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Is your XBox experienced? - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
November 21st, 2008
11:06 am


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Is your XBox experienced?
So, Microsoft just forced a UI interface onto XBox users. I understand that there is a marginal featureset increase, but one of the first things I do when I get a new installation of Windows is to find the way to revert the window manager's theme to "traditional", or whatever the least-current least-glossy least-fancy option is.

So. Yeah. The new XBox interface is glossy. It crams more information on the screen at once, which gives you a broader "peripheral vision" - seeing nearby options, but the "point of focus" has fewer pixels devoted to it, which means that either they give you less information or (in a lot of cases) they try to draw the same information in a smaller font.

Small fonts on standard-definition video devices is a bad idea.

So, yeah, I'm not sold on the new interface just yet.

Along the way, I checked out an XNA game I had made a while ago, and it told me that an update to my game was available. Oh really? So, I downloaded the update. Turns out, it was a slide telling me that I, the developer, needed to go and do something to update the game. Like recompile it with the latest set of libraries, or whatever. I can appreciate Microsoft encouraging developers to use the latest features, but I don't believe there's a technical reason for breaking backwards compatibility in this case.

I upgraded my XBox Live account to gold so that I could check out the NetFlix streaming service. I'm a fan of the DVD service, and I've watched a handful of their movies streamed to my desktop PC, which was an inferior experience in a lot of ways. One concern a friend of mine was griping about was the selection of streamable titles. This didn't bother me much, perhaps because I wasn't really interested in streaming at the time. A quick guess was that around 10% of my queue was available for streaming, which was surplus to my desire to watch streaming movies on my PC. My standard of comparison is watching DVDs on the XBox, so if I can get similar quality and increased convenience, the NetFlix streaming on XBox could be a win. So, now that I actually want to watch some movies on my XBox, I find that of the streamable subset of NetFlix movies, a smaller subset are streamable for XBox, like a half or a third. So, let's say I have thirty movies in my queue, around three will be streamable, and one will be streamable for XBox. That's still a selection, given the size of my queue (by the way, my queue is still nearly full. What's up with having a hard upper limit on the size of your queue? I'm pretty sure that modern database practices would allow me to continue adding without killing your disks) I've got around 30 titles available to me right now (including one that isn't available on DVD, which I guess makes sense), so until I burn through those, perhaps I shouldn't complain.

Bottom line: Meh, with an opportunity to move up to indifferent.

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