XBLIG: Knocking on death’s door?

March 22, 2011 1 comment

I’m changing the line-up a little & going to be talking about another subject that’s dear to my heart: Xbox Live Indie Games or XBLIG for short. I’ve been a Xbox gamer since 2002 when I bought my first original Xbox. I’ve since moved on to the Xbox 360 in 2006. I was stoked when Microsoft showed off the first 7 XNA trial games at GDC 2008 that would foreshadow the Xbox Live Community Games service in November 2008.

The service has changed a little over the years: changing the price structure, adding support for avatars, party chat & video playback and a name change to Xbox Live Indies Games. Unfortunately it hasn’t fixed it’s biggest problem: lack of achievements, gamerscore & leaderboards. These features are probably why the service hasn’t been taken seriously & has lead to poor sales & public image. However, the cheap novelty & me-too games like massagers take a major toll too.

The service has been plagued with it’s biggest problems over the past year. It hasn’t really gathered enough marketing attention from Microsoft or community support for the developers & has had all kind of problems with it’s position in the storefront and freezes to the Top Downloads & New Arrivals lists. Those latter problems have been going on for 2 years & Microsoft has yet to fix the problems completely which has lead to low morale in the developer community because it directly affects sales. The problems wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that Microsoft lost it’s Community Manager last September when Kathleen Sanders moved on inside the company. Microsoft has yet to fill her spot & the developer community support has waned as Microsoft has gone mum when issues with the dashboard arose.

One would have thought that with the recent XNA MVP Summit & Game Developer Conference that new & exciting details for the service would have been announced, but both events have come & gone with no new information. Recently Gamasutra had a round-robin interview with a number of high-profile XBLIG developers on what their plans are going forward & what they think the service needs to stay alive. Interesting is that most seemed to have made the decision to leave for better platforms. Platforms that have a bigger audience & the potential for more sales. But they did pretty much all agree that the platform really needs achievements & leaderboards and something needs to be done with the marketing and the storefront.

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Categories: Xbox Tags: , ,

Jolicloud Desktop Updates

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Jolicloud has added new web apps to the App Center. These include:

I also got word today that due to the feedback in my review Jolicloud has added a few new features to the Jolicloud desktop. Excellent!

First of all they have made the Public Page easier to access by making a link to it directly on the Stream page. The button is to the right of “Top Followers”. It’s also on every user profile. It’s to the right the “Followers” button. And on your Account Info page where your name, username, email address, etc shows, there’s also a link to your Public Page. Instead of a button it shows the full URL.

Public Page Now More Accessible

Lastly, in the integrated Dropbox file browser they added a two new ways to access your folders on the Dropbox site so you can do more file operations like move, copy, rename or delete. Folders now have a “Open” button on the bottom right. Also individual files have a button called “Open in Folder”. These buttons are on the bottom right & on the Preview window when previewing images.

New Direct Access To The Dropbox Web Site

One minor update was made for user-created web apps. They have applied rounded corners to the icons to make them fit better with the rest of the application icons.

Rounded Corners!

All these new changes were made to the Jolicloud desktop without the need to push a new OS update. They’re available to both Joli OS & browser users. That’s the beauty of a HTML5 cloud desktop! Thanks for the updates guys!

Tommy McClain

Jolicloud & Joli OS 1.2 Extensive Review

March 12, 2011 41 comments

I heard about Jolicloud on Engadget back last July before it came out of beta. I even contemplated installing it on my netbook when version 1.0 came out, but decided I wasn’t brave enough yet. I continued reading the news about it & the Jolibook over next few months, but it wasn’t until Jolicloud 1.1 came out that I made the jump. I first installed it right before Christmas & immediately fell in love. I first started out by running the Live version from a 4gb USB key on my little 10″ eMachines netbook. After about a week of that I got brave enough to actually install it using the Jolicloud Express Windows Installer. It wasn’t an easy decision to make since this was my first experience ever with Linux. However, I figured that if I didn’t like it, I could easily uninstall it. But what end up happening was that I totally abandoned my desktop running Windows XP & embraced the cloud. I pretty much took complete control of the netbook till this day & never once used the desktop running Windows XP. I’m not sure my wife was real happy about that since I had bought the netbook for her over a year ago. 😉 We originally planned on buying her a bigger laptop with a DVD drive so she could watch movies, but a lot of unforeseen expenses came up & we no longer could afford to buy one. That’s when I decided that maybe it was time to install Joli OS on the desktop.

Our desktop has been our primary means of streaming TV content like Hulu to our TV & Xbox 360 via a Windows DLNA server called PlayOn. Without that program we can’t watch our favorite shows on the big screen. Unfortunately they don’t have a Linux version of their app and that’s the biggest reason why I’ve dragged my feet about installing Jolicloud on it. Last night I finally downloaded the Express edition & installed it. I wanted to get some feedback for this review. The install & everything else seemed to run fine, but I noticed that the Windows Boot Manager never showed up on the first boot & it went straight to Joli OS. At first I thought it might have been temporary because of the install, but after the install finished I rebooted & it still never showed. I started getting worried that I lost Windows. I frantically searched the Jolicloud GetSatisfaction site looking for a way to fix it & finally came across a solution that was posted over a year ago. What had happened is somehow the Windows Boot Manager’s boot.ini file had incorrectly set the timeout value to 0. With it set to 0 it keeps the Boot Manager from showing up & since it was automatically defaulted to Joli OS it boot straight to it instead of Windows. Editing that file & setting it to a number greater than 0 fixed the problem. Whew! That was a close one! 🙂

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Boy I feel old, Happy Birthday to me!

March 11, 2011 5 comments

Evidently I can’t kick it like I used to & I’m not even 40 yet. LOL Had a pretty good birthday or at least as good of one you can have working all day. I’ll make that up tomorrow with my day off. 😉 I’m going to need it after going to bed late last night & another late one tonight.

I originally planned on posting my extensive in-depth review of Jolicloud & Joli OS 1.2, but with all the Facebook & Twitter catching up I just didn’t get the time to work on it. I did however install Joli OS 1.2 on my main desktop machine for the first time. Up until today I had used Jolicloud exclusively on this little 10″ eMachines eM250 netbook. Never wanted to install Jolicloud on the desktop since it’s my PlayOn DLNA media server & my only access to my favorite TV shows via Hulu. With the latest version I figured what the hell & I installed the Jolicloud Express edition. I’ll included full details on that in the review, but bottom line it worked but not without any problems. Stay tuned till tomorrow. It’s time for bed! 🙂

Tommy McClain

Categories: Uncategorized

Joli OS 1.2 & Jolicloud Now Available!

March 10, 2011 Leave a comment

The Jolicloud team have shipped Joli OS 1.2 and the new Jolicloud online desktop according to their latest blog update. You can download the latest Windows Express Installer or ISO here. For those that rather test drive it in their Chrome, Firefox 4 or Safari 5 browser go here. If you want to install the Chrome App, get it here.

New features announced today include:

  1. Create your own apps! Now you you can create & share your own web apps. This has been the most requested feature from the beginning.
  2. Seamless Dropbox integration! This has been another big feature request. Cloud storage for a cloud OS. About time! 🙂
  3. Jolicloud public page. A profile page that not only shows a little bit about you, but it also shows your shared apps & your followers.

For a more visual look at the latest changes, check out the guided tour. I’m currently working on a detailed review of all the changes to the Jolicloud online desktop. Expect it online tomorrow.

Congratulations Jolicloud team. It’s an excellent service & upgrade. Everybody have fun & happy Joliclouding!

Tommy McClain

New Joli OS 1.2 Features

March 8, 2011 Leave a comment

True to Jolicloud’s promise to release more details, they have posted on their blog some new features on the upcoming Joli OS 1.2 release scheduled later this week.

Here’s a run down of the features announced:

  • New Startup Experience:
  • HTML5 File system allows you to browse local & external storage devices & preview files inside the new File Browser.
    • Nautilus file manager is still included.
    • Integrated Dropbox support in the File Browser is looking likely. Expect another announcement tomorrow.
  • Performance Improvements:
    • Improved update management allows background syncing & the ability to delay them.
    • The browser gets an upgrade to Chromium 10 and Adobe Flash gets upgraded to version 10.2.
    • General speeds improvements including faster web app installs & syncing.
    • The Linux kernel is built upon Ubuntu “Lucid LTS and Maverick”.
    • Improved battery life.
  • Other Misc Tidbits Gleaned From The Comment Section:
    • Asus T91MT and T101MT multi-touch support won’t make it in time for Joli OS 1.2, but they will release manual instructions shortly after release on help.jolicloud.com.
    • There might be some new features included in the social part: like sharing apps. I’ve requested that feature in the past.

Wow, looks like they’ve really listened to the community. Those are some great new features & enhancements. I wonder if they listened to the most often requested feature to allow you to add your own custom web apps to the launcher? We’ll see tomorrow when Jolicloud will make some more announcements on features. I guess they’re going to keep the hype train rolling till release. I have no problem with that! Can’t wait to see what they have in store. 🙂

Tommy McClain

Jolicloud: The Online Desktop For Joli OS

March 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Today Jolicloud announced on their blog A new direction for Jolicloud…. Here’s what was included in the announcement:

  • Starting with the next update the OS will be known as Joli OS 1.2.
  • Jolicloud is now the name of the online desktop that is part of Joli OS 1.2 and web apps for Chrome, Firefox 4, Safari 5 & iPad.
  • Joli OS 1.2 will be released “later this week”.
  • A future Android app for Jolicloud is in the works.
  • New screenshots & details will be available in the next few days.

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