XBOX 360: boiled frog?

I have a few mixed feelings about the XBOX 360. I don’t care that they decided to launch it on MTV, or that it’s breaking the “traditional 5 year console life cycle”, and I am impressed with the hardware specifications. However, what concerns me is the increased dependency on Microsoft as a sole service provider and the long-term plans for the XBOX platform.

XBOX 360 is a means of getting people onto XBOX Live. Microsoft gives you a single gamer tag for all your online games. This gamer tag is stored on a Microsoft server somewhere where I assume they monitor your browsing, music, and gameplay preferences to build a profile to sell you (and people like you) more things. Aside from the “big brother” aspect that may put off Linux geeks and conspiracy theorists, there is another big negative implication.

How much is your gamer tag worth? Let’s say it stores your ranking and everything you own in every online game you play. That’s the whole world to a hardcore gamer and probably many hours to a casual gamer. Who owns your gamer tag? It’s held by Microsoft. It’s in a proprietary format. You can’t take it with you to other platforms. If game progress and reputation are the only currency in the online gaming world, Microsoft is the central bank and the only way to access your account is through the XBOX platform.

Microsoft isn’t the only player in online gaming, but they clearly hope to be, with all games required to store their information in a Microsoft format on a Microsoft server. This is exactly why EA supported the PS2’s online model and took so long to finally offer support for XBOX Live. XBOX may aim to change the world, but some things won’t change: Sony makes hardware, Nintendo makes games, and Microsoft makes monopolies.

Note: I completely understand if you can’t make sense of the title. I heard the term “boiled frog” for the first time on a slashdot thread a week or so ago. There’s a good explaination here.

Pics from my house to work

I had the work camera, so I took a bunch of pics on the way to work. Just things I found interesting including: an OpenGL logo ripoff (you be the judge!), construction work *just outside my window!*, the “phantom arsehole” grafitti (ask Jim about it), cool trees, massive spiders, old-school buildings, and my kickass workspace.

Check out the index for thumbnails. Does anyone know a good “thumbnailed gallery” generator for GNU/Linux?

Half-life 2 characters in Australian suburbia

This is hilarious! I love the one with the super-soldier knocking on the back door :). Ripped from http://www.bigkid.com.au/

“An Australian member on the facepunchstudios.com forums has been putting together some clever realistic renders of Half Life 2 models using High Dynamic Range rendering in 3DStudio Max. The models are composited into real world environments (ie. Aussie suburbia) and the results look quite stunning…”

Not sure why I like this

(Blog title is a link)

I don’t know if it’s the “pfft” adolescent style or the (inadvertent?) political message, but I like this picture. Looking at the rest of this guy’s website reveals an almost unhealthy obsession with J. Mascis: song lyrics and reference to album covers. There’s also a boat-load of pieces that epitomize angst and mid-nighties grunge. Aside from that, it’s a bit of a mixed bag to me.

A few snippets: very angsty, lyrics, seen this somewhere before

Who posted this message?

Meng pointed out that you can’t tell who posted a message (or what blog it was posted to) from the main (aggregrated) blog page. I had a look into it and it’s because of the theme. Either the PHP isn’t generating who posted, or the CSS is ignoring it.

Maybe we should look at a different theme. I like the current one (nice and basic), but Jim and I like this one: kubrick2evo. It’s easy to change its look just by changing image files. Could you install it Jim? And if noone has any great opposition, I think it will make a better default.