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Tycho / on Fri, Dec 9 2011 at 1:00 am

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Ultimate Battle Lizard

Last night was the Child’s Play Charity Dinner & Auction, which is always a blast, and has the additional benefit of being a generosity powerhouse.  The total was at 1.53 million this year when we left for the Meydenbauer Center, and by the time I got home the dinner had raised three hundred and fifty thousand more.

I stopped knowing how precisely to thank people for their support of Child’s Play before the first drive was even over, and I haven’t gotten much better in the years that followed.  Suffice it to say that I have had to upgrade my general assessment of people more than once.  “Thank you” doesn’t seem quite up to the task.

As happens with frightful regularity, the entire year ran right by us.  Last year’s winner of “An Appearance In The Strip” - Captain Aaron Freed - loved what we had done previously for Wil Shipley, and demanded similar treatment.  Well, we weren’t going to deny him.  Especially given the circumstances.

The way things normally go in my mental process is that I will make a claim, and then I will feel bad about making a claim because who am I really, and I will go back to verify the original claim in a miasma of guilt.  In this case, I’m still right: the UI conception of the Xbox is now substantially friendlier to Kinect while injecting tremendous ambiguities for those vile, subterranean mutants still addicted to the use of primitive controllers.

Between rigorously metered “screen time” for my larvae and British Mysteries watched in the evening with my absolute equal, Netflix gets used on the daily.  That’s why I keep coming back to this:  for my house and three fourths of everyone in it, the Xbox is a Netflix Machine.  You’ll see how you’ve actually lost functionality when you use it; make the mistake of lingering too long on any item, and the already cluttered mess crowds in further.  I love “Metro,” what Microsoft calls their “Design Language.”  I’m in love with Gabe’s phone, and in those places where Metro actually manifests in a clean, functional dash I welcome it.  But they’re not even following their own playbook on this one: it countermands every mote of their supposed philosophy so completely that you wonder who actually made it.

The proliferation of accurate, powerful voice commands in the user interface (as opposed to using my hand to select a menu so I can select a menu so I can select another menu) is the good part of the update that I can cling to and say “this, this.”  Voice commands are an every day thing in my house, we want that.  But what they’ve done here is strange, and this is bad; that they don’t seem to understand it’s strange is an order of magnitude worse.

(CW)TB out.

a ha’penny will do


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