Posts Tagged ‘xbox360’

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for companies making money by selling us products and services.  It is after all the basis of the free market that we all know and love.  But when it comes to paying a company a monthly fee just to be able to stream media through their console, that’s where I think they’ve gone too far. And they’ve been doing it a long, long time.

This isn’t me being an Apple-fanboy, this is me being pissed at having to pay a fee to Microsoft so that their gaming device which I already paid for will be able to stream Netflix through it.   They are the only gaming platform that charges a fee to do this, and in my opinion it is nothing but a cash-grab.  What exactly does Microsoft need to do in order or us to use our XBox360’s to stream video through it that can justify forcing users to pay for XBox Live Gold just to use it?  Is it maybe because they have their own service (Xbox Live Marketplace/ Zune Marketplace) that allows you to download movies and music, for another additional fee of course.

They already give us a console that doesn’t include a WiFi adapter out of the box and has more software “updates” than any other console, as well as being the only one to have an entire section of their company dedicated to dealing with broken devices and the “Red Ring of Death“, but they also have the gall to make us pay them a premium just to make their console do something that costs them nothing.  There is no overhead for them to worry about, nothing to administer, no additional load on their servers, so why make us subscribe to Gold just to make it work?

The statement that really got my goat was from someone on Twitter who said “it’s only $60” when I made a comment about being annoyed I had to pay to stream Netflix on my XBox360 when we were discussing which console was better.  Yes, it is only $60 per year. But that doesn’t make it right.  Playstation does not charge for you to stream Netflix, neither does Wii.   Besides, $60 can feed a starving kid for 2 months.  It can keep a few dogs well fed at the Humane Society for a couple of months too.  Or to be more selfish, it’ll pay for my morning timmy’s for 2 months.

The point is, we’ve already paid for the device and if they truly want it to become part of our media hub, why force us to spend more money each month for an add-on service that offers someone like me no value?  Where we live the internet speed available is too slow to make online gaming possible – I’ve tried it.  I rezz just fast enough to see myself fragged over and over again.  Kinda makes most of the games being developed nowadays a rip-off too since most of the fun is online based, but that’s a rant for another day.  So what else does Gold offer? Video Kinect, Twitter and Facebook on my XBox360 – no thanks, we have computers and other devices for that that work much better.  Aside from the fact that to do that I would also need to get gold accounts for my kids too, which means paying even more for the family plan for Gold.  Why isn’t there a plan available per device, which would make the most sense since most of the time only one person is going to be using the device & those services at a time.  Like I said, just another cash-grab.

So really the only part of the Gold account I want is the ability to stream Netflix thru my console, all the rest is of no use or interest to me.  I guess what amazes me the most is the fact there are so many people paying for a service that the other console makers give away for free. (latest number i found was over 30 million “Live” accounts, no breakdown as to how many are Free and how many are Gold though) Maybe if Xbox stopped charging the extra money for the Gold accounts then more people would use them and be willing to pay extra in the XBox Live Marketplace & Zune Marketplace to download movies and TV shows, instead of charging us a fee for the privilege of being able to pay them even more of our hard-earned cash.

tcg

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Kinetic Energy:  n. The energy possessed by a body because of its motion, equal to one half the mass of the body times the square of its speed.

Kinetics:  n. the study of human bio-mechanical movement.

Xbox360 and new Kinect may be a great way to get you off your hiney and moving, but I have to wonder if the typical person in their typical living room or tv room is going to start experiencing injuries such as shin-splints from all the bouncing and jumping around?

You may have heard about this project before when it was named Natal.  Microsoft dropped that name and changed it to Kinect.  If you haven’t already heard about this little add-on for existing and new Xbox360’s go check it out. http://www.xbox.com/en-CA/kinect/default.htm We’ll wait right here for you.

Basically you get to swing your arms and legs and move you body similar to the way you would if actually participating in the sport or event that you are playing virtually.  I know what you are thinking, didn’t the Wii already do that?  Yes and no, the Xbox version uses no controllers at all, so at least the flying controller problem that plagued early adopters of the Wii won’t be an issue.

It says it will work with existing older model XBox360’s but i’m sure will work better with the newer model that was just recently released (xbox360 250).  Regardless though, many people who have their gaming consoles in the basement or other rooms may be in for a little soreness from the unforgiving concrete or standard rigid floor.  Even with a little underpad and carpeting, most people don’t wear shoes in the house so you lose that protection that you would get when actually playing the sports or doing the activities outside.

Is the next step in home entertainment/media rooms going to be a combination of soundproofing and media capabilities as well as flooring suitable for exercising such as sprung floors?  Well, maybe for some, but I suspect most will just suffer along with the rigid floor and the occasional soreness, stiffness and stubbed toes.

Much like the Wii, the Kinect has potential to get the aging and sedentary of us off the couch, but hopefully doesn’t create a whole new category of ailments.  “Xbox-kinect-syndrome”.  It may be a great boon for the physiotherapists and makers of custom orthotics out there though.

tcg

I’m all about trying to make it easier to get my media shared, and since the xbox360 is so capable of playing movies and music, i wanted to eliminate the task of transferring files from my Mac to a USB thumb drive and then plugging that into my xbox console.  You see, as much as i like media sharing, i am equally lazy about it and want it all to work seamlessly without wires and devices. This is where Connect360 comes in.

Connect360 is free to try in its limited use variation which basically allows you to install it and test it out but limits the number of photos, music and videos it shares unless you buy the full license.  I tried it out, watched one movie using it and immediately bought a license. $20 buys you the full version, which you don’t need to download again, you just unlock the one you already have by putting in your registration info.  But don’t let me convince you its the answer to your needs, you need to try it out and see for yourself, because, as they say, your mileage may vary.

In the Settings you will see a few options in case you want to change something set up during the install.  I’ve left most of the settings as defaults for General, iTunes and iPhoto. This is the registered version, which seems to be unlimited in its number of files it will share.

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The only setting i changed was how often to rescan the Movies folder, pretty much out of the box setup worked fine for me.

The program resides as a preference pane in your System Preferences (as seen in the first screenshot above) which you can easily turn on and off as needed.  When you turn it on, it will take a few minutes to refresh the shared media (depending upon how many files you are sharing of course), and don’t be surprised if everytime you access the preference pane it wants to restart your System Preferences, its a quick process and for some reason beyond me, its the way the program works.

Once up and running, turn on your xbox360 and in your videos/music/pictures areas you will see “connect360” with your mac’s name which once clicked on will show you everything you have shared in each folder/service.  So far watching movies over my wireless network, or listening to music, or just watching a slideshow of photos has worked flawlessly.

I know if you use a windows pc running Media Centre you can already share your files that way, but for anyone with a Mac who wants to share with an xbox360 (or two) Connect360 is a great and pretty inexpensive way to do it.

tcg