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Don't Forget: NBA Live 07 online Sunday!

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This is really more of a reminder to myself than the rest of you, but you could all probably use a reminder!

This Sunday, there's a concerted effort going on to get 1,000 people online in NBA Live 07 for the Xbox 360. You get achievement points if you're online when that many people are playing, and due in part, at least, to that game's relative ass-ness, there's never that many people online naturally, so consider this a call to action!

Sunday! Noon Pacific time! Get online with NBA Live 07 and get 100 points!

Until It Happens To You

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You never realize just how hilarious the whole "the airline lost my luggage" thing is until you're in Vegas without a change of clothes, your cell phone, or even your car keys. Let's see how this goes. I'm sensing a rushed shopping spree at the Adidas store coming on within the next 24 hours. But how many track suits will it take to start my car when I get home?

--
Jeff Gerstmann
Editorial Director
GameSpot

A Noble Effort, Indeed

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The Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 07 has an achievement for "be online when there are a thousand people online." The only problem is that, since NBA Live 07 ain't so hot, that doesn't seem to happen very often. Or at all. I came across this noble cause over on xbox360achievements.org:

We here at X360A are pushing to get 1000 people online at the same time to get the cunningly named Online With 1,000 People achievement, worth 100 gamerscore.

Yes we know it has been attempted before, and yes we know it failed. That was due to the short time frame in which was allowed for people to find out and the fact that this site wasnt involved in organising it of course!!

This is why we have given almost a months notice- so go forth and spread the word!!

The time we are looking at (on Sunday 25th February) is 8PM GMT (England).

So:

8PM GMT
9PM Central Europe
3PM New York (Eastern USA)
Midday California (Western USA)

We have been informed by EA Sports direct that you do not need to be playing a game, but you can just be online listerning to the ESPN radio service. Last time, EA recorded 917 users on their servers- so close, but yet so far!!

We're going to manage it this time tho, we just need help from you guys to spread the word around as many places as possible, to get as many people as possible. The odds are, this will only ever happen once. Be a part of it .

So I just wanted to spread the word. Mark your calendars! Contact Gamefly! Borrow a copy from a friend, if you must. But don't, like, buy the game for this. That'd just be crazy. Like Rakim, you absolutely must know the ledge.

[UPDATE] achieve360points.com is attempting to rally players for a similar event on the 10th, so you've got two chances!

http://www.achieve360points.com/updates/482/

Achievement Point Policy Update

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Microsoft's "BIGVIP" posted the company's new policies for achievement points in Xbox 360 games yesterday, and they sound like smart changes to the system. Click over to read the full thing, but here's a quick break down of the stuff that I think is pretty cool.

- All games will have 1,000 points. Some games may still ship with a lower number than that, but any content that is released that also adds achievements must be free.

- Games can go over the 1,000 point limit with paid content. Up to 250 points can be added through premium content downloads.

- Xbox Live Arcade releases are still locked at 200, through premium content can add another 50 points.

This means that the downloads that'll bring Crackdown from a 900 point game up to the full thousand will be free. Good to hear. Not that I'm close to getting all 900 of those points yet... I guess I'd better get back to blowing up dudes and cars and... dudes in cars.

Cleaning Up

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So to follow-up on my last entry, my upgrade install of Vista took. So I'm now running the next-generation of awesomitude on my home machine. The only real problem is that it's sort of broken.

I did an upgrade install, knowing that it would probably lead to a somewhat-broken install, but I really wanted to see if Microsoft had cleaned up its act a bit and finally provided an OS that can upgrade cleanly. It hasn't. Here's a brief list of the issues I've experienced so far along with a few things I dislike:

- Memory leaks - iTunes likes to crash after playing for less than two hours.

- File copy actions (and file downloads, which download to a temp location and then copy over to where you set them to download) occasionally fail.

- Audio latency is off the charts, and all audio apps and VST instruments appear to take way more CPU power than they did before. Adobe Audition 2.0 appears to be entirely incompatible with Vista, crashing upon load.

- When I activate the Windows Live OneCare firewall, almost all DNS lookups fail. (though Microsoft support e-mailed me back a solution for this one very quickly, I just haven't had time to try it yet)

- Attempting to shut down or reboot the machine causes the machine to sit on the "shutting down" screen for about 20 minutes, at which point it crashes and reboots.

- The usual assortment of random application crashes and sluggish behavior that you'd expect from an aged Windows install.

- Windows Vista defaults to no fewer than three different methods of task switching: alt-tab is the standard (but slightly prettier) flat task switcher, Winkey+tab is the crazy 3D flip mode task switcher, and the middle mouse button brings up the instant viewer, which displays all tasks on the screen at once and lets you click on the window you want.

So, other than that stuff, I actually really like Vista. It's slick and seems like it'll be easier to find your programs and get them running once I get used to the ins and outs of its design. I really like the idea of the sidebar, though I haven't found any gadgets for it that I'd actually want to use. The games window is well-designed and really neat. Each Games for Windows game you install will have a number associated with it that's meant to tell you what the system requirements are. My computer, for example, is a 4.2--my 3Ghz CPU is dragging my overall number down, because most of my other stuff is closer to 5.0. If this numbering system catches on, we'll probably add it to the site in the system requirements section.

This weekend, I'll start backing up even more of my stuff for a clean install. I imagine that'll fix most (but probably not all) of my problems.

The Best Thing I Can Say About Vista

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The rollback software that reverts your failed Vista installation back to XP is almost totally automatic and works perfectly, leaving behind only a few directories full of files on your C drive. Though I would have rather had a "let's pretend it didn't lock up and pick up where we left off with the install" option.

So I'm trying to perform an upgrade install, mostly because I'm curious to see if Microsoft has finally made an OS that can upgrade cleanly, and partially because I really don't feel like reinstalling everything I use. After spending an hour or so backing up files last night, just in case, I started the process.

Attempt 1) After 20 minutes of the installer running, downloading updates, and generally being sluggish, it pops up and says "oh, dude, you need to remove this random old USB storage device that you don't use anymore from your system." The external compatibility checker didn't have any problem with it at all.

So I don't use whatever the heck it was that conflicted (I think it was a PS2 memory card reader driver or something weird like that), so I removed it and...

Attempt 2) After two hours of the installer running, downloading updates, and generally being sluggish, it locked up during the final phase.

Attempt #3 is happening right now, though I'm not home to watch its progress. I expect that it will lock up in the same spot. At that point, I'll have to do a clean install tonight, I guess.

The REAL problem with mashups...

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I mean, aside from the part where mashups are pretty much done.

It's the lyrics. Since many rap acapellas are only released for radio DJs, they're usually the clean "radio" version of the song. And those are just stupid. So that's why every single mashup you hear with Gold Digger in it is talking about how he ain't no "broke, broke." Dumb.

And now you know!

Clean versions used to be exciting in some weird way. Like 2 Live Crew's "As Clean As They Wanna Be." So many lyrics had to be changed that the songs were really different, making it worth listening to, even if only to hear how they managed to clean up some of those songs. Often bad, but usually hilarious.

Things I Did Today

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OK, I guess it's more of a "thing" than "things."

I reinstalled Unreal Tournament 2004. After playing UT3 for one 20 minute round at a Midway event on Thursday night, I immediately started fiending for more.

But UT2004 isn't going to cut it forever. Epic! Hurry!

(And while you're hurrying, take time out to put achievements in the PC release so I don't need to muck around with the console versions! Which will probably be rad in their own special way, but let's just come out and say it. UT is a PC game, meant to be played with a mouse and keyboard!)