So, Halo 2 for Windows Vista is launching on May 8, 2007, and we have been able to spend some time reviewing the title. Since everyone is familiar with Halo 2, we felt a full review wasn’t in order. Instead, we wanted to clue you in on the ten best improvements we experienced while reviewing the game. These ten features raise the bar for Halo as a whole, and may be a foreshadowing of things to come in Halo 3:
Achievements: If you are looking for something fun that adds another level of fun and challenge to the Halo 2 world, this is it. We have said it before, and we will say it again - Microsoft hit a gold mine with the notion of achievements. No sooner than when we finished a multiplayer deathmatch did we rack up a total of three achievements. Meleeing five people from behind (and thusly earning the Ninja achievement) was nice, but Meleeing someone who already had the Ninja achievement (and thus earning the Flaming Ninja achievement) was even better. We have the achievement to prove it. For those wondering, yes, the achievements you earn in Halo 2 for Vista (or any other Games for Windows game) is counted towards your Xbox Gamerscore.
Read More | Playfeed
OK, people…Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Need a gift idea? We suggest the new low-priced PSP Core System for Mom (trust us, it’s been done before), but if you prefer a more traditional gift—and have $8200 lying around—we propose the Bernina Artista 730E, a Windows-powered sewing machine. It comes complete with a large color display that offers tutorials, on-screen help and a library of over 850 stitches. There’s even a “My Artista” portal, where you can swap designs with other Artista users. And the 730E doesn’t just sew: it can also be used for quilting and embroidery as well. The Artista 730E has been selected as a “Best Buy” by Consumers Digest magazine, so you can plunk down that $8200 USD with confidence.
Microsoft has decided to put an end to Windows XP, even though many of its customers are really not sure they want to purchase Vista. From January 2008 on, mega-PC companies such as HP, Dell, and Toshiba will no longer be able to purchase licenses for the software. In a poll from Harris Interactive of 2,223 Americans, findings suggest that although 87% had heard of the operating system, only 12% of those who knew of it were planning to install it. Perhaps this would be a good time to consider some of the competition for our next PC.
Read More | BBC
So, yesterday we told you about the newly announced Xbox 360 QWERTY Keyboard Attachment, which it seems many wrote off as being a well-done Photoshop job. However, Microsoft has confirmed that the product is real, and that it will be making it’s way to store shelves this summer at a still-unannounced price point. Contrary to what some believe, the keyboard is an attachment to the current Xbox 360 controller, not a stand-alone keyboard/controller combo. The keyboard will also be backlit, which fits right into the reality that many a gamer enjoy playing in the dark. We were able to see this product at a couple of different stages in it’s development, and think it will be a hit, so long as the backlit display doesn’t suck up battery usage too much.
We have put up a photo gallery of the Xbox 360 keyboard attachment. Click on to check it out in all it’s glory.
Wow, seems like we have been sitting on this one for months. After seeing a few prototypes, we are glad to see that what looks to be the finalized Xbox 360 QWERTY keyboard controller attachment looks a lot more sensible than what we saw. Now obviously, this makes perfect sense for a while lot of reasons. First and foremost, as seen in the leaked Xbox 360 Spring 2007 Dashboard Update video (if it is to be believed,) Microsoft is planning on integrating Windows Live Messenger contacts directly into your Xbox 360 dashboard. A QWERTY keyboard would be the saving grace of that feature, as the current methodolgy of typing on the Xbox 360 is mundane at best. Of course, it will also come in handy for games where typing to your teammates is an added feature as well. Look for this one to drop this summer, pricing still unknown. Check out another image of the attachment after the jump.
If this one is a fake, it’s a darn good one. The guys over at MyGamerCard.net are saying this was leaked on Gamespot, and subsequently pulled, but not before it was downloaded and placed on YouTube for our benefit. What you will find above is a video walkthrough of the Xbox 360 Spring 2007 Dashboard update. Claiming that it will be released on May 7, 2007, it boast quite a few new features, including:
- Ability to add up to 600 Windows Live Messenger contacts to your Friends List.
- Text chat with up to 6 Live Messenger contacts at once during games or movies.
- The Marketplace will be getting its own Dashboard Blade.
- The Marketplace will be skinned independently of the Dashboard, for special events.
- The Marketplace will be getting a new, easier-to-navigate remake.
- Achievement Pop-ups will now display how many points and which Achievement you have gained.
- Low-power downloading (fans off) and auto-off after finishing queued downloads.
- View partially downloaded video files.
What we like most? The fact that you can start watching movies files before they finish downloading, along with the fact that when you earn an acheivment, you get the details in the pop-up notification instead of having to hit the guide button for the full scoop. Everything else seems to be fluff for the most part, unles you have tons of Windows Live contacts. Our main question? Where the hell is Internet Explorer?
Let us know what you think of the video in the comments.
Read More | MyGamerCard.net
Sweet Mother of Pearl…what is it with companies and these ridiculously long product names. Let me tell you, there’s a reason why “Flickr” is popular, and it’s probably because it’s easy to say. Now that I’ve gotten this out of the way, on to Microsoft’s new ergonomic desktop mouse.
Strangely enough, it wasn’t that long ago that Microsoft’s mice were considered to be the most ergonomic that you could get, but in reality, while they were more comfortable to hold, they were never truly ergonomic. I’ve been using computers from a young age, and as a result, I have a fair amount of RSI built up in my wrists, mostly the right wrist. I can’t use a non-ergonomic keyboard for long without experiencing pain, and that’s why although I’ve tested a great many keyboards in the past, I keep coming back to Microsoft’s Natural series of keyboards. Finally, they put a mouse through the same ergonomic design process as their keyboards and what came out was one of the goofiest looking mice ever made.
While we recognize that the Xbox 360 Elite is pretty much just an expensive, black Xbox 360 with an HDMI port, the fact that it comes with that extra-fancy 120GB hard drive can’t be overlooked. Oh, wait, actually, it can. Seeing as how the 120GB HDD will also be available as a standalone product, current Xbox 360 owners have no need to upgrade to the Elite, lest they really want that HDMI 1.2 output goodness. If you are in that category, be forewarned - any downloadable content you purchased on your current Xbox 360 isn’t just going to straight up work if you pick up a new Xbox 360 Elite - not unless Microsoft lightens up on the restrictions currently imposed on Xbox Live downloads. You might be better off with just buying the new 120GB HDD and calling it a day. Heck, whether you get the drive on its own or with the Elite, you also get a bunch of content pre-loaded onto the thing. We have the full list for you after the jump.
unleashed havoc released it’s new Vista operating system, one of the many complaints from users was its incompatibility with Apple’s iTunes, at worst causing iPods to crash. Apple and Microsoft worked together to update iTunes and they’ve delivered. The newest version (7.1.1) is available now, and most of the problems with Vista have been resolved. However, this writer, a fed-up and frustrated
Vista user, is not taking any chances, and will wait until the next version of iTunes is released before diving in.
Read More | Apple
Xbox Live and Windows Vista have teamed up to create a single online gaming service beginning with Halo 2 on May 8th. Shadowrun will be the next game to be shared in June, followed by Uno, to be released later this year. Xbox gamers will automatically receive the same playability as those on Windows Live games at no additional fee. The Silver membership is free for both types of gamers and chat is open to all. If you are a gameaholic, a Gold membership is available for $49.95. Isn’t it extraordinary that in this day of heavy competition between the major game corporations, these two giants have decided to make nice?
Read More | Microsoft
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