Microsoft Software Video Games

I can quit any time I like

Normally I don’t like it when my honey goes out of town… I get lonely and sulky, I don’t shave and I eat way more cereal than any human should. 

Tuesday was the release of Halo 2.  Thursday Paula went to New York to attend the bar mitzvah of a good friend’s son.  Since she left I haven’t shaved, I’ve bathed infrequently and I’ve eaten cereal for dinner… but I haven’t been lonely.  Halo 2 is by far the best online game I’ve ever played, esp. when playing with friends.

Since Paula’s been gone I’ve had my Xbox connected to Xbox Live for most of my waking hours, but when she gets back I’m going to spend much less time online.  But what’s an addict to do?  I can’t miss a game.

Now I don’t have to.  I’ve signed up for Xbox to send me either an IM if I’m signed into MSN Messenger or to send a message to my cell phone if I’m away or offline.  I never have to worry about missing a game again!

The easy way to find the sign up is to sign into MSN Messenger (Windows Messenger won’t work) and click the Xbox tab.  Once the Xbox tab loads click the Live tab and look to the bottom of the frame for the “Add Xbox Live Alerts” link.  Follow the instructions and you’re golden.  Note: you will need to associate your messenger account (Microsoft .Net Passport) with your live gamer tag in order to get this working, but after you’ve gone through the effort you’ll be able to see who’s online and what they’re playing right from MSN Messenger (pretty cool, huh?).  Oh, if you’ve turned off the tabs in options, go turn them back on again (I won’t tell you how, you figured out how to turn them off, after all).

Now… if I can just find a clever way to distract my wife for hours on end…

Blog Net Web Weird

The shrinking web

The reason the World Wide Web is called the World Wide Web is because it’s filled with interconnected links, allowing you to move from site to site.  Do you ever do that?

When I first started using the web, yes, I did click around from site to site, it was kind of neat.  Now, when I want some information I go to a search engine (typically Google, but I’ve just installed the MSN toolbar, but I digress), type in a search and go directly to the info I want.  I do very little “browsing” when on the web.  Two reasons:

  1. Many sites actively seek to keep you on their site
  2. The web is getting really, really big… wandering is not as interesting as it used to be, there’s just too much random crap.

The thing that has brought back interest in web surfing for me is the concept of the blog sphere.  A blog sphere is a subset of a subset of the web; it’s the blogs (one subset) I read (another sub set).  This narrowing of scope has made it much easier to navigate the web in an ad hoc fashion as I am no longer presented with the overwhelming scope of the web… I’m presented with the web as seen by people I think are interesting (who find interesting links, produce interesting content or are, simply, interesting).

All day today I’ve been listening to a new, free album I downloaded from Mercedes Benz (yes, the auto manufacturer).  Seeing as you don’t expect go looking for music on a car manufacturer’s site and I don’t own a Mercedes (or a Chrysler for that matter) it’s unlikely I would have happened upon this site on my own.  I found it because Paul left a comment on my blog, and he entered the URL for his blog.  Reading his blog I found the info on the Benz free music download.

Viewed as a whole, the web is full of a bunch of random crap.  Viewed through the filter of the people with whom I share a connection it becomes a whole lot more interesting.


Tasty paste

I’ve always been jealous of my nephews and nieces with their bubblegum flavored toothpaste.  I’d buy some for myself but I’m assuming there’s something about the kids toothpaste that isn’t industrial-strength enough for gr’ups. 

But lo, what have we here?  Cruising Target the other day looking for the Shrek boxed set I came upon Colgate Cinnamon Spice tooth paste.  I couldn’t pass it up.  Mmmm tasty.  It’s the next best thing to brushing your teeth with maple syrup (not that I’ve tried… honest).

Blog Software

RSS Readers

I’ve found that without an RSS reader I don’t get around to checking out my friend’s pages, so I need to get myself a reader and am now going to make a concerted effort to find one that fits my needs. Throughout this process I’ll keep you updated with my impressions of the various clients I try out. Note that I may end up finding a great client and/or get bored before I can try out every client out there, so don’t be disappointed if I peter out.

So, what are my criteria?

Must Have:

  • Offline Reading – I tend to live most of my life on my laptop and if I can’t take care of some of the reading while on an airplane or sitting in a waiting room it won’t work for me.

  • Comments API – The original post is not all of the interesting content related to a post, I need to be able to read the comments on my blog and the blogs of my friends without having to navigate to the blog and dig down to the comments page.

  • Windows application – I use Windows, if it runs on another platform it obviously won’t work for me (and please don’t start any religious Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux discussions with me, I can’t be bothered).

Like to Have:

  • Saved Searches – When part of my feed base relates to work it’s great to have a “feed” which is a view of all posts which contain a particular keyword (e.g. Hotmail).

  • Outlook Hotkeys – I use keyboard shortcuts in Outlook to speed up reading of messages. If my RSS reader were to use the same keys I’d be able to quickly mark things read, delete and forward posts without having to learn a new set of keys (which would potentially get confused with other applications).

I’ve started an initial list of readers with my main requirements: If you have an app you really like, please let me know.