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DigitalLife 2005 - Xbox 360 Keynote - Live!

From here on, I will be live blogging the Xbox 360 keynote at DigitalLife 2005.

DigitalLife 2005 - Xbox 360 keynote line

I am very surprised at the turnout of youngsters. A whole school appears to have come by for a field trip, and there is a very large high school presence at the keynote. Great news for Microsoft; it means they’re reaching the youth. Here’s what the line looked like ten minutes ago:

DigitalLife 2005 - Xbox 360 tshirt

Yeah, we got XBox 360 t-shirts. They’re way too big, though:

DigitalLife 2005 - Xbox 360

Pumping loud music. No surprise. Peter Moore comes out. He’s a Red Sox fan, so he gets a great laugh when he mentions the team and says, “Wait until last year.” Talks about the press the Xbox 360 has been getting. Calls Bill Gates “The Notorious B.G.”.

Mentions great games for Xbox. One guy yells “Halo is overrated”, and Peter does a great job riffing on the guy. Then he makes fun of the design of the first Xbox.


Likens the first Xbox to a Humvee, the new one to a Porsche. Shows a video on how “cool” it is, then goes through the specs, the HD, the widescreen, the multi-channel sound.

The audience (specifically the high school kids) are getting loud and excitable about the games Peter is discussing.

The games look spectacular. While the prerendered stuff is great, the in-game graphics really shine. amd in some cases look almost as good. We see Kameo - Elements of Power, Perfect Dark Zero, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Gears of War, MotoGp, Sonic (huge applause), Final Fantasy XI, Resident Evil 5 (huge applaus), Condemned, Tomb Raider Legend, Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland, Alone in the Dark, Quake 4, NBA 2K6, Dead or Alive 4, Saint’s Row, Tom Clancy’s Gost recon, Project Gotham Racing, and others.

Perfect Dark Zero looks great, even on the huge screen. The in-game graphics look too good to be live, but they are. Peter mentions online play will support 32 players at once.

Before showing King Kong, Peter mentions that Peter Jackson will be producng the Halo movie. It doesn’t get as much applause as you’d expect. The King Kong gameplay footage looks very exciting, although the graphics have an occasional obvious pointy polygon.

Gears of War looks somehow better than before. Scary as hell! This game could be the Halo killer (poor Sony, and Microsoft wins either way). I think Gears of War is on everyone’s must-buy list.

The one thing I can say for certain: These games looked so good, that even if the gameplay sucks, they still look like there”ll be a good experience graphically. That is not something you could say about the last generation, where bad looking games abounded.

He talks about launch day. Someone yells, “What about the price?!” and Peter says, “I’m getting to that! It’s cheap!”. The $299 price point gets cheers. A lot of confusion when he says $399 for the full Xbox.

Goes through a rundown of games and their evolution: Pong in the pub > kid at home with his computer > social gaming. Peter says every single game will use Xbox Live in some way, and you don’t need a credit card to get in. Mentions MSN Messenger (I guess they’re building it in).

Peter shows a Italian promo video that captures the social experience of Xbox Live (and where the guy ignores his girlfriend for mega-multiplayer Halo 2). Very funny and cool. Peter shows off the Emmy that Xbox Live won recently (link?).

Peter shows off Xbox Live, a Gamer Tag, the skin he’s chosen (a Dead or Alive one), the small arcade games on Live. You can clearly see the Media Center icon at the bottom. He shows the parental control settings.

Peter shows the little games, like pool, joust, coming from all the old arcade companies, like Atari and Namco. All the games are remastered in high-def, so they look cooler than they should be.


Peter plugs in an iRiver, plays some Jay-Z (at the yelling insistence of the crowd). Xbox 360 has some spectacular visualizations, and you can alter them on the fly. He then plugs in an iPod Nano, the Xbox 360 recognizes it onscreen as an iPod Nano, and plays some unprotected music from that. Then he plugs in a PSP, and, while the iPod is still playing, brings up a slideshow of PSP pictures (when it doesn’t work initially, since he selected pictures in the music browser, he makes a joke about a “SONY conspiracy!”).

Next, Peter shows off the Media Center capability. It looks exactly like the regular Media Center interface, which is an excellent thing. Peter announces a new alliance with MTV: on demand music videos. Thousands of archived music videos are available instantly, as are some MTV shows or MTV show recaps. You can see the videos in HD, and even buy them.

To end it off, Peter brings in two guys, one from Brooklyn and one from Manhattan (Brooklyn gets way more cheers) to face off on Project Gotham Racing 3. The winner walks off with an Xbox 360 (well, on launch day). The game looks un-freakin-believable. We see actual gameplay on a huge screen and it just looks great. The sense of speed when they go hurtling down the Brooklyn Bridge, well, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Microsoft looks to have a winner on its hands.

October 14th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Halo, Gears of War, Xbox 360, Xbox, General | 3 comments

Download: Update Rollup 2 For Windows XP Media Center Edition

Update Rollup 2, the final update for Windows XP Media Center Edition, should be available today from Windows Update, but it is already available for download here. Paul Thurrott has an extended overview of the additions and fixes, but here are some highlight:

  • Adds support for the XBox 360 as a Media Center Extender, including streaming HDTV signals.
  • Adds support for “Away Mode” in future Windows PCs. In away mode, the PC does pretty much nothing but record TV and pump out signals to devices, while turning on instantly.
  • Adds support for DVD changers, burning HD to DVD, burning to dual-layer DVDs, and burning from Extenders.
  • Intelligent zoom mode
  • Optimization (soft rebooting of MCE services)

October 14th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | XP, Media Center, Windows, General | no comments

Get The Vista Sidebar In Windows XP

I am now running the Windows Vista sidebar in Windows XP. How to do it? Well, its not easy… Just follow the instructions here.

Basically, you download the Sidebar files, then download the patch. Copy the Parts folder to your created User\Parts folder, apply the patch, copy xmlrw.dll to your Sidebar folder, and run the Sidebar.

The Vista Sidebar running in Windows XP (click to view full-size)Now, as to the Gadgets that come with the Sidebar.

The first appears to just show random images from your hard drive. At the moment, it has no options to customize.

The second is an RSS headline display gadget. Currently, you can have one RSS feed, and a +/- sign determines whether you see one or four headlines.

The third is a clock. You can add a second hand, as I’ve done.

The fourth is a search box. It comes with MSN Search as the default, but you can change it easily by entering a search string.

You can specify the side of the monitor the Sidebar appears on, and which monitor it appears on (if you have multiples).

With all four default Gadgets running, you lose about 19 megabytes of RAM, pretty much on par with my Konfabulator experience. Objects can be removed from the Sidebar and be placed pretty much anywhere.

As you can see, its not exactly feature-rich at the moment. In fact, parts of it don’t even work. But, if you are like me and are having fun getting your XP system to look like Vista (as mine does, thanks to WindowBlinds), then this is a worthy addition. Also, proof positive Gadgets work in XP, since anybody can get them right now.

October 14th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | XP, Vista, Windows, General | 11 comments

MSN Video Gets JibJab From Yahoo

A little while back Yahoo inked a two-video deal with JibJab, makers of the viral phenomenon “This Land” Flash animation. Well, now Microsoft is distributing those videos at MSN Video, although not in the most pleasing manner.

First off, they are hard to find, with no link on the MSN Video front page or anywhere else I could find. You have to search for JibJab (no spaces) or know the title of the videos, which means fewer people will be stumbling on them, and I don’t even know how to link to them (how are they supposed to be viral now?).

Worse, the videos have been recoded as videos (and not Flash), and the experience is less than thrilling, both choppy and low-quality. Of course, you could view them as originally created at JibJab’s website. Still, I love these shorts, and I’m glad to see them getting more publicity.

October 14th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Humor, MSN, General | no comments

Bill Gates: I’ll Pay You Back!

Bill Gates Coke Commercial found via Channel 9 on Google Video.

October 14th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Humor, General | one comment