Xbox 360 Elitist Zebra

So it’s official – if you want the upcoming Xbox 360 Elite edition for its HDMI port and included 120GB drive, not only does it only come in black (along with the included wireless black controller, hard drive and headset) as I was saying before (forcing you to pick between having a black console with white everything else or buying new black stuff), but you can’t get a black version of the Quick Charge Kit twin battery charger (very useful), Wireless Network Adapter, Wireless Headset, Universal Media Remote or Live Vision camera, which means you can’t buy an all-black set of kit even if you wanted to.

Also, while you can buy a 120GB hard drive from your existing white Xbox 360 which includes a data transfer kit for sucking stuff from your current 20GB drive, the Elite doesn’t come with a transfer kit since there appears to be a DRM issue that can prevent files stored through one 360, but usable on other after copying.

So Elitism does come with a price – the potential for epileptic seizures when walking passed your zebra coloured xbox gear and having to redownload content again IF the DRM will let you (for now anyway).

All-in-one mobile phone & wireless headset

Someone finally getting close on this one. I’ve been saying for a while that it would be great if a bluetooth headset could clip in/out of a mobile phone to avoid worrying about where to keep it (other than hanging like a pendant or on an ear).

This is the closest I’ve seen, though it’s not clear which phones, if any, are ready to accept this headset. This device has a whole other angle: it can be charged in a notebook PCMCIA/ExpressCard slot – great for VOIP use and storage – though it’s not clear if it sticks out when inserted.

Xbox 360 coloured sheep

Today I feel like a marketing sheep but I will resist the urge.

Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 Elite apparently has HDMI and a 120GB hard drive…

… and comes in Black and Silver… cool… I’d like one just for the HDMI (there’s some ghosting on the component output with my 1080p display, compared to the lovely solid digital output from my PS3 on HDMI) and use the old one as a media center extender now that my HP extender doesn’t have an upgrade to work with Vista !#$#

… oh wait: my controllers, and battery charger and camera are all white.

Bugger.

I guess they aren’t trying to appeal to the colour-co-ordinated enthusiast – way to go J Allard!

So I either have to put up with white controllers with a black & silver unit or be a total sheep and buy new controllers to match, right after I sucker up and buy a Gillette Fusion Phantom (‘cos I haven’t collected that colour yet) – yeah right.

Check back to see what happens…

Does Microsoft have the right Mix?

Mix 07, Microsoft’s web dev conference is coming up very shortly but for some this is too little too late.

AJAX.NET was just released in January – a little bit late really.

Microsoft has delivered a ton of stuff recently – probably too much all at once – trying to get developers to get behind Vista, Office and Exchange 2007. I also think that Microsoft’s huge gap of wow and even anti-wow (WinFS what?) has left despondant loyal developers to watch all the cool web 2.0 mashup juice float by and wonder why their software-king has not been there fore them. I think they are really neglecting the grassroots or enthusiast developer.

Where’s the full push for live clipboard Ray Ozzie? Where’s the Amazon S3-like storage solution? Where’s the Live ID Relying Party Suite? Where are the Live ID CardSpace cards (and the CardSpace documentation is awful)? Where is the finished WPF/E? Where are the XPS-supporting printers? Perhaps Ray will wow everyone at Mix 07 but the silence is not building loyalty. Right now Microsoft needs to provide released SDKs, services (and no US$10,000s for Live ID integration), tools, etc.

Microsoft has the wrong Mix, because it should have been last year’s Mix for announcing all the cool things (and in contrete form) that will hopefully be released (and not in beta) this year.

Microsoft is behind on the web – OK their priorities are with Windows, Office, etc. – but if they fall behind on the offline app to as Mack is talking about, then life is not good.

Perhaps I’ll be saying “wow” after Mix 07, but I do think I’ll be amongst a decreasing number of people that still care.

Movie review: The shooter

I haven’t settled on a style for post titles but I’m not into wordy/unstructured post titles for reviews – it’s one of the things that makes the Engadget feed harder to skim through; so for now I’ve made it clear that this is a movie review and what the movie is vs. something like “Wahlberg hits the mark from a mile off”.

So The Shooter starring Mark Wahlberg came out this weekend. A military marksman is quickly set up to take the blame for an assasination at a presidential appearance and of course has to work to clear his name while uncovering how high the conspiracy goes…

It also features the now raspy Danny Glover. His character really didn’t ramp up enough on the side he ended on. Mark Wahlberg carried the hero role well enough but didn’t exhibit too much emotional range. The plot resolution was a little unsatisfying but the revenge quotient worked out just fine.

The movie makes a few direct digs about global war and oil. My favourite TV show, Boston Legal, does this fantastically (and with occasional gut busting humour) through the closing arguments of lawyer Alan Shore (played spot on by James Spader). Rhona Mitra is a supporting character in the movie and an ex-cast member of Boston Legal – she was under-used in the movie.

It’s an entertaining enough action movie, though perhaps a little long at 125min.

The last newspaper you’ll ever read…

…unless it needs to go in for repairs.

I’m going at this from a different angle than Robert Scoble.

As much as I’m a gadget and software nut, I recognise that there are still millions of people reading a news paper today, as even more tabloidish as they are on a Sunday.

My angle is about form-factor and consumer device adoption rather than recognising journalism through blogging, etc.

Electronic ink will come along and have a profound effect on the world. One day you (if you read newspapers in paper form today) will acquire a newspaper; it will feel like a newspaper (and you can have the sheet size you want) but it will be the last one you buy (more or less). Its contents will be replaced when the daily newspaper would normally be published. If you don’t have a computer, you’ll do this at the newsagent for a few pennies. It may need also have pages since one sheet or folder out may be enough if you can electronically flick through the pages.

When this happens, it will be adopted by the masses, because it will be an easy substitute and cost far less than a yearly paper subscription. Once the transition has occured then we’ll see the convergence of form-factor between newspaper and PDA like we have today between computer and phone.

I think this, more than the source of the news (which doesn’t necessarily concern the individual newspaper reader today), will affect journalism in a democratising way. This will largely be because the user will be in control of content but in a way that feels familiar.

Later models will animate (perhaps showing video and even maybe sound), have colour and possibly be interactive (at which point you can watch the text book go the same way).

Add wifi/wimax/’wifad’, along with wearable computing and you have a realistic view of the future on what you can expect to see people doing on the train/bus/car(!) within a decade.

So newspapers are not dead, but their form-factor and delivery will almost certainly change.

Movie Review: Fido (Speaking of zombies…)

The movie Fido recently had a wider release.

It’s a black comedy about zombies as house slaves and is quite funny at times. It includes the very funny (with crude humour) Scottish comedian Billy Connolly – he has no dialogue in the movie but still conveys his ‘lines’ well. It also includes Dylan Baker who is very well cast in the 1950s-style era that the movie is set in, Carrie-Anne Moss in a great and far from Matrix-Trinity performance, along with new comer and Culkin-like-expression-maker K’Sun Ray.

A delightfully entertaining and original movie. Includes zombie violence, head shots (of course) and bloody feasting.