Microsoft now allows two-factor authentication

Want to prevent your Xbox Live account from being hacked? This is the best way. Microsoft, this week, unveiled two-factor authentication. Major Nelson already has a guide for setting up two factor authentication on your Xbox 360. Two factor authentication requires another device, like a mobile phone, which will provide a password to you so that when your Xbox 360 prompts for this extra password, you check your device for the randomly generated password and enter it.

Microsoft TechNet has an article detailing how two-factor authentication works with your Microsoft account (formerly known as your LiveID).

One dollar deals? It's gotta be Atari!

I walked in to a gamestore a few weeks ago, spent about $7, and walked out with a bag full of games. I still don’t even know for sure if they work, but I think this weekend will be a good one to escape from a few things and play some vintage games. I can’t wait to find out if my “new” copies of Demons to Diamonds, Yar’s Revenge, and Pitfall actually work!

You’re probably familiar with at least two of those, but I’m very excited for Demons to Diamonds because it’s a game that I’ve actually never played before, but I’ve heard good things in the past. I have a few other games I’ve been wanting to play around with, or even just see if my new game cartridges work. This should be a good weekend for an escape from the connected world. Are you planning anything fun?

In defense of sanity after the Boston Marathon Bombings

I don’t generally like to get in to politics. I’m a tech geek. But this is my personal website, click next if you don’t want to read this one. I, for one, need to vent. For historical reference of anyone reading this in the future: less than 3 days ago, make-shift bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Continue reading “In defense of sanity after the Boston Marathon Bombings”

DPOfcx error when opening Outlook Resolved!

This is an oddly specific error, and I don’t have any good screenshots to go with it, so I apologize, but it’s something I stumbled on to last week. When opening Outlook I got a very cryptic error message, but what jumped out at me was in the error it blamed the problem on “DPOfcx.” I found nothing useful about this error online, so I started picking through the computer until I realized it was an issue with HP ProtectTools. Generally, when we ship an HP out from our Help Desk, we uninstall this program (which is a pain in itself, because you need to first uninstall all ProtectTools modules, then the application itself). But this computer still had ProtectTools on it. Some users suggested changing your “DEP” settings in Windows, but that will open up an entirely different can of worms. Here’s the best solution I found: Continue reading “DPOfcx error when opening Outlook Resolved!”

2006 – Gym Class Heroes – The Papercut Chronicles

“Hi, have you ever wondered what it would be like to listen to some music?” These words open the Gym Class Heroes album The Papercut Chronicles. The album is an aural treat to anyone who enjoys vivid imagery. Petrified Life and the Twice Told Joke (Decrepit Bricks) is a track early on the album that includes beautiful lines: “I walk down / dead end streets like I didn’t see the sign / just to turn around and walk back / that’s fine and dandy but / what’s whack is the fact / I’m still walkin’ / like thank God for Walkmans.” The lyrics are put forth by the lead singer, who goes by many names, but is probably best known as Travie-Trav McCoy.

The album features it songs like Make Out Club, about having brief relationships with lots of women, then Cupid’s Chokehold, which made them a mainstream success, and seems to be more about finding the one. But then there are tracks like Taxi Driver which is an industry-referential track that names literally dozens of other bands. It is tracks like this that come out and remind you that Gym Class Heroes is a band, and not just a rapper. They go on tour with indie-rock festivals more than performing at rap or R&B concerts.

Other songs get a little darker, such as So Long Friend. I haven’t done any research to be sure if this was a track he genuinely recorded in his apartment, but it gives the sound that it was an impromptu freestyle recording after hearing the news of the death of a friend. Pillmatic deals with prescription drug addiction. Faces in the Hall is another serious song, which literally turns out to be about extreme consequences of homophobia.

Simple Livin’ is great song that picks the tempo back up and includes in the chorus “Simple livin’ is a bitch / but then / I do it well / some are fortunate to make it / and some of’em fail” – a song about working multiple jobs and making ends meet, all while he works on his musical career. Apollo 3-1-5 beautifully remixes radio transmissions from the NASA Apollo missions and puts a little music over top of them.

This is another one of those albums I can listen to again and again, beginning to end. You need to do yourself a favor and ignore genres you might not typically listen to. Trust me, sit back and enjoy The Papercut Chronicles.

Xbox 360 tray stuck closed or open? Troubleshoot it here!

Lots of people have said they have run in to problems with their Xbox 360 tray being stuck closed. Some have reported it not closing all the way, or being stuck open. Regardless of your problems, Microsoft has put together a handy troubleshooting guide! The guide covers multiple models of Xbox 360 and lots of disc drive problems, including unreadable discs, stuck trays, and disc drive errors. Even after you find a solution to your problem, the troubleshooting guide offers a post-mortem and a few additional tips for making those problems less likely in the future! It’s a very useful guide, straight from the folks at Xbox division within Microsoft, so give it a try and see if it can help you!

Is the second Wii U update really only 30 MB?

Okay, sure, I’m a bit of a Wii U nerd. I think the technology is fascinating, but the games are lacking. I haven’t been playing mine for a little while. Then I heard there was a new update available for the console’s firmware, itself. I put the GamePad controller on its display stand and it has sit there long enough to completely drain of life. I didn’t want to power on my console for fear that the update would take ages, much like the update that was available at launch, which I suggested you install early if giving the Wii U as a gift.

Just the other day I decided I would brave the waters and go download the update. To my surprise, I thought that Nintendo may have modularized their updates, as this one was only 30 MB! It downloaded and installed in the matter of a few minutes then I was on my way to playing games. The improvements are supposed to include faster load times when dropping back to the main OS and so far that is all that has been highlighted. I didn’t notice any dramatic difference, though I didn’t time it with a stopwatch, and thought the size might be too small to be true, and as it turns out that may have only been an update to Miiverse. I guess I’ll wait a few more weeks to see if another, larger update comes out. But if this so-called system update that I saw really was the big-deal firmware update, then I’m actually pretty impressed. This is a much better way to do it than making users re-download the whole thing every time there is an update (ARE YOU LISTENING, SONY?).