Category Archives: General Discussion

Small Update: This blog hasn’t been abandoned.

So, I wanted to take a second to let all 4 of you readers know that this blog hasn’t been abandoned. Quite the contrary, I had a whole host of things I was ready to do to keep things moving along, on a regular basis. It just appears that with the current situation (COVID-19) that we are in, I feel out of sorts and unable to really put my mind on this blog, like I want do.

So, what I have decided to do is use this time to catch up on movies, and music, and get back into music composition. I’ve pulled the trigger on getting StaffPad for iPad, and I plan to begin dabbling in music composition. I don’t expect symphonies, but I’ve always found writing even the smallest of melodies to be soothing. I may even share some stuff once things seem to be a bit better on track.

Bottom line is that I’m fine, the blog is fine. I just hope that you’re fine. 🙂

Hey, airlines… you need to do better!

I’ll make this short and simple: AIrlines need to do better by people who have trip reservations for the next few months. Companies are cancelling events. Sporting events are considering having their competitions with no fans. Hell, the Olympics may not even happen.

And the airlines… well if you book NOW you’ll be guaranteed a full refund, should your trip not happen. Um, that’s ass backwards. When a trip was booked last year, two months ago, no one was anticipating this situation, but hey we booked the ticket, right? You see no reason things should change now.

There are 2 things about that: One, why would anyone want to hurry and book tickets, now, to anywhere? Two, if my ticket, in particular, has me flying into a place that practically told every person living there to stay home, and cancelled every major event happening there, why would I want to go ahead and fly there anyway?

I have another question, though: Why are you letting your own people fly into epicenters of a virus outbreak. Forget me, as a passenger, why are you putting your own staff and service people at risk?

Right now, people don’t need change fees, cancellation fees, or fees of any kind. They need understanding, compassion, empathy. They don’t need ‘customer appreciation’ tweets, they need you to listen to their tweets. Folks aren’t out here trying to swindle airlines, but darn if it doesn’t feel like airlines are trying to swindle them.

You can do better than this. You SHOULD do better than this…

Presenting the Xbox MVP Summit 2020 playlist!

We’ve reached March. We’ve also reached the month where many Xbox MVPs will descend on Redmond, WA to hang out with the Xbox team, and talk about plans and ideas. While most of the event is under NDA, this part of it is not.

For the past several years, I’ve enjoyed putting together a playlist for the event. This goes back to the days when Microsoft’s Global MVP Summit included consumer technologies. This year’s playlist took longer than I thought, but I’m happy with the results.

The title of my playlist is “Cocktail party in the streets. House Party in the sheets.”

The playlist can be found here:

It’s a wonderful blend of songs to sing along to, plus songs that – I hope – help people expand their musical palate. One of the things I always aim to do, with this playlist, is help people potentially discover music they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Unlike past years, this playlist is only available via Spotify. You can list to it with or without a paid subscription, and it’s one of the more popular and commonly used services. There’s 30 songs, in total, with a 2 hour running time.

Please, feel free to take a listen, and let me know what songs you enjoyed. DId you discover any new genres/artists? I’d love to help you take that discovery and get deeper into the crates.

Dolby Atmos for Music? Yes, please!

I’m a huge fan of Dolby Atmos. I enjoy having it as part of my experience playing games on Xbox. So, when I saw this video about bringing that technology to music, I was all ears (no pun intended). I would love to hear what artists can do when they’re unshackled from being only in left/right channels, and can now take their vision and, literally, surround you with it.

This is awesome.

Of HDMI ports, and entertainment, on Xbox One…

The Xbox One can be ideal, when you want to use it for media, as well as games.

From the outset, the Xbox One was designed to be a great media device, as well as a gaming console. If you remember the Xbox 360, it was a sea of media apps for music, video, and more. The Xbox One was ready to dial that up to 11, and make it the one place to be completely entertained, when you turned on the TV set.

Of course, backlash ensued, as Xbox seemed to make too much of the media capabilities. A lot of the entertainment ideas were scaled back, and now the Xbox One is a gaming device, with media tendencies. If the ports on the Xbox Series X are to be believed, you may not even get an HDMI-In port.

Ah, yes, let’s discuss that HDMI-In port, for a second. To me, this was a key port of the Xbox One. The way Xbox tells it, you use that port to plug in a cable box. Then, coupled with the OneGuide and media settings, you’d be able to easily get into television shows, when you want to take a break from Halo or Gears of War.

Naturally, people realized that if you plugged in anything, with an HDMI plug, that port would work. You can plug in an Apple TV, Roku Stick, Amazon Fire TV, cable box. Hell, you can plug in an Xbox 360, Playstation 4, or NIntendo Switch. That little port made it all possible.

Fast forward to 2020. That port, frankly, is now an afterthought, and as I noted, it may not even be on the next Xbox One console. I, personally, think it should remain, but if Xbox really wants to lean into gaming, then having their users focus squarely on gaming seems to be where they plan to go.

Of course, there’s actually another way Xbox could be a viable entertainment device: apps. Right now Xbox One has a good selection media apps: Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, ESPN, etc.

If Xbox One, and Windows in general, can boost the number of entertainment apps available (making sure all of the major streaming TV services, and TV everywhere apps are there) then there may not be a need for the HDMI port. And, in the case of the Xbox Series X, if that console can perform with the speed of light, as being advertised, getting out of a game, and into the next episode of “The Mandalorian” should be a breeze, and fulfill that instant gratification.

But let us have a discussion about entertainment on Xbox. Specifically:

  • Of all the time you spend on Xbox, how much of that is used for media?
  • What’s your most used media app(s) on Xbox?
  • Do you use the HDMI-In port on the console? What do you have plugged in back there?
  • Are there some entertainment apps you’d love to see on the Xbox platform?

Let’s have that discussion: Leave a comment, or continue the conversation on Twitter.