Sep 28 2009

Hot Swap Xbox Mod

I’ve been meaning to load XBMC on my xbox for awhile and use it for a media player in the bedroom but I never got around to it because all the instructional material that I had read said I would have to scour used game stores for a very specific version of MechAssualt or one of the other games that allow you to softmod the original xbox. Turns out I didn’t have to. I did some reading and found a way to mod my original Xbox without having to purchase anything at all. The technique is called hot swapping and it involves attaching the Xbox hard drive to a pc and overwriting the dashboard.

The only real problem with this method of modding the original Xbox is that the console’s drive is normally locked. If you just take the drive out of the Xbox and hook it up to your PC then the drive will not work. That is why it needs to be swapped when hot (powered up). When the Xbox is in the dashboard or running a game then the drive becomes unlocked. When I swapped my drive I was in the middle of a Chessmaster game. Apparently this can be dangerous to both the PC and the Xbox so it’s recommended to either jumper the two cases together or supply the Xbox drive with power from your PC’s power supply.

The entire process was surprisingly easy and once I had finished reading every thread I could find on the topic I had my Xbox streaming family guy with XBMC in about an hour or so. The only down side so far is that the fans in the Xbox seem to be on full output always and it’s really loud but apparently there is a fix for that.

Obviously I had to open up both the Xbox and my PC. There’s a very descriptive tutorial on how to open the Xbox at this Xbox site. I can’t really say that I didn’t buy anything because I did end up purchasing a #20 Torx Screwdriver. I only had to pop off the cover of the Xbox and take the harddrive section out. I did not remove the drive from it’s plastic enclosure. With the PC, I disconnected all drives and left only one DVD-ROM connected as the secondary master.

It was tedious to get the Xbox and PC close enough together to connect the power cable from the PC to the Xbox drive while having the Xbox drive still connected to the Xbox IDE cable but once it was close enough I had more than enough room to attach the master IDE cable from the PC to the Xbox drive when it was time to swap. Here’s a pic of my Xbox connected to one of my old computers:

Xbox Hard Drive Connected to PC

As far as software and explicit instructional material go I loosely followed this Xbox hotswap guide. I used version 3.1 of Ndure as opposed to 3.0 like the guide suggests and the options were a little different but still pretty straightforward. I had a problem here where I got banned for the xbins IRC channel and couldn’t rejoin but I used a web based efnet client and managed to get back in. I also was unable to get any software from the xbins server unless I used FlashFXP. Other FTP clients wouldn’t let me download anything.

By default, after the installation, the new dashboard is UNLEASHX. The sounds are hideous and it looks really bad but it gave me ftp access and seeing it meant that I didn’t break anything. After putting everything back together the first thing I did was install XBMC.

UNLEASHX Xbox Dashboard


May 24 2009

Stream Video To The Iphone Using Tversity

Stream Video to Iphone with Tversity

After using Tversity for quite some time to stream my media to my Xbox 360 over my local network, I decided I wanted the same functionality on my iphone.
This is how I did it:

Logged on to my wifi with my iphone and pointed safari to: which is the ip address of my tversity windows server.
41952 is the port that the tversity mediaserver listens on.

I was then shown a nice and easy to navigate web interface to browse through all my folders.

After locating a basic xvid tv show I selected “Play in Media Player”.

The iphone loaded the media player and seemed like it was going to load the movie but then this error popped up.
“This movie format is not supported”.

I searched and searched for a solution to this but found none so I transcoded a video file using one of the many ipod touch video converter programs and added it to my media in tversity.

When I browsed to this file in Tversity and clicked play it worked.
It’s kinda a pain that Tversity can’t handle converting these files on the fly but it’s still useful to watch videos on my mobile


May 5 2009

Seven Arrested After Protesting Army Video Game Recruiting Center

GamePolitics writes “Seven anti-war protesters were arrested in Philadelphia on Saturday during a protest rally and march which targeted the Army Experience Center, a high-tech recruitment center which uses PC and Xbox games and simulations to attract potential recruits. GamePolitics was on hand to cover the protest, and took video of the arrests. A local news station also reported on the rally, and the Peace Action Network released a statement saying, “In its desperate approach to meet recruiting numbers, the military is teaching the wrong values to teenagers. Sugarcoating combat experience with virtual war is a dishonor to those with real war experience.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


May 4 2009

Apple Snags Former Xbox Exec

nandemoari sends along word that Apple has picked up Richard Teversham, a senior Executive from Microsoft’s European Xbox operations, ending his 15 years of service to Redmond. Some press accounts assume that Teversham’s role may lie in beefing up the games scene on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Forbes goes farther, opining that Apple “appears to be preparing an all-out assault on the handheld gaming market.” Other reporting associates the hire with Apple’s recent buildout of chip-design expertise.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Apr 26 2009

Taking Gaming To the Next Billion Players

Hugh Pickens writes “June marks the launch across Brazil of Zeebo, a console that aims to tap an enormous new market for videogaming for the billion-strong, emerging middle classes of such countries as Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and China. Zeebo uses the same Qualcomm chipsets contained in high-end smartphones, together with 1GB of flash memory, three USB slots and a proprietary dual analogue gamepad. It plugs into a TV and outputs at a 640 x 480 pixel resolution. ‘The key thing is we’re using off-the-shelf components,’ says Mike Yuen, director of the gaming group at Qualcomm. This approach means that, while Zeebo can be priced appropriately for its markets — it will launch at US 9 in Brazil compared to around US 0 (plus another US for a mod chip to play pirated games) for a PlayStation 2 in the region — and next year the company plans to drop the price of the console to 9. But the most important part of the Zeebo ecosystem is its wireless digital distribution that gets around the low penetration of wired broadband in many of these countries, negates the cost of dealing with packaged retail goods, and removes the risk of piracy, with the games priced at about locked to the consoles they’re downloaded to. Zeebo is not meant to directly compete with powerful devices like Sony’s PlayStation 3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, or the Wii. ‘In Latin America, where there’s a strong gaming culture, that’s what we’ll be, but in India and China we can be more educational or lifestyle-oriented,’ says Yuen. One Indian gaming blog predicts Zeebo will struggle, in part due to the cultural reluctance toward digital distribution and also the lack of piratable games.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Apr 21 2009

Bethesda Announces New Fallout Game For 2010

On Monday Bethesda announced a new title in the popular Fallout series called New Vegas, set for release sometime in 2010. It’s planned for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. They said it wasn’t a sequel to the highly-acclaimed Fallout 3, but rather a brand new game set in the same universe, though they confirmed that it will be similar in style to Fallout 3. The new game will be developed by Obsidian Entertainment, a studio containing members of the original Fallout team, which Bethesda’s Pete Hines discussed in an interview with Shacknews. The Fallout series also made headlines earlier this week when Bethesda trademarked the name for TV and film.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Apr 17 2009

Unmanned Military Helicopter – Vigilante 502 Robo-Sniper

One shot, one kill, zero pilot. That’s the goal of the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System, a new unmanned helicopter that’s controlled with an adapted Xbox 360 controller.


Mar 26 2009

Blockbuster OnDemand Comes To TiVo

MojoKid writes “Netflix isn’t the only company that sees that streaming is the future of movie rental distribution. Blockbuster, which always seems to be playing catch-up with Netflix, will start making its on-demand rental and purchase content available on TiVo DVRs. Blockbuster OnDemand has only been available as a streaming service on Windows PCs or streaming to TVs via the 2Wire MediaPoint device. Meanwhile, Netflix streaming is available on far more platforms, such as on Windows and Mac computers, TiVo, the Roku Digital Video Player, LG and Samsung Blu-ray players, the Xbox 360, as well as a number of video portal software applications, like Boxee and ZeeVee’s Zinc. Blockbuster’s partnership with TiVo is yet another indication of the coming revolution of on-demand media available to TVs — that is, if the revolution hasn’t already started.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Mar 24 2009

Vuze Integrates with iTunes, Xbox 360 and PS3

Vuze, the popular BitTorrent client formerly known as Azureus, has received a major update which allows users to automatically convert and play downloaded videos on the iPhone, iPod, Xbox 360 and the PS3. “Now playing, on all your screens” is Vuze’s new tagline.


Mar 23 2009

Increase In Xbox 360 E74 Problems

Xbm360 writes “According to data collected by Joystiq as well as Google Trends, there’s been a steady rise in reports and discussion of the so-called E74 error on Xbox 360 consoles since August of last year. The E74 error is related to video problems caused by either a faulty AV connector or, more often, a loosened ANA/HANA scaling chip. This is not the first time the Xbox 360 has experienced technical issues; in recent years many people have complained about scratched discs and over-heating consoles — the ‘red ring of death.'”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.