I’m Not Buying an Xbox One, and You Shouldn’t Either

Yeah, I’ve got a thing for really long names for my posts. But it’s eye-catching and sums up the points I’m about to make. Microsoft has totally bungled almost everything they’ve put their hands on lately. Windows Phone, Bing, and now the Xbox One (note: I really do like Windows 8 though, and while I’m still primarily a Mac user, my Samsung Series 7 Slate is my favorite of all the tablets I’ve owned).

Right now, however, I’m focusing exclusively on the Xbox One. Don’t get me wrong. MS haven’t shot themselves in the foot. It’s more like they dropped a nuclear bomb straight onto themselves. First off, from what I’ve heard, the Xbox One and the PS4 have the same processor, but the PS4 has a superior GPU.

But non-geeks don’t care about that, as long as it plays their games

But it doesn’t. If there’s one thing the Xbox One doesn’t do, it’s play games. For starters, it isn’t backwards-compatible with Xbox 360 games. Hmm… so you’re going to buy this console at launch and have maybe a dozen launch titles and no legacy games to fall back on. Sure you might still have your 360, but what if you’ve decided (like me) that your living room is already cluttered enough and you’d like to get rid of it? Or what if you want to sell your 360 to help you afford this likely-overpriced brick?

Maybe they just couldn’t pull off backwards-compatibility?

No… just no. You know the Asus Transformer Book Trio? If that’s possible, surely MS can make a product that can run both Xbox One games and legacy 360 ones. In fact, it’s running three different operating systems at once. This wouldn’t be much of a stretch. Yes, it’s a different architecture, but those chips are from 2005, dinosaurs in this industry. They’re cheap enough they ought to be selling them right next to the Pringles and Lays by now. MS could easily throw one in without significantly increasing the price of the console. Basically, due to MS stinginess, your Xbox One will be virtually useless for quite awhile after buying it.

But wait… there’s more!

So not only can an Xbox One not play 360 games, it can’t play Xbox One games either.

What?

I’m dead serious. The Xbox One can’t play Xbox One games. No internet connection? Crappy connection? Then your console won’t allow you to play your games, even offline. It has to phone home every 24 hours just to enable this. Oh, and like to try out games borrowed from your friend? You can’t. Like to try them out by renting them? Too bad, you can’t. Oh, and aside from the 24 hour phoning home restriction, my favorite, multitudes of restrictions on used games that essentially mean you won’t be able to buy them (publishers can, and most likely will, prevent it altogether, or apply additional “transfer fees”). I happen to like buying used games. New games are about as overpriced as name-brand clothing, and if you buy either thing, you’re a sucker. And so are MS for trying this kind of thing. Making enemies with the likes of GameStop et al. is in no way good for them. Due to the large number of people who purchase their games (and consoles) through such stores, they have great power to influence one’s console purchase. And guess which console they’ll push (hint: it’s not the one that has essentially waged war against them).

Get your head out of the cloud

Okay, so I do have a bit of bias to admit. I’m strongly against cloud-dependency. It’s the reason I’m always slamming ChromeOS. I’m not against the cloud as a concept, as long as you aren’t forced to use it. It’s great to have your data synced across devices, as long as you also have a local copy. What if MS goes out of business (yes, it’s unlikely, but not impossible)? Or, what if, more likely, they decide in a few years that every Xbox One user should buy an Xbox Two (it probably won’t be called this, but while not a legitimate reason not to buy the One, I do need to mention how illogical their naming pattern is). Those (completely unnecessary) verification servers cost money to run, and why would MS ever spend that money on allowing people to use their now-obsolete console, when they’d love to sell you an “Xbox Two”? And here’s the biggest problem. Why would you buy a console that its developers have to “allow” you to use, on a day-by-day basis, after you’ve bought it? One could argue that MS wouldn’t want to risk losing customer loyalty, but they’ve already proven that they couldn’t care less. Anyone remember the Windows Phone 8 debacle? Everyone who bought an expensive new top-of-the-line Lumia (I forget what it’s called… MS/Nokia suck at naming things logically) only days before WP8 was announced was stuck with no upgrade path. MS (and its fanboys) argue a bootloader incompatibility. Mhmm. Do explain how years ago, I was able to emulate EFI to boot a hackintosh, using open-source utilities developed by hobbyists. MS certainly had the capability to do the same for WP7.x devices, but why would they? They don’t care about customer loyalty. At all. They have an awful track record. Don’t think that they won’t try it again.

Conclusion

Microsoft is working hard to craft its biggest flop yet. It can’t compete with the PS4 on specs, it can’t play games (neither 360 titles nor its own for that matter), it looks like a VCR from the early 90’s, its name is hardly appropriate for a console that is, in fact, third in its series, and it’s being placed carefully on the path to planned obsolescence.

Sony, this is my appeal to you. I know you’ve made your mistakes (the geohot lawsuit anyone), but you’ve been doing great lately. Releasing the source code for your Android firmwares on time? And so far at least, not immersing your products in unnecessary DRM and cloud dependency. Keep it up, and you’re sure to win this generation’s console wars.

(P.S., if anyone at Sony is reading this, I was really impressed by one of your stores when I visited a few days ago… I’d love to review that 4K 82″ TV I saw )

…Let’s hope MS has at least solved the Red Ring of Death, or this isn’t a Windows Phone level failure; it’s a Microsoft Bob level failure.

How Not to Name a Podcast

Second in our temporarily-named How Not to ________ a Podcast series, Gwynne and I review Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears, talk about bitcoins (Stupid Thing of the Week™), and the future of the podcast, which we obviously still have not named. Please comment or tweet suggestions!

There’s no behind-the-scenes video this time, although we did come up with a funny bit of comedy we might do based on this episode (it’s less lame than it sounds). I hope my editing skills have improved since last time; I spent about six hours and 60GB of hard drive space working on it. I’ve also learned the basics of FCPX, all on my own!

In case you didn’t catch my tweet, we will now be podcasting on a bi-weekly schedule, as six-hour editing jobs are a bit too involved to do on a weekly basis. We’ll have a new episode up in two weeks.

How Not to Do A Podcast

I was thinking earlier today of how to bring new life to my blog, which could really use more frequent posts, so the idea came to me of weekly video podcasts. Gwynne will help me with these, and we’ll (ideally) discuss audience-suggested topics in the future. For now, we improvised three topics:

1. Review of Carbon for Twitter (we were originally going to review Necomimi Cat Ears, but the batteries apparently died). I was inspired to do this instead by a discussion in Skype-PBMS.

2. KISS Hello Kitty: April Fool’s joke, or product of some sick, twisted mind?

3. Chromebook Pixel. Because I can’t do anything on the internet without complaining about it (and we couldn’t think of some third topic that would actually be relevant).

I suck at editing. I hope to be better at it by week 100 or so. I also hope to have some sort of title for the podcast by that point. And hopefully we’ll learn how to actually do a podcast.

No, really, in a year or two, we’ll look back to this first episode and think, “Wow, we’ve gotten so much better at video podcasting since then.”

We also did a behind-the-scenes video that’s longer (and possibly even more awful) than the actual podcast.

We’ll accept suggestions for future topics (we would really like to review items provided by ThinkGeek), as well as a title for the podcast, both in the comments, and on Twitter.

Justin Daigle: A Facebook Experience

Hi! As of today, Justin Daigle (.com) is a fully-owned subsidiary of Facebook, Inc. I have sold the domain, as well as its content and a ten-year contract of my services, for the sum of one billion US dollars. As part of the deal, I have also sold the notterland.com domain to Zynga, and will assist them in developing a freemium game offering strong and completely unfair practical benefits to paying customers. As for this blog, I will now document what’s new at Facebook and my work there. I will be updating here and my brand new Facebook page from my new Chromebook Pixel, the ideal machine for people who do nothing but browse the web! The new analytic software installed on my blog is also tracking which posts you read, connecting your IP address to your real name and your Facebook account without any other information required, and selling this comprehensive profile of yourself to the highest bidder.

Psst: Happy April Fool’s Day! 

Also, thanks Gwynne for the idea.

Thoughts on Google Glass

It’s probably about time I write another blog post. I’ve been rather devoid of inspiration ever since Glitch closed, but my blog and its shiny new theme (thanks hounsell!) are kind of sitting here collecting dust, and I’ve decided I probably need to blog more often. I know this is my own personal space, but in the past couple of years, I’ve grown rather self-conscious about the stuff I post. I need to get over that.

Anyway, I was going to post a personal rant on my birthday, but decided against it. I also planned to write a review or two of Ubuntu Touch (the demos looked so amazing and I planned to shower it with praise), but then I actually tried it and it’s awful. “Woefully incomplete” is an understatement. Those demo videos left me feeling like Android is a last-gen OS, but the product hasn’t lived up to the demos, so there is no next-gen OS to switch to (for those who don’t follow me on Twitter, I’ve recently switched to Android and a Nexus 4, which truly feels like a next-gen device as compared to my iPhone 4S; I might still write a post soon writing my thoughts on the switch).

Regardless, my intent today was to write a post about Google Glass. For the most part, it’s a rant. Not a rant about Google Glass. Ignorant commenters on articles about the product are already doing a great job of spewing out cynical nonsense; I feel no need to assist them. I’ll instead be ranting about these ignorant commenters and the ridiculous arguments they pose over and over again (the way I see it, there are three).

1. I’ll look ridiculous wearing it!

Nope. You’ll look like a spy from the future, and that’s awesome. Why would you not want to look like a spy from the future? Not to mention, I don’t think I want to look “socially acceptable,” since in today’s society, that means gold chains and pants pulled halfway down one’s legs such that one’s underwear is visible. People are walking around looking like complete douchebags (even worse than what I just described, look at the cast of Jersey Shore), and you complain about a pair of futuristic-looking glasses? I don’t get it. I really, really don’t get it (maybe it’s just because I have no social credibility to lose anyway, so… why not?).

2. It’s too expensive!

There’s two ways of looking at this one, one of which actually has some merit (but not much). And that way is “It isn’t cheap enough for me to afford it.” It probably isn’t. Let’s assume “It’ll retail for less than $1500” means “It’ll retail for $1499.” For non-geeks, that’s no impulse buy. But non-geeks just spend their money elsewhere, on other expensive toys. It isn’t my problem, or Google’s, that you just bought a new Mercedes-Benz and can’t afford Google Glass now. Not to mention, if you don’t already budget for new tech toys, you’re probably not part of the target market anyway. This is for addicts like me who can’t last five seconds without being in front of a computer screen.

The other way of looking at it is “It’s too expensive for what it is.” Nope. This is brand new technology. It’s no easy feat to fit a computer into a device that small, and then actually display its data unobtrusively. This is probably the first truly revolutionary computing device in the last five years or so. Want to look at an example of something that is overpriced for what it is? Look at the Chromebook Pixel. $1300 for a device that’s effectively good for nothing. Seriously? It still baffles me how a company that develops things like Glass and self-driving cars comes up with stupid ideas like Chromebooks, which, are pretty much the epitome of netbooks (limited-functionality, cheap computers designed for little more than accessing Facebook and other web sites). Add on top of this the completely moronic idea of making an expensive netbook and trying to market it to professionals. Professionals who need to do what exactly? Look at Facebook in super-high resolution? I believe one example given was photographers. You know, because you can run Photoshop within Chrome… oh wait, nope. I could rant more about how the whole cloud-dependency idea is ridiculous, but I don’t think I need to in order to make my point. I realize I went severely off-topic here, but my point was that Glass is a revolutionary product. It solves a real problem (the problem of being constantly connected to information in ways smartphones will never accomplish). Chromebooks, which now approach the pricing point of Glass, are a solution without a problem (“A computer designed for the cloud!” Yes, but what do I need that for?).

3. It’s invasive of privacy!

This one’s the most ludicrous claim of all, and also seems to be the most frequently-repeated. I basically wrote this post to get to rant about the people using this argument. The first two things? They’re subjective to an extent. Some people may not find them attractive, or be able to afford them. No amount of “proving I’m right” can change those things. Nor do I need to. If you don’t want Google Glass, that isn’t really my problem. But this whole privacy thing is. People are claiming the ability to record people discretely invades their privacy, and therefore people shouldn’t be allowed to do it! Cry me a river.

First off, you’re already being recorded. Ever been inside a store? They have security cameras and stuff. Ever been outside? People are probably (inadvertently, I’ll get to this later) already recording you with their phones.

But, I can see them doing that!

Probably not. That you notice every person in your surroundings, and their phones, is highly unlikely in most circumstances. It doesn’t matter anyway.

Nobody cares about you. Seriously.

Unless you’re doing something that you probably have no business doing in public anyway, nobody cares about you. You’re narcissistic, schizophrenic, or both, to think that you’re some kind of celebrity and everyone is out to maliciously record you. Anyone out recording with these is probably just recording their surroundings in general. And even if you were, hypothetically, some celebrity and the object of someone’s recordings, it doesn’t matter.

There’s no such thing as privacy in public.

No, really. It’s paradoxical.The definition of public is “open to all persons.” The definition of private is “confined to or intended only for the persons immediately concerned; confidential.” (Source: Dictionary.com) If you’re in public, and therefore in a position to be recorded, you have no privacy (neither in practice, nor as some sort of idealized or legal right). You’re incredibly self-entitled to think otherwise. Get over yourself. If you want privacy, never leave your house. You have a legal and practical right to privacy there. You’ll take it and you’ll be happy with it.

In closing, if you don’t want Google Glass, that’s fine. I probably can’t convince you otherwise, nor do I need to. If you think I look like a dork wearing them, okay. I don’t really care. If you think I’m violating some hypothetical right to privacy that you have in public, nope. By definition, you have no privacy in public. Deal with it. I’ll be rocking a pair of these on day one of their official release (hopefully later this year), and look forward to reviewing them. =D