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XBOX One: Bringing the Future Now

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Well, it’s finally official. Sort of. The first two of the big three things out of the way. The XBOX One has finally been announced, but we have no date of release or price. So that out of the way, let me go over what happened today at the Microsoft event that announced the all new gaming/home theater console. Notice I said home theater. It seems ever since Microsoft started bringing in streaming video apps to the XBOX 360, we have become very accustomed to this device being a part of our home theater. I was really hoping to see two different versions of the XBOX in this update, one that was lower priced to compete with the AppleTV, GoogleTV and all other streaming media boxes, but that is not what we got. Microsoft basically announced a super charged VCR box, I kid, I kid.

So down to the brass tax of what was announced. We have a brand new designed box, and I mean BOX. This thing has design cues from a 1970′s VHS VCR with it’s tall box and flat front panel. The only difference is, there is a thinner disc slot, instead of folding back door to match the VHS tape. They have retained the vented sides from the XBOX 360, but just much more boxy. They have also moved the USB slots on the front, to the side now, which is an odd decision since USB drives or add-ons usually have a habit of sticking out, so I don’ think this will work very well for your home theater tower or shelf that you already have setup. So let’s take a look a this thing.Front

You see that? What happened to our beautifully designed and thinned out XBOX 360 Slim? I guess they had to blow out the sides of the box to make room for all the new hardware. So what have we been upgraded to? Let’s start with the new 8 core CPU (that now runs 64-bit) from a previous 3 core PowerPC CPU. This thing is an ultimate powerhouse with 8GB of RAM from a previous 512MB on the XBOX 360. It now comes with the LONG AWAITED Blu-Ray drive that has been rumored for very long time as well, from unreliable sources of course. Especially after the ill-fated death of the HD-DVD that Microsoft put so much into. Microsoft even tried to add more space to their DVD based game discs back in 2011, but I guess they had to finally succumb to the Sony backed Blu-ray disc and add it to their next-gen console. After that, let’s talk I/O on this new VCR, I mean XBOX. We finally have USB 3.0, which was standardized in 2008, Wi-Fi (N Wireless) and Wi-Fi Direct, 500GB hard drive, up from a 250GB drive, and a HDMI Passthrough, allowing for HDMI in and HDMI out. That last feature, will allow for live TV to be brought through the new home theater box, I mean XBOX and support for 1080p and 4K as well, for future proofing.

Moving on to the new controller as well. This has a very minimalistic look to it, and seems to go back to the size of the original XBOX. Microsoft is claiming 40 new features in this controller, but I don’t know how you can fit all of that in there. This new controller has a “integrated” battery compartment, new impulse triggers and a precision directional pad. I don’t know what is so “new” about these features, but more can be found as time goes on and we get some more information about it from E3 2013 coming up in just a few short weeks.controller

Controller

They really wanted to focus on three main things during the event. Kinect, Architecture and Controller. Well, we just covered the controller and some of the architecture (more on that later), so let’s move on to the kinect. 2.0 They have also boxed this thing up to look like a small long box as well, with an updated camera that shoots with a 1080p wide angle lens. It now captures 1080p HD RGB video at 30fps that can be used for Skype, which comes built in now. This new kinect also has better body understanding, because it can now see more joints, from the the flip of a wrist to your “heart beating”. They have also used what they learned with the original kinect, to upgrade the voice processing on this one, and make it much easier to use voice commands that are much more conversational than commands. Now with “Live Switching”, you can now say, “Live TV” or “Let’s watch ESPN” and it goes right to the ESPN app. These commands are much more fluid and seem to have worked very well in the demo on stage. Oh, and guess what, every XBOX One comes with a kinect, it no longer is an option, it’s mandatory.Kinect

JoyStiq

Now moving on to the things not really talked about in the presentation today. What we didn’t hear about was, will we be able to play our old XBOX 360 games? The short answer is no. Because of the new architecture, moving from PowerPC to an x86 64-bit, they just won’t work. It’s like when Apple chose to change their PowerPC to the Intel processors back in 2005. It is a major change to the system, but to help future proof itself even more, they need to be ready to expand. Now, in the future, they totally could come up with a very similar solution that Playstation has come up with, by streaming their games from the cloud. Does that mean that you will have to buy your game again? Will we be able to scan in games with discs that we own and they give us a license? This future is very unknown right now, but let’s go back to the cloud thing again.

Another big mention in today’s announcement was about the cloud based device using the 300,000 servers that Microsoft is running to back up the power to this new XBOX One. This will include the ability to save in game DVR capabilities, so you can upload and share that INSANE CRAZY single headshot you just pulled off in Call of Duty: Ghosts. If I remember correctly, XBOX Live first started off with less than 500 servers back in November of 2002, which moved up to 15,000 for the XBOX 360. With all this cloud based activity going on, you will be able to stream not only games, but your movies, video chats and all sorts of other content as well, without filling up your 500GB drive.

Now with those two things covered, let’s talk about the last thing that could very well change the future of used games retail stores like GameStop or GameFly who rents game discs. Since the cloud seems to be taking over EVERYTHING, and EVERYTHING can be saved to it, so you never lose anything, the same is being done to the games. It is being reported (as rumored) that the disc that you get, will be for an initial install to the harddrive, and you will never have to put the disc back in the system again. Microsoft is saying that it can be used a second time, but the owner of the disc will be charged a “small fee” for it to be installed a second time, but then the second install would be able to play the game without needing the disc as well. There are no details on how these discs will be used in the future, but it is being reported by Wired that M$ will be updating us on this in the near future; E3??? I say, why sell a disc at all, and just give us a digital code, in which we can download the game, but I forget, I have a 50MB connection to my apartment, and not everyone has that kind of speed or time, to download a FULL game to their new XBOX One. So will this be the change over that everyone was expecting, but hated to see come? The day where the game console no longer needs a physical medium to bring the game to you? I think this will be harder for the older games to grab a hold of, especially since it has been ingrained in us that we need to have a cartridge or a disc of some sort to play a game since the original Atari or Nintendo. The younger gamers may not have as much of a problem with it, due to services like Steam, that allow for game streaming via the cloud on PCs. They haven’t invested as much time and money as some of the older gamers who still have a working Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo. Will GameFly and other survive the cloud? Who knows.. but the future of gaming seems to be ready to change this holiday season, as typically the XBOX has been released historically some time in November.

We will know more in a few weeks at E3 2013, and also hopefully more from the Sony camp on the Playstation 4 as well. In the mean time, check out some of the side by side comparisons of the new systems and old systems based upon what we learned today.

Xbox One and PlayStation 4 specs compared” (JoyStiq)

Xbox 360 vs Xbox One: What’s the difference?” (Pocket Lint)

Xbox One vs Xbox 360 vs PS4: fight!” (Engadget)

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The prices are ‘great’ for black friday

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As many people will know, I am not a big Apple person. I have been a PC guy since before I can remember. I have admittedly owned an iPhone for the last 5 years and had an iPod since the 4th generation iPod Photo. I have recently changed over to the Android side of things for my main phone and loving it! Now, with all of that out of the way, I want to get to my main point, about my distaste for Apple and their pricing. I will say this on the front end. Apple makes GREAT products, don’t get me wrong there. My problem is, the pricing that they apply to their products, claiming their superiority over all things, based upon their design and quality. I get that, in a sense, but after seeing the latest black Friday promotion from Apple (and many other pricing issues) and seeing their “discounts”, it just disgusts me. They think they are doing the Apple FanBoys a favor by giving them such a small discount on their products, and they are STILL making, I am assuming, a sizable profit off of the product.

So let me show you what I am talking about. Black Friday is suppose to be about deep discounts on items that are either meant to get you in the door or to buy multiples of one item. And when I say deep discounts, I am talking about a 50″ LCD HDTV that is going for $298. I am talking a 32GB SD Card for $15.99. I am talking an iPad 2 for $399 with a $75 gift card. Now the latter is what I was really getting at. Apple is holding their own black Friday “event” as well. Just not as much of a discount. So lets compare the Walmart deal and the Apple deal. You can get an almost 2 year old product for the GREAT LOW price of $399 direct from Apple today, right now with no discounts or anything like that. They just released the 4th generation iPad back a few weeks ago if you didn’t know. So worldwide retailer Walmart has added in a nice $75 gift card with their iPad deal. What has Apple done? $31 off. Let me repeat that. $31 off. Walmart is beating you by $44. Now don’t get me wrong, that isn’t $44 cash, it is a $75 gift card for you to spend more at their store, because the idea is, that you will buy more than $75 worth, and see the gift card as a discount. It’s a psychological thing that they hope that you do after you get the card. Even all of that aside, it seems the place to get your iPad 2 is Walmart. Apple? Why not offer more off and do it as a gift card, or just take more off of your 2 year old tablet, without Retina display, I may add.

There are many more instances I can speak of, but this was the only one that really sparked my interest. Apple thinks so highly of itself, that basically, they don’t allow their retailers to go much cheaper, or give much of a discount in their own store. I just don’ think they should call their sales, a black Friday event. More like a , “hey, we know you want our stuff, and everyone else is doing better discounts, but c’mon, you know you want us” event.

 

Just a thought that I had today on this day of giving thanks.

-Rusty G

About.me profile site (check it out)

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If you have not seen the About.me website, it is a basic online one stop shop for you to send people to, when they want to know all about you and every social network you belong to. It also is a great place to show off a really good profile pic if you have one. The idea is, it is a quick “business card” style site. You hook up every link that you have online to this one site, and then everyone can find you on your other social networks. Check out the video below for a good description:

All about about.me from about.me on Vimeo.
I have even created my own over at About.com/rustygreer. Check out mine and let me know what you think, then go and sign up and make your own as well! Plus, they have a few offers, like getting free cards from Moo.com from your site, where you just pay for the shipping and they come right to you. I ordered the free cards from moo and I love them! Check it out!

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We’re really not the Largest 4G or the fastest… At All.

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Ok, I really hate for next blog to be complaining about stupid things, but this is JUST PLAIN LYING. Let me give you a little background here. All of the 4 major cell phone providers have been trying to have a 4G war for the like the last 2 years. It’s the basics of a pissing match, or to see has the biggest junk, is what it all boils down to. Let me first say this, so that you know what TRUE 4G is. Right now in the 48 contiguous states of the United, there is only one true 4G product being used, and this is LTE. LTE stands for Long term evolution. I think At&t actually put it best in this video they have on their website.

Check it out below:

The ironic part of this video being done by At&t is the fact that they are actually telling the truth in this one. ONCE and only ONCE. One more background on the 4G wars. When this whole thing started, At&t was standing it’s ground and keeping with the 3G moniker and saying that everything was still 3G, until January 2011, when out of the blue, someone kicked the CEO and said, hey, we are falling behind in the 4G wars, we need to fix this. So they just started saying they had 4G, and there were no network improvements, no back haul changes or any sort of upgrades. It was if it was magic, and someone had flipped the switch and all of sudden, we were 4G! WHEW! Well what does that mean? Nothing really, because at the time, they didn’t even have HSPA+, which T-Mobile at the time was touting they had for their “4G” devices(which by the way, isn’t really 4G either). At&t was sticking with HSPA (no plus), which is a 3G technology. You can see this right now on their website: http://www.att.com/network/?. Go to the technology tab, and you will see HSPA marked at 3G. HA, so this is where At&t started telling their little white lie. Then, came along HSPA+ and we continued to call it 4G, because At&t figured, well we started with a little white lie, lets keep it going. (Thanks to the marketing department) The funny thing is, looking back, NOW At&t calls HSPA 3G as it really is now, when they were calling it “4G” when it was around.
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Enough of At&t, let’s talk about the quiet company Verizon. This company had recently acquired the 700MHz spectrum from the government. Which was soon to be the now 4G LTE that they are selling. Verizon really never had a horse in the 4G race to begin with, they were sticking to their guns with 3G CDMA/EV-DO. They never really had any 4G marketing going on, while Sprint(which is another story), T-Mobile and At&t were all spatting it out. Then out of the clear blue, Verizon had setup their towers in the background and BOOM! Phones like the Thunderbolt, Rezound, Droid 4 (all android based) started popping up with LTE! TRUE 4G! All the while, At&t, T-Mobile and Sprint were falling behind in the race, the REAL 4G race, LTE.
At&t to this day is still touting HSPA+, as well is T-mobile, as “4G” and this is just a LIE. At&t does have LTE service in select cities, as of this writing, and select LTE devices, but NO WHERE near the footprint that Verizon has, because they won the 700MHz auction BACK in 2008!!

This all leads me to the reason why I am writing this article. I was watching free OTA tv this evening and this commercial came on:

 

It really bugged me, in this frame here:

2000 cities?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me say this, this is a flat out blatant LIE. At&t is using “marketing terms”, as it has been dubbed, to be able to say this. Since At&t has been lying since January of 2011, they can continue their charade of saying they have “the most” “4G”. If you subtract the 3.5G HSPA+, which you should, Verizon wins. At&t has under 50 cities that carry the LTE technology, and Verizon has (currently) 230 cities. So SHUT UP At&t.

 

Next on the chopping block: T-Mobile. Why is that you say? Well, T-Mobile has been touting their HSPA+ as “4G” as well. So why are they saying they are the fastest? Well let’s see, marketing has re-branded their wonderful and beautiful Carly Foulkes as no more Mr. Nice Guy and put her in all black and pink leather. I love their idea as to where they were going with this, IF, they had actually had some LTE to launch, but they don’t and they won’t. At&t tried buying them out last year for a record $39 billion dollars, but with millions of people like me, who voted against it, it never happened, and T-Mobile didn’t have LTE on the road map. They basically went on cruise control and thought the At&t buy out was going to happen and they didn’t need to worry about it, because At&t would have to deal with that problem. WHOOPS, we made a mistake! So now sits T-Mobile without any LTE plans, but they need to look like they are still a viable “4G” option. Look, I will say, if you are looking for just voice services and you aren’t worried about data or smartphones, then heck, go with T-Mobile, but they will not satisfy the data hungry smartphones that are coming to market, so keep that in mind. Until T-Mobile comes back with a LTE plan or something else that is true 4G, they have to sit this one out.

Here is my complaint, the commercial that I briefly mentioned above. Here it is:

 

The same thing goes here. The motorcycle is to entice that need for speed feeling and the fact that you want to be the fastest. Well when you put a snail next to a tortoise, then next to a rabbit, this is pretty much what REALLY is happening. Tmo and At&t are the two slower, while Verizon is cleaning house with LTE. Here is the frame I am having trouble with, the same claim that At&t has:

T-Mobile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now how can At&t and T-Mobile both have the largest? Well, let’s see, if you are going to include a 3G and parade it around as “4G”, then maybe, but let’s count how many LTE devices or cities that Tmo has. Oh wait, I can’t seem to find any. Know why? There is no such thing on T-Mobile. So what about this test drive site that T-mobile is showing, they show it IS faster! That is PROOF (right?).

Not really. Let’s go over these test drive pages they have setup.

#1) Sprint v. Tmobile.

What’s the problem here? Oh that’s an iPhone 4S (or 4, it doesn’t really matter here) and Samsung Galaxy S II. Lets go. STOP. You cannot race a 3G device against a supposed “4G” device. Sprint isn’t even on the same spectrum that T-Mobile is. HSPA+ is going to be faster than Sprint’s 3G (EVDO??? – fact check me someone) network, #DUH. Also if you look at the screens, the Galaxy says 4G and the iPhone says 3G.  SCRATCH. MISTRIAL. WHATEVER you want to call it.

#2) At&t v. T-Mobile

Is that another iPhone 4S? Wow, this is a little more close,a  fake “4G” device against a fake “4G” device. (Apple actually wanted to stick with keeping the 3G moniker at the top, but At&t made them change it in the iOS 5.1 update. Read more about that here.) The problem here is, At&t and T-mobile don’t run the same spectrum for their fake 4G networks. This is why if you take an unlocked iPhone to T-Mobile, it will never get on their 3G network and you are stuck on EDGE. It’s really horrible for people that leave At&t with an unlocked device, it is suppose to be compatible at that point, but it really isnt. SO, we really have to scratch this race too.

#3) Verizon v. T-Mobile

UMM.. is that an iPhone 4S again??? (I am really beginning to think that T-Mobile is just really jealous, that it is the last major carrier that does NOT have the iPhone.) Same thing as #1 here. Verizon’s iPhone 4S, in still running on a CDMA/EV-DO 3G network. So again.. NO Comparison.

This really just ticks me off to no end, that both companies are really lying flat out, just because they know they are losing the 4G race, and now they are just making outlandish claims and throwing stupid punches. At&t, T-Mobile, Please stop. You are confusing the average Joe, who doesn’t do their research like I do. It is people like me that have to call you out on it, and you need to be corrected.

 

-Rusty G

 

UPDATE:I just saw this BS… wow T-Mobile is still straight up lying…

 

UPDATE: I even liked reading this article on Digital Trends calling “4G” a meaningless term!

The Free Open Network Documentary

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This is a good documentary on the idea that we need to build a FREE OPEN network that is accessible to anyone anywhere that is not government controlled. It does involve some of the Occupy Wall street movement, but the idea of the OPEN network is AWESOME!! Please watch and spread.

via The Verge

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iPad 3 rumors and updates (pre Official Announcement)

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So with the iPad 3 looming, a lot of people are wondering and speculating what is going to happen this Tuesday, March the 7th. Apple has always been a company of secrecy since the beginning, all starting with Steve Jobs. It seems though, as the years have gone on, and Apple incorporates more and more manufacturers in the process of building their products, it makes it even harder to keep things under wraps. We are now under 3 days away from finally getting the official announcement from Apple, and it seems we already know all about this tablet. Many of the rumors are still in speculation, but four of them seem to be up in the air. There are apparently going to be 3 flavors of this new iPad 3 (as well as a new Apple TV, not the iTV). We currently only know of two for the two carriers, wifi only and the wifi +3G versions. The third one is where the rumors start to really separate themselves out, and we won’t know the truth until March 7th.

Rumor #1

iPad 3 has a third version and it is going to be a 4G iPad, both for Verizon and At&t. (Wall Street Journal reporting)

Not only 4G, but Quad-Core as well (CNBC reporting, but there seems to be differing processor as well, the A5X and then the A6.

 

Rumor #2

iPad 3 has a third version and it is going to be not an iPad 3. It is going to be an 8GB iPad 2 for the lower end market. Possibly to fill the iPad orders that all of these schools are going to order for their new text books.

 

Rumor #3

iPad 3 has a third version and it is going to be a smaller iPad, somewhere between 7″ and 8″ to compete with the Amazon Kindles or any other small sized tablets on the market. This also can get them down in price as well.

 

Rumor #4

iPad 3 has a third version and it is not going to be an iPad 3. It is going to be an iPad 2S. Along side the iPad HD (3).

 

Any takers on what it will be? My guess, is going to be the new iPad 2 with 8GB that is cheaper and more deploy able in the schools and business districts. Also helping keep the cost down for those schools or businesses that want to mass deploy these things, they really don’t need a 64GB (or 128GB) iPad, especially if they are using iCloud to backup their data. I can even backup my guess because the US Airforce has just put an order for 18,000 iPad 2′s. No one ever said what size they were. Running at $9.4 million dollars for the 1 year contract, let’s see here: $9.4 million/18,000 iPad 2′s=$522.22 per unit. But according to the report, they got a discount. So you could speculate this to be the $599 iPad 2 32GB. Now that I think about it though, the math doesn’t really help the case that it would be an 8GB iPad 2. We’ll skip the math part. Just act like you never read that. I’m just saying that who puts a year contract out there, on a product that is already about to be phased out, and by times end, it will be time for iPad 4!

Either way, I am sticking with my guns on that one. Let’s just hope that Apple doesn’t jack up the price though, since these screens apparently are going to be more expensive. It could be though, that iPad 2 sticks around much like the iPhone 3GS is still loitering around for $0.99 with AT&T. Apple may want to keep its iPad 2 as a backup, that they can sell at a cheaper price and still make huge amounts of money. Heck they were doing it with the MacBooks for a little while. They were able to market having a portable laptop for $999, but since then, the Macbook Air has taken that spot. The MacBook Air rumors are even more fun!

Now with all of that out of the way, it seems no matter what the rumors are, we do have the parts floating around out there, but they can’t all seem to match up in the same hands. The iFixit team, seems to have gotten their hands on the new 2048×1536 screen from the “iPad 3″ (as she will do many times in that video). You can see the reports here or here. If you don’t like reading very much, you can just see the video here below:

There is another “leaked” team from MIC Gadget that says that they have the casing and the front bezel and glass. They will even show you the full video here below as well. Just watch, it looks like the Smart Covers will still work, which is good for those of you that have invested into those. It is quite possible that these may NOT fit into the iPad 2 cases though, because they look to be thicker and more tapered. Again, if you don’t want to read the report, feel free to watch the video here:

it does seem however though, that iPad is already out there running iOS 6, but it is doubtful that we will see it in the iPad 3, maybe just a glimpse of it, like Apple has always done before. My bet is the iPad 3 will be loaded with iOS 5.1 with only minor changes to possibly include some of the new features that will allow it to do SIRI (along side the iPhone 4S), chat with iMessage users on OSX Mountain Lion or something to incorporate the new display all together. While we are waiting though on iPad 3 to be announced, it seems the people who brought us the iPhone 5 Concept video, has now brought us the iPad of the future design concept video as well:

If you have any desire to stay up-to-date like this on all of the rumors, feel free to check out Mac Rumors, Apple Insider or just follow my blog!

but no worries… This coming October will be a lot more fun when we get to finally see the iPhone 5!

Cheers!!!

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