Microsoft Wireless Arc Mouse folds up, makes you look cool

via Engadget by Joshua Fruhlinger on 7/12/08
Microsoft Arc Mouse

Microsoft has had its share hits and misses as far as product design goes, but this Arc Mouse due this winter looks to be a slick little input device. Wireless and collapsible, the Arc Mouse promises to combine both portability and style for those of you on the “fashion edge” (their words, not ours). Hyperboles aside, this $59.95 optical jobby seems to be the real thing, and comes in both red and black. Look for it for the holiday season littering holiday gift guides.

1st Gen vs 2nd Gen Xbox 360 & DVD Up Scaling (Component vs HDMI)

I have a 1st Generation Xbox 360 which i purchase about a year and a half ago. I connect to my HD-LCD TV via component cables at a resolution of 1080i. I also have a HD-DVD Player which i recently got for free (well $5) at a garage sale on my street.
Everything is working wonderful. Both my Xbox and my HD-DVD plays back regular DVD at a resolution of 480p.

HOWEVER, my roommate just purchased a 2nd generation Xbox 360 (core system), (for less then what i paid for mine btw), which came with an HDMI port. When we played a regular DVD movie via his Xbox 360, the system automatically up-scaled to 1080p (his TV is 1080p). How very angry i was.

I called Xbox Support and after a hour and half conversation, i was basically told that only Xbox 360’s with HDMI ports will up-covert regular DVD’s to 1080p. All 1st generation system does not have have ability because of the lack of a HDMI port.

When i asked about providing us, the early adopters of the Xbox 360 with a HDMI adaptor for our units so we can then use 1080p gaming as well as up-scale regular DVD movies, i was told one does not exist yet.

I was told if i wanted a system with a HDMI port i needed to sell my Xbox 360 and buy a new one that had a HDMI port on it.

I don’t know about you, but i find that kind of reply beyond &%&&$.

The bottom line here is that as a early adopter, i feel cheated that all these new units can not only plug into the HDMI port on my TV and get 1080p resolution but they can also up-scale DVD’s to 1080p. Which my Xbox cannot.

I am stuck now with an inferior Xbox 360, which upscales my regular DVD movies to 480p. Where is the fairness in that?

I don’t mind playing my games in 1080i, or even seeing my regular DVD’s in 1080i, but i want to have the same ability that all the Xbox 360’s have when playing back DVD’s with HDMI.

To up-scale to 1080p.

What do you think? – forum post

Contact Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

An Open Letter to Microsoft Legal Department (Xbox Legal Group)

Friday Consumerist Flickr Pool Finds

via Consumerist by Ben Popken on 5/2/08

Here are five special photos that readers added to The Consumerist Flickr Pool this week, chosen because they’re both neat and could possibly be used in a Consumerist post. Our Flickr Pool is the place where Consumerist readers go and upload photos for possible use in future Consumerist posts. Just be a registered Flickr user, go here, and click “Join Group?” up on the top right, and start hitting “send to group” on your individual photos you want to add to the pool.

Caption: “I hate WalMart.”

(Photo: big-film)

Caption: “out of 11 good/decent shots of the lightning storm I piled them on top of each other”
Comment: “evil descends upon the taco bell”

(Photo: .nutter)

(Photo: Crawfishpie)

Title: gas line sunset 2

(Photo: ennailuj)

Caption: “I had read about this toothpaste in the August issue of National Geographic, and wanted to try it. I thought it’d be easy to find, but after checking out about 10 places that sold toothpaste, I gave up. My aunt called National Geographic in Seoul to track it down and found the toothpaste at a place called Orga Whole Foods about 30 minutes away from metropolitan Seoul in Bundang (?). Bundang!

Charcoal has cleaning and odor-removing properties. That part’s great. The toothpaste left my mouth squeaky clean! Good stuff…until charcoal’s moisture sucking properties kick in. About five minutes after I brushed my teeth, my mouth was as dry as a desert and my lips were starting to chap. “

(Photo: La Mariposa)

Add your shots to The Consumerist Flickr pool, and perhaps they’ll get featured in a future story, or even highlighted in a Friday Consumerist Flickr Pool Finds post.

Microsoft Doesn’t Know Why You Can’t Access Any Of Your Saved Games

via Consumerist by Meg Marco on 2/28/08


Reader Brad took his XBOX Live Gamertag to a friend’s house. When he got home, he realized that he’d forgotten his memory card (with the Gamertag on it) at his friend’s place.

He used the “recovery” service to get the tag back, but when he got access to his tag he realized that he could no longer use any of his saved games.

That was about a month ago and Microsoft still has no solution for his problem. Frustrated with losing all the games he’s saved, Brad filed a complaint with the BBB.

Microsoft responded:

We are unable to comply with your request to provide a free Memory Unit. Accessories such as that may be purchased from a retail location.

Brad doesn’t want a free memory unit. He wants his saved games back.

Brad writes:

After using the account recovery service on my 360 to recover my gamertag after using it on a friends 360, I found that I could no longer access ANY of my saved games. I contacted 18004MYXBOX four times about this issue, each time, receiving the same script and run-around. I finally escalated the issue, and Jeff from the Xbox Live division called me back to discuss it. He acknowledged that there was an issue with their account recovery service, but that there was nothing they could do, and offered me no compensation. Unfortunately, MS decided to use their DRM system on the saved games as well. When my gamertag account became partially corrupted on their server, it no longer allowed linked to my saved games. And of course, MS does not know how to fix their own system.

Thank you for using the Better Business Bureau’s Online Complaint System.
Your complaint has been assigned case # *NUMBERDELETED*.
Correspondence regarding this complaint will be emailed to : *EMAILDELETED*
Please print a copy of this for your records.

Filed on : January 24 2008

Filed by :

Filed against :
1 Microsoft Way
Redmond WA 98052

Complaint Description:
When moving my Xbox Live! gamertag from a friends Xbox 360 console back to my own console, I lost the ability to access my saved games, even though they are still present on my 360’s hard drive. Moving the gamertag to play in different locations is how the Xbox Live! service is intended to be used, there is some error causing my gamertag to not recognize my saved games. This occured Thurday, January 17th. I placed calls to 1800MYXBOX on 3 separate occasions: January 18th, January 19th, and January 20th about this issue. Customer service did not offer any solutions which worked, and failed to put me in contact with someone who had expertise in the area. My 1800MYXBOX reference number regarding this issue is 1056102591. These saved games are my personal data, and represent 2 years of my time and effort. Microsoft’s Xbox live service, either intentionally or unintentionally, has caused damage to my gamertag and/or my personal saved game files. I have documented my issues and experience on the Xbox Forums here: . Other Xbox Live! and 360 uses have had identical or similar issues as shown by the following forum posts: , . I have been in contact with several other Live! users that have experienced the same problem. Their Live! gamertags are: ‘klamath xor’, ‘JigSaw XV’, ‘d3adpoetic’, and ‘XCALIBUR18’. ‘klamath xor’ has also filed a complaint with the BBB regarding this issue here:*NUMBERDELETED*.

Your Desired Resolution:
I would like Microsoft to acknowledge the problem and fix it, allowing me and the other affected to use their saved games again. If this is not technically possible, I would like Microsoft to prevent the issue from occurring in the future, and offer a formal apology. If that is not technically possible, I would like to be offered a full refund on my Xbox 360, Live! service, and all of my games and accessories. It is unacceptable for Microsoft to provide a game console/service that destroys users data, and I cannot support such a system/service.

Microsoft responded:

RE: Your complaint to the Better Business Bureau

Case Number: 22146246

Dear Brad,

A copy of your report filed with the Better Business Bureau of Oregon & Western Washington regarding your Xbox Video Game System has been forwarded to Microsoft.

Our records indicate, that we contacted you by phone on the 7th of January in regards to your Xbox console.

We are unable to comply with your request to provide a free Memory Unit. Accessories such as that may be purchased from a retail location.

Thank you for your continued support of Microsoft Xbox gaming platform.

If you have any further concerns regarding this issue, please contact 1-800-4MY-XBOX and use ticket number: 1053326815. Otherwise we will consider this issue closed.


Kevin Lamb
Xbox Customer Support
Microsoft Corporation

cc: Better Business Bureau of Oregon and Western Washington

Brad pointed us to a forum thread where he details the steps he took to recover his saved games, etc. You can read that here.

After recovering my gamertag I can no longer access my saved games!
[XBOX Forums]

Team Xtender announces component to VGA adapter box

Its multi-console-connecting component cable has yet to make it out of “preview mode,” but the folks at Team Xtender already seem to have another component-centered video game accessory in the bag, now showing off their XCM Multi-cable V2 PC Monitor Adapter. As that mouthful of a name suggests, the little black box will take the component end of the included multi-headed component cable (or presumably any other component cable) and convert it into a VGA signal by the time it reaches the monitor plugged into the other end of the box. Team Xtender has also been thoughtful enough to include a second port and a handy switch for those that still want use their monitor for computing duties. As with their component cable, however, they haven’t spilled any details on pricing or availability just yet, although they are happy to sign up anyone willing to sell ’em.

Check it out.

[originating url]