Category Archives: 277

Yes, The Green Button is Having Issues

Microsoft appeared to have fixed one of the issues I was
having on the backend, but that fix has caused the entire site to come to its
knees with wonderful message like “Value cannot be null. Parameter name:
relativeUrl” when attempting to make a new post or reply.  Unfortunantly,
since I don’t have direct access to the server there is nothing I can
personally do about it.

Sadly since you can’t make a new post or reply, The Green
Button will effectively be down until Microsoft can fix the issue.  Ian’s forums on The Digital
might be a good overflow forum until Microsoft fixes The Green

Update: Looks like some are having luck posting (I’m not one of them).  Try signing out and then back in.

Short Bits: Debug Menus, TV Pack OEMs, Hurricane

I survived Ike without any damage here in Katy, sadly that
can’t be said for the rest
of the Houston and Galveston areas

Ever wonder which of your dozen TV tuners is being used to
tune the program you are watching?  If
you have the TV Pack there is a bit of a hack that you can do in order to find
out.  First spotted by
Dave at The Green Button
, type 411 and then press More Info in order to
access Microsoft’s debug menu.


A lot of people have been asking about the TV Pack on
CableCARD PCs from Dell and HP.  While I
have no inside information on the subject, I have doubts that either will be
shipping the TV Pack at all.  Media
Center is not HP or Dells business, and as it involves creating a new image for
their machines I fall to understand why either would bother.  I might be wrong, but I wouldn’t hold out for
a Dell or HP with the TV Pack.  If a TV
Pack machine is what you are after, you are most
likely going to want one of these OEMs.

Microsoft Takes Over The Green Button

Today is a big day for the Media Center community, and as speculated upon
way too much The
Green Button has become an official Microsoft web property

So what does this mean?  A few things, starting with
increased Microsoft interaction that nearly everyone told us was so important. 
When Jessica Zahn left to join the Zune team, she collectively broke the hearts
of all TGB members who lost the opportunity to get direct Microsoft feedback,
but fear not increased Microsoft presence will come with the acquisition of The
Green Button.

Next up on the list, ads are gone!  Google AdWords and
all pop-up text ads are gone (Plug: advertisers looking to target the Media
Center community should
consider advertising here
), so everyone can enjoy the perks of a community
built on members and not non-Media Center related pop-ups.

Other changes will be coming, but as the official
announcement states Microsoft is not looking to shut down or limit your freedom
of speech on The Green Button.  I will still be a moderator as will Mike
and the rest of the gang, so nothing will change in your ability to criticize
Microsoft for poor decisions and have your voice heard (and as always, attacks
directed at members or Microsoft employees will not be allowed).

Please let me know what you think of the change, but I think
the increased funding and potential for direct communication will benefit all!

Win an HP HDX Dragon PC at The Green Button

We are taking our turn at The Green Button to give away an HP HDX
Dragon PC ($5,000+ value), so everyone should make sure
to enter
.  Entering to win is easy,
just tell us (at The Green Button, not here) what our next site upgrade should
focus on and look like.  What are we
doing wrong now, what could be do better, what type of format should the
upgrade be, etc.

That’s all you have to do to enter.  To enter you must have registered an account
at The Green Button before 4/28/08. 
Check out the rest of the rules
, and remember you only have until Friday 5:00pm PST, May 30, 2008 to
enter.  The winner will be posted on Saturday,
May 31, 2008.

I’ve put a few buttons in the sidebar to remind you to enter,
so I expect everyone to give us something we can do better (and I know there is
a lot we could do better).

Update: So of course as soon as we start something like this the site craps out. Admin’s have been notified, clearly everyones top suggestion for The Green Button should just be a site that works.  I think we will work on that first.  Other suggestions welcome as a part of the contest or outside of it.

Update 2: Back up and working.

Advertise Here

Are you interested in reaching over 90,000 unique visitors a
month generating over 130,000 page views? 
Stop spending top dollar advertising on non-targeted websites, reach
your audience with low CPM based advertising here.  You will be able to reach digital home and
media enthusiasts at a CPM under $2.


Graphical banners are offered in a verity of formats including 160×600, 468×60,
and 200×200.

  • 160×600 (Wide Skyscraper) –
    $200 (<1.5CPM)
  • 468×60 (Top Banner) – $200 (<1.5CPM)
  • 200×200 (Small Square) – $150

Graphical banners are shown site wide on all pages.  Wide Skyscraper and Small Square are shown in
the left sidebar, Top Banners displays at the top of all pages site wide.  Images are limited to 45kb.  Animation is allowed, but no Flash.


Google AdWords is the primary source of advertising offering text links on the
left-side navigation bar and the top header.  These ads appear site wide
on all pages.  If you are interested in creating a campaign using AdWords
please see

more general information on Google AdWords, please click

Questions?  Please contact me for more

The Media Center Show Awards 2008

Ian’s yearly Media
Center Show Awards podcast
has been posted, and while I wasn’t able to
attend I want to thank everyone for voting for me for best enthusiast blog.  Did I win? 
the show
and fast forward to 52:37 to find out.

If the suspense is killing you and you must know now, I won
again this year!!  Thank you to everyone
who voted and everyone else out their blogging.

Every year I say it wouldn’t be possible without all the
other bloggers and readers and that stays true. 
Even more so, the Media Center community and awareness of Media Center
has continued to grow over the past year. 
I’m interested to see what the landscape will look like next year.

Thanks to Ian for doing the show and everyone who voted.  A little bit later this year I’m finally
going to be back on The Media Center Show with Ian, so stay tuned.

Short Bits: Hulu Invites, Netflix BD, USB Card Reader

I’ve got five (5) Hulu
invites that I’m giving out.  If you want
one, reply to this post saying that you would like an invite and put your
e-mail address as your URL
.  I will
randomly select five people tonight and send you an invite.

It look like Netflix is dropping
HD DVD and going with Blu-ray only
.  It’s amazing how things can turn in just a
matter of weeks.  Once again, HD DVD
support in Media Center would be pretty pointless at this stage and native
Blu-ray in Media Center is far away

I’m looking to buy an internal
(front panel) USB card reader
for my desktop, but just based on reviews
there isn’t nessarcly such thing as a good one. 
I’m looking for one with a black faceplate, LEDs that don’t stay on
24/7, and that can accept Compact Flash and SD cards.  Based on reviews at Newegg there are also
problems with read/write speed with a lot of them (deal breaker).  Does anyone have an opinion on a good front
panel USB 2.0 card reader?

Update: Invites will be sent out today to the winners. 

Random Vista Thoughts: Part 1

I’ve been using Vista for the past month, my first attempt
to move away from Windows XP.  I’ve noted
a lot of things about Vista in this time, some that I like and some that I don’t.  Just some random thoughts…

  • MCML applications make it worth the upgrade to Vista.  Period.
  • For all Microsoft’s time spent on UI design, why the hell is
    the volume and network icon in the System Tray 2d crap?
  • Same topic, why is there a gap in between the volume/network/etc
    icon and the first program running on the System Tray?
  • Flip3D is neat, I don’t see any point of using it though.
  • Same applies to the live window previews, my mouse is
    already down there and I end up clicking it anywhere.
  • Aero is interesting, looks more professional than Luna did
    on Windows XP.  Classic sucks now though,
    especially the Start Menu.  I’m a fan of
    Classic so that sucks.
  • I think I’ve used the new and improved search features
    twice.  Nice, but I generally know where
    my stuff is or browse to find it.  Need
    to learn to search first.
  • I noticed when you delete from removable media the files go
    into the Recycle Bin.  Finally, I’ve been
    so many people lose documents because of that.
  • Yet to open Windows Contacts, Windows Calendar, Windows DVD
    Maker, Windows Meeting Spaces, etc.  Nice
    additions, they should have been there since Windows 2000 though.
  • Turned off Windows Defender, but I’m badass that way.  I don’t run virus or spyware junk of any of
    my PCs, now the families and girlfriends are a different story.
  • I hate that I can’t double click on the clock in the System
    Tray and get the calendar.  Single clicks
    drive me nuts.
  • Time synchronization still seems to not work.  Hardly ever worked in Windows XP too.
  • I wouldn’t run a Media Center machine off of anything less
    than a Pentium D with 1GB of RAM.  P4 and
    below are just horrible.
  • Sidebar is nice, but I need to upgrade my monitor to a
    widescreen for it to seem more useful.
  • I like that Windows Update is more integrated to the
  • The Control Panel sucks. 
    It (Classic View) loads slow and I click too fast for that, so I end up
    selecting the wrong icons because they seem to load from the middle out (huh?)
  • Shadow Copies is a nice feature, love it in Server but I don’t
    know when the last time was I needed to use it.
  • Not sure there are any video/audio drivers that don’t suck
    on Vista.
  • There is no easy link to the “Network and Sharing Center”
    from the “Network” located in the Start Menu. 
    Have to right click that and go to Properties or go through the Control
    Panel.  Why?
  • Office 2007 is great, expect when I’m going to have to teach
    the parents everything over again because it has been redesigned to put things
    were you think they should be. Tech support nightmare.
  • I’ve just added a Skype phone, and now it says I need to
    redo my Experience Index.   So many
    things wrong with that.
  • Games folder and integration is nice, but I’m not a gamer.
  • Home Premium should be what Ultimate is.  Too many editions.  Lets restrict good backup from home users.  Sounds like a plan to me.
  • My Thinkpad keeps dropping the wireless connection while
    connected via RDP.  Then it locks me out
    saying something about a network connection that does not exist.  Worse part, it does the same when I try and
    log in locally!
  • Sports Lounge is sweet!
  • Too bad Internet Explorer didn’t get any better with the
  • That’s all for now.