xBox woes

Among other things, my kids wanted an Xbox 360 for Christmas.  It has been a few years since we upgraded our gaming systems.  We have a PS2 that still gets occasional use, and the Wii, despite being a couple of years old, is still used almost daily.

So Santa brought an Xbox this year.  $299 – $75$ gift card.  Yikes.

It’s Christmas day and I’ve spent the last 2 hours unsuccessfully trying to set this infernal piece of crap up.

Problem #1:  It comes with a COMPOSITE video cable.  That’s it.  A state-of-the-art gaming system, ready to connect to the internet (wired or wireless), an HDMI port, and an optical/digital audio ouput ships with a composite video connector!?  My Atari 2600 did composite video!!  30 years ago.  This is progress?  Composite shouldn’t even be an option.  If you can afford to lay out 300 clams for this stupid thing, you can afford a REAL TV or monitor to which you can connect it.  The Xbox should come with, at a minimum, a component video cable.

Problem #2: My 2 year old TV apparently can’t handle the HDMI output of the Xbox.  This is what happens when manufacturers adopt "standards" that aren’t finished yet, apparently.  My Olevia (now out of business, surprise surprise) 232 LCD TV can handle a maximum resolution of 720p.  The Xbox, despite shipping with a crappy composite video cable, assumes that if you are hooking an HDMI cable up to it that the device on the other end MUST be capable of stunning, top-of-the-line 1080p resolution!!  I mean, why would you bother with anything less, right? <–SARCASM  Composite or 1080p.  If you’re still reading thia and don’t really know what the difference is, it’s like assuming that everyone has either a horse and buggy or a Ferrari and that nothing in between is even an option. 

After trying to manipulate the setup menus "blind", I still can’t use this Xbox on my TV.  I now have 4 choices:

  1. Buy a component cable for it and hook it up to my TV that way.  This is not desirable because it complicates my media center setup in a manner I don’t find acceptable.
  2. Take the Xbox somewhere else and hook it up to a TV that supports 1080p via HDMI, force it to output 720p, bring it home and hope my TV will recognize it.
  3. Relegate it to use in the Family Room with analog video and audio.  (YUCK.)
  4. Buy a new TV.

Problem #3: For $300 you don’t even get a game included with it!!  The Atari 2600 came with Battle (or whatever that tank game was called), and the Wii came with Wii Sports.  I’m stuck here staring at a console sold by one of the richest men in the world and it’s already nickel-and-diming me into subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold, telling me that if I want to change my gaming name it will cost me more money, and heaven only knows what else.

Problem #4: Only ONE CONTROLLER!!  I rationalized the purchase of this system thinking we could game as a Family, something you can’t do with a single PC.  I anticipated having to buy a couple of extra controllers.  But Microsoft apparently thinks that everyone who buys this has no friends or family.  (I’ll admit…it’s perhaps a fair assumption or, at least, accurate more than it’s not.)  But for this much cash, I expected more.

I also expected that after 2 hours of trying, I’d actually be able to use it.

I consider myself an "expert" on stuff like this.  That I’m frustrated by this experience says a lot.  I’ll make this work one way or another.  I’m going to have to lay out some more serious cash in order to do so, however.  Buyer beware!!! 

I.T. Management Truisms

IT Management Truisms
(as compiled by Rick DeVries, Calvin College,


  1. If it’s not easy, users will not do it. (Or: users follow the easiest path to their own end.)
  2. Users don’t care about security until it affects them.
  3. Our convenience should not be their inconvenience.
  4. Users will not back up their own data.
  5. Standards matter to us. Flexibility matters to them.
  6. Users don’t like change, but they expect us to keep them up to date.
  7. Today’s favor is tomorrow’s expectation.
  8. Users don’t want to know the details. They want to know how it affects them.
  9. I.T. is responsible for 80% of the problems people have with their systems.
  10. Vendors are responsible for 80% of the problems I.T. has with the systems.
  11. No plan survives intact after the first contact with users.
  12. A temporary solution should not be better than the permanent solution.
  13. Desktops are part of their office. Laptops are part of their life.
  14. Desktop performance degrades over time as a result of user activities and I.T.’s inability to effectively manage them.
  15. The only thing users read in pop-up message windows is "OK" and "Cancel." All other verbiage is ignored.
  16. The "P" in PC stands for personal." Users believe they have the right to control their own desktop as they choose.
  17. We are not in the "happiness business." Not everything we need to do will be well liked by our users.
  18. Most users don’t care what OS they have. They don’t even care what applications they have. They do care about getting their work done.
  19. Users resist change if they perceive it will impact them negatively. They will embrace change if they perceive it will impact them positively.
  20. Customer satisfaction is a matter of meeting user expectations. We can either raise service levels to meet expectations or lower expectations to meet service levels.
  21. A lack of information is better than wrong information.