge Blocks Ban on Violent Games

What is Microsoft's XNA Framework?


On the XNA Team Blog Mitch Walker, the Program Manager for Microsoft's XNA Framework, has posted an article on What the XNA Framework is. Quote:

"Last week we announced XNA Game Studio Express, which is a product that enables students and hobbyist game programmers to create games using C# that will run on both Windows and their Xbox 360. The XNA Framework is the set of .NET libraries that developers will code against to build their games. As we get closer to the beta, I wanted to take a few moments and explain three keys to understanding the XNA Framework?namely, the goals of the XNA Framework, what the XNA Framework is, and what it provides."

In the article he goes on to mention their goals, gives some sample code and explains some details on the XNA Framework. A very interesting read, did I mention it had some sample code? Check it out here: XNA Team Blog - What is the XNA Framework

Interested in XNA? Check out 15 Great XNA Tutorial Sites.

**EDIT(1-10-2007)
If you are looking for an easy way to keep up with the XNA Community head on over to http://xnaportal.com/.

A Short History Of Gaming Companies.


Next Generation is running a five-part series on the history of gaming companies by Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh. Quote:

"Wednesday, 23 August 2006 - In a five-part series, beginning today, Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh traces the creation stories behind some of the companies that have shaped this industry."

Part One: Next Generation - A Short History of ACTIVISION
Part Two: Next Generation - A Short History of Electronic Arts
A real interesting read into the inside workings of current gaming companies. I will post links to the other parts as they are published.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Xbox 360 doesn't need DirectX 10? - Xbox 360 News


Qj.net has an article on why the Xbox 360 not being able to run DirectX 10 will not matter. Quote:

"Just a while ago, ATi revealed that the XBOX360 won't be getting DirectX 10, or rather, it cannot run DirectX 10. Uneducated folks might see this as a bad point. Fanboys of other systems might use this as a point to bash the 360 and at first glance, it might scare off people. Thoughts like "It's not futureproof" might come in the minds of most customers. Well, how about we tell you that the absence of DirectX 10 won't make any darn difference to the games."

The article goes on into the details of what DirectX is and is not and why the Xbox 360 does not need native DirectX 10 to run games. An interesting read, specifically if you are interested in what DirectX is and what DirectX does, check it out here: Xbox 360 News- Why the absence of DirectX 10 on the XBOX360 won't matter

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Revolution Of High-Quality Videos - DivX


Ionut Alex. Chitu over at Google Operating System, which is a blog(not affiliated with Google.com) reports DivX opened a service like YouTube only using the DivX codecs. They have a member area to upload your own content and everything is in the DivX format, which is at least TV quality and more like DVD quality video. What is interesting about this article is the quote:

"DivX describes the new site like this:

"Stage6 is the next evolution in digital media. What does that mean? It means we want to improve the experience for finding and viewing good media online. It means having access to high-quality video on the web that actually looks good in full screen, rather than the all-too-familiar choppy, pixilated, low resolution videos we are all accustomed to seeing online nowadays. It means being free to burn backups of our media and take it with us wherever we go. It means having the freedom to watch Internet videos anywhere and anytime we choose on any device we want, even on our TVs, without cumbersome digital rights management (DRM). It means having a voice in the content we consume. It means being able to easily share cool content with our friends, discover new content our friends think is cool and, perhaps most importantly, make new friends along the way."

DivX Stage6 feels a lot like YouTube, but the quality of the videos is impressive. You can view the videos in full-screen and even download them."

Very strong words in today's MPAA controlled content world. With the MPAA pushing hard for legislation forcing DRM, I hope this service does not get sued into closure. Check out links to the service in the article here: Google Operating System: DivX - The Revolution Of High-Quality Videos