Quick update

So quick update for the family:

1. Work is good, challenging in a few ways but can’t complain

2. House is doing just okay. It has started to show it’s age with the AC failing twice this week and the microwave giving out two weeks ago. I hope that’s it for a while

3. Decided to do some major stuff to mustang, will update on that later still not sure how far I will go

5. Had a cookout at the house with everyone Bryan and Amy and Keith and Julie. We were only missing Scott but understandable. We had good food, had a great time catching up and seeing Chase at 2 years old and Trent at about 7 months I believe. Then we broke out the Wii for some couples competitive bowling!! Good times!!

6. Travel is light for work, I think our company is tightening screws on spending so that we show the most profit we can. But… I will be heading up to NY in October around my birthday for a search engine conference. After that we will be flying back to NC and then spending weekend in the mountains for my birthday. It will be like a mini vacation.

Anyway that is a quick update.. Love you all

New updates to Next Xbox Dashboard Have Been Announced

They still have not announced when the update is coming but they hinted around August. Here is a run down of what is to come for the next Xbox Dashboard update. Also, scroll to bottom to quickly see what this update will NOT include but was announced from Microsoft at E3.

Netflix Updates
Now you can watch movies with your friends no matter where they are and manage your queue from the comfort of your couch.

  • Movie Parties – Xbox LIVE Gold members can sit together in a virtual theater with up to seven friends no matter where they are while your Avatars watch a movie, flirt or even throw popcorn at each other.
  • Manage Your Queue – Browse the Netflix Instant Watch video catalogue, choose from the most popular movies and genres and add to your queue all from the comfort of your couch – no computer required.
  • Enhanced Playback Experience – Enjoy a smooth viewing experience when your internet bandwidth fluctuates.
    Friends Info – Richer information is now displayed in the Friends channel and in the Guide showing what you and your friends are doing.
  • Avatar Marketplace – Express yourself! Deck your Avatar out with the latest clothing and props from the top brands and game franchises. Please note that only limited content is currently available in the preview.
  • Clothing – Download premium items, including branded apparel from your favorite fashion labels and Xbox 360 games such as “Halo.”
    Props – You can now equip your avatar with animated items they can carry around and interact with.
  • Awardables – The ability to earn Avatar clothing and props as rewards within games has been added. Please stay tuned for an update on supporting titles.

Games on Demand
Please note that Games on Demand will be available in the preview beginning early August.
Enjoy 24 x 7 access to a growing online library of popular full game titles on Xbox LIVE whenever you want them, in the comfort of your living room.

  • Purchase Options – Browse and download a great selection of full Xbox 360 games using Microsoft Points, direct debit, or credit card.
  • Game Manuals – Game manuals for Games on Demand titles can be viewed, downloaded or printed on Xbox.com.
  • It’s Yours Forever! – As with other Xbox LIVE content, Games on Demand titles are linked to your Xbox LIVE account, so you can delete and re-download anything you have already purchased to the same console or another console.

User Ratings
User ratings help you find games that other people think are awesome!

  • Rate it – You can now rate every game on the Xbox LIVE Games Marketplace using a 5-star system.
  • Sort and Find it – Now you can easily find the games that everyone’s been raving about by visiting the Top Rated games in the Browse All category of Xbox LIVE Games Marketplace.

Xbox LIVE Parties
Everyone loves to Party! Check out the new and improved Xbox LIVE Party features.

  • Party Reconnections – If you are accidently disconnected from your party, Xbox LIVE will automatically reconnect you.
    Streamlined Party Invites – Invites are now just one click away! No need to click through multiple screens to get all your friends together.

Video Display Options
They have made it easier for you to see your entertainment in the highest resolution possible on your TV using an HDMI connection.

  • Display Discovery – Make sure you can see and hear your entertainment in the highest resolution and sound quality possible with the option to override and select audio and video formats independent of the information your television sends to your Xbox 360 console.

Other Improvements
They are always listening to our feedback, and this Xbox LIVE update will include numerous dashboard updates.

  • Gold Member Veterans – Xbox LIVE Gold members get to show it off with a stamp on your Gamer Card that tells people how long you’ve been a Gold member.
  • Indie Games – Xbox LIVE Community Games has been renamed Xbox LIVE Indie Games. They feel this new name better represents the independent spirit of these titles.
  • Achievement Browser – They have revamped the Achievements browser so it’s now easier to read through all the achievements while playing a game. You can now also launch a game directly from the browser.
  • Achievements Tracking – A new view inside the profile panel which includes a summary of Achievements earned across all the games played, and shows of all your completed games.
  • Streamlined Navigation – Streamlined navigation, including new entry points in the dashboard for Active Downloads, redeeming codes, recovering Gamertags and more.
  • Voice Messages – No more blank voice messages! When recording a voice message, a warning will pop up if no audio is detected.
  • Friends List Sorting – It’s now easier to find your friends! Find and sort your friends by activity, Gamertag or online status by pressing the Y button while viewing the friends list in the Guide.
  • Memory – Time stamps now appear in the memory area, which particular handy when managing saved games.

Account Management
They have made some changes to make your life easier.

  • Subscription Notification – If your Xbox LIVE subscription is about to run out, you will now be notified when you sign into Xbox LIVE.
  • Updates for Invalid Windows Live IDs – If the Windows Live ID you provided has expired, you will now be prompted to update it the next time you sign into Xbox LIVE.
  • Account recovery – They have enhanced the account recovery process to make it faster and more reliable.

What does this Xbox LIVE Update not include?

The following features will be coming in future Xbox LIVE updates, which they said they would be sure to let us know about.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Zune video and 1080p Instant On
  • Last.fm

So it’s been a while, what have I been up to…

Short answer is a lot but yet not that much.

  • Between traveling for work (San Francisco, Amsterdam, San Francisco again)
  • Taking mini trips here and there (going to Nags Head this weekend)
  • Taking a Vacation or “Staycation – meaning a vacation but staying home and having family visit
  • And of course work

That pretty much sums it up but there have been some interesting stories along the way.  Now if only I can remember them all.

First, it was great to have a vacation, to actually take the time to relax and not check email (as much.) That really was some time wellIMG_1265 IMG_1272spent and it was that much better to be with family. We had a great time going to Frankie’s and doing some mini-golf and Go Carts, went to the butterfly house in Durham, and saw a couple good movies.  Other than that time was spent hanging out, enjoying the company of my brother and mom and watching TV or even playing some Xbox.  Yup that is right! My Mom, brother, and I were taking turns playing some Peggle, and each of us were getting quite competitive. I should have grabbed a picture of my mom holding an Xbox controller! Classic!

Which reminds me, I would not recommend seeing “The Hangover” with any family other than siblings!

IMG_1227IMG_1225My trip and upcoming trip to San Francisco was great. It was only the 2nd time I had been on the west coast and I really enjoy the new scenery.  The rocky coasts, trendy restaurants, sunny warm but not scorching hot days, and the history of San Francisco were all very nice. It certainly is a place to visit. I also got to see the Tanner’s house from Full House, drive on that super windy street that is famous for how sharp its turns are, I saw some cable cars, and the most interesting were how steep the roads were. I mean some streets felt like you were going up a roller coaster, cresting at the top, and then plunging without being able to see the road over the dashboard, crazy!!

Work has been keeping me really busy. I am still getting used to the new boss and his work style as well as some of the management processes. I have moved to focusing on analytics for the company which has me neck deep in excel reports, not the most fun but I do like numbers and analyzing figures so that has been a new challenge.

Other than that, not much else.  I have not done much to the Mustang just enjoyed driving her. I did swap out the self adjusting clutch quadrant (made of plastic) for a steel one and added a firewall adjuster. Definitely provides a more direct feel to the clutch engagement and release. Many thanks to Bryan for helping with that.  The Maxima still feels like its on its last legs with the starting issue. It might be a wiring issue because it seems to be inconsistent and if there are some wires exposed and touching with the hot and cold temperatures that could explain a lot! It does have over 190,000 miles so things like this are expected.

 

well that is all I can remember for now. I will add some more news soon

New iPhone launched – what else happened?

Today was the WWDC (world wide developer conference) for Apple and as they usually are, it was a platform for announcing new products. Now most of you that read this are not really interested in the tiny details but if you were interested in the iPhone then I’ll try to keep it relevent. But… My nerdness might come out just a little.

What we all knew/was rumored: 

  • Size — The new iPhone 3GS comes with either 16GB or 32GB.
  • Guts — a faster processor and a 7.2Mbps HSDPA-compatible radio.
  • Camera — 3.2 megapixels and added auto-focus and geotagging support.
  • Video — 30fps video recording, video editing, video sharing.
  • Compass — Know where north is. Yay.
  • Battery life — 5 hours of 3G talk time and up to 24 hours of music playback.
  • OS — Tethering is now covered, though we still don’t know how AT&T will handle it
  • TomTom was on hand at the keynote to demonstrate its iPhone app/accessory combo.
  • 3.0 will be available beginning June 17th — free for iPhone owners, $9.95 for iPod Touch owners.
  • Landscape keyboard functionality for all programs
  • Push notifications from apps with the 3.0 software
  • Price — As expected, the new iPhone 3GS will ring up at $199 for the 16GB version and $299 for the 32GB version. The current 8GB iPhone 3G will hang around and drop to $99 starting today.

 

What we didn’t know:

  • The 3GS looks exactly like the 3G — no matte rubbery finish, no matching bezel.
  • Voice Control is now built in, hi 2002, so you can dial by voice, control iPod playback by voice and so on. We have to admit though, saying “play more songs like this” to initiate the Genius feature is cool.
  • Integrated hardware encryption.
  • The iPhone 3GS goes on sale June 19th in the US.

 

So most of this I knew was coming but I am excited for some of the surprises! I had been using the 3.0 software for about 2-3 weeks before today and loved it. I actually used/noticed most of the new features like copy paste, landscape typing, better battery life, audio recorder, and inviting others to calendar meetings. I was REALLY looking forward to a more robust push notification system, something that would tell mr how many emails I have in or a better home daily view of my activities.

 

Microsoft’s Press Conference at E3 – some big stuff

So I am finsihing up watching Microsoft’s press conference at E3 and they had some surprises. Here are my favorites in no particular order. UPDATE: I couldn’t help it, my top ones are in BOLD

  1. Crackdown 2 – with multiplayer and looks like they threw in a zombie twist
  2. Halo ODST – Not quite as exciting with some of the same guns but hopefully the story line and controls will make it a favorite. Looks like they are using ODST to keep people happy until Halo Reach comes…
  3. Halo Reach – ooohhh this could be good, after Halo ODST they announce Spartans are back saving the humans again, very interesting, and if you buy Halo ODST then you get an invitation to play the multiplayer beta of Halo Reach.
  4. Prototype – Could be very fun, has open world traveling and multiple scenario game playing
  5. Left 4 Dead 2 – never really tried the first but this seems scary and gory
  6. Forza Motorsport 3 – Better graphics at 60fps, lots of cars, new multiplayer focus (thank you!) and better video sharing/recording/editing
  7. Xbox’s new Joy Ride – Avatar community racing game with jumps, tricks, and crazy avatar driving, looks like it could be fun
  8. Tony Hawk’s Ride – eh, not much of a skateboard fan but if the board works I could imagine this being big for some
  9. Facebook and Twitter Experiences designed and integrated on Xbox Live
  10. Other Xbox Live Updates:
    • 1080P Full Resolution watching with updated “Zune” Video Marketplace (I guess this is where the Zune HD would come in as well)
    • All videos can be watched instantly with streaming vs downloading with new “Zune” Video Marketplace
    • They have brought Party game playing to Party TV, Movie, Sports game watching
    • Adding last.fm streaming music, not sure why me and some friends would all listen to the same music on Xbox Live???
    • Adding Netflix movies to Xbox Instant watch without going to PC is a nice touch, something that was needed
    • Using SkyTV to bring Netflix instant watch capabilities to Ireland and UK (I think they missed a few counstries but okay)
    • Oooh but that does bring up the ability to watch some TV directly on Xbox, again why if I already have a TV and Cable?

On the plane thoughts, little kids, family fun

So I had to share my current situation, which by the time you read this I hopefully will be passed OUT!

But it was a long road to get to that point. The flights today were bumpy, that is first. My first flight had about half the flight shaking. The 2nd, the long one, so far has been the same. It’s been about 3-4 hours in and at least half the flight has been uncomfortably turbulent. I have to say thank God I took some Bonine. Now if I only could get ear plugs…

Yea I have a baby and a toddler behind me…. Oh there they go again, great! They have screamed and cried Nd kickenddj <— see! And kicked almost the whole time. I think they were quiet while they were eating and that lasted about 30 min. There is no way I can sleep, my headphones do a good job of drowning out the noise along with my music but still, the kicking.

This has brought me to one thing though. I think worse than a little baby or more specifically a toddler screaming is when the parent has lost patience and i see them to start border-line abusing to get them to stop. Seeing this mother discipline her son to the point of ripping out of his hand the paper he had and then pushing him down in his seat is hard. I felt terrible, I mean I hate the kicking and screaming but I understand it and would never want to be in that situation. I guess this is why I will be the pushover parent for the most part. Haha that will be great… Oh the screaming behind me….

But then….

Just as I see this happen, the mother disciplining her son, and as I expect things to get worse, I see the toddler smile and laugh because he thinks "Mom is playing with me." I immediately no longer feel a hole in my gut. Kids are amazingly resilient, they are truly gifts to everyone.

I then think, that little fucker, the mom should have hit him harder!! Weird huh? 😉

UuGgHhhhh he kicked me again!!

I love you Dad and Mom.

Sheraton hotel puts TV in bathroom

So it’s true and it’s funny to see. It even pulls out and angles so you can watch from the shower!