The weekend had high points and low points, starting high and ending low.

PUSH NEVADASaturday was spent with my dad, getting his network going and getting his Xbox 360 hooked up.

It took all morning to get the network going, as there was some oddness with his cable modem that would only let us connect up to it through USB. Turns out that there are some special undocumented reset steps you can go through to clear up trouble like that, so after contacting Comcast and getting that information, we did the reset and things worked fine. A quick trip to Fry’s to get some networking supplies and we got the Xbox 360 hooked up and on the network.

Dad signed up for Xbox Live so we can play against each other online. His gamertag is PUSH NEVADA, so if you see him trolling around in Halo 2, go easy.

After we got that set up, we went to see Mission: Impossible 3, and we both had fun with that. Was it the most in-depth movie you’ve ever seen? No. Did it entertain me? Hell, yes. It held its own with the Bond pictures I’ve seen, and I do so love the James Bond.

Sunday was the not-so-great portion of the weekend. My grandfather (Mom’s dad) is in the advanced stages of lung cancer, so we went to visit him. He is at home and he has hospice come in to help him out, but he can’t be left alone so my mom or one of her sisters stays with him at all times. He was getting a hospital bed delivered that day because he can’t really get up and walk around too much anymore, even with assistance. At the time we visited, he was on morphine for his pain and Ativan to calm him down, so he wasn’t really… coherent. He knew we were there, but he was very weak and slept most of the time. As I hugged him goodbye he was so weak he couldn’t lift his own arms away from me, so I had to help him with that. It’s really hard to see him like that - such a strong, proud, capable man rendered so helpless and weak.

After we visited him, we went to the hospital to visit my grandmother (Dad’s mom), who has been in there for a week (and actually should be headed home today). She was having trouble where spinal fluid was building up on her brain and not draining correctly, so they put a shunt in there to help drain the fluid off. On a positive note, she’s doing very well and seems to be more alert and spunky than I’ve seen her in months, so I think the procedure had a positive effect. That was hard to see her in there, though, with all the IVs and tubes in her head and everything. I’m glad she’s going to be OK.

And that was the weekend. One great day, one not-so-great day. Hard to say it balanced out, because it didn’t, but it wasn’t all bad. Here’s to looking forward to tomorrow.

My dad called me this morning at about 7:30 to tell me how he heard there were going to be Xbox 360s at a local store so he hauled ass down there at 7:00 when they opened and bought himself an Xbox 360 premium package and a copy of Halo 2. He can’t wait to sign up for Xbox Live so we can play against each other online.

I won’t lie - this made my day. My dad is the coolest and I can’t wait for him to sign up so we can both suck horribly at first person shooters

  • together, over the Internet. Plus, he gets all giddy and screams when you’re shooting at him or when he shoots you, and just thinking about that makes me laugh out loud. The voice chat with this is going to be sensational.

Could we have done this with standard PCs and some other game? Sure, but the “plug-it-in-and-it-goes” simplicity of the console, plus not having to worry about whether your hardware is out of date or incompatible or whatever… I don’t play PC games anymore, and that’s why. I can’t keep up with the latest video card and the 18 gigabytes of RAM required and the 10 terabyte SAN I’m going to need for the game to install itself.

Anyway, I’m stoked. I totally can’t wait for him to get this thing hooked up so we can play. Go, Dad!

gaming, xbox comments edit

I bought the Xbox 360 premium package that came with a wireless controller. That same day, I bought a second wireless controller so Jenn could play. The controllers come with battery packs that take two AA batteries.

The batteries last for several hours, but of course, I was in love with the new gadget and played until the batteries ran out. That’s when I saw the rechargeable battery packs and the quick charge kit, which I also bought.

Something I noticed, though: When the AA battery packs were in, the controllers both behaved as expected. When the rechargeable battery packs were in, the controller that came with the Xbox 360 would turn off fine, but the controller I bought later would stay on - one of the LEDs around the Xbox Guide button would stay on faintly. Sometimes I could remove the battery pack and put it back in and the light would go off, but later it would turn right back on.

That worried me - if the controller won’t turn off, it’s going to just eat my batteries and I’ll be constantly charging just to stay ahead.

I called Microsoft support about it this morning and it turns out this is a known issue. Some controllers just leave one of the LEDs faintly on. They claim it won’t affect your battery life and you should just ignore the light being on - as long as the controller functions properly otherwise, the light being on shouldn’t be a worry.

I don’t see that documented anywhere. I found a forum where other people are having the issue and it sounds like it’s not just me.

Anyway, if it’s happening to you, Microsoft says it’s a known issue and it’s nothing to worry about.

I’m just coming across way too many cool things while cruising the morning news, so I’m going to share in a sort of random tech news aggregation thing.

First, it looks like Mark Miller’s introducing some cool stuff for the next version of CodeRush - Dynamic templates sound pretty awesome. I can’t wait for that.

Next, there’s an entry on the PowerShell blog discussing the grammar of the Windows PowerShell. The geek in me smiles while the rest of you look on in disgust.

Moving on to gaming, it looks like the stupid bat-a-rang controller for the PS3 is no more. Sony has released the real new PS3 controller. Looks a lot like the standard PS2 “Dual Shock 2” controller, but runs on Bluetooth and can detect motion (sort of like the Nintendo “Wii” controller). Of course, the new PS3 controller doesn’t have any vibration feature the way the other controllers do because it apparently messes up the motion detection. Hmmm. I guess that wasn’t the hugest part of gaming, but it did add a little something.

For folks that aren’t into that crazy Wii controller, I guess there will be a “Classic controller” that you can use. Just watch - you’ll have to have both controller types because some games won’t work with one.

Oh, and the Halo 3 trailer is out, so check it. It rocks. (My dad actually sent this to me before I got to it. Dad is stoked and he doesn’t even own a single game console. I think he’s just found his reason to get an Xbox 360.)

Okay, I think that’s it. For now.