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Xbox 360 HD DVD Player Gets $20 Discount, Bundle


Microsoft announced today a slight discount and a really nice bundle for the HD DVD add-on drive. The drive drops $20 in price from $200 to $180, and adds a new bundle of five free HD DVD movies for any purchase made between August 1 and September 30. Purchasers can choose one free DVD from each of these categories (five total out of 15 options) via a mail-in offer:

  • Category A: Apollo 13, Seabiscuit, The Chronicles of Riddick
  • Category B: Casablance, Constantine, Dukes of Hazzard
  • Category C: Four Brothers, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  • Category D: The Rundown, Blazing Saddles, U2: Rattle and Hum
  • Category E: U-571, The Perfect Storm, We Were Soldiers

Problem is, you don’t get to just choose your five favorites, and there are a few movies on this list that aren’t going to look a lot better in HD DVD (Casablanca? Did they use 5.1 sound in the black and white movie?). If I were buying, I’d pick up Apollo 13, Casablance (It’s a classic, even if it makes no sense on this list), Sky Captain, Blazing Saddles (again, a classic that has no place on this list) and The Perfect Storm (didn’t care for the movie, but it’ll probably look cool).

Which would you pick?

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Xbox 360, Xbox | one comment

Stuff From Microsoft’s Financial Analyst Meeting

Several bits out of Microsoft’s Financial Analyst Meeting, being held today in Redmond:

  • Steve Ballmer is talking about the “Windows Live Cloud Infrastructure”, which divides Live into four groups: Personal services, like the Windows Live sites, Office Live, search; Developer services, like the Cloud, Silverlight Streaming, BizTalk Services; Business services, like hosted Exchange, Office Live Small Business, CRM Live and the Titan development platform; Service enablers, like Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, adCenter, ActiveX, Ajax, Silverlight, .Net and Win32 Softgrid.
  • Microsoft claims that over the next year, the number of PCs running Windows will top 1 billion for the first time, exceeding the number of cars out there.
  • Also, Microsoft is rolling out some important releases today and tomorrow, including the release candidate of Silverlight 1.0, a CTP of Silverlight 1.1, a preview of Expression Blend 2.0, a public beta 2 of Visual Studio 2008, and early test builds of Rosario, the version of Visual Studio Team that comes after Orcas. Not sure if this was covered at the financial meeting, but important nonetheless.

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Developers, Live, Corporate, Windows | no comments

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Halo’s Master Chief Gets A True Hollywood Story

Okay, it’s a fake True Hollywood Story, and it’s one of the less funny parodies of E!’s True Hollywood Story, but it does tell a story about Halo’s star, Master Chief:

You know, I’m kind of convinced I could do better, though the Hasselhoff bit was hilarious, and made it all worth it.
(via Xbox 360 Fanboy)

I just rewatched the Hasselhoff drunk video, and while it’s sort of sad, every time he picks up that burger, I crack up.

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Halo, Xbox, Humor, General | one comment

Maddox Takes On The iPhone


Maddox, he of The Best Page In The Universe, has written a scathing article comparing the iPhone with the Nokia E70. It’s funny, like everything on that site, but be warned that there is some “saucy” language.

First of all, the E70 has a full keyboard, not some shitty stripped down, tap-and-pray smudgy piece of shit. Nokia uses a technology that’s even more advanced than the iPhone’s tap screen, allowing you to actually feel the keys you press as you’re pressing them! The technology is called “tactile response,” and it allows you to do things like dial a phone number without staring at your screen like a shit-chucking ape. In fact, every other cellphone ever made has this technology, sometimes called “buttons.”

(via Dave Winer)

* - In theory, there may not have been a kitten in the original photo, but you do know what he’s covering? Is it wrong to say he’s in ur photoz, covering ur curses?

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Apple, Humor | no comments

Digg Switches From Google Ads To Microsoft

Kevin Rose announced yesterday that Digg was dumping Google AdSense as its ad provider, replacing it with an exclusive deal with Microsoft. The deal, which runs three years, is described by Digg’s founder as similar to the one Facebook got, which means it comes with certain revenue guarantees, and it may even come with a payout option if Digg is sold to a company other than Microsoft, just like the Facebook deal.

Digg also used John Battelle’s Federated Media, a high quality blog ad network, for many of its ad sales, and while Digg is keeping FM as an ad partner, it appears they are relying on FM only to fill unsold inventory. One of the challenges faced by a niche ad seller like FM is that sites tend to go with a bigger ad company when they get more mainstream, and FM seems to be playing it like “At least they didn’t abandon us entirely”.

Valleywag says “Break up like a man, Kevin”.

Microsoft’s press release notes Digg gets 17 million monthly unique visitors. Alexa charts seem to indicate Digg peaked late last year:

Anyway, the point: Digg has low quality traffic, because of a very specific, non-diverse, advertising averse audience. I’d say Digg’s users are too “sophistocated” for ads to convert well, but the word sophistocated is unfair, since many of them are also quite young. Ads on Digg don’t perform as well as they would on a similarly trafficked site with a more diverse and older audience. Google was probably having trouble filling enough of Digg’s inventory and producing ads likely to be clicked on, forcing Digg to find an ad provider that uses a less automated approach.

Put it this way: The most common ad you’d see on Digg was for Diggnation, the site’s podcast/videoblog. That ad is a house ad, and appears when there are no ads to display. Considering that I saw that ad more often than not, obviously Google was doing a poor job. Hopefully Microsoft will do better. I hope Rose demanded to see the success of Microsoft’s work with Facebook, or he got a good revenue guarantee, before signing the three-year deal.

Either way, this is excellent for Microsoft, which claims another high profile ad partner. Even if it makes no money off Digg, the deal raises its profile in the online ad world, and could attract other popular websites to join them.

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Advertising | 3 comments

Microsoft Ships 200,000 More Zunes Than Expected

Halo 3 ZuneLooks like Microsoft beat its projections for Zune shipments, shipping 1.2 million Zunes since releasing the music player late last year. That number is higher than the 1 million Zunes projected for the end of last month, an average of 150,000 Zunes shipped per month. Of course, Microsoft still has a long way to catch the Apple, which sold 9.8 million iPods in the last three months alone.
(via Digg)

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Zune, Windows Media, Apple | 11 comments