Xbox 360 Arcade System announced

packagearcadeConsole For the price of $280, you can now get a new edition of the Xbox 360 console. This one is similar to the original core system, but with HDMI output, a 256mb memory card (so you can play and save your games right out of the box), a wireless controller, and five full arcade games. Perfect if you are more of a casual gamer or if:

  • you have an existing 360 with a hard drive and would like one with a HDMI output
  • you need a DVD player and/or a Media Center Extender (play all your Zune and Windows Media Center or Windows Media Player content in the living room!

For that price, you can pick up this system instead of a DVD player with HDMI out and you get the network connectivity and media streaming features along with an amazing system for playing a ton of great games. Sure the name says Arcade, but you can fire up Halo 3, Gears of War or Lego Star Wars II…

Crazy stuff, and perfect for you family focused Xbox gamers… and perhaps soon to be a second 360 for my house, since I now have a TV with HDMI in and nothing to hook into it… and it would be great to have the ability to play my music, TV and movies on our second TV as well…

More info on Xbox.com

We added a Silverlight player to Channel 8 today

We used a modified version of one of the templates that ships with Expression Media Encoder as our player… and channel 8 has become the first of our sites (which include Channel 9, Channel 10, VisitMix.com and more) to have a Silverlight video player on them. And, below here, you can see that player embedded into this blog post…

Note that I had to remove the ‘scrubbing bar’ due to some odd bug around releasing the mouse after scrubbing was completed… but we’ll figure that out and get it back in as soon as we can. Check out the video above back in its home on C9…. check out the video from above on on Channel 8, and build your own player using those templates!

Added Silverlight Streaming support to Channel 9’s forums

Continuing on in the same pattern as my last post, adding Soapbox support to C9’s forums, Adam Kinney bugged me a bit and I went ahead and added support for Silverlight Streaming as well.

SilverlightStreaming

It will be interesting to see if (or more accurately, how long before) someone turns this to malicious purposes.

Added Support for Soapbox Videos on Channel 9

When I started on the C9 dev team, one of the first things I did was to remove the ability for users to post embed, object and script tags. We had a couple of people abusing this feature and I wanted to lock it right down. The downside to this move was that it prevented some forms of user interaction/posts that we didn’t really mind and in some cases would even like to encourage.

As a small step towards a more community-driven future, I added support to C9 today to allow you to embed Soapbox videos in any forum post. Simple use the following markup in your post:

[soapbox video=”(soapbox video id)”]

image

and it will turn it into a full blown embed tag with a link to the source material underneath. The Soapbox video id is simply the GUID that appears on the permalink url (http://soapbox.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=5699dafe-d864-4d1f-976c-d5f4d9ed78db for example) for a video and also shows up in its embed code if you take a look at that as well.

Xbox Dad article on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is up

I was a bit surprised to find that I enjoyed this game, although I enjoyed the last few books in the series and the latest movie, I really figured the game would only appeal to kids. The pace is slower than most adult/teen games, but that makes it into more of an exploration instead of just quickly moving from one task to the next. My wife watched it and thought it was similar to a much more interactive and complex form of the game Myst… there are some action elements where you have to move quickly, target the bad guys, etc… but for the most part you are figuring out puzzles, perfecting your spells and exploring a very open set of environments. You can see more of my thoughts on the game in this Harry Potter article on Xbox.com.

The Channel 9/Channel 10 team is hiring

Hey folks, I work as the dev lead for Channel 9, Channel 10, Mix Online and other sites. We build community sites for Microsoft using video, audio and text blogging and we build them using the latest .NET technologies. If you are into web development, if you have a passion for design and user experience, and if you really rock at AJAX, Javascript, CSS, C# and ASP.NET …. then this is the job for you 🙂

The Developer and Platform Evangelism Team is hiring a software design engineer to join the team that builds and extends Channel 9, Channel 10 and more. Our sites build a two way interaction between our customers and Microsoft using video as the primary communication tool. In the past several years we have built several additional sites and our network has grown in both traffic and content, and as a result we are looking for an additional Software Design Engineer to join the team. We are looking for someone who lives and breathes HTML, CSS, Javascript, AJAX and ASP.NET. The ideal candidate will have skills in all those technologies combined with a passion for design and user experience.

Do you like to ship, takes chances and effect change? Do you want to build cool sites that use Silverlight and Atlas to deliver a great user experience? Then come join our group where you’ll find a small dynamic team of folks and you’ll swear you are part of startup.

Experience in HTML/CSS, ASP.NET and C# is required and experience with AJAX, SQL, Scrum and Test-Driven Development is highly desired. Experience with Silverlight and/or WPF is not required but it would be great to have.

If you are interested and you meet the requirements, go to the official job listing on the Microsoft careers site and submit your resume!

Ratatouille preview article up on Xbox.com

My latest kid-focused game article, which happens to be yet another movie tie-in, is about the upcoming Pixar film Ratatouille. Cool game, very nice looking… and it has entire missions around making recipes by spilling ingredients… just like how I cook at home!

Keeping in Touch, a new Xbox Dad article is live

It has been ‘marketized’ a bit from how I originally wrote it (with the addition of a product name right into the title for one), but a ‘father’s day’ article from me is up on Xbox.com

Keep in Touch with Xbox LIVE Vision

Published June 13, 2007

It’s an interesting time of year for Dads. High school graduation is just around the corner and college graduation has probably already happened. For some of you, this means that your son or daughter is moving out of the house, and there are going to be some changes in your relationship.

As Father’s Day approaches, I find myself reflecting on the relationship I have with my Dad as an adult, and then in turn, wondering how things are going to be with my kids as they get older. My biggest worry about my kids, and my biggest feeling of guilt around my own father, is the difficulty of maintaining a strong connection, and trying to continue to be a part of their lives.