I hate Microsoft

Not so much for their software, but SO much for their hardware.

I am the unfortunate owner of an XBOX360. I bought the thing as an import from Japan, before they were even available in South Africa, because Microsoft, in their *wisdom* decided that it’s ok to let South Africa only get Xboxes EIGHTEEN months later. I only bought it because I couldnt get an ORIGINAL Xbox anywhere in South Africa (and all those were “grey imports” too).

So, I had the thing sitting, not doing much for pretty much a year. I couldn’t play any of the old XBOX games, because Microsoft hadn’t release the “backward compatibility” stuff yet..

Eventually, when it became “launched” in South Africa, the games were ludicrously expensive. And — I had to bribe someone in the UK to pay for an XBOX Live voucher, just so I could use the online features of the damn thing.  Even now. Nearly four years after the XBOX launch, NOT A SINGLE PERSON IN SOUTH AFRICA CAN USE THE ONLINE FEATURES. You simply can’t pay for Xbox live access. I mean, you can’t even choose “South Africa” as the region on this piece of Microsoft fail.

Barring that, my few months of use with the infernal device didn’t last long. I started getting the infamous “RED RING OF DEATH” crap. Of course, since my Xbox was a Japan import, and older than a year, I could not get it fixed.

I’ve spent nearly 18 months with heatguns, towels, heatsink clamp replacements, and extra heatsinks on the memory chips etc,  etc. Each attempt resulting in about three more weeks of use out of the infernal device.

Reality: The thing is a piece of crap. I will never buy a piece of Microsoft, or any other mainstream (that’s you Sony) piece of hardware ever again, until it’s hit release 900 and ninety nine.

I replaced my xbox with an AMD64 Debian Lenny machine, running XBMC, and honestly — my son, and even the missus  loves it more than the XBOX. No frigging red rings of death for one…

I love the repplacement PC/XBMC  too. If some piece of it breaks, I know how to fix it. XBMC play’s .iso’s, .img’s and even .rar’ed movies, without any intervention. PC hardware in general, is also MUCH more reliable.

XBMC  wins on all the usability frontends , way more than an XBOX. It’s sad, that in the end, the most function for my XBOX was as a media player. XBMC changed all that. Yes, fine. I can’t play “Altered Beast” on the new Media PC (yet).  At  least when I tell XBMC to play a damn movie, it does so. Reliably.

Consoles have a LONG way to go, before beating general utility computers. And general utility computers simply need a replacement for XBOX Live, Apple AppStore and then we’ll see the end of proprietary bull. All that general utility computers need is a nice casing, and an HDMI or RCA output. That’s not so difficult.

I will personally pay the guys that commercialise XBMC double the  amount of money for a perpertual XBMC license, than I paid for my XBOX.  Because it works. I can tinker with it. I can fix it. All that XBMC needs now, is a good game distribution model behind it, and some web2.0 scalability and it will be good-bye Tivo-ism.

Oh, and controllers. Uhm wait. There’s many of those already. At like, HALF the price of an XBOX wireless controller.

Author: roelf on May 25, 2009
Category: Uncategorized

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