Sunday, July 19, 2009

July Update Part II

XBox 360

I recently bought an XBox 360 Arcade. Overall, its a pretty nice machine - the graphics quality is pretty much the same as the PS3, however, games are cheaper and M$ is actually paying attention to India as a market. XBox Live is available, there are more legit games and older games sell for as less as Rs. 1000 each. Imported games are an issue though due to region compatibility. (The PS3 has an advantage in this regard) There are multiple region compatibility lists available online - there is one by Play Asia which is possibly the most famous, but another one by xbox-sky is the most comprehensive. In general, most Western games and non-RPGs have no region locking while all JRPGs are strongly region locked.

The console came with 5 free arcade titles (Boom Boom Rocket, Feeding Frenzy, Luxor 2, Pac-Man Championship Edition, and Uno) as well as Forza Motorsport 2 and Viva Pinata. Unlike the PS3, the XBox 360 has backward compatibility with the original XBox, however, I havent bought a Hard Disk as yet so I am yet to try this out. What I care about the most - the XBox 360 has a relatively large library of RPG titles. This is an area they are focusing on - they even have a RPG page on their India site. Not all of these are available in India, but I can always order from Shop-To or Play-Asia. (I have heard Game UK also delivers to India - haven't tried it out)

It seems it will soon be possible to download full games off of XBox Live so this may not be a problem after that. (I can always use Airtel's Speed On Demand to grab the game quickly). BTW, it seems its quite hard to make M$ let go of your credit card information once you provide it to them!

Seeqpod and Yahoo Pipes

Quite some time back, I published a Yahoo Pipe that would allow you to grab music off of Seeqpod. Now, Seeqpod is dead and it seems record labels are suing developers for using its API. I have unpublished my pipe accordingly. Yahoo Pipes, meanwhile, seem to be in a decent shape while Microsoft Popfly and Google Mashup Editor are both more or less dead. I havent used it for quite some time - I used to use Pipes to monitor webages without a RSS feed. The Update Scanner extension put an end to that though! The last time I looked at it, for some reason, the thing was flooded with Spam/Porn sites. They seem to have cleaned that up now.

Google Reader

Google Reader just introduced an extremely obnoxious "Like" feature. It shows a "Like" button in the toolbar. If you Like something, it gets shared and your username is broadcast to all and sundry as having like this item. What is even more annoying are the "X people liked this" links that show up on every item. Much like Google Reader's earlier shared items feature, they cant be turned off (except via a Greasemonkey/Stylish User script) Of course, the Shared Items feature was 10,000 times more annoying - some random guy who you mailed 3-4 times starts sharing stuff and AFTER he starts sharing, you can go uncheck his name - anyone who isnt as yet sharing stuff but is in your friends list cannot be unchecked. The Google Reader team needs to figure the market segment they are operating in - they seem to think they are building the next Digg, their users just want a new reader!

Evony

I am sure just about anyone browsing tech/gaming sites has been running into the Evony or Civony series of ads. Many of them are vaguely suggestive - meaning it suddenly renders your average tech site NSFW, specially in prudish India. Others on the net are also complaining about these ads. Still others are performing analysis of the game and how it is run by "chinese gold farmers" (wow! borderline racist!). You can file a complaint about these ads with Google if you like.

Other Stuff

The World eBook Fair is now on. While most of it is the same Project Gutenberg and all, smaller collections (with less than 500 titles) have got newer/better books. Lastly, you can submit your home WiFi Access Point to SkyHook, thus allowing an iPod Touch (and ultimately Google Maps) to locate you using the AP name/MAC. There is no submission page for Google Maps Wifi based location - it works by quietly reading your location and nearby APs whenever you use the Maps App in the iPod Touch/iPhone.
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