Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Well...fired up the xbox today for some Orange Box action and there she was...the dreaded Red Ring of Death. I'm starting here and following their troubleshooting procedures. Hrmmm...I wonder if I can get a replacement Elite unit by just paying the difference...

Ok...so far pretty good. First up...I already followed the instructions on that web site...take out the hard drive and reseat it, remove all the power cables and connections and reseat them. The first time I did that I did not get the ring-o-death but it just wouldn't boot...not even to the 360 logo. I powered off and pow...got the red rings. Also...although we've not moved our 360 in months, i could hear something rattling around in it. O_o


So...I called xbox support and after talking to the automated attendent "Max" (I think that was his name) I got through to a live body in less than a minute on hold (I run a national help desk...that's pretty fast for something this big a organization). He started working up his ticket and then had technical problems with his ticketing system...he couldn't get my xbox360 to register correctly. He told me it was some kind of dns error...so all I did at that point was login to their external site and registered the system myself and "POOF"...he was able to see that I did it and began the replacement process. If I had not been able to register my 360 he was not in a position to save my record or get the process started. If I had been a regular customer I think at this point I would have been really pissed...but it worked out OK.


It's pretty simple really...they send you a empty RMA box and you return it for repair. You only send the console unit...nothing else. Also something pretty funny...they give you your ticket number and then ask you to write that number on the outside of the box you ship the console back in and...write it on a sticky note and stick it to the console itself. DO I HAVE TO BUY A STICKY NOTE!!?!?!?!?! lol...

Anyway...he said I should get the RMA box in 3-5 days and off we go. I've heard 2 weeks to 8 weeks for repair time. I did ask if they have a trade-up program and he laughed and said no. The call center he was at sounded real busy...I could hear the same questions being asked around his desk/cube ("Ok sir...have you tried to reseat the hard drive?"). He said they were pretty busy w/the returns.

So far, from a customer service perspective, it's been OK. The agent was polite and smart and it would have been a perfect experience if his systems worked properly. Oh...it was some American kid too...I'm not sure where this particular call center is but this one wasn't in India or another country like a lot of support centers (both Microsoft, Dell and multiple others go overseas for most of their call-center help)...more like Indiana. BTW...here's the new floor we put in a few months back (house painted as well). Dog is Tanner...four remotes show we still need help as a species.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

HL2:EP2, TF2, and Portal

Warning to kiddies...this contains grownup language

Thursday, October 04, 2007

TF2 later...Now: Minerva: Metastasis

As game engines have increased in complexity and scope, and the talents necessary to produce decent, even acceptable content, take a professional and herculean effort, it's amazing to see that one person can still make a difference. Adam Foster has created a stunningly original and utterly engaging four chapter single player episode using the Half-Life 2 environment as his backdrop in Minerva: Metastasis. The first chapter arrived a little over two years ago and the last two chapters this past week. Working from the premise "experiments in Half-Life 2 mapping" and building up a back story, Adam has created, like Star Wars before it, fan fiction that fills in the spaces and gives you what could be a portion of the Half-Life world. One can only hope Mark Laidlaw will weave this story into a future Valve product because there’s a rich vein of material here to be used.

As a semi-pro level designer and avid games player...I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for what Adam has accomplished. Adam's talent in storytelling, level design, and advanced single player mechanics are as good as anyone in the industry.

Click here for Minerva: Metastasis