What the Xbox 360 needs – a web browser

It makes no sense to me that the only game console that does not have an internet browser, is the one whose company has the dominant browser on the internet.  Sony has a browser not only on the PS3 but also on the PSP. Nintendo partnered with Opera for one on the Wii.  So why in the next Xbox Experience update are they adding, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and missing the one thing that would complete the Xbox 360’s dominance in the living room.  I don’t understand the reluctance of Microsoft to add a browser when they are even looking to add one to the Zune.

So let us put on our stupid corporate reasoning hats and try to come up with reasons for not doing this.

  • Competition with Xbox video marketplace.  Should they use a version of IE and then get flash support this could be a killer HULU and Youtube machine.  But this would be at the expense of the Xbox video marketplace.  Honestly though I really wonder how many people actually purchase video on the Xbox.  Also you can stream video to it with the Xbox being one of the best extenders out there.
  • Security.  I almost put this down as a joke with Microsoft having security issues in projects all the time.  One would think though that there is less of a reason to target the Xbox platform.  You can’t run a botnet program on it as its PowerPC based, and there is no file storage per say on the device so nothing to harvest.
  • Resources issue.  Microsoft slept on the train wreck that was IE6 for so long and has ramped up the group to get IE 7 and 8 out in rapid succession that they don’t have the time for a rewrite.  I don’t see how difficult it would be to recompile the IE engine to run on the PPC platform.

So now that I’ve wasted brain power trying to come up with possible reasons to not bring browsing to the console, let us explore why I want one.  I really want a lightweight browser that I can use so that while I’m laying down on the couch, I can check the news, look at sports scores, etc.  It also be great to pull up Gmail real quick and check on anything new that’s come in.  Its convenience people, and it be nice to not have to keep the laptop around in the living room.  Please Microsoft, give us the browser!

Ultramax Ammunition Mini-Review

If you don’t know what Ultramax Ammunition is this is for you.  I’m sure you will see it in stock everywhere while wondering why all other ammo is out of stock.  Here is why.  It is commercially reloaded ammunition.  Now this isn’t a bad thing, and is probably safer than doing it yourself with sub-standard tools.  But as with everything there are drawbacks.

I had purchased this ammo because I was receiving my Citadel 1911 and had nothing to shoot in it.  Every store in the area was out of all ammo in .45 ACP, but this stuff happened to be in stock at Dicks Sporting Goods.  Rather than having nothing to shoot, I figured this was a safe bet to at least check the function of the gun.

First off the ammo tested was Ultramax reload chambered for .45 ACP 230 grain lead hardball.  The ammo casings were from numerous manufacturers including Remington, Winchester, and Speer.  Most every casing looked new with only a few having a minor dent on the case.  Overall length of the cartridges seemed a bit shallow, but consistent.  These were eyeball measurements as I didn’t have a set of calipers out at the range.

Firing the ammo was non-eventful.  It functioned as it should with no FTF or FTE on the 1911.  It does seem to be loaded lighter compared to Speer Lawman 230g FMJ and some Winchester White Box 185g FMJ.  My only complaint really is the powder they use.  This stuff is smokey.  When firing the gun it almost looked as if a civil war re-enactment was going on at my stall on the range.   And with that smoke comes a lot of grime.  The gun was filthy when I got it home.  This was after 150 rounds of the Ultramax and 50 rounds of Winchester White Box.  Conversely looking at my friends 1911, a Les Baer, after he shot 200 rounds of Speer Lawman, the gun was pretty clean.

Verdict:  There is nothing wrong with this ammo.  It is just nothing special.  If you run out and need something for a day at the range by all means go for it, you will still have fun.  Just be sure to clean your piece when you get home.  It will need it.


Why Google’s Chrome OS isn’t a big deal, yet

Google has just announced Chrome OS which is an extension of their popular Chrome browser. I’ll be the first to admit that the idea of an instant on OS that accesses the web and breaks new paradigms is intriguing.  The problem is that already everyone is hailing this as the new Messiah OS.  I’m sure Steve Jobs feels the RDF waning just a bit.  I for one, don’t see this as a big deal yet, if not for awhile.

This is not the “first” time someone has had this great idea of a instantly bootable web OS.  Isn’t this what netbooks were supposed to be?  Weren’t they supposed to run Linux, boot up quickly, and use web apps to be useful?  Yup.  There are also pre-boot environments out there for windows pc’s.  These were touted by everyone to be more useful and people were swooning over these “instant on” computers.  I’d wager a bet that 98% of the people who own these computers never use this environment.  Why you ask?  It is probably because people don’t like having to boot back and forth between these environments.  Also I know some of these environments silo the data on the hard drive or there are incompatibilities with file formats.  People know windows and it works, not necessarily the best, but it works.

The Google announcement also makes it sound as if web applications do not work at all on current platforms.  I thought the whole idea of developing Chrome was the reasoning that web apps would run wickedly fast in their browser.  The perfect example of this web app only idea was the iPhone.  Developers were rabid for native application support because of the limitations of web applications.  While I like Google Apps and sometimes use them, they don’t hold a candle to the functionality of Microsoft Office.  Going back to the netbook theory, the reason their success took off was because they ran Windows cheaply and could run “big boy” apps, except games.

One other question I’m curious about is hardware support.  You know that driver manufacturers are going to drag their heels when it comes to supporting Chrome OS.  I’m sure too that Google is not going to spend considerable R&D money to write drivers for everything.  Hell you can’t even count on a big vendor such as HP to make drivers for Vista for a printer that was released in the last two years of XP.

Lastly I don’t really think there is room for another OS choice.  Windows and OSX have a strangle hold on the majority of the market.  Linux, whilst having made huge strides here recently, is still a niche OS to the tech savvy out there.  And let’s be honest here, you’re not going to give your mom Linux.  What I honestly would like to see, is Apple open up the iPhone version of OSX to put on netbooks.  You have tons of app support already and a great interface that would work touch screen or keyboard controlled.

Or I could be wrong and this could be a game changer.