Monday, 23 November 2009

The One Where I'm Geeky

Well here we are back again, and so quickly too.

I figured that the first one was just an introduction into things so may as well get straight into it. The latest things taking my time up are…..

Twitter – Highly simple and highly addictive!

I avoided this like the plague for a very long time. I didn’t need another social site cluttering up my time and providing me with distractions at work to get me into trouble. I know a lot of my friends aren’t on it or have no interest in being on it, a lot of them don’t even know what it’s about. But a couple of months ago I thought why not, let’s check out what all the fuss is about. So I signed up, created my basic profile and gave myself a name - @fuzzycoyote – the same as my Xbox Live handle. I’m not entirely sure how the whole FuzzyCoyote thing came about in the first place on Xbox but I like it. Twitter is such a simple process, you basically post what you are doing or up to in 140 characters or less. Sounds boring, or that’s what I thought. Where it gets interesting and addictive is by ‘following’ people, a process where you basically subscribe to someone updates or ‘tweets’ to see what they are up to (in effect, it’s a form of stalking but without being a mentalist). What’s really the selling point and why it has become such a success is that you can follow famous people. Personally I follow Jimmy Carr, Chris Moyles, Jenson Button, Russell Brand, Shaquille O’Neal a couple of others and even Barack Obama!! Jimmy Carr is hilarious to follow and often posts comedy pictures of his doings. With famous people there are inevitably fakes but once again Twitter counters this with verified profiles, so you know that the person you are following is actually who they say they are.

There are a number of clients and applications that can be used for Twitter – Tweetdeck, Twitterrific or SimplyTweet to name just a few. I personally use Twitterrific as its got everything you need to get to grips with it as a beginner and everything you could want once you become more seasoned.

I would recommend this to everyone as it’s not highly involved, doesn’t take up even a quarter as much time as you would imagine and it is very very enjoyable.

The Microsoft Xbox Update

On Tuesday (17th Nov) Microsoft rolled out an update that gives you Facebook, Twitter, Zune and Last.FM on your Xbox 360. Facebook is very basic, you can update your status and check out the news feed, look at photos and other sorts of things. You can’t change too much but you can see who is on your friends list that also has a profile on Xbox Live, very handy. I wouldn’t say it was great, I would be hard pushed to say it was good, it is adequate, you can do the very basics. I’m sure that there will be some form of update on this in the future including such things as posting photos of you playing games to Facebook or being able to access the client ‘in-game’ as currently you have to exit everything you are doing and use it separately. But for now, its ok.

Twitter on Xbox is great, the beauty is in the simplicity. As I stated above, Twitter is very uncomplicated and in being so it doesn’t need bells and whistles to do what it sets out to do. You can see tweets by the people you are following and tweet yourself with ease. The only downfall is the same as the Facebook client where you are unable to access at the same time as playing. We will see where this goes but its great so far.

Zune is probably my favourite of the 4 new things bought out. You can stream or download movies directly to your Xbox and watch in full HD if desired. How you go about this is by ‘renting’ the movie from a list of thousands by using Microsoft points purchased through your Xbox profile. If you are streaming it playback will start instantly and you have the option to watch it as many times as you want for 24 hours. Then there is the option to download the film where you will have the right to wait up to 14 days before watching and you then have the same watch as many times in 24 hours option. What makes this more than just a video viewer and becomes social is you can create or join a party to watch films simultaneously with friends online and even view a mini theatre where you can see your Xbox Avatars and make them show actions. I actually tried this out last night with my cousin Martin and it was pretty damn good. We watched Fast & Furious which was pretty decent too. It’s a switch off your mind and just watch movie but all in all good. The experience of the Zune player was on first impression excellent. Watching at the same time as someone in a totally different place while talking on a headset worked really well and the movie for the most part seemed to be playing on each TV within a second of each other, the party host can even pause, rewind and forward the movie which is reflected on all screens. The quality of the streaming was excellent and for 360M$ points (£3.06) it wasn’t exactly pocket damaging. What I did think was awful however is that each person in the party has to pay the points to watch the movie. I think it would be far better and far more useable if you paid the price BETWEEN you, reducing the cost for each person and pushing the idea ‘the more social the better’. It is for this reason that it wont become a regular thing for me but should anything change then the system they have set up for everything works and works well.

Last.FM is basically a radio client where you can search for artists, listen to genres and basically have access to millions of songs to listen to for free. Its easy to search for an artist and even has pictures that slideshow in the background while you are listening. Last.FM even remembers what you listen to and recommends new artists based on your preferences, a bit like Genius on iTunes. There is also a Last.FM application for the iPhone that I downloaded yesterday after Martin told me about it which does the same thing. I don’t know how this has skipped under my radar for so long. Its fantastic and best of all – Free!

Well, my first proper blog has been a very geeky affair, I will try to make things a bit more universal in future but these are the recent things I have been using so they are fresh in the noggin. That’s about all I can think of right now. Mortgage OVERLOAD at the moment - info to come, eeeeek!

I’m Gone like cake around a fat kid!


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