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Red Ring Redemption


Exactly one week ago I was getting very close to the end of Red Dead Redemption, passing the time until my next mission was available by going after a bounty in Tall Trees, when suddenly the screen filled with strange white lines and everything froze. I screamed, mashing every possible button on the controller. Nothing happened. I got up, hit the power button on the 360, waited a few moments, then hit the power button again.

And there they were, those three red lights that I had heard so much about, but hoped to never see.

I screamed again, and flapped my arms about. Apparently the look on my face was hilarious, though at the time I certainly wouldn’t have thought it too funny. I hit the power button again, then waited a couple beats and hit it one more time. The console booted into the menu, and everything seemed fine. I shut it off and left it alone for a couple hours.

After calming down a bit (and researching how to go about sending it in for repairs if/when the RRoD came back), I sat down and played some Puzzle Quest for a while. Everything was going fine (except that I still can’t defeat that stupid two-headed troll). I threw in Gears of War 2, hoping to take advantage of the tail end of the 6-times-XP weekend, and a few moments later was greeted with those freaky white lines, a frozen screen, and then the 3 red LEDs.

I suppose this is the badge of a real gamer. I have now joined the growing hordes who have been forced to dust off the Wii, pausing every now and then to refresh the UPS webpage to see where their poor Xbox friend is now.

Mine’s in Texas. It seems it was enjoying Red Dead Redemption so much, it needed to check out the real Wild West to see what it’s really all about.


Oh, how I wish I could use Windows Live Writer

The beta of the new Windows Live Writer has just been released, which (at first) made me really happy. I’m working on doing more personal blogging, and I’ve always loved working with WLW, so I thought playing with the new version would be a great incentive to do some more writing. So yesterday I downloaded the Windows Live Essentials installer, and updated my Writer, and even decided to try out the new Messenger and Photo Gallery.

They’re all pretty slick. Too bad I had to do a system restore to get rid of them a few hours after installing them.

For some reason, Microsoft is bundling something with its new software that breaks the authentication used for Samba shares. Now, for the average Windows user, this isn’t a big deal, since most people probably don’t have a clue what a Samba share is. Essentially, a Samba share is a local network connection between a Linux (or Mac) computer and a Windows machine. And for me, it’s how I watch a large portion of my television: Boxee running on an Ubuntu installation on an old laptop, pulling video files over the network from my main Windows 7 desktop.

But installing any of the new Windows Live Essentials breaks that network connection. And I don’t understand why it needs to mess with local network authentication. Windows Live Essentials should be worried about authenticating with web-based services, not with other machines on my local network.

I had the same problem with Microsoft’s recent Office Live Add-In update (which shows up in Windows Update as a “Critical Update”). It breaks my Boxee too. At least with that update, I finally figured out that I could uninstall the Windows Live Sign-In Assistant program that came bundled with the update. Whatever it is that’s breaking the network when I install WLW seems baked right in to the program, so it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

Sorry, Microsoft, but I’ll have to choose nothing. At least until you either fix what you’ve done to local network permissions, or let third parties know what you’ve changed so they can update and adjust.

Composed using the new Windows Live Writer beta on my netbook, since it doesn’t need to network with my media centre laptop at all. WLW really is a great editor.