Xbox dashboard update and new Netlifx Features

netflix-xbox

Last week Microsoft’s Xbox released an update that among other things was a ploy to get more money out of people… I’m not complaining though… I live in a capitalist nation, and at the end of the day we all count our beans… I just wish I had more… and perhaps a lightsaber for my avitar that I was not willing to pay for…

Let me explain… last fall Xbox came out with their new dashboard interface experience where everyone on xbox live had to create an avitar that represented them to other players on xbox live… Mine is on the side here. avitarWhen people created their avitar last fall they had a limited selection of clothes and accesories, however this update fixed that with not only extra content, but content you have to buy in order to equip… I kind of expected that though.

Some other neat features the Xbox team added was the ability to watch Netflix movies in an Xbox party… (An xbox party is a private chat room where you can invite friends and talk while you play games… or not watching a netflix movie)… the Xbox party feature and the Netflix streaming have been there before, but they each have some subtle additions, including this ability to combine these two features and watch a movie with your friends from different locations. If anyone ever used the party feature before you knew if you ever got disconnected for some reason you had a pain in the but time trying to find your party to reconnect… now there is an auto connect feature for parties that will do this as soon as you sign back into Xbox Live. Another Neat feature I found was the ability to browse the Netflix streaming library, however you still can not search for instant movies… for that you need to log on to your computer and add them to your que that way… come on Microsoft… that should have been a no brainier.

The last thing that sticks out in my mind about the update is you can now enter your credit card info directly thru your Xbox dashboard to buy various items on their marketplace, this beats having to go to the store to buy a points card, or adding them through the xbox.com website on a computer… Now all Microsoft has to do is get rid of their point system in my opinion… right now you buy MS points to add to your account with actual money (ie. credit or debit card online ~ 500 points = $6.25)… so when you want to buy a game on the Xbox marketplace it will cost you 1200 points… which I really don’t understand… why not just tell me the game cost $15.00… I would probably buy more if I new the actual cost rather than hiding it… makes no sense to me…

There were some behind the scene stuff they said they added as well, such as a more stable build for less crashes ( I never crashed out before though), and supposedly its a little faster cruising around the dashboard, which I noticed a little bit…. anyways thats the new update in a nut shell… have fun.

How to tell if a popular celebrity twitter account is real

willienelson

Ok… More and more people that I know are getting twitter accounts as they hear about celebrities and businesses that mention they are twittering on the TV, radio, or where-ever….

but how do you know if @willienelson is really the real Willie Nelson… or any other celebrity twitter or Facebook account you follow is really who they say they are…

I often go to this site called valebrity.com/ . I am sure there are other sites that do the same thing as them, but basically this site verifies people are who they say they are on these various social networking sites.

The navigation on the site has a bit to be desired for in my opinion, but you can basically search for a celeb to see if they are on Valebrity’s list, or you can browse by genre of Actor’s, Music, Government, Sports, Etc…

Try browsing genre’s of actors on your favorite show, or your favorite band and you might get updates on whats happening with them before the news covers it… good luck.

What is this twitter thing

So this week I had a few different people ask me to help them set up personal twitter accounts…
twit

it was sort of a coincidence that they all asked me around the same time, and I found it interesting that each one had their own reasons… none of them really knew what twitter was though, just that they heard about it on TV or in marketing magazines and wanted to hop on the twitter band wagon. The motivation to hop on the twitter wagon didn’t surprise me too much… after all, almost every show in TV advertises to follow them on twitter… from Good Morning America to Ellen Degeneres, to CNN Headline news to Ashton Kutcher making news with his twitter page.

So what is twitter? It my opinion it is sort of like a mix between a macro blog and a social network such as facebook or myspace… its not really a replacement for either the blog or the social network… but something different. Its a way to tell people what your doing… instantly… but more than that, for me it is more of a way to follow people and news feeds… getting updates on stories from the people in the story, not just the media writing the story. Basically, if your interested in tweeting its easy, set up a twitter account at www.twitter.com… once your setup you can search for people to follow navigating the menus at the top of the page.. search for your friends, or follow your favorite news feed… or both… I tend to follow more personal feeds of people that are famous entrepreneurs or heads of corporations… I find using twitter in this gets me the news faster than the news people gets it to me… I set my mom and my aunt up with twitter accounts so they could follow my brother as he tweets from his phone, uploading pictures as he tours around the country with his fiancee. I also set up the business manager at my architectural firm with a twitter account, as she read more and more businesses are using twitter as marketing tools along with the social networking sites and she wanted to do the same. Some people just set up twitter to forward tweets to their cell phone and constantly update what they are doing for friends to see and comment. My point is there are lots of reasons to tweet (the act of using twitter)… so sign up if you want to try it… its free, and if its not for you just stop using it.

internet where ever you go – Mobil Wifi

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Ok… this is a new concept by novatel wireless that I think will take the world by storm once the wireless companies catch on… the concept is a portable internet WiFi hub… before I explain what this does for people that may not know, let me explain its predecessor. If you ever bought a laptop… or listened to those cheesy Bill Kurtis AT&T “I found the internet” commercials…. you might have heard the term “mobil broadband cards”… it refers to cards embedded into a laptops allowing you to gain internet access where ever you go… thats right… all you have to do is have one of these Broadband Mobil Cards and pay about $40 / month to a cell phone company such as Verizon, sprint, AT&T, etc… and you’ll be able to get “broadband” (about the same speed as a DSL line) anywhere you get cell phone coverage…

Now comes in this revolutionary idea of the Mobil WiFi card…. basically you still pay the $40 +/- to the mobile phone companies, but they give you a thick credit card like device you can stick in your pocket that will give you “broadband internet” anywhere you go up to 5 different devices… The uses for this are very exciting… for instance the family has this card on the desk at the house… every member of the family can connect it on their personal computers and laptops… now when they go on that RV camping vacation they pick up their “internet card” and take it with them… non-stop internet surfing… very cool.

My thoughts….
Verizon, sprint, and the rest of the mobil companies should be jumping on this peice of tech with everything they got… they should be upgrading their networks to get faster speeds (and getting rid of their stupid bandwidth caps)… why do you ask… because for a cheaper price than cable or fios connections you can get still a decent broadband connection that is portable…. apples for apples… why would you not pay $10-$15 less for an internet connection you can share with family and friends devices, that you can take anywhere you go… on your commute to work, beside the pool, and the grandparents, at the ski lodge…. its endless… very cool stuff…

now all these companies have to do to outrun the cable and other land line companies is get rid of their stupid “bandwidth caps”… which is still the only downside of the card, limiting you to around 5 gigs of bandwidth service per month… which is not much for one person, never mind a household of 5 users… for comparison, although I am a heavy internet user, I use anywhere around 75 to 200 gigs of bandwidth a month for my house… I guessing most average users don’t use close to that much, but I bet its more than 5 gigs / month….

get with itvmobile companies…. get rid of your caps and you’ll be sitting on a gold mind.

google chrom has java now

Google Chrome, Google’s new internet browser, finally has Java support… for those that have not heard… google has decided to venture into the browser world to compete against the likes of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera.

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It has been available in beta form so people could try it out before it was actually “released” but all these previous beta versions did not support Java… which 80% of the internet is now a’ days… fortunatly it supports it now, so try away.

I have not used Chrome much, but some neat features include a thumbnail preview of the most frequent pages for easy clicking… it also lets you choose what search engine you want it to use… (not just Google)… so if you go into the address bar and type a question rather than a www. address you’ll get results from whatever search engine you set it up to use. Check out their video below to see some other features and how to remove thumbnails you don’t want displayed, and where to download it if you want to try it… so far its only available in windows… sorry Ubuntu and Mac fan boys… but google says the current version will be reaching those platforms shortly

how to wipe your windows computer clean… for real

I have a lot of people always asking me what do I think is wrong with their windows computer… my answer… who cares… just format the thing… well not many people know how to do this… here’s a quick 101 on how I set my computers back to what it is before I bought them…this works great if you think you have spyware, virus, or your registry is messed up… click the pic below to read my whole article.
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Continue reading “how to wipe your windows computer clean… for real”

Amazon HD streaming goes live

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Amazon recently launched a service for TV shows and eventually movies called instant HD for streaming HD content to not only your computer… but with various TV models (read Sony Bravia and Panasonic Viera cast compatable TV’s) it also works with certain HD Tivo boxes… what this means is you would be able to go to the menu on one of these devices… select the amazon instant HD menu… pick your movie and watch it. This is great as it is a step in where digital media needs to be… no more wrappers, boxes, or wasting gas to pick up a movie… this would mean lower prices as studios don’t have to produce all this gargin and shipping costs as well… read more about here.

Avatar, Gravatar, Shmavatar???

This might interest some of you internet savy peeps. We all heard of Avatars… well if you haven’t that’s OK too. Avatars are usually the pictures that represent you on forums and blogs next to your posts or comments… as shown on the snap shot below of some engadget comment-ers… However if you ever wanted to change your avatar and you frequent many, many sites… you used to have to go to all those sites to change them manually…

avitar

…well there is a new concept in town and it is called Gravatars (read: Globaly Recognized Avatar)… check out the site en.gravatar.com… it basically links your avitars to however many email addresses you use… now when you go to choose your avatar in account setup of various websites, you can choose your gravitar… If you want to change you just go to your one gravatar account… I think this could be a very refreshing concept if more sites give you the option to use a gravatar