Posted on Major Nelson: Dear Xbox LIVE Members:     During this past holiday season you helped us break a number of Xbox LIVE records.  This included our largest sign-up of new members to Xbox LIVE in our 5 year history and just yesterday you broke the record for the single biggest day of concurrent members ever on the service. As a result of this massive increase in usage we know that some of you experienced intermittent Xbox LIVE issues over the holiday break.

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I heard today that, unbeknownst to people downloading it, Office 2003 SP3 drops support for loading a number of older Office formats, including Word 6.0 and Word 97. Now, it’s fair to say that these formats are as old as the hills, but here’s the thing - businesses will have lots of archived documents that they probably haven’t converted to newer formats that they don’t want to lose access to. To just drop support for opening this archived material is ridiculous and is understandably ruffling a few feathers.

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You might remember the problem that my wife had with a corrupted gamertag thanks to problems with the Live registration & recovery service just before Xmas, but that hasn’t been the end of our problems with the service. Since a few days after xmas, we’ve found that in the evenings logging onto Live takes an absolute age, sometimes long enough that we just give up. The story - apparantly too many people bought or received 360’s over Xmas and the Live servers are getting swamped at peak times, or so the ever reliable Internet tells me here, and here.

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So, 2007 is going the way of Donny Osmond’s career at midnight, and I feel I should say something at its passing. It’s been an eventful year but still it feels like it’s flown past - it’s the first full year that I’ve been my own boss, and I’ve learned a lot from it, in both the positive and negative poles - but mostly positive, luckily. I’ve had customers in 6 countries, and they’ve ranged from small start-ups right up to multinational corporations.

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Ok, rant time. I’m a multiplatform gamer, and my PC is still a key platform for me. Every time a new console comes out people predict the death of the PC as a gaming platform, but it never happens - sure, the traditional retail model continues to favour the consoles, on account of them having the marketing muscle of the console manufacturers behind them, plus the ‘idiot proof’ nature of the devices means that there are less issues with support (although the advent of patching on consoles does appear to be engendering more of a ‘release it and patch it later’ attitude in some quarters that we used to only see on PC).

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Near the end of 2006 I was bitching that games were getting dull, repetitive, and far too obsessed with how best to graphically represent war, big guns, fast cars and loose women (preferably all at once). It was the very worst of Hollywood banality regurgitated  - only the Wii seemed to be flying in the face of it, and even it failed to deliver a lasting riposte to the trend, suffering from the all-too-familiar condition of only Nintendo being able to make good games for their own console.

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I recently discovered that the Nvidia 169.x driver stream has a new bug with GLSL, which manifested itself as this error message from the linker: fatal error C9999: Bad scope in ConvertLocalReferences() This is with GLSL that worked perfectly fine in the previous major driver version, and it cropped up in our HDR compositor. Upon checking, this was a known bug in the driver since it was in beta, but unfortunately it appears the driver was let out with it still there.

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It’s that time of year again, when we’re inundated with the release of more games than we could ever possibly play. I know that a huge proportion of game sales are made in the run up to Christmas, and thus that it makes complete sense for everyone to try to get in on that action, but you can’t help thinking that good games inevitably get missed in the festive bun-fight.

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I’m one day late, but then I didn’t have time to touch a computer yesterday 😀We were hosting this Christmas, which meant Marie and I were in charge of all the cooking. We’ve done an xmas meal before, but only for ourselves so this was our first time inflicting our yuletide culinary creations on others. Luckily we were only cooking for 4 so it wasn’t a huge deal, but still there was quite a lot to do.

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XBox Live Xmas Woes

Wow, Microsoft have a bit of a crisis on their hands over the xmas period. I’ve signed up with XBox Live and am having no problems with it, but my wife also has a profile and wanted to connect too, albeit as a free Silver member just to get a gamer tag (really I feel it’s very cheeky that they ask you to subscribe once per profile anyway rather than once per machine).

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