Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New Stuff In MicrosoftLand

HD TV and movies on Xbox 360

The Xbox Team blog boasts that in 2 weeks, Xbox 360 owners will be able to download and watch HD TV and movies (before PS3, and without buying yet another box sometime next year).

Engadget has pics. More info on the official Xbox site, NY Times, and Microsoft.com.

In a less hyped move, the Xbox team also recently released an update to all Xbox 360s that lets them stream video from any PC (not just Media Center edition), supports 1080p, and a bunch of other cool stuff.

Do you need any more excuses to buy one? ;-)

Zune everywhere!

The official Zune site has launched.

I've gotta say this thing is beginning to grow on me. The way they've engaged the music-loving community has blown my mind.

Definitely making its way onto my holiday wishlist right after a new digital camera and this pair of hot snakeskin shoes.

Another new Windows Live Local feature

I'm not sure what this product is even called anymore (Virtual Earth? Windows Live Local?? Live Search???, but it now has some sort of new 3D rendering feature. I can't really appreciate it because it made my monitor at work go black, then gave me an error message. Above is a picture of the Space Needle in Seattle as captured on my Thinkpad here at home. Nifty.

Microsoft Virtual Earth/Windows Live Local powered by Virtual Earth Beta/Live Search happens to be one of the few Microsoft products I just can't bear to use. I've tried - over and over - but the multiple search boxes, the slow bulky constantly-loading UI, the insane number of overlayed windows, the unintuitive navigation paradigm, the clutter of ads and promotion of some baseball player's list of favorite places, and the number of steps it takes me to do something as simple as get driving directions to a restaurant - makes me go back to Google Maps every time.

What Else

This is the first time in a long time I've gone over 2 weeks straight without blogging. My new role at work has been incredibly challenging (in a good, but brain-draining way) and has been keeping me quite busy.

I recently picked up a copy of Phantasy Star Universe for my 360, and it rocks my socks. Highly recommended.

I've realized it takes about 1-2 hours on average each day to read through my blogs and other sources of information just to keep up - not including the stacks of magazines piling up on my coffee table, which will inevitably end up as airplane reading material later this month. Beyond work, a semi-deprived social life, exercise, and absorbing information through blogs, podcasts, etc, I'm left with less and less time and energy for pleasure reading or blogging. Still trying to figure out how to best manage/fix this. Any suggestions? :)

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