Connect360 for Mac OS X

Mac OS X streaming support may never officially live inside Xbox 360 consoles, but that doesn’t mean Mac owners must go without. The same smart team behind PSP media conversion app PSPWare is back with MP3 and JPG streaming solution Connect360. The app automatically indexes all MP3s in your iTunes library and JPG photos in iPhoto, making them available to any Xbox 360 over a wired or Airport network. With Connect360 active on your Mac, Xbox 360 consoles will automatically detect your Mac and your Mac will detect your Xbox 360. An Access Control List provides control over which Xbox 360 gets access to your Mac, so no need to worry about streaming tunes to the neighbors. While this isn’t quite as full featured as the Windows Media Connect experience or the Media Center Edition experience, it’s certainly cheaper than buying a PC. [Mac OS X $10.00]

Xbox 360 Wireless Networking

There’s some confusion around the appropriate steps to take in adding an Xbox 360 to a home network with optimal results. In an ideal universe, connecting an Xbox 360 with a wired connection is the best course of action. Wired connections generally guarantee close to 100Mbps per machine across a local area network. Wireless networking is significantly less reliable, with things like cordless phones and microwave ovens operating on the same frequency as the 802.11b and 802.11g standards.
802.11a is the standard Microsoft is recommending, but it’s not necessary. My own home network is segmented with an Xbox 360 on one 802.11g access point and all other wireless devices are on a second 802.11g access point. My wired Media Center successfully streams the 1080p HD content available from Microsoft’s WMV HD Showcase without any hiccups.
If you currently live in an 802.11b wireless network world, it’s definitely time to upgrade. 802.11b results in lousy streaming of audio using Windows Media Connect and most of the existing hardware won’t support the WPA security standard you should be using to protect your network. If you live in a house like mine, with one portable machine stuck with onboard 802.11b, you definitely want to segment your 802.11b traffic from the Xbox 360 802.11g traffic to prevent a slowdown in gaming or streaming performance.
Read on for tips on segmenting your wireless network

Xbox 360 Networking Tips

When you finally track down an Xbox 360 console, one of the key aspects of a great gaming experience is networking. If your network isn’t optimized for your Xbox 360, game play will suffer. From cordless phones running interference to keeping network traffic separated to protecting yourself with the right security measures, you need to make sure your network settings are optimized. The right settings make it easier to stream video and audio, in addition to playing head-to-head on Xbox Live. You don’t necessarily need to throw out your existing networking hardware, but there are a number of changes you will want to make if you already have a home network. In the course of my regular column for InformIT.com, I compiled a hit list of suggestions for making sure your connection doesn’t drop at a crucial moment in this handful of Xbox 360 Networking Tips.

Xbox Live for MSN Spaces

After seeing a set of newly announced Xbox Live features for MSN Spaces, I decided to sign up for an account and see how it works. The new features include gamer tag integration, recent games played listing and 5 themes in the Music and Entertainment section loosely based on Xbox Live themes. You can check out a theme and gamer features in my newly created sync2play MSN Spaces account. So far, the experience is more frustrating than anything because the upgrade including the Xbox features wasn’t as smooth as some might hope. BetaNews is reporting a number of hiccups during this transition. I’m getting frequent timeouts and error messages during the config process, which is highly frustrating. The end result is full integration with all available Xbox Live features. I’d love to see the Xbox team release some similar modules for global use in Blogger, MySpace.com and TypePad, but I suppose the competitive advantage for MSN Spaces makes sense.

Giving Away My Xbox 360

I started working with Chris Pirillo at Lockergnome during the summer of 2000 when the company was still based in an Iowa basement. This was before Chris became host of TechTV’s Call For Help and launched Gnomedex as one of the most important annual tech gatherings on the planet. On 15 January 2001, Lockergnome’s second daily newsletter, Lockergnome Digital Media, launched with writings from both myself and Adam Finley (who currently writes for Weblogs, Inc’s Ad Jab). While Digital Media was officially an email newsletter, it was unofficially blogging before anyone really paid attention to blogging. We posted 5 or 6 new things every day and frequently crashed the server’s of multimedia freeware apps by sending too much traffic. Five years later, I’m still doing the same thing, although my writing has improved and my tutorials cover a broad range of media topics.
While I’m certain I’d be doing something online today, I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I hadn’t talked Chris Pirillo into taking a chance on my writing. I’ve always been something of a media hacker, figuring out how to get audio gear to do stuff it wasn’t officially designed to do. I’m a multimedia enthusiast to the extreme. Chris and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything, but I’m forever thankful that he gave me my “big break”.
To celebrate five years of online publishing, I’m giving away my brand new (never opened) Xbox 360. I could sell it on eBay for more than I paid to get it, but I’d rather give it away. As I mentioned earlier, the first issue of the email newsletter currently known as Jake Ludington’s Digital Lifestyle came into digital being in January 2001. Five years later, I’m writing about how to hack your digital audio, digital movies and consumer electronic gadgets on a full-time basis, while sitting in my home office sipping coffee in tradeshow t-shirts and pajama pants avoiding the corporate rat race. In celebration of this five year milestone, I’m giving away an Xbox 360 Core System bundled with a 12-month Xbox Live Gold Subscription to one lucky individual.
I already have the Xbox 360 in my possession, so there’s no camping out in line waiting for it to become available. I’m even paying shipping to get the game console from my doorstep to yours.
So how can you get the Xbox 360? Simple. Tell your audience about me. Blog about me. Blog about a problem I helped you solve. Call me names in your public forum, if it helps your ego. On 1 February 2006, I’ll assess the server stats for jakeludington.com. If your site referred the most visitors based on my stats you get the Xbox 360. I’ll post a daily top 20 list of the leading sites and number of total referrals each day starting on 10 January 2006 and continuing with daily updates thru 31 January 2006. If you place second, third, fourth or fifth, you’ll receive a $50 gift certificate from Amazon.com.
For complete details, check out the Xbox 360 Giveaway page, where I layout some simple rules and where the stats will begin appearing on 10 January 2006.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Xbox 360

Over at InformIT.com, where I write weekly updates for the Digital Lifestyle Reference Guide, I posted a hit list of 10 things you might not know about Xbox 360, ranging from compatible games from the previous list to compatible peripherals, to alternate ways to connect your PC and Xbox 360 for the ultimate home entertainment experience. If you aren’t a gamer, don’t count the Xbox 360 out of your house just yet. I’m a binge gamer, as in I don’t game for months and then I’ll go on a gaming binge where I’ll do nothing but game for 2 days straight, so gaming isn’t a big part of my life. There are plenty of reasons everyone will want an Xbox 360 in their home, the same way everyone started thinking about having a computer at home back in 1994 when the Internet first hit the public consciousness. This hit list of 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Xbox 360 is part practical advice and part list of reasons you should stand in line at Best Buy to get one whether you ever purchase a gaming title or not.