How to get Windows Live Installer to work behind a firewall and proxy

If you are like me and obsessed about security, then you might find that your PC is sitting behind a firewall with no direct outbound web access. That is other than through an proxy server of some sorts like the Linux based squid.

What happens is the Window Live Installer (WLInstaller.exe) searches your computer for installed Windows Live programs and then fails to check for and download the new versions. Why? Because it ignores the default proxy settings you’ve configured under Internet Explorer. To solve it simply execute proxycfg -u to import proxy settings from current user’s Microsoft Internet Explorer manual settings and try the installer again.

[tags]Windows Live Installer,Windows Live,howto[/tags]

Silverlight 2 with Brad Abrams

Brad Abrams Yes you heard it here first! Brad Abrams, the man, the legend, is coming to South Africa and is taking time out of his busy schedule for SA Developer .NET events in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Before you ask how I can speak so highly of the man, take a look at his bio and you’ll realise that he isn’t some newbie developer at Microsoft Corp, he is one of the geeks that make us geeks happy with new technology:

Brad Abrams was a founding member of both the Common Language Runtime, and .NET Framework teams at Microsoft Corporation where he is currently the Group Program Manager for the UI Framework and Services team which is responsible for delivering the developer platform that spans both clients and web based applications as well as the common services that are available to all applications. Specific technologies owned by this team include ASP.NET, parts of Silverlight, and Windows Forms.

Brad has been designing parts of the .NET Framework since 1998 when he started his framework design career building the BCL (Base Class Library). Brad was also the lead editor on the Common Language Specification (CLS), the .NET Framework Design Guidelines and the libraries in the ECMA\ISO CLI Standard.

Brad co-authored Programming in the .NET Environment, and was editor on .NET Framework Standard Library Annotated Reference Vol1 and Vol2 and the Framework Design Guidelines.

Brad graduated from North Carolina State University in 1997 with a BS in Computer Science. Find recent musings from Brad on his blog at: http://blogs.msdn.com/BradA/

So take a moment and register for an event:

So what are you waiting for? Remember, the events are FREE to attend so tell your friends about it, register and we’ll see you there.

[tags]SA Developer .NET,Brad Abrams,event,Silverlight,Silverlight 2[/tags]

Devs4Devs

Microsoft is hosting a Saturday morning event for speakers in the Gauteng region to come and show what they are passionate about. Currently there are 5 out of 10 speaker slots filled, so why not put your name down and present something you’re passionate about for a mere 20 minute slot.

Join us for a jam-packed morning of developer technical sessions.  We’ve invited community developer presenters to come present on their favourite topics.  It’s going to be to the point, concise, each presentation limited to 20 minutes.  It will be a great learning experience for all of us!

Some of the topics we’ll have presentations on, include “Introduction to Microsoft Sync Framework”, “Liberating Synchronous Processes from the Tyranny of Timeouts”, “WPF Data Binding Explained!” and more.  View an updated list of presenters and topics – http://dotnet.org.za/eben/archive/2008/05/19/devs4devs-saturday-7-june-2008.aspx.

Space is going to be limited so make sure you book your seat early to avoid disappointment.

[tags]Microsoft,event,community[/tags]

My thoughts on Xbox LIVE Arcade titles being delisted

Xbox LIVE - Don't remove Arcade titles If you’ve been following the latest news out of Microsoft you may have noticed the article with Marc Whitten where he mentions that certain under performing Xbox LIVE Arcade titles are going to be delisted from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Chris Paladino was quick to clarify some of the community questions about it in his post over here. reassuring people that they will still be able to download the title from their Account Management->Download History section of their Xbox 360 Dashboard.

I can understand the need to do this. There are 130 Xbox LIVE Arcade titles currently available on Xbox LIVE UK and it can really make it difficult to see which titles are good and which aren’t. But why remove the under performing titles? There is already an Xbox LIVE Marketplace section titled Arcade Hits but it only has 7 titles in it. Why not just create more means by which the content can be categorised?

One great idea is to allow users to see more meta data about the title. Its mentioned that titles with less than 65 on Metacritic and a bunch of other sales criteria are likely to be de-listed. Why not expose that information about the title in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace? I can just see it now, it’d be a wicked mash-up of Xbox LIVE Marketplace content and external ratings. Heck, why not allow respected gaming sites to offer rating services and allow the gamers to choose which ratings providers they’d like to see? And yes, the ratings providers should not be allowed to add free text to the listing, just a range of scores about the graphics, sound, gameplay and overall as most of them currently do anyway.

And while we’re at it, allow me to rate the games I play for all to see and let only my friends and mature users see my comments about the title.

Its awesome to see the growth in Xbox LIVE Marketplace content but I honestly believe its time for simpler and more powerful ways of navigating and finding the content I want out of all the other content. Don’t take the old content away, I might still want to try that out!

[tags]Xbox LIVE Marketplace,XBLA,Xbox LIVE Arcade,rant[/tags]

I’m the Rosetta@home user of the day

Rosetta@home I just got an email notification from the Rosetta@home project that I’ve been featured as the user of the day.

Congratulations!
You’ve been chosen as the Rosetta@home user of the day!
       Your profile will be featured on the Rosetta@home website for the next 24 hours.

Its just a pity that I haven’t really been able to commit CPU cycles to the project lately. Why? Well my work PC is suffering and needs a reinstall and my home PC is not running on ADSL and I’ve been too lazy to re-enable the BOINC to run while on 3G.

image

If you decide to join up I’d recommend joining team South Africa.

[tags]Rosetta@home[/tags]

Grand Theft Auto launch follow-up

I know, its been over a week now and I still haven’t posted the pictures on the web from the launch event. My bad!

The event was very well attended, unlike some previous attempts. MooDy and the team at ZAPS with the help I believe from Megarom had done an awesome job in setting up some consoles outside the store for people to play GTA IV. I heard something about some guys having played almost the whole day – talk about liking the game. I don’t think I could play for a full day standing in front of one of the kiosks machines, its just too uncomfortable.

Just after midnight the queue was out the door and around the corner already. People really seemed to want to get hold of their copies of GTA IV.

Well here are a few choice picks:

 The AnimeWorX guys getting into the swing. Proud new GTA IV owner. He hobbled in for a copy.

You can find the rest of them over here.

Xbox 360 120GB Hard Drive transfer attempt

Xbox 360 120GB Hard Drive Transfer Kit While I was at the Microsoft 2008 Global MVP Summit in Seattle during April I was able to visit the Microsoft Company Store. I happened to pickup a shiny new 120GB Xbox 360 Hard Drive while I was there.

Microsoft were really clever when they packaged the 120GB hard drive accessory as they include a USB data transfer cable that hooks up to back USB port of the console and clips onto the 120GB hard drive SATA connector. This allows for the software to move all content (except movie rentals) to your new hard drive albeit only in one direction. So you can’t downgrade your drives at a later stage. They also include a DVD titled “Xbox 360 Hard Drive Transfer” in the kit which does the actual work.

So tonight I decided would be a good time to do the transfer as Eskom aren’t planning on any electricity load shedding. Also you have to know that the 120GB hard drive content will be erased when you do the transfer, so make sure you check out all the content before doing the data migration.

I followed the instructions and connected the 120GB drive up to the back USB port on my console, turned my console on and inserted the software DVD. This is what I saw:

image 

Yes, can you freaking believe it! They have region locked the transfer software. Unfortunately its after hours so I can’t contact the local support line. I’ve tried searching for a solution and it seems I need to get a DVD for PAL consoles as it seems there are 3 versions as there are games, namely NTSC (USA), NTSC (Japan) and PAL. Is it too much to ask that the fact that its region locked appear somewhere on the product packaging at least?

I’m hoping the solution will be a simple Xbox LIVE code I can redeem to download the transfer software to my hard drive or even a memory unit.

[tags]Xbox 360,rant[/tags]

Anyone else excited for Too Human?

Too Human

The Gamerscoreblog team are going to be having a chat with Denis Dyack about the upcoming Xbox 360 title Too Human. Here is what Chris Paladino has to say about it:

If you were to stop me on the street and ask what my favorite game of all time is, I’d reply “Diablo 2 with the Lord of Destruction expansion“.  You’d then ask “I never played that game, are you old?”

I’m pretty excited about our upcoming game Too Human which has been described as similar to Diablo 2, or Titan Quest.  The game has classes, random loot, and skill trees.  The older gamers out there may read this and think Moria, NetHack, or Rogue.

We will have the opportunity to speak with Denis Dyack about Too Human very soon.  Rather than ask questions that I think are interesting, we’d like to ask questions that you think are interesting.

So take a moment and drop some comments on his blog post over here.

In the meantime local community member Havok ZA has posted some IGN screenshots of the game over on the Xbox 360 South African forum here, I’ve linked them below for your viewing pleasure.

image image image image

[tags]Xbox 360,Too Human[/tags]

Viking: Battle for Asgard Review

Viking: Battle for AsgardSeldom do I get a game for review that I really enjoy right from the start, Viking: Battle for Asgard is one of those games. The opening cinematic sets the tone for the entire game and I was immediately drawn into the world of the Vikings and was set for an adventure.

Hel, goddess of death, orders her merciless army of undead soldiers to enslave mankind and destroy Asgard, the realm of the gods. As Skarin, last hope of the Vikings, control every vicious blow of your sword and axe and drench the battlefield with the blood of your foes.

Viking: Battle for Asgard is a single player only action adventure game that is set in the time of, you guessed it, the Vikings. It carries an 18 age restriction due to the strong bloody violence.

Viking: Battle for Asgard

Initial impressions of the game aside, I got the hang of the game quite quickly although there are no starting tutorials or guides to help you. By wandering around you just happen to see characters with a question mark above their heads and when you approach it turns into the B button which initiates a dialog with the character in question. The subtitles system during in-game character dialogs is a bit clumsy as the voice over isn’t synchronised with the subtitles and requires the user to press the A button all the time. I suppose one good thing about that is when you prefer to read fast and skip ahead. Although this is not always the case, as pressing A during the cinematic characters dialogs results in skipping of the dialog. Never fear, all important dialogs are preserved in your journal which is accessible by hitting the Back key and navigating using the LB and RB buttons.

Action packed fight sequencesBeautiful Viking scenery

The graphics in the game are surreal and lively however I am not too excited about the 3rd person camera which tends to stay where you left it, which can be a good thing, but can also be an irritation during combat scenes. Thankfully the camera is easily adjusted with the right stick.

If you enjoyed playing Overlord as much as I did, then I’m pretty sure you’ll like Viking: Battle for Asgard. Its available for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. A quick price shop reveals the following online pricing:

[tags]Viking,Xbox 360,review[/tags]

Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel to be released in June

Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel After months of waiting for the South African release date to be announced, I can finally confirm that the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel accessory should be appearing in retailers in June 2008, possibly even at the end of May 2008. The expected retail price is set at R1299 which may seem a bit steep considering the US price is $99 (roughly R745 at today’s rate), its going to be awesome to finally have access to the best racing wheel for the Xbox 360 console.

So if you are a fan of games like Forza Motorsport 2, DiRT, Project Gotham Racing 4, Need for Speed Carbon or Test Drive Unlimited then you could be racing like a pro with the awesome force feedback wheel.

[tags]Xbox 360,hardware,accessories,release[/tags]