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Friday, August 31, 2012

Like me on facebook!!!

After almost 3 years working on this blog...
Hurdle after hurdle...

I finally made a facebook page for this site!

Please check it out and give me a like!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tutorial: How To Completely Take Apart Your Xbox

First and foremost. Please unplug everything from your xbox. You need to be sure that the power supply is completely discharged. If you're a little seasoned, you can actually hear the PSU discharge 5-15 seconds after you remove the power cord. You should hear a small, barely inaudible 'pop'. If you're new to this, you may want to wait 15 minutes to a half hour to be 100% sure.

Moving on... The tools you will need:
-Torx 20 (T20)
-Torx 10 (T10)
-Flat Head screwdriver
-Phillips with magnetic head (optional)

Start with a regular old xbox

Flip it over and locate 6 screws

Screws 2 and 5 are under security stickers. Breaking these stickers voids your non-existent warranty. Screws 1, 3, 4 and 6 are under the feet. GENTLY peel up the edge of the feet, only enough to expose the screw.

Set your screws aside

Using both hands, one on each side of the vents, GENTLY lift up. If it gives you problems, yell at it. If yelling at it doesn't work, gently wiggle and it should come free. Lift off and set aside.

Remove the IDE cable from the hard drive. Remove molex power from the hard drive. Navigate the power cables through the maze of clips and hang over right edge of the shield. Remove 1 T10 screw that attaches the hard drive caddy to the DVD caddy. Lift out the hard drive and set aside. Be sure not to rattle, shake, bump or drop your hard drive... seriously.

Locate and remove the IDE cable and the yellow cable from the back of your DVD drive. Hang cables over the rear of the metal shield. Locate and remove 2 T10 screws from the front left and front right of the DVD drive. Sometimes the left screw is hard to get out. This is where you might need the screwdriver with the magnetic head. Once the cables and screws are removed, simply lift the caddy out and set aside.

Remove the IDE cable and the yellow cable from the motherboard and set aside.

On the right side of the mother board you will find the PSU (Power Supply Unit). There are 2 screws and a series of slider clips holding it in place. After you remove both screws, please detach the molex from the motherboard. When the PSU is completely free, simply slide it towards the front of the case, lift up, remove and set aside. Please be sure that your PSU is unplugged from the wall and has been discharged completely before handling. See those big ass capacitors? Yeah... they hurt... Don't touch them, period.

Next up, remove your controller ports. They are held in place by 2 T10 screws each, one on either side of the assembly. The controller ports are connected to either a "daughter board" (version 1.0 only) or directly to the motherboard (versions 1.1 and above). Simply unplug, lift out and set aside.

Next we're going to want to remove the faceplate. First unplug the P/E board (Power / Eject) from the motherboard (yellow wires).

Using your flathead screwdriver, gently pry outward until you hear a pop. Do not pry too hard, you dont want to break anything. The faceplate will not come completely free until you release at least 2 of the 3 inner case clips. I would suggest the first clip you release be the one closest to the point where you used your flathead. The second clip being the center clip. Once unclipped, swing free using caution when threading the P/E cable through the hold in the chassis. Set the machine aside while we continue working on the faceplate.

Now, lets dismantle the faceplate. Using your flathead screwdriver, GENTLY... gently push down on the tab located in the bottom center of the P/E board. Once unclipped, the P/E board should swing completely free. Once free, you are able to remove the button assembly and the LED diffuser. Set aside.

The next step is optional. I would not recommend that you do this if you have clumsy hands. I cant even begin to tell you how many of these that I have broke, even being as gentle as I possibly can.

To remove the button shield from the faceplate, first locate 2 clips. Be extremely careful to not break them off. GENTLY lift them, one at a time, using your finger nail. Once the top 2 clips are free, there is one on the bottom. This one is not as brittle. Separate and set aside.

Moving back to the console, we're going to remove the fan. Unplug the fan from the motherboard.

The fan is held in place by two 2 stage clips (I don't know what else to call them). Using your flathead screwdriver, gently pry outward while lifting up in the center. You will hear / feel it click. Maintaining upward pressure, repeat this step on the opposite side.

Stage 2... Now that the fan is somewhat free, repeat the steps with your flathead. This time the fan will come completely free. Set aside.

You should now be looking at a nekkid chassis with nothing more than the motherboard and bottom shield. Locate and remove 11 screws, highlighted in red.

Once all of the screws are removed, gently lift up on the front of the motherboard, pivoting from the back. Once you reach a 45° angle, gently lift out.

Removing the shield seems simple enough, right? One more step... There is a pad on the right side of the shielding that protects the contacts in the bottom of the PSU from shorting out. The pad is glued, or attached to the shielding, so it cant come out completely. You want to lift out and the the left to bring it free from the clips. Once that is done, lift the metal shielding out. If it's giving you problems, yell at it. If that doesn't work, wiggle it a little bit until it comes free.

Now, you should have a completely dismantled xbox. Stand back and vast in its glory. Please make sure that your pets (dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits or babies) dont walk, lay or urinate on your parts. Nothing pisses me off more than when a baby comes along and pisses on my xbox. Damn babies. ANYWAYS... Enjoy!

I realize that I did not cover removing the DVD drive from it's caddy or removing the HDD from it's caddy. I did not notice this mistake until the xbox was already put back together.

To remove the hard drive, locate and remove 4 T15 screws (T10 driver will work just fine). Lift drive out of caddy.

To remove the DVD drive, locate 2 clips on either side of the drive towards the rear. Unclip them one at a time. The front of the drive is attached by a simple "tube"... Just lift the drive from the caddy.

I have absolutely nothing against babies in general. Just babies that pee on things.

Monday, August 13, 2012

XBMC for XBOX Tip: Play mp4's Without Distortion / Problems

I have been downloading everything I get in .avi format. Why? Because it plays better on my system. I do not have HD enabled blah blah blah....

Lately, it seems, that everything is being encoded in .mp4 or .mkv. On my system mkv's do not play, or rather, DID NOT play. It was annoying. It was sooooo annoying to see everything new come out encoded to a format that I could not use on my media center.

Recently, I downloaded some "Survivorman" episodes. They were mp4 format. It pissed me off because a couple of years ago, I had all three seasons in .avi format and they played perfect... Mp4's were sort of a hit or miss for me. Some played perfect, some played with an extremely washed out screen... some NEVER played.

Normally I wouldn't care. I would just download a new torrent or what-not. In the case of Survivorman, I could not find divx or xvid.. avi, wmv, mpg... formatted material... period.

So, I did a search and came up with very little documentation on the matter.
It took me all of an hour to figure this garbage out on my own. If you select the file and (use a device that applies to you)
-mouse: right click
-controller: white button
-remote: title

select "Play Using"
Select "DVD Player"

I couldn't believe how damn easy it was when I was sitting here for years sticking to .avi only. Now... if you want to set your system to use DVD Player as the default player, so you can retain the ability to use playlists and NOT have to "right click" each and every file every time, it's simple.

Using the Confluence skin with horizontal scrolling:
-scroll (left or right depending on your orientation) to "System"
-push the "up" button (to bring up the sub menu)
-Select "Settings"
-Select "Video"
-In the left plane, select "Playback"
-push the right button and go down to "Default Player"
-Select "DVD Player"

You retain ALL of the normal functions that M Player utilizes. I have not tried out an .mkv yet, but I can only assume that if it was not encoded in HD, it will most likely play.

If you need screen shots, drop me a comment and I will be more than happy to add what I can.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Xbox Game Review: Demon Stone

Release Date: November 16, 2004
MSRP: 19.99 USD
T for Teen: Blood, Violence
Genre: Third-Person Action
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Stormfront Studios

In Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone, the player directs a party of three characters: Fighter, Sorcerer and Rogue. The player controls one party member at a time -- switching between them on the fly -- while the other party members are AI-controlled. For example, when the player controls the Fighter, the Sorcerer and Rogue will continue to engage in combat, cast spells and assist the player in defeating all challengers. In many situations, the characters will be able to divide and conquer difficult objectives. The player participates seamlessly in each critical moment as they are cinematically switched from one perspective to another. Players are continually tasked with choosing the best character for each challenge as well as using each character's gameplay specialty to maximum effect.

Xbox Game Review: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath Of Cortex

Release Date:
April 16, 2002
MSRP: 19.99 USD
E for Everyone: Mild Realistic Violence
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Universal Interactive
Developer: Traveller's Tales

Everyone's favorite marsupial makes his GameCube debut in his biggest adventure yet. This time Neo-Cortex has had enough. Having been defeated one too many times, Cortex has developed a Super Secret weapon to finally rid himself of his arch-nemesis, Crash Bandicoot. Cortex has been busy building Crunch, a genetically engineered super-creature designed for one thing only, to defeat Crash Bandicoot once and for all!

There is just one thing missing? a power source for the new diabolical creation. Uka Uka, Cortex's master, calls upon the powers of the slumbering "Elementals." These four ancient masks harness the powers of earth, fire, water and air. If Cortex's super weapon wears these masks, he will then hold the power of the elements! However, to power this weapon, Cortex has set up bases around the planet, sucking the earth dry of its valuable elemental resources.

It's up to Crash Bandicoot and his sister Coco to defeat Cortex and his monstrous creation before they take over the world!

This is just like any other Crash Bandicoot game I have ever played. Only better, because it's not a psx controller or emulated on PC. BAM, right on your xbox console. I am a huge fan of Crash and so is Amanda. If this game has the Amanda seal of approval, it has to be good (game snob).

Xbox Game Review: Castlevania: Curse Of Darkness

Release Date: November 1, 2005
MSRP: 29.99 USD
M for Mature: Blood, Violence
Genre: Third-Person Action
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami TYO

An action-packed tale of betrayal and revenge, featuring a brand new character outside of the Belmont clan -- Hector, a Devil Forgemaster, and former Lieutenant of Dracula. Armed with the unique new abilities of Devil Forgery, gamers will be able to call upon trusty allies -– "Innocent Devils" –- who will help defeat a variety of powerful enemies. More than 30 evolving allies will develop unique abilities, with powers such as the ability to open heavy doors or help Hector fly. They will aid players in conquering various enemies, avoiding perilous traps and solving challenging puzzles. As players progress through the game and gain experience points, their character's strength will increase.

I was playing this one morning, just started a new game. Amanda had just woken up and was in the kitchen making coffee. I got up to use the restroom and when I came back she had taken the controller and gave me a look like "You Snooze, you loose". She played for HOURS, while I sat there sulking. I felt like yelling "MOOOOOOM, She took my game away!!!!!". From what I played and from what I saw Amanda play, this game is pretty epic. I don't know why, but since that day, I haven't gone back and played. I'll have to make a point to do that someday really soon... Like when she is at work and can't steal my controller.

Xbox Game Review: Bloodrayne

Release Date: October 20, 2002
MSRP: 9.99 USD
M for Mature: Realistic Violence
Genre: Third-Person Adventure
Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Terminal Reality

As the vampiric agent BloodRayne, you'll travel through the eerie swamps of Louisiana, to Argentina and Germany in this battle-heavy, third-person thriller. The game features non-linear gameplay in more than 40 levels and three massive worlds, the ability to suck blood for health, and to use slow-motion, zoom and aura visions to aid in death dealing. Pull off fantastic acrobatic moves to bend the environment to your will and dispatch enemies with BloodRayne's blades and kicks for awesome in-your-face combat. BloodRayne can use and carry any weapon her enemy uses including guns, explosives and rocket launchers -- all in all there are more than 40 weapons in game. Fill the Bloodlust meter to activate Blood Rage for damaging over-the-top attacks to defeat Nazis, mutants, swamp creatures, ancient parasitic monsters and blood-sucking beasts.

This game reminds me of a SEXY female version of Blood Omen: Legacy Of Kain. Nuff said... Good story, good graphics, good control's... Good Game.