We got our hands on the new Fall 2009 Xbox 360 Dashboard update, which features Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, and Instant-on 1080p movie streaming from Zune. You can get the full scoop in the video, but in a nutshell, here are our thoughts:
- Facebook: Facebook on Xbox 360 is integrated well into the console. We like that you can see which of your Xbox 360 friends are on Facebook, and which Facebook friends have an Xbox 360 account. The problem is that the Xbox 360’s ridiculous friend limit really stands out here. You have a limit of 100 friends, and if you have a bunch of friends on Facebook that you want to connect with, you will quickly find that you have to pick and choose. You see what I mean in the video. Other than that, being able to view profile data and photo galleries of friends is a nice touch. Updating or commenting sucks if you don’t have a Chatpad.
- Twitter: Twitter, on the other hand, is way too simple for our liking. It shows you the last 50 tweets from people you following, trending topics, and basic profile info. You can also send tweets out from the Xbox 360, but it’s frustrating to do, unless you have a Chatpad handy.
- Last.fm: This works as expected. You sign in, and you get access to all your channels, and you can create new channels on the fly. What sucks? You can’t see your Last.fm friends, which is something I miss. Even worse? The music only plays when you are actually in the Last.fm area. If you leave, the music stops. This means you can’t carry it over to the dashboard, or in-game. So really, what’s the point?
- Zune Instant on 1080p: This was awesome. Definitely blew me away. We streamed a portion of the movie 300. After a bandwidth test, the Xbox 360 confirmed we were good to go for instant 1080p streaming, and it delivered. Fantastic. The best streaming video quality we’ve seen from any service.
There are a few other new details as well, and we give you a detailed look at it all in this video. Sit back and enjoy!
Gaming headphones are getting very popular with the MMO crowd, so it stands to reason that Creative, creators of much great technology including the S2, has given us the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset. They will be the first of its type to feature THX TruStudio PC sound. For purists, no worries - they’ll also be available in a wired model as well.
Read More | Soundblaster
Fans of the Monkey Island Adventure series are about to go bananas! Organizers of Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) have just annouced Ron Gilbert as the keynote speaker at this year’s sixth annual event to be held Sept. 4-6 in Seattle, Washington. The 20-year veteran game designer, programmer and producer, Ron Gilbert’s resume includes Maniac Mansion and the first two installments in the Monkey Island adventure series. In addition, his famous SCUMM scripting language granted him a spot in the Computer Game Hall of Fame. He is currently creative director at independent development studio Hothead Games in Vancouver, Canada.
The latest electronic gadget to show off with LED lighting are these Chinavasion Stereo Earphones. A string of blue lights on each earbud keeps track to the beat of the music to impress your friends or irritate those at work. Lightweight, they can be used for any audio device, portable game system or laptop. You will have to go in with a couple of buds for these as they are available in a 3-pack for $41.13 ($13.71 each.)
Read More | Chinavasion
A recent study by Pew finds that 97% of American teens of the age 12 to 17 play computer, portable, console or online video games. When asked, half of them claimed they played yesterday and the ones who admitted to daily playing say they did so for at least an hour. Here are some of the other statistics:
- 86% of teens play on a console like the Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii.
- 73% play games on a desktop or a laptop computer.
- 60% use a portable gaming device like a Sony PlayStation Portable, a Nintendo DS, or a Game Boy.
- 48% use a cell phone or handheld organizer to play games.
- 80% of teens play five or more different game genres, and 40% play eight or more types.
- Girls play an average of 6 different game genres; boys average 8 different types.
We expect that if Pew queried adults, they would find at least the same statistics, or more for those who play MMORPGs like WOW. As for the good news, another study last September found that, for the most part, teens playing games resulted in positive social action.
Read More | Pew
I like to think that in the future, the people of that time will come across relics from the 21st century and laugh at how hard our lives were. I can’t imagine what technological strides will have been made by then, but thanks to Christopher Locke we can have an idea of what kind of antiquities they’ll theoretically be finding. Locke’s Modern Fossils sculpture series renders our current (and some previous) technologies in a proprietary concrete mixture, giving them the look of actual fossils. Most of the pieces are for sale and range in price from $45 to $185.
Read More | Heartless Machine
Ever feel the need to project your geek status in a less-than-obvious manner? Conversely, maybe you need that little extra something to put your geeky appearance over the top? Etsy seller CharlieCarter has just the thing for you. Her jewelry brings classic gaming superstars like Super Mario, Pokemon, and Pac Man and some favorite 80’s characters closer to you than they’ve ever been before. All handmade from polymer clay, the pieces are available as studs, dangle earrings, zipper pulls, charms, and even stitch markers for you knitting geeks. Everything in the shop is $25 or under, so there’s no need to worry about breaking the bank.
Read More | Etsy
The Cool8800C works like an ordinary cell phone with touchscreen until you unfold it and it becomes a mini-gaming system with a second screen with audio/video/NES compatibility. Other features of the 120 x 55 x 23 device is dual-band GSM with GPRS, Bluetooth and e-book capability, an FM tuner, 1GB memory and microSD and TF card slots. We dig the idea and the $140.00 price, but we are thinking that you might have to practice to get the hang of the gaming aspect.
Read More | Solo Mobi
Only open for a couple of months, Crispy Gamer claims that it has over 35,000 members. It certainly proves that of all the failing industries, this one certainly isn’t. The site gets its content from gaming writers, as opposed to ads and other info from publishers. In addition to extensive reviews, the site features news, forums for gamers and video clips. Head over there and toss in your two cents worth on your favorite game or research one that you would like to try.
Read More | Crispy Gamer
We found the ultimate gaming laptops for the hardcore player. Toshiba’s Qosmio X305-Q706 and X305-Q708 are filled with three NVIDIA GPUs, one GeForce 9400M and two 9800M GTSs. To help save energy and battery power, the user can turn off the 9800Ms. Both have 17-inch displays, Bluetooth availability and Harman Kardon stereo speakers plus a sub-woofer. The X305-706 features a Core 2 Duo P8400 CPU and comes at a price of $1,999.99. Move up to the X305-Q708 and you get a Core 2 Extreme QX9300 CPU, a DVD burner, a 1.3MP webcam, and a second 128GB SSD at a price of $4,199.99. Both are available at Toshiba Direct.
Read More | Yersys Technology
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