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Video Games & Gaming

Skype on the Xbox One - the Future Has Arrived!

November 20, 2013


Curious to know what features Skype has in the new Xbox One? So am I. With the Xbox One, you get an all-in-one entertainment system that aims to take over your living/family room not just for gaming but for communicating as well. All Xbox Ones come with Skype pre-installed, and since every Xbox One ships with a Kinect, they'll also include 1080p HD cameras and beamforming stereo array microphones, this is the ultimate Skype-on-TV experience. Makes me wonder if near-ubiquitous video conferencing in the home has finally arrived since Microsoft will no doubt sell at least 10 million Xbox One units.

Further, Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers buying Xbox Ones also get Skype Premium for free for six months, which adds group video calls and 100 minutes of telephone calling to 60 countries.


Microsoft Store in Danbury Fair Mall Is No Apple Store

July 9, 2012


The new Microsoft Store had its grand opening in Danbury Fair Mall recently and I wanted to check it out. I happened to be in the Danbury Fair Mall to (ironically) visit the Apple Store to have my busted iPhone replaced. [Side note - none of the Apple Store employees had ever seen my shaking screen problem and they were all oohing and ahhing over the oddity.]

Anyway, after getting my iPhone replaced I headed over to the Microsoft store, which had just opened a couple weeks earlier. I fully expected the Microsoft Store to be a cheap knockoff or clone of the Apple Store and to smirk at the audacity of Microsoft copying Apple's retail idea.


iPhone 4S GPU Busted - Icons & Screen Shaking Problem!

July 6, 2012

My iPhone 4S apparently has a busted GPU that gets progressively worse the more I utilize the GPU, especially graphics-intensive apps like games which no doubt heat up the GPU. Symptoms include shaking / wiggling icons, banding of screen drawing on right-side, top of screen pixels appears at bottom of screen. Funky! Check out the photo of this happening (yellow arrows):


When it gets really bad the screen moves up 40-50% making it near impossible to enter my lock code by looking at the screen.


Buy a PC get a Free Xbox 360 - Hot Microsoft Promo!

June 19, 2012


Microsoft is offering a free Xbox 360 to students simply by buying a Windows 7 PC. You'll receive a a promo code good for an Xbox 360 4GB ($199 retail value) when you purchase a qualifying Windows 7 PC (priced $699 or more) from the Microsoft Store. But get the only requirement - a valid .edu email address! "Only available for students with a valid and verifiable .edu email address.

Microsoft XBOX Surface To Feature PixelSense?

June 18, 2012

Today is the big Microsoft "reveal", with everything pointing towards a Microsoft designed tablet. One rumored spec sheet via Shift2U is very fascinating detailing a new device called Xbox Surface:

At first glance I saw the 250GB 2.5" SCSI 10K RPM disk drive, which is way too thick and heavy for a tablet device. But then I read the rumored announcement is actually two devices. The other intriguing spec I saw was the maximum resolution of 1280x720, which seemed to be pretty small for a 7" tablet device.

Microsoft upgrades Xbox Live But Rumored Skype Integration is False

December 5, 2011

The upcoming Metro update to Microsoft’s Xbox, will start to be pushed down to your Xbox console some time this week, but alas it doesn't appear to contain the rumored Skype integration, which several rumors hinted at a Fall release. Well it's winter and the latest release doesn't appear to contain Skype integration with Xbox live. At least that is my assumption from reading the various news articles on the latest Xbox Dashboard, including Microsoft's official announcement, which make no mention of any Skype integration.

Just in Time for Christmas, Xbox Live Gets an Update

November 22, 2011


Just in time for Christmas, Microsoft is releasing a new update for Xbox Live, which surely will only enhance the frenetic ripping of Christmas wrapping paper that mom and dad Santa and his elves lovingly wrapped. According to Major Nelson new features include:

  • New personal and social features including Cloud Storage for Game Saves and LIVE Profile
  • Beacons and Facebook Sharing
  • Enhanced Family Settings
  • Integrated voice and gesture controls across the dashboard and in apps
  • Bing voice search (Available this year in the US, UK and CA)

He also added that starting on December 6th through the holiday months, a treasure trove of new content will be coming to Xbox 360. Also, new, customized applications for television, movies, internet videos, sports and music will begin rolling out from major providers in more than 20 countries.




Microsoft Lync Meets Video Kinect on Xbox 360

November 22, 2010


During my New York City demo with Microsoft's Lync team a few weeks ago I discussed with one of the Microsoft employees the Kinect for the Xbox 360 and how it would be a perfect fit for Microsoft Lync. He hinted it would indeed be coming. The Kinect is basically a two-camera system, comprised of one 640x480 color camera and another 640x480 IR depth-finding camera using for mapping objects in 3D. Kinect already offers video chat with Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger system, but that is more of a consumer-based app. Certainly adding Microsoft Lync support to Kinect makes a lot of sense.

Blabbelon Opens a New (VoIP) World for Gamers

November 3, 2009


Blabbelon, the cross-platform web-based VoIP app designed for video gaming, which I tested yesterday and posted a review today released an official statement about their new offering. I thought I'd share it since it has some good info to compliment my review posted this morning:

Stop Venting: Blabbelon Opens a New World for Gamers
Free, one-click, push-to-talk chat service eliminates Ventrilo frustrations;
No downloads, server rentals or limits on groups; Super wideband audio-quality voice chat using Skype's SILK audio codec

New York, NY- November 3, 2009 - You're about to jump on a MMOG and need to bring other players into a voice chat session. After time-consuming downloads, complicated invites and discovering that your best player can't join the chat because he's on a Mac and not a PC, you finally begin playing - just as your game is rudely interrupted by loud team members. Your voice chat system, which should be providing you with a better gaming experience, has become more trouble than it was worth.






Blabbelon Launches HD VoIP for Video Games

November 3, 2009


Video gamers love VoIP in video games but have often been disappointed with poor voice quality - including jitter, lag, and choppiness, inability to continue to talk via VoIP once you close the game and just an overall poor user experience. Well, Blabblelon aims to change all that with the launch of their browser-based VoIP application which uses a mix of Java and Flash to VoIP-enable any PC, Mac, or Linux computer. The beauty of Blabbelon is that it works at the browser-level, so you can VoIP your friends whether you are inside the video game or not. With Blabbelon, you can blab all you want - even start your own blab-a-thon if you want.

Blabbelon is not to be confused with Babylon where the story goes that God wasn't too pleased with the Tower of Babel the people built, so he took one common language and confounded it into many so they couldn't understand each other.


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