I’ve been meaning to put up a brief testimonial on this guy for a week or so now.   Its pretty rare these days that my standards (not expectations) are met, and even rarer that they are exceeded.

Yeah, I set my expectations lower than my actual standards.

When it comes to services being provided, I have high standards for quality and customer service.  Experience has taught me that realistically, my standards are too high for many people to actually meet.   So I expect I’ll get less than I want, but at least I go into it knowing that… which keeps me from getting to irrate.


So as you may or may not know, the Xbox 360’s (well the orignial ones anyway, I hear the newly redesigned consoles fix this) have a critical design flaw in that they tend to run too hot.    Basically, the Xbox 360 splits the power its drawing into two different voltages:   5  and 12.    

The problem is, the fans run on 5 volts.    This makes them underpowred to handle the heat that the Xbox is generating.   So over time, the heat gets to sensitive areas, and your Xbox stops working.

Mine started overheating about six months in…   mind you, it was a replacement for the one stolen, and as a 360 Elite, I would have expected they’d have fixed that.   They were mucking around adding an HDMI port as it was.

Obviously they didn’t.   For a good while the Xbox would sense it was overheating and try to shut down before damaging itself.     Gabe and I even went so far as to mod our entertainment center, equipping it with its own fans to keep the cabinets cooler, by improving the heat dispersal from the appliances in there.   (That Charter box is super hot.)

We took a serious attack on the overheating problem.


Unfortunately, its still poorly designed.  Just can’t get cool air to all its parts.  its fans are simply under powered.    So recently it went from shutting down, to locking up.  The frequency that occurred increased quite rapidly until finally, i couldn’t even get the dashboard to not crash on me.

It melted some of the soldering, and ultimately damaged the video card.


This right after Dragon Age 2 comes out…


So I turn to craigslist hoping to find someone who wants to get rid of their used one on the cheap.   The first ad caught my eye though… XboxGuy775 who offers in-city repairs.   Prices looked reasonable.   $40 for most repairs.  I knew this was a common issue and figured the fix was likely in that $40 dollar range.

So I called him up, told him what was going on, and he confirmed that yes, he could fix that for $40.  

So off I go to his office.   (Kinda neat he’s not working out of a garage.)

Drop the Xbox off, and he suggests I let him upgrade the fans while he’s in there to 12 volt ones that will do a better job of keeping it from over-heating.   Only $20 more.

Why not?   I know its an issue that will happen again… so eventually I’ll have the same failure and need it repaired again.   Why not try and be proactive?

So all in all, $60 total to get a working Xbox 360 again.   Plus I get to keep mine, where I know its history, instead of some foreign one that may or may not be more of a headache in the long run.

What completely pushed this beyond pleasant experience to me being wowed is that he got it fixed the same day.  I was only out my Xbox for something in the tune of 3 hours.

Beat that Xbox Support.

He’s pretty cute too, which certainly made my experience all the more pleasant.

Since the Xbox has been upgraded, its really like getting a new one for only $60.


The only unnerving thing.. I twit while its in the shop that I miss it.   @XboxSupport replies.. and now apparently follows me on Twitter.    Gotta say, Microsoft, that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that you are not spying on your customers.   Kind of a big brother moment.   Not entirely cool.


But XboxGuy775 is pretty awesome.   If you live in the Reno area, and have a broken 360, you should definitely hit him up.   Low cost and extremely quick turn-around  (he had like six other consoles sitting there when I walked in… at least three of which he worked on before mine).

I know @SkyliaEmber also knows someone… not the same guy… which is to say… you’ll probably be better off getting it fixed by them than you will Microsoft.. simply because with MS… its a lot of shipping time.   Plus they charge you more.    (I’ve had mixed experiences with them fixing my original Xbox console… it was a launch console and thus had the faulty DVD-drive in it that would keep breaking…   so I got to deal with them on that a few times.   Again, mixed results… they did wow me the first time getting it back within the same week… but that seems a fluke since my post experiences were significantly longer… hell the last time the 360 launched before they got the old one back to me…. pretty crappy when your customer happens to be an employee of Xbox.  Just saying.)


At the end of the day though, XboxGuy775 provided a level of service I just don’t enjoy much these days.   When that happens, I feel compelled to tell people about it.

That’s RPG as in Role-Playing-[Video] Game


Its always an amusing, if not unpredictable, scenario in what blog posts generate attention.    Yesterday i capped out at 29 and today I’m already up to 30 (though WordPress is situated in the future, so the day ends for the blog before it ends for me).

it seems my posting about the year ahead of me in gaming is generating a lot of attention.

I don’t know why.   Its just a simple list of video games that aren’t even out yet.    Maybe they thought I meant something else by RPG.

Role-playing game.   In these cases more the sword-swinging, spell-casting kind than the gun-toting slaughter.   Well at least up until I get my hands on Mass Effect 3.  Then it will be about RPGs in the RPG and of course space ships.   Will I get a new Normandy?   Or might the SR-2 actually survive into the main story of the threequel?

Might depend on how ME2 ended.   (In my play-throughs, the ship makes it out alive, as does my entire crew.   As a Captain I guess I’m pretty good.)

Sometime between now and the year’s end, I should play through 1 and 2 in preparation.   

The Year of RPGs


My birthday is the release of Dragon Age 2.

November comes Elder Scrolls V.

The year ends with Mass Effect 3.


2011 is going to be good for me and my Xbox.


The only unfortunate aspect is that two out of three games has me slaying dragons, not helping them.   I am quite intrigued with the premise of Skyrim (ES5) though.  

Random news that is the best I could get…

Finally confirmed that an Elder Scrolls V is in the works (and nearing completion by the sounds of it).   Here is what I know:


  • Set 200 years after Oblivion, in a snow realm north of Cyrodil called Skyrim. Set during a civil war, possibly between two brothers who will accidentally cause the world-destroying dragon Alduin to be born.
  • Player is a Dragonborne, able to slay dragons and trained by the last living Blade. 
  • Ten races to choose from, players can edit bodies as well as faces.
  • Combat more dynamic with finishing moves, unique weapon attacks and the ability to forge your own from red hot metal. Dual wielding a possibility. 
  • 18 skills to choose from, as well as Fallout-esque Perks
  • NPCs more dynamic. They will move around as they talk to you, rather than have the camera zoom in for a headshot. If you drop items, they will react to them — for instance, a helpful child might try to pick up a dropped sword and return it to you, or two men could fight over your discarded loot.
  • Quests can be randomly generated and are tailored to suit your style of play. The game judges your strengths and weaknesses by logging your data, and will give your appropriate challenges.
  • Five "massive" cities that you can do many things in, such as smithing, farming, mining, woodcutting and cooking. Killing a shopkeep could lead to someone else taking the store over now, and Dragons may possibly launch attacks on towns.
  • Five magic schools: Destruction, Alteration, Conjuration, Restoration and Illusion.
  • The engine is entirely new, with dynamic snow and shadows, detailed trees, and water that flows differently depending on how the wind is blowing.
  • Confirmed enemies are zombies, skeletons, trolls, giants, ice wraiths, giant spiders, dragons, wolves, horses Elk, mammoth and saber-toothed cats.
  • Third person view has been improved. 
  • Players can now sprint at the cost of stamina.


Now I can look like me in game.  (except that I suck at building avatars)  go facial hair!

Only five schools of magic?   Boo.    I’ll need to rethink my custom “Prior” class.


First Skyrim screenshots and info from Game Informer [Badass Panda]


And it will be out this year (barring development delays).

On the fourth time this year all digits of the date will be 1  (unless you actually put the full year on your checks or something)

2011 is gonna be a great year in gaming.