Friday, May 29, 2009

How to keep your 360 Voice Streak

OK, I'm in third place for streaks at the 360 Voice Blog site. And I get a lot of questions, or see a lot of questions about keeping streaks alive. So, I thought I would share a bit of what it takes to keep a streak going, mine is now at 1025 days, the last time I didn't play was the day my twins were born, and the following day, June 26 & 27, 2006.

I've kept my streak alive through business travel, leisure travel, a hurricane that left my power out for 7 days, Internet connection interruptions, 3 failed XBOX 360s, and working 70 hours a week for a year at a start up company.

And let me just say, that the number one, most important thing about keeping my streak is a very understanding spouse. Second is a very supportive extended family.

This installment will cover my backup/travel rig. I've got some other cool toys and tricks I've used in a pinch, but I'll save those for another time.

I play, every day. The picture below is my main XBOX 360. It is less than a week old. It's brother was killed by a lightning storm last weekend. It was replaced on Monday at Best Buy with the extended service plan I bought. $40 well spent. Last Sunday night I had to swap it with my backup 360 to play and keep the streak alive. Barring this, there is a 24 hour Wal Mart less than 2 miles from my house, I would have gone and purchased an Arcade version if needed to play. This main unit is a Jasper MB Pro unit with the 60GB HDD. It also has the very limited edition PGR3 faceplate. I don't like to move this box around, so it rarely leaves the entertainment center.

This is my back system. It consists of a 20GB Falcon MB 360 system, a Lenovo Ideapad Netbook, a Sony Portable DVD Player that can also function as a video monitor, and a Blackberry with Bluetooth tethered Internet. I also have 2 150W DC to AC Inverters that I can use to power this system from a pair of cigarette lighters in a car or truck. All I need to play is gas in the tank of my car, and a cell signal and I can play to keep my streak alive.

Here you can see my secondary Live! account, Evol Dren is logged into XBOX Live! I have two friends online, and I'm ready to play. Profiles for this box are stored on a 64MB Memory card. I also have a Datel memory card reader so that I can regularly backup my profiles. Don't want a lost profile ruining my day.

Here you can see my Verizon Broadband connection, shared with my LAN port. I know a lot of people like to bridge with a laptop, but many providers are blocking this technique. I've found using Windows XP's built in Internet Connection Sharing" to be a much more consistently effective way to connect to live. You can do it with either the dial-up connection, or the WiFi connection when you are on the road, or visiting with friends.

The pretty orange cable is an Ethernet Crossover Cable. I also carry a standard cable in case I can plug directly to the Internet. The little black thing sticking out of the Netbook is a mini-USB dongle for the Lenovo mouse.

Here you see my Verizon Blackberry Storm, the WORST Blackberry ever made. At least it's G3 Web Access is very fast. It is tethered to the Netbook via a Targus mini Bluetooth dongle. One less cable to carry on the road is great. You can see the mini dongle on the front left corner of the Netbook.

The final picture if a view from the backside of this mess. I carry a 7 outlet power strip that has a 7 foot cord whenever I travel, never assume there will be enough outlets to plug things in the way you want. I use the video cable that came with my pro box, it can do both regular TV out and HDTV out. I've actually stayed in some hotels now with HDTVs where I could get to the inputs and play in HD on the road. I currently don't have a modulator for TVs that only accept an antenna input, instead I carry the DVD player, it can function as a monitor when I need, and it will plays DVDs on the plane or back seat of the car while traveling. A bonus in my book.

So, if you want to keep your streak going, you are going to have to plan, and be ready for things to break. Have a backup plan, and be ready to make it a priority when things fail. Things will fail.

Hope folks enjoyed this, hope to see you here in another 1025 days.

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