This is me in the New XBOX Experience (NXE)

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What a badass.

You can see your own avatar like so:

http://avatar.xboxlive.com/avatar/<INSERT YOUR GAMERTAG HERE>/avatar-body.png

As for the NXE, I like it. The interface is much faster and smoother than the old one and it looks very slick, they even managed somehow to make the theme I was using look pretty good (Penny Arcade). I had some trouble with a few of the new “channels”, especially the Friends list, until I figured out you could browse your friends old-school style in the guide.

The number one 10/10 feature they added is the ability to install games to the hard drive. My 360 DVD drive has never been quite right and would often give disc read errors and make horrible grinding noises and quite often physically scratch the game discs, being able to install to the HDD solves all these problems so for that alone the new update is a winner.

One feature which I would have thought would be blindingly obvious which they still do not have is the ability to preview dashboard themes, this is especially important because you’re essentially paying (about $2) for a bunch of wallpapers, it would suck to pay for a theme which looks like arse because you can’t see it before forking over the points.

Wii games for a 3 year old

I’m just typing out loud here while I do some research. We just bought a combined birthday (and christmas) present for all of us from Mum & Dad which consists of a Wii (including Wii Sports) + Wii Music + De Blob + Wii Play + Guitar Hero World Tour. I’m not exactly sure how Alex will take Guitar Hero, he doesn’t know any Foo Fighters songs (yet) but I’m hoping he’ll get a blast out of Wii Music (reviews are mixed), Wii Play and De Blob looks kinda kid friendly.

So I’ve been doing some research in to other games which would be suitable for a three year old, here’s a hardly comprehensive list along with associated comments from the source I found the recommendation:

Kororinpa – a marble race game with cool looking environments

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I would recommend Kororinpa. I have found it to be a great little game. Your daughter will think she’s rolling a marble round a baking tray!

Highly recommended!

Cosmic Family – Lots of mini games aimed at pre-schoolers.

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There’s a game that’s just come out and is designed for young kids.

Endless Ocean – I have a feeling he’ll love this one.

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I think Cosmic Family (aimed at under 5’s) and Endless Ocean are probably the best games to start her off on.

Mario Party 8 – just a bunch of kid friendly mini games

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And lastly, I would really recommend Mario Party 8, which is great fun for all ages, with mini games for everyone. If you play the full game with her, it involves a virtual board game with cute characters jumping round a board as you roll the dice. Lots of beautiful animation, fun games and cute from start to finish. Perfect!

More general comments:

She also likes some of the minigames on WarioWare:Smooth Moves, the cow race on Wii Play, batting practice and punchbag training on Wii sports and just checking the Wii parade for new miis. She likes the voting channel too, particularly when she guesses right and I get it wrong, in fact she likes most things that I let her beat me on.

I think that’s a good start.

EDIT: It looks like Kororinpa, Cosmic Family and Endless Ocean are not available in our region (yeah, Nintendo still region code their game, ho hum), so the search goes on!

…and because I want to win a Wii

I’ve been subscribed to OzBargain for a while now and have found quite a few bargains in the process, duh. One of the best ones was the $350 Pizza oven we recently purchased, which is not only makes awesome pizzas and roast dinners but is also a great excuse to drink beer and make fire! I should note that one of the worst ones was the disastrous CatchOfTheDay “sale” a few weeks ago which ended up crashing the entire interweb as ten billion people clammered for a $200 Wii, $99 GPS and $25 DVD player.

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So anyway, OzBargain is two years old and they’re celebrating with a competition, here’s my entry:

HappyOzBirthday

You too, can try to win a Wii but the best you can hope for us second prize (because I’m winning first, right?!)

iTunes remote control via iTouch or iPhone

For years I have been using a small app on my PDA called Vinyl (it’s so long dead I can’t even find a link for it, oh wait, here’s one), essentially it ran a server on my PC which created a library of music from my collection and let me control play back from my old Dell Axim complete with play lists, album art, volume control and a  bunch of other cool features, wirelessly! It’s an awesome application and has worked flawlessly for years, I always wondered why the developer stopped working on it after version 1.0 (maybe he felt it had achieved perfection, I agree)

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Bad screenshot, but it’s the only one I could find.

For all the iWankers (I know, I know, I’ll most likely be one some day too), here’s another reason/justification to buy/own an iTouch/iPhone:

http://www.apple.com/au/itunes/remote/

Essentially the same functionality as Vinyl on the iWhatever but it also lets you control AppleTV and AirTunes, and best of all it’s FREE (worse of all, you need to run iTunes on your PC but no system is perfect).

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This is a test of your emergency warning system

Hello world.

Sorry about that, I was testing the Windows Live Writer service which lets you publish to any blog using a lightweight windows client, exactly why you’d bother when you can just use the WordPress admin interface is beyond me because it doesn’t see to offer anything more than the wordpress admin does and it’s only a one way push (i.e. you can’t edit existing posts or drafts).

It was worth a look anyway.

Windows Live Writer screenshot

EDIT: Thanks for the comment Brandon, it seems I was a little hasty in dismissing Live Writer but you know, I’m old(ish) and adverse to change…not really, I’ll give it another bash, in fact, I’m giving it another bash right now!

20 year school reunion, 20 years? Way!

I attended my 20 year school reunion for Marist last night and it wasn’t the horror show I was kind of anticipating.

The greatest fear at all reunions I would guess is that everyone except you has kept in touch so you walk in to a room full of guys who know each other after 20 years and you don’t know most of them from posts of wood. Luckily for me, this competely irrational fear was unfounded and it seemed that the norm was the nobody kept in touch, even the guys who still (or have since) live very close to each other. Most of the guys I spoke to hadn’t seen each other since the 10 year reunion, in fact, I can’t remember speaking to anyone who’s kept in close contact with anyone else, awesome (I suppose)! (and, phew!)

I also had a problem which was common among the most I spoke to in that I could recognise a face but often couldn’t attach it to a name, I got some right first time (maybe 4-5) and some guys had changed so radically that I had no hope but the rest looked familiar (of course, duh), I either didn’t have much to do with them at school (which is likely) or my memory just failed me. There were a couple with amazing memories, I take my hat off to the guy (Hi, Matt) that remembered that I lived in WA before moving to Canberra and starting at Marist in year 9, I have trouble remembering that stuff!

Overall everyone I spoke to were pretty good guys, I assume the wankers all just stayed home (or I didn’t talk to them).

Here are some interesting statistics I gathered:

  • I spoke to about less then 30% of the guys who attended (104 all up)
  • about 80% of the guys I spoke to are now working in IT, some were hard core geeks, just like me (although, good thing or not I think I outgeeked them all, as if this list isn’t proof enough)
  • about 95% are married with kids
  • a lot are late starters, most I spoke to have kids under 6
  • 10 out of our class of 150ish are now deceased, nobody seemed to have many details on how/when/what happened to most of the 10
  • I think I overheard 6 are in jail, currently or previously

I didn’t get a chance to talk to some guys as much as I now realise I would have liked but I grabbed a few email addresses and I’ll catch up via email with the ones I can, and the rest, well, there’s always the 30 year reunion!