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Gamespot's guide to cheese points

Gamespot has published a bunch of cheesey ways to score 6000 Gamerscore points using  various 360 games. If you're the type of person who can't put an honest effort into anything, including video games, by all means take a look (pay no attention to the embarrassing intro video). On the other hand, if you're the type of person who feels the integrity of the Gamerscore system too important to cheapen with undignified shortcuts, please put down that controller and go outside. You need fresh air.

Wireless networking tips for HD streaming

Jake Ludington has a post up detailing the method he used to get HD video streaming wirelessly, without interruptions. His method involves using two routers to isolate the connection between the Media Center PC and the Xbox 360:

"Each wireless access point creates the equivalent of a single wired connection to your router. The more computers you connect to a single access point, the more you fill up the available connection, potentially resulting in an overloaded connection. By putting the Xbox 360 on it's own access point, you are providing the full capacity of that access point's available bandwidth."

It apparently works for him; he's streaming 1080p HD content "without any hiccups." Showoff.

[Thanks, Jake]

Rip DVDs to watch on your 360

Found a decent guide for ripping your DVDs onto your Media Center PC to playback through the 360. The guide is heavy on DVD-ripping and light on 360 Media Center extender integration, but provides the necessary steps to to get the video files prepared. The guide warns, "This how-to presumes that you have the XBOX 360 and the Media Center PC configured to share media files before you start" and concludes, "go to the Media Center menu (on either your XBOX 360 or your MCE box) and select My Videos. You should see your new file in the folder with the rest of your video files."

Something tells me if you're able to set up your Media Center PC to share files with your Xbox 360, you probably know the procedure to rip DVDs already. If not, consider this a primer, or inspiration to get that DVD collection ripped onto an enormous hard drive ready to be streamed to your 360 at your whim.

Guide for running Flash games on the 360

If you haven't upgraded your 360's Dashboard yet, you can follow this handy how-to guide to get Flash games running on your Xbox 360. Although there is no mention of it officially, the primary function of last week's Dashboard upgrade appears to be stopping the kiosk hack. Nevertheless, you can read about how they managed to get Flash games running on the 360.

Regarding the legality of the process, Eliot writes, "The majority of safe guards placed on the Xbox 360 are designed to prevent game piracy. It is doubtful that anything we will be demonstrating today will lead to anybody booting pirated games on the 360. We do feel that this how-to will open up the Xbox 360 to all of the Flash developers out there and hopefully produce some interesting homebrew games." Would that it were so!

Google Maps on your 360 with MCE app

Colin, at the humbly named Colin's Blog, got bored so he decided to make a Google Maps app for Media Center. Simply download the file here and place it into your media center folder on the Start menu.

The controls are simple: use ChUp/ChDn to control zooming in and out and use the arrow buttons to move around. You see where we're going with this now; using the 360's Media Center extender capabilities, you can sit on the couch and check out maps of the entire world, through your 360!

There is a web-based version here, which can be controlled with the arrow keys and the PgUp/PgDn buttons. Why you ask... what's the point? Because you can!

[Via Jake Luddington]

Water cooled Xbox 360: the mod

Everyone knows the Xbox 360 produces a heat signature comparable to a fusion reactor. That's why HardOCP is bragging about their own DIY water cooling mod for the 360. After the obligatory warning about voiding your warranty and stuff, they are quick to drop the skinny on what they want to accomplish:

1. To achieve better overall cooling for the Xbox.

2. Make a unit that can be replicated with fairly common components, without spending a fortune.

3. Clean, professional installation. No ghetto installation, no use of epoxy to attach a crappy homemade water block, and no zip ties or wire and bubblegum tricks.

4. Leave the Xbox without any permanent alterations so that it may be easily returned to its original condition.

And don't forget, this mod can be completed using off the shelf parts that anyone can buy.

[Via Digg]

How-To: stream photos and music to a Mac

After reading here about TwonkyVision's MediaServer software to stream photos and music to the Mac, the mini Blog decided to write up a How-To on getting the not very straightforward software to play nice with the 360. It's a great step by step, complete with pictures; the only major downside is that the software ain't free, but with a little Automator script you can set it to restart every thirty minutes. Any other enterprising fanboys care to take on the task of writing up a script for the rest of us?

Xbox Live connection problems? Here's a tip

If you've been having problems connecting to your friends on Xbox Live for games or chat, here's a tip that'll help you determine the source of the problem--and hopefully fix it.

Go to the System blade, select Network Settings and then Test Xbox Live Connection. You'll be able to see what sort of NAT your system is behind, and if it's set to Moderate or Strict then you will only be able to connect to certain other users.

To fix this, set your NAT to Open by opening the following ports on your router: 88 (UDP), 3074 (UDP), and 3074 (TCP).

[Thanks, silvernome]

Convert DivX to WMV for the 360

If you've got a collection of DivX, Quicktime or any other form of video, and want to play them on the 360 (using Windows Media Extender), you've probably been disappointed so far. Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of a plethora of video conversion tools.

From open-source to professional level, there's conversion software out there that will tackle almost any codec and turn your video into the 360-happy WMV, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 formats. HD Beat has discovered Videora Xbox360 Converter, a free piece of software designed to optimise any video for viewing on the 360.

Here's hoping other ways of getting video on the 360 will be discovered for those of us without Media Center Edition PCs.

[Via HDBeat; thanks, iData]

Using your 360 controller with Windows

Making the Xbox 360 controller work flawlessly with Windows seems to be no mean feat, but this guide covers the tricky process of getting two Microsoft products to co-operate. Using a third-party shareware program called Pinnacle Game Profiler, it seems you can configure your controller to do just about anything, assigning keyboard and mouse commands to the controller's buttons and axes.

If you're looking for a little cross-platform unification, maybe this will do the trick until Microsoft release some sort of official support for the controller.

Xbox 360 Windows connect fix

So you've tried to connect your brand new Xbox 360 to your PC at home through Windows Media Connect, but you got the shaft with some error like "Service WMConnectCDS failed to start correctly." This is caused by some grief in the permission of Windows. Don't fret, Jake sends his love in the form of a fix to get you up to speed. The culprit is a file named 'stdole2.tlb', and the repair can be done via the command line. Check it out to get the directions.

[Thanks, Jake Ludington]

See a Geometry Wars high-scorer in action

Geometry Wars high scoreA great way to improve one's gameplay is to watch the experts in action, and even casual games like Geometry Wars are no exception. Joystiq has managed to find a video of Striker, former leader of the high score chart, scoring a whopping 2.1 million points.

For those of us who have yet to hit 100K (too much Hexic) it's awe-inspiring.

Xbox 360 FAQ, part 3 - Backwards Compatibility

We were going to bring you the lowdown on backwards compatibility for this week's FAQ update, but the official Xbox site has beaten us to it, so check out their answers to questions from "When is the next release" to "How do I get the update?".

Unfortunately, there's no fix for the Halo 2 voice problem -- voice communication between the 360 and the original Xbox is often choppy -- but hopefully it will be fixed soon, since there are continual updates to the emulator.

[FAQ Part 1, Part 2]

Weekend tips, part II

Security countsIf last week's tips served to whet your appetite for more, you're in luck. Here's part two of our "useful 360 tips" to save you reading the manual--that's time-consuming, and that time could be spent gaming!

Privacy Counts
If you're worried about others finding out about your every move, as many of the privacy settings are open by default, you can turn everything off. Especially useful if you have a child using the Xbox. To do so, press the Guide button, then go to your Gamer Profile, choose Edit Gamer Profile and then Edit Privacy Settings. You can turn everything off, from online status to communications, although the actions are fairly generic and reversible.

Textual Healing
Type your messages in at great speed by plugging in a USB keyboard; you can also buy PS2-to-USB adapters if you have a PS2 keyboard. Text messages are less disruptive than voice.

Cross-Game Communication
This tip's specific to Halo 2. If you send a message to your friend using Halo 2's message system, they can't hear it in the Xbox 360 Dashboard, but have to load up the game. However, if you type out a summary and attach it as text, the first 19 characters can be read by your friend, so they'll know whether it's worth changing discs for.

Quick Reference
If you have notifications enabled, pressing the Guide button when one of your friends signs on will take you straight to their Gamercard, so you can see what they're up to.

Weekend Tips, fanboy style

Xbox Guide buttonDid you hastily plug in your 360 without reading the manual? Wondering what sort of things you can do with it? Here are a couple of simple tips to enhance your gaming experience (watch this space for more):

Remote Power On
No remote control? Simply hold down the Guide button on your controller to power on the console without leaving your seat.

Appear Offline
Tired of all the messages? Press the Guide button, choose Personal Settings and Online Status. Select Away, Busy or Appear Offline to change how you appear to others.

Themes aplenty
The 360's hard drive is preloaded with a selection of themes from Halo to Kameo and beyond. Choose Personal Settings from the Guide button, then choose Themes to select your new look.

Notifications off
Those popups really getting in the way of your gaming? You've probably figured this one out by now, but you can turn them off by pressing the Guide button, choosing Personal Settings and then Notifications. Some notifications will appear regardless of your preferences, but you can turn off being told about your friends' every moves.

Multiple Gamertags
Just like the original Xbox, you can have more than one gamertag on your console, but you can't link them. Each will need its own Passport account, which you can set up from within the Xbox 360 Dashboard, and you'll need the credit card number and billing details used for the accounts. You can check this on your old Xbox, if you've forgotten which name or address you used. Plug in a USB keyboard to make filling out the details much easier.

Music Mayhem
Enhance your games by playing your own music instead of the in-game soundtrack. (Only available for Xbox 360 games, not emulated Xbox games.) If you're running Windows XP, download Windows Media Connect and share your music between your PC and your 360, or plug in your favourite portable music player via USB and the 360 will do the rest. Press the Guide button to access the music player options while you're playing a game.

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