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links for 2005-11-08

November 7th, 2005 Posted by | Corporate, General, Google, Humor, Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360 | no comments

Xbox 360 To Launch Festival-Style

Looks like Microsoft wants the Xbox 360 launch to be more Woodstock than Comstock. The launch party will take place in the desert, and Microsoft is trying to compare the whole thing to Burning Man.

Now, a disclaimer before I continue. I don’t like linking to sites with popups, since the whole concept is archaic (in internet years) and insulting. That said, I’ll still link if its minimal, blockable, and the site is of a high enough quality. Mary Jo Foley’s blog, Microsoft Watch, has a popup, but its for the site’s own newsletter, and the blog is too good to not link to. However, the site she links to, ActiveWin, has the most annoying popups I’ve seen in a while, popping out in two different browsers. As a result, to save you the indignity (and possibly danger, as my browser strangely crashed while viewing the site), I will “reprint” ActiveWin’s entire article, and I will not link to them. You can get to them through Mary Jo’s link, if you must.

The Xbox 360 Launch event will take place at a yet-unnamed location in the middle of the desert in CA. There will be thousands of gamers there from around the world, celebrating the launch of Xbox 360. There will be copious Xbox 360 systems set up with high-def monitors, surround sound, the works. Plus food and drink stations, live entertainment and a one-of-a kind Xbox 360 gift for everyone. Microsoft is calling it “Burning Man Meets E3″– it’ll be a party unlike anyone’s ever been to. Really a piece of pop culture and video game history with the opportunity to play the complete launch lineup for the first time and get “sneak peeks” on several never-before-seen games. It’s the “first generation of the next generation” and it’s all for the hardcore gamer. Why not NY City in Times Square or the other usual spots? This was a conscious choice to create a videogame mecca for the true audience of Xbox 360. The gamer. Our plan is to make this event the center of the gaming universe. And the 360 “Hex 168″ winners will be the VIPs. The “Hex 168″ contest ends at midnight PDT on the night of November 4, 2005. The content is an opportunity for anyone in the nation to get together with their friends and put their creativity and ingenuity to work and express themselves in a really fun way, nearly at its end and “Hex 168″ is the best way to guarantee they’ll get entry into the one-of-a kind event and win all the other great prizes.

So, to sum up: Xbox 360 launch in desert exclusive festival/party, MS wants to be cool, and ActiveWin’s popups suck. Good day.

November 7th, 2005 Posted by | General, Xbox, Xbox 360 | 4 comments

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Two xBox Commercials

Yup. :) Commercial break coming up. We’ll be right back after these messages.

The first one is German, but don’t let that stop you. Talking is not important. The footage is wicked !

November 7th, 2005 Posted by | General | 2 comments

Want Your Own Free Xbox 360?

So, happy me, I’m getting a free Xbox 360. I put up a link way back when, and discovered last week that I had amassed a butt-load of referrals. One six dollar order of diet pills later, and I’m confirmed for a free Xbox 360.

Free Xbox screenshot

I guess the post where I put up the links the first time did pretty well on Google. I have 24 referral links, which would have been enough for three free consoles if I had noticed earlier. Anyway, I’m not going to try to find another credit card and do it again, so if anyone wants the links on the original post changed to their referral link (Freepay only, I don’t trust anyone else), they can have it. I’ll even put your link in this post, and my sidebar.

The deal? For every qualified referral you get, you owe me ten bucks, but no more than fifty (I need more controllers!). Screenshot your account before I put up the link and after it, so we know how many you already had, and for each referral you already have you pay a dollar less (since no one can be sure that all the new ones come from me). I can’t guarantee you’ll get what you need, but I’ve been picking up about six qualified referrals a month.

I’m an honest guy, and if it seems like it isn’t working, I won’t cheat you. You pay me afterwards, so you can just tell me to go to hell if I didn’t help at all. The flip side? No anonymous people need apply. If I don’t know you, or if you don’t have a well-known blog or other public presence, don’t bother commenting. If we’re going to use the honor system, then I need someone who falls under the jurisdiction of the court of public opinion.

It just seems wasteful to be picking up all those referrals and getting nothing out of it. And I need more controllers!

November 7th, 2005 Posted by | General | 137 comments

New Tweak MCE Released

Microsoft has released a new version of the Tweak MCE PowerToy for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2 (great product name!). I don’t see the new options, but it seems to have some good stuff.
(via Bink)

November 7th, 2005 Posted by | General, Media Center, Windows, XP | no comments

AntiSpyware To Be “Windows Defender”

Microsoft will name its AntiSpyware product, currently in very successful beta, as Windows Defender, reports Marc Orchant. Additionally, Microsoft has confirmed the final product will have versions for both Vista and XP.

The anti-malware team explains how the change happened:

Making the engineering change from “Windows AntiSpyware” to “Windows Defender” took a lot of careful coordination across our team to ensure that the strings in the UI got changed, the help files all got updated, registry keys, file names and properties, as well as a couple of images all got changed.

Wow! How exciting.


Oops. Sorry. I fell asleep and tipped over. There’s nothing less exciting than careful coordination to retype the name of a product.

Still, I think the new name is much better.

November 7th, 2005 Posted by | AntiSpyware, Defender, General, Security | no comments

Business 2.0 On Xbox 360 And Peter Moore

Business 2.0 has an excellent article detailing Peter Moore’s history, going back to his work on the Dreamcast and leading up to this month’s Xbox 360 launch with him as top marketer.

… Microsoft’s strategy of moving first in this latest round of console combat is risky. No one knows that better than Moore, who helped launch an acclaimed game system for Sega six years ago — only to see it crushed a year later by the avalanche that was Kutaragi’s PlayStation 2, which now commands a 60 percent share of the $25 billion global market.

Moore’s marketing playbook became so legendary that in 1999 the Japanese game publisher Sega hired him to broaden the appeal of its Dreamcast console — a mere seven months before it was due to launch in the United States.

Moore wasn’t the only one smarting from the PS2’s success. In the late 1990s, Gates was in talks with Kutaragi to include the Windows operating system in the PS2. But Kutaragi had long seen Gates as the most lethal threat to his empire. Bernie Stolar, a former Sony executive, remembers Kutaragi asking him as early as 1994 where he thought the nascent PlayStation console’s main competition would come from. Nintendo, Stolar guessed. Maybe Intel. Kutaragi looked him squarely in the eyes. “No, Bernie, you are wrong,” he said. “It is Microsoft. And I will kill them.”

The most radical departure was Moore’s locker-room tone. It is not unusual inside the Redmond bubble to blindly subscribe to Microsoft cheerleading. But the former soccer coach knew when to challenge and when to rally the team. His favorite question for employees is this: Why wouldn’t I want to buy a PlayStation 3? “A lot of people hate when I say that,” Moore admits. But he wanted to treat the Xbox as a real consumer brand, not unlike a sneaker. “The big problem at Microsoft is that they always tell you why you need something,” he says. “For the Xbox 360, you need to feel like you want it.”

If he does win the battle against Kutaragi, Moore knows that his war will be about more than just videogames. The team that Microsoft has assembled for the 360 — a tightly interwoven marketing and product design group — could help the company solve problems in its other divisions, most notably digital music. Ballmer doesn’t rule out the idea of the Xbox team creating a design for a digital-music player and integrating it with better player software. There’s already talk that Moore could head up Microsoft’s broader entertainment strategy. First Ken Kutaragi, then Steve Jobs? “[Our team] has a lot of passion to extend beyond games,” Allard hints. “Listen, we’re not going to keep our design guys waiting around for five years with nothing to do.” Xpod, anyone?

(via Bink)

November 7th, 2005 Posted by | General, Xbox, Xbox 360 | one comment