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Permalink to this day Thursday, February 03, 2005

Me, How do we create an MCE like cult?.

Shortly after blogging this Charlie and Steve started an email thread on the subject and a few emails in Charlie actually comes by my office and semi-aghast asks, you want an MCE cult!?

No I do not want a MCE cult. What I want is buzz.

I've since written up some steps we can take to create this buzz but before posting it I want to run it by some folks. Hopefully I'll post the writeup at the end of next week.
11:53:05 PM  Permalink to this item []

A word of caution on upgrading your Media Center 2004 boxes..

I have a Gateway 901x which was designed for Media Center 2004 and when we launched our latest version, Media Center 2005, I installed the new OS along with new hardware in order to enable OTA HDTV. Now recently I have been having some problems with my Media Center, for example, white dots during playback. The erratic behavior culmunated in my MCE not starting two days ago. Though it wasn't completely dead, it was giving me a one long, two short beep code.

So I brought it into work and cracked it open. I couldn't figure out what model the bios was in order to decipher the beep codes so I started pulling cards and swapping out the RAM and hard drives. This didn't solve the problem and all that remained was the video card so I pulled that out and found the fan dangling by a wire. Turns out the card must have overheated leading to a fan failure because of a lack of circulation in the box. I later found out from someone that one long, two shorts, is D in morse code and in computer land D could stand for Display.

See the 901x was not designed for Media Center 2005 and when I loaded it up not just full of cards, but cards that produce a lot of heat, it was only a matter of time before components started to fail.

My conclusions are, consumers can't expect their hardware to perform when they subject it to conditions it was not designed for, but that also hardware manufacturers need to consider not just what consumers are going to be doing with their hardware today, but down the road. It wasn't completely unforseen that someone such as myself would not just load up the box full of extra PCI cards, but that they would be cards that produced a lot of heat.

Hardware manufacturers (and Microsoft) can't assume that consumers will be willing to completely replace their living room PCs every year, or every other year. At their current price points these devices are multiyear investments and need to be designed from the beginning as such.
11:41:09 PM  Permalink to this item []

San Francisco Chronicle, TiVo in turmoil President quits after CEO resigns; competition grows, covers the recent executive departures from CEO. The article also has some interesting tidbits:
One analyst said the company is spending $400 to get each new customer and getting back an average of $9 per month in subscriptions.

Thomas has recently been linking to and commenting on a lot of articles on Tivo if you want to get a feel for their current situation.
11:18:08 PM  Permalink to this item []

On my to do list to check out, Art Fixer for WMP and MCE. Curious to know more? Check out Thomas's two thumbs up review.
11:09:27 PM  Permalink to this item []

What's your Media Center wishlist?

Comment or email me a link to yours.

Mine? Simple -- Buzz, native HDTV and DVD copying.
2:48:34 PM  Permalink to this item []

Is Ian working on a free RSS reader?
2:45:48 PM  Permalink to this item []

© Copyright 2005 Matt Goyer.
I work at Microsoft in the eHome division on the Windows XP Media Center Edition team as a Program Manager.

Disclaimer: The posts on this weblog are provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confer no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

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Updated: 4/11/2005; 10:32:27 PM.