Electronic devices shouldn't fail, they should just sit wherever I place them and work forever. A while back my home web server started failing so I moved over to a real web hosting service. And this was the home web server I built from pieces Eric gave me after my previous one died during the big power failure the year before. The power socket on my old laptop has come undone from the motherboard so that it can no longer be powered. Just a week or two ago my Xbox 360 stopped displaying video. The CPU fan on my media center died. I also want to put my camera and GPS in this list, but the camera died due to accidentally turning on in my pocket and the GPS was stolen so those aren't the devices just arbitrarily failing.
I just upgraded to the Zune 3.0 software which includes games and purchasing music on the Zune via WiFi and once again I'm thrilled that the new firmware is available for old Zunes like mine. Rooting around looking at the new features I noticed Zune Badges for the first time. They're like Xbox Achievements, for example I have a Pixies Silver Artist Power Listener award for listening to the Pixies over 1000 times. I know its ridiculous but I like it, and now I want achievements for everything.
Achievements everywhere would require more developments in self-tracking. Self-trackers, folks who keep statistics on exactly when and what they eat, when and how much they exercise, anything one may track about one's self, were the topic of a Kevin Kelly Quantified Self blog post (also check out Cory Doctorow's SF short story The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away featuring a colony of self-trackers). For someone like me with a medium length attention span the data collection needs to be completely automatic or I will lose interest and stop collecting within a week. For instance, Nike iPod shoes that keep track of how many steps the wearer takes. I'll also need software to analyze, display, and share this data on a website like Mycrocosm. I don't want to have to spend extreme amounts of time to create something as wonderful as the Feltron Report (check out his statistic on how many daily measurements he takes for the report). Once we have the data we can give out achievements for everything!
Eat at least ten different kinds of animals.
Meet at least 10% of the residents in your home town.
Visit a city in every country.
Survive at least 80 years of life.
Of course none of the above is practical yet, but how about Delicious achievements based on the public Delicious feeds? That should be doable...
I recently finished Braid, the Xbox Live game, and a comparison with Portal is helpful. From a screen shot Braid looks like a normal 2D platformer, but that's like looking at a screen shot of Portal and saying its a first person shooter. While the scaffolding of the game-play may sort of fall into that category, the games are actually about exploring the character's ability and solving puzzles. In Portal the ability is bending space and in Braid its bending time. However, whereas in Portal there is one space bending mechanism, the portal gun, Braid's protagonist explores several different time bending techniques including, most prominently, reversing time, but also time dilation, multiple time-lines, and other odd things.
Similar to the difference in game-play, while Portal has a strict simplicity to its visual style, Braid is much more ornate, like you're playing in an oil painting. Without seeing video of the game, or playing the demo (which is available for free on Xbox Live) its difficult to convey, but it is quite lovely and the animation adds quite a bit. Both games too are rather short leaving you just a bit hungry for more and have an interesting plot and an ending that I'd hate to spoil although Braid replaces Portal's humor with melancholy. If you enjoyed Portal and Twelve Monkeys then I'd recommend Braid.
I just installed vmcNetFlix which lets you watch your on demand NetFlix movies via your Vista Media Center or any Media Center Extenders like the Xbox 360. It works well but fails poorly with some cryptic error messages and long timeouts. Be sure to get NetFlix on demand movies working in your browser before installing this plugin. Once I did that everything worked very well.
To test it out I watched Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior in which Ting must travel from his country village to Bangkok where he works with his cousin in the city to recover his village's stolen religious artifact. Its a mix of Perfect Strangers, Street Fighter and Pad-See Ew. Martial arts movies, like porn and video games, aren't required to have a strong plot but Ong-Bak has a fine plot line and enjoyable Thai martial arts. I saw the Tiger Knee in there several times. An enjoyable movie that reminded me of watching martial arts movies with my friends in high school.