Eric Richards' place of techno (as in technology) happiness, rants, and corporate love.

Browsing Posts published in November, 2006

The Xbox 360 had struggles on its launch (mostly, not being enough 360s + the ring of fire). The PlayStation 3 is hitting some woes, too:

The New York Times article is the most damning of the PS3. There have also been reports of the PS3 crapping out just like the early Xbox 360s with the ring of fire (I have an early generation 360 so I’m always keeping an eye on it).

There have been backwards compatibility problems with the PS2 games, too. I’m not throwing too many stones on that point given that the 360 is only partially compatible with first generation Xbox games – though of course the PS3 was sold as being 100% backwards compatible.

Now, I’m not anti-Sony. I own a PSP. I really like my PSP, but I don’t tend to play it that much. I appreciate the software design and the system software updates, mostly. I use it for watching movies while traveling more than anything. And I love Lumines. I just wish more interesting games had come out for it.

This has been a huge gamble for Sony. Sony is on the top end, with Blu-Ray and mega-features. The 360 is in the middle, chugging along. And Nintendo’s Wii is happily sneaking in on the bottom. If the Wii is anything like the DS (got one of those, too) it’s going to be kicking some serious retail butt. Along with the PS2. I think the PS2 will keep going for a while given the great game base.

If the PS3 ends up being a super-success then it will be a true case-study of chutzpah cubed. It will be fascinating to follow and see how the business story ends up.


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Engadget has two stories about “Enthusiastic Nintendo Wii Play + Broken Controller Strap = Busted TV Screen via Flying Controller”:

My first reaction upon reading the second story is parents finding out their TV is at risk from Wii play and, ala Red Ryder BB guns in A Christmas Story, when confronted with enthusiastic kids asking for a Wii for Christmas, they’ll respond with, “No way! You’ll put your TV screen out with that thing!”

Lots of people have been praising the Wii controller design for making it fun again to play a video game, versus just being twitchy good at squeezing all the right triggers and bumpers and buttons and pushing thumbsticks at just the right time. No one thought about straps breaking and remotes flying through the air. Maybe the TV will be missed, but then something even more worse might be the impact zone.

If this is a problem, it will be interesting to see how Nintendo deals with it. How would you fix the issue? Immediate strap redesign and free updates for all remotes? Or simply a re-education campaign on how best to use your remote and please don’t let go of it.

I hope they quickly fix it. I personally am routing for the Wii, though I’m sticking with my Xbox 360. Getting an innovative, simple way to interact with a console is important to opening up play to more than just the twitchy pros. And getting us a step closer to Snow Crash.

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Slow delivery, it would seem.

First of all, great props to Netflix for carrying HD-DVD and the other format for no additional charge. I recently got that Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive at the Microsoft Company Store and immediately switched my Netflix account over to HD-DVD. Not only did they make HD-DVD the default format for movies added to my queue (when available), but they also offered to switch over all movies in my current queue that were available in HD-DVD. Nice. Thank you.

So I then managed my queue to put a couple of HD-DVD flicks to the top, including V for Vendetta. I dropped my most recent DVD back and got excited to consider having an HD-DVD to watch this weekend.


Not so fast. While Netflix has nearly two-day turn-around (mail in old flick on Monday, receive next flick on Wednesday) for DVD, HD-DVD is not so lucky at this stage of the game. Rather than having “V” from lovely Tacoma, my “V” is coming from Salt Lake. Hopefully by Tuesday. I’m not sure if it’s quite a Thanksgiving kind of movie…

So. Netflix + HD-DVD = Strategic Planning. I’ll have to watch a few HD-DVDs to let the quality sink in and convince myself that it is the only way to go from here-on. Otherwise, if I really want to see that new flick, I might go DVD.

I’ve got to figure out how to get a nice topo map of an area we do a hike on, map our GPS track, and then throw it into Virtual Earth 3D: Windows Live Local / Virtual Earth: MapCruncher and Virtual Earth 3D . Awesome.

Additional: Windows Live Local – Virtual Earth MapCruncher now supported in Virtual Earth map Control

And it sounds like ^Q does some magic while in VE 3D: Windows Live Local – Virtual Earth First First Person Shopper

This has to be the next step in the Borgification of America: Icuiti unveils AV230 head-mounted display – Engadget .

Five years ago, I would have thought it a geek-boy’s bad dream to conjecture that people would be walking around in public with blue-blinking devices hanging off of one ear as they carried on a conversation in public with seemingly no-one but themself. And people just leave that BlueTooth headset on as they do their shopping or going about in life. From what I’ve seen in Redmond, it cuts across age and gender.

The next step is probably everyone having a set of heads-up displays. Look, we all know that our mobile phones and PDAs have a screen that’s just too small. There comes a time when we want something bigger. Now, it could project an image and use the camera phone to watch us (e.g., type on a virtual keyboard or pad of somesort) but it’s going to be a lot better if we can have a 44-inch projection floating in front of us.

Which means soon people will be walking around with some cool visor looking thing, talking on the phone or listening to their tunes. Or worse, driving while watching a movie.

I want one of these, but then I’m sure I wouldn’t use it more than a few times a week. If I traveled a lot I’d certainly get one to watch videos or play games. Now, I’d love for it to be hooked up to a transparent GPS feed, so that as I looked around I could see a topo-layout of my property or property lines or, you know, directions and such. That would be far more advanced. I’m sure the future is a two-way visor that both scans what you’re looking at and then feeds back video + augementation.

Anyway. Prepare your apps to run both on the small screen and the large screen. Borgs away!

From Chris Sells: .NET Framework 3.0 (aka WinFX) Has Shipped!

I’ve got a Vista machine loaded up at work to start digging in to do some prototyping. 

One nice big (well, 8MB, and I guess that’s not really *big* anymore) download for all the SysInternals tools: Sysinternals Suite .

Obviously some of the best tools in the world. Now the onesy-twosy downloading on a tool-by-tool basis can be completely skipped.

I’m also interested in discovery non-techie uses for the tools. For instance, I read recently that one person uses the file monitor tool to watch and log all the files that he works on during the day and then maps that back into billable hours for the appropriate client. Hmm! Sort of a poor-man’s journalling feature.


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Goodness, I’m becoming a PR flack: Microsoft Adds 3-D City Models to Live Search: Microsoft Virtual Earth platform powers Live Search and provides a more immersive mapping experience for consumers, enterprises and developers.

Of all the groups I’d be excited to work for in Microsoft, the Virtual Earth team is on the top of the list. I was lucky enough to see a preview of the 3D work a few weeks back and I’m Super-Excited(tm) that it’s out so that I can play with it more at home and see what the programming interface is like.

One thing Stephen did during that demo was plug in an Xbox-360 controller to his PC and just zoom around Washington State with the joystick. Very Nice.

Some interesting points of view:

  • Looking at Red Hook Brewery, towards our house nearby, and Mt. Rainier in the background. 
  • A view into The Gulch I played around in while living in Hawaii.
  • A view of Mt. Little Si looking to the West, with Mt. Si right next door.
  • Seattle sky-line viewed from West Seattle.


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The press release says a lot: 2007 Microsoft Office System Is Golden: 2007 Office system released to manufacturers; the company looks ahead to worldwide business availability.

We had the ship party Friday afternoon. Before the ship party, we had sign-off. Each team was called on to confirm that they were done and to sign-off for their product. John and I signed for InfoPath and then we all watched the button being pushed that resulted in the golden bits being pushed to manufacturing.

Congratulations Everyone!

In the post Windows Live Local / Virtual Earth: MapCruncher now supported in Virtual Earth map Control V4 of the Virtual Earth control is mentioned. Off of the SDK I see 3.1 discussed. Is it out yet? Or is this all to be aligned with the 11/07/06 update on the horizon.

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