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Post 360 Activity To Twitter

I use Twitter when I feel it’s appropriate my friends know what I’m doing.  When I’m playing a video game on my XBox 360 chances are it’s a multiplayer game and I might enjoy some company.

A few months ago Internet Duct Tape posted an article with several methods on how to obtain your XBox 360 activity.  I subscribed to their Yahoo Pipe for my gamertag.  I never really came up with any good way to use this but I finally have.  My XBox 360 activity (game activity only) now automatically updates my Twitter account.

XBox 360 Twitter Updates

To do this All I’m using is the Yahoo Pipe mentioned previously and TwitterFeed.  TwitterFeed allows you to update your Twitter status using any RSS feed and the pipe feed works just fine.

twitterfeed

The Microsoft Commercials

Microsoft has been getting a lot of crap for their new Ad campaign with Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates.  At first it seemed like they were really going nowhere and they were commercials about nothing like the show about nothing.  What’s funny is, their campaign is working.  It’s drawing attention and everyone is talking about it even though everyone seemed to hate it.

There is no such thing as bad publicity.

The Windows Vista Blog posted a message a few days ago to let everyone know that the new ads without Jerry are not a vote of no confidence, they’ve been a part of the plan all along.

After Microsoft’s announcement I felt I needed to see for myself.  They’re on the ball with this one, they’re showing how they connect millions billions of different people world wide.  I think the campaign will only get better, and it should since they’ve spent millions on redefining their image.

See for yourself:

Syncing with FolderShare (part 2)

It’s taken me over a month to write this.

It should be awesome then!

Nah sorry, just more of the same old crap.

In Syncing with Foldershare part 1 I outlined what I was using FolderShare for. I’ll now outline my reactions after using the service for a while.

FolderShare advertises three main features. Sync My Folders, Share With Friends, Access My Files.

FolderShare Features

Share With Friends – This feature is completely unnecessary. There are literally thousands of ways out there to share a file with your friends. Having a directory synchronized with your friends seems like overkill. As far as the collaborative nature of the feature, collaboration itself belongs on the web. As such there are many online tools such as Google Documents or gliffy provide much better mechanisms for collaborating with others.

Access My Files – This feature scares the crap out of me and if if there is one reason I stop using FolderShare this will be it. It allows you to access every file on any of your computers that is currently connected to FolderShare. This means if someone gains access to your FolderShare account they can access everything from the web.

Surely you mean only the files or directories you’ve told FolderShare to share?

Nope sorry, Everything. A big downside to FolderShare in my mind is the fact everything is configured from their website. You can add a new computer to ‘sync’ with and add sync points right from the website if you have access to the account.

Sync My Folders – This is the only feature I find useful and frankly the only feature I want FolderShare to provide. This allows you to pick (different) folders on two (or more) different computers and sync their contents over the web. They synchronization is recursive so if you have seperate partitions for data feel free to sync the entire partition.

Lessons Learned

FireFox profiles -Firefox keeps some files in your profile locked whenever it’s running. If you have the (synchronized) profile open on more than one computer you will start to get notices that FolderShare cannot copy a certain file. Your only options are ‘retry’ or ‘exit.’ If you choose retry it will obviously fail unless you close FireFox. Choosing to close firefox means you will need to wait several minutes before resuming your work. If you choose exit FolderShare itself exits and you lose your synchronization completely. This didn’t bother me to much I just got in the habit of making sure I closed FireFox on my laptop before attempting to use it on my PC.

After a few weeks however; my PC and Laptop started to get out of sync and at some point Firefox (or Windows I’m not sure which) decided it would be a good idea to reinitialize my entire profile and I lost everything on my laptop. At this time I determined the headaches FolderShare was giving me synchronizing Firefox profiles wasn’t going to work for me. I need a new solution so if someone has one please share. Note that I’m looking for a way to synchronize everything including plug-ins not just settings and history (what Google can currently offer)

iTunes Music Library – As I don’t use iTunes all that often on my home PC this feature is working excellently. However; it suffers the same problems as the Firefox profile synchronization in that the two PCs cannot both run iTunes at the same time.

Security – FolderShare uses your normal Microsoft login. This means that if your MSN account is compromised it instantly exposes all of your personal files on your home computer. This is very scary to me. To make me a bit more at ease FolderShare needs to add some local security features.

  • Only Files and Folders shared Locally (from the PC itself) should be exposed to FolderShare
  • To add a PC should require some sort of authentication from one of the PCs already part of the synchronization

Usefulness - FolderShare seems to be incredibly useful to synchronize data. That being said it seems fundamentally flawed for synchronizing application data that needs to be used very often. The fact that FolderShare synchronizes over the internet as opposed to network connectivity is awesome. This means that even if I’m on the go, when I make a change to a file I’m synchronizing it gets backed up at home.

Gmail Windows Live ID

Microsoft Windows Live IDIf you’re like me you use One E-mail address. I used to be a fan of two. One for junk forms, another for real use. Since spam filtering is so good now, and custom filters are so easy to customize, it became much easier to just get it down to one.

A very long time ago I created a Windows Live ID using an E-mail address from Time Warner. Actually, I created an MSN Messenger account. Later it was turned into a Live ID once Microsoft came up with the idea.

I have long since abandoned the Time Warner E-mail address but I have been stuck with the Windows Live ID that uses it. A short time ago I decided I’d switch. It was about time to combine accounts and utilize my one E-mail address as my Live ID account as well.

I never realized it would be so difficult to create a Gmail Windows Live ID. The first thing I did of course was to attempt to register using the normal windows live registration methods. Of course it instructed me that my account already existed. I thought this was strange but who knows, maybe I did create one already. I started the forgot my password procedure but was quickly told the account didn’t exist. Strange. After a bit of research, I learned that after a year of inactivity windows live accounts are disabled. No matter so I set out on the task of reactivating it. After several weeks of E-mails and live chats with microsoft I finally arrived upon the following E-mail:

Hello Randy,

Thank you for writing back to Windows Live ID Technical Support. I have read your messages with us and understand how inconvenient it can be when you are unable to access your account. This is Don and I look forward to providing you with the necessary assistance.

You can register your own e-mail account (Non-Hotmail or Non-MSN account) as your Windows Live ID if the e-mail address you are using is not part of a reserved domain. I would like to inform you that a company that controls the registration of all e-mail addresses within that domain manages a reserved domain. Recently, Gmail has reserved the creation of Gmail.com Windows Live IDs.

As of this time, users cannot register Gmail.com as their Windows Live ID using our registration Web site. I suggest that you contact Gmail support team for further assistance.

For the meantime, you can sign up for a Windows Live Hotmail which is automatically a Windows Live ID.

To create a new Windows Live Hotmail account, please visit:

some very long link

Please note that you will be directed to Windows Live ID Help Pane. If you encounter any issues, kindly verify which of the steps did not work for you as we want to make sure the instructions are easy to follow.

We appreciate your continued support as we strive to provide you with the highest quality service available. Thank you for using Windows Live ID.

Sincerely,

Don

Windows Live ID Technical Support

I had no desire to create a new hotmail account since I was on a mission to reduce my accounts down to using a single E-mail address. I’m quite positive that my Microsoft Live ID is the very last account remaining not using my gmail address.

So I was trapped. Or so I thought, until I stumbled upon this little gem. I’m not sure how or where I found this, but at some point I happened across a link that was supposed to work for Gmail address registration. I’m not sure whats different with the link, I haven’t examined it closely. I will, however, tell you that the following link does work to register a Gmail Windows Live ID.

Register Your Gmail Account as a Windows Live ID

Iterative Development

Items Shared By I don’t think it’s much of a secret that I’m a fan of Google’s web applications. I make use of Google Notebook, Google Reader, Gmail and Google Docs daily. Every time I see they added some new features it makes me very happy. It also reminds me of just how useful Iterative Development practices are, especially in the Web world. It’s great to get a solid product out there and then update it routinely with enhancements.

Along with all the talk about Gmail 2.0 up and coming, along with their new push for Open Social, Orkut and now Android I’ve found a few other updates.

  • Items Shared By… Google Reader’s shared items now displays who shared the item within the first few lines of the item itself. This is great if you (like me) subscribe to many friend’s shared item feeds and group them all together.
  • Tagging Notebook Entries… You can now tag entries in your Google Notebook. This is great for categorizing and quick lookups. I think I’ll be permanently switching over to Google Notebook over my own wiki now just because of this one feature.

Web applications are the future. There is no comparison. The immediate feedback you get from releasing an update over the web is simply an undeniable advantage over client-side installed applications. Applications like Microsoft Office will become a thing of the past. Bandwidth will cease to become an issue and we’ll have all the same features but with immediate updates at our fingertips. As mentioned on JoelonSoftware a few weeks ago, spending money and time engineering todays software to utilize today’s hardware is a waste. Instead just realize that the hardware will handle it and performance will cease to be a problem

Keyboard not found. Press < F1 > to RESUME.

Say goodbye to your keyboard and mouse. Microsoft has released a new product that has been top-secret for the past 5 years under the code name ‘Milan’. It is now called Microsoft Surface and is definitely worth a look. I for one would welcome the new mode of input especially in my living room.

It appears as if the Microsoft people took a lesson or two from Apple and released a product that interacts with people in the way they wish to use it rather than the way Microsoft wants them to use it. Depending on the price I can totally see Surface being a standard household appliance much like the personal computer is today.

Check out the video below for a quick overview of some of the things Surface can do.

YouTube Preview Image