Working from home -- posting from my Xbox



  • Apparently a few months ago a Microsoft employee named Marques Lyon wrote in his blog that the new Xbox One could have legitimate business uses, since it has access to Skype, Sky Drive and Office web-apps, so it could be claimed as a business expense on your tax return. This was covered by various websites who quoted some of Mr. Lyon's claims:

    "The Xbox One, priced at $499, is an affordable option for small business
    owners, as there are many features built into the console that could
    help it rival even the most modest of video conferencing and networking
    platforms."

    ""If you host clients at your home, use the power of IE and the size of
    your TV to showcase your new redesigned website, or snap IE to the side
    while using SkyDrive to present sketches you're working on," he
    describes. "Because Internet Explorer has access to the Office Web Apps,
    pair that with a Wi-Fi keyboard and mouse and you have the means to
    edit documents, when necessary, even if you aren't near your PC".

    But strangely, I couldn't find the actual original blog post. Some quick Googling found Marques Lyon's blog but apparently Microsoft doesn't like its employees giving out tax advice and that particular blog entry seems to have been removed.

    Anyway, this all eventually led to this guy trying to see if he could do actual work using nothing but an Xbox One. OK, he writes for a website, which may or may not qualify as "actual work", but close enough. The tl;dr version -- yes you can, sort of, but not really. And at one point he had to cheat by switching to a PS4.

    I'm not sure which is the bigger WTF -- claiming that the Xbox can be used for business, actually trying to do it and being surprised that it doesn't actually work or the fact that the Xbox is essentially an x86-based PC that can't do routine things because of weird limitiations. Among the limitations and other WTFs:

    You can plug in a  USB keyboard, but a USB mouse doesn't seem to work and you are stuck using the Xbox controller as a mouse.

    Some sort of mutant variation of Internet Explorer which can't do copy/paste. You can highlight text but Ctrl-C and Ctr-V don't work and there is no menu item for it.. Also, browser tabs aren't held in memory so every time you switch to a different tab that page is reloaded.

    Oh wait, you can copy/paste using Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V but only with text in the browser's URL bar.

    It seems to choke on web-based photo editing apps

    "The next step in my morning is logging on to the Ars Editors IRC chat room" .

    IRC chat? These guys are way too L33T for me.

    I wish blakeyrat had written the story about trying to use the Xbox for business. That would have been much more entertaining.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    I've made a few posts here from both PS4 and XBox One, and they're both painful in their own special way. XBox One fails in particular when you try to use its on-screen keyboard, it has helpful shortcuts for shifting like LS (left stick, L3 on PS4); however, it fails to disable what the key does normally (zooms in and scrolls the text area out of view - wee I can't see what I'm typing anymore!). It uses B for back a page, which I do accidentally all the time, but I can just press... Well. Hm. Fuck, it doesn't seem to have a button for forward. I've made the mistake a few times of thinking LB and RB might be back and forward, but those switch tabs. I can't for the life of me figure out how to close a tab either, so they tend to accumulate.

    That's just IE on XBox One. As far as the rest, well, it accepts voice commands - if you repeat them 8-12 times. I've managed to get the store app "stuck" on certain pages, pressing "back" takes you to the last app you had active, not the last page of the store, so effectively you can't go back in the store -- "solved" this one by going a few screens over on the home I can launch a new instance of Store at a given bookmark. I tried hooking my AT&T UVerse TV signal through it, but the XBox only seems to know how to navigate channels by entering the full four-digit channel number - this does not work because UVerse requires you to "turn on" the TV signal by pressing "OK" on the remote and XBox doesn't have an OK function - also does not realize that changing the channel failed and shows the last channel it attempted and failed to change it to as the active one. Oh and I can't get to my DVR'd programs with it.

    Other than that, uh, great console?



  • @El_Heffe said:

    OK, he writes for a website, which may or may not qualify as "actual work"
     

    =(

    @El_Heffe said:

    And at one point he had to cheat by switching to a PS4.

    Was the PS4 tax deductible?

    @El_Heffe said:

    Some sort of mutant variation of Internet Explorer which can't do copy/paste. You can highlight text but Ctrl-C and Ctr-V don't work and there is no menu item for it.. Also, browser tabs aren't held in memory so every time you switch to a different tab that page is reloaded.

    Now, I think we're being too harsh on Microsoft here. Making browsers is hard, and unless you have, like, 24 years of browser-making experience under your belt, there is NO way you're going to make a good one. Especially not on a device that's made and manufactured by a 3rd party (instead of in-house), and certainly not for a hardware platform that is completely and totally different from the CPU architecture you normally build for.



  • To be perfectly dickweedery, it is a "gaming-enhanced" platform sporting an x86 CPU. It has a few exotic technical choices, like the separate extra memory chip just for MSAA. Also, 360 had a PowerPC CPU, which I'df call downright eccentric. ...Also explains all the overheating units in the first batch, but I digress.

    The Xbox actually has a few OS features that I'd like to see in PC Windows too. Like restricting software access to the filesystem outside the installation folder.

    ...And now that we're dreaming, I'd also like my gaming OS to ask me at installation time whether I want to grant the software any access to resources like webcams, internet, ...

     

     



  • @joe.edwards said:

    Other than that, uh, great console?

     

    Does it have any games that you can play with it? Or did that function get dropped before release?

     



  • @OldCrow said:

    The Xbox actually has a few OS features that I'd like to see in PC Windows too. Like restricting software access to the filesystem outside the installation folder.

     

    Ever tried writing to Program Files or Windows folder when UAC is on?

     



  • @OldCrow said:

    @joe.edwards said:

    Other than that, uh, great console?

     

    Does it have any games that you can play with it? Or did that function get dropped before release?

     

    At least Sony will have the decency to drop "plays games" as a feature AFTER the release.

     



  • @Helix said:

    @OldCrow said:

    The Xbox actually has a few OS features that I'd like to see in PC Windows too. Like restricting software access to the filesystem outside the installation folder.

     

    Ever tried writing to Program Files or Windows folder when UAC is on?

     

     

    Which are as of Windows 7 (or Vista, but I skipped that) the only folders that I'd grant a read-only permission for anyone and their mother. Now, My Documents, on the other hand, I'd rather not be scanned, altered, cluttered, maimed, etc.. by any program but the ones that I created the files there on.

     



  • "The Xbox One, priced at $499, is an affordable option for small business owners, as there are many features built into the console that could help it rival even the most modest of video conferencing and networking platforms."

    You know what's even more affordable and useful than a $499 console? A $300 HTPC! They're specially designed to run all this stuff!

    Also, "rivals even the most modest platforms"? Isn't that like the opposite of what it should say?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @anonymous234 said:

    Why not just plug your smartphone to your TV
    That's the Apple plan.



  • @dkf said:

    @anonymous234 said:
    Why not just plug your smartphone to your TV
    That's the AppleGoogle plan.
    GTFY



  • @El_Heffe said:

    "The next step in my morning is logging on to the Ars Editors IRC chat room" .
    IRC chat? These guys are way too L33T for me.

    I'm always amazed when I come across people who think IRC is dead or "L33t" in any sense.



  • @Arnavion said:

    I'm always amazed when I come across people who think IRC is dead or "L33t" in any sense.
     

    Yeah! It's also for [url="http://irc.sexnet.org"]literate perverts[/url].



  • I deducted my Xbox 360 and a couple of games on my tax return. And I'm deducting my XBox Live membership this year as well.

    Granted, one of my clients is a major game developer.



  • @anonymous234 said:

    "The Xbox One, priced at $499, is an affordable option for small business owners, as there are many features built into the console that could help it rival even the most modest of video conferencing and networking platforms."

    You know what's even more affordable and useful than a $499 console? A $300 HTPC! They're specially designed to run all this stuff!

    Also, "rivals even the most modest platforms"? Isn't that like the opposite of what it should say?

     

    I think he means in price/value. As in, the Mac Mini (which is obviously what one would get in that situation) costs 100$ more, but gives you much less value for your money. I mean, you can't even side-snap apps on it without buying a third-party app snapper. And it can't play all these games like Call of Dog: Wuffles.

     



  • @El_Heffe said:

    "The Xbox One [has] many features built into the console that could
    help it rival even the most modest of video conferencing and networking
    platforms."
    Huh? What kind of silly claim is that?

    "Our new PortaCrapper has many features that could help it rival even the most modest outdoor shitting solutions, like digging a hole in frozen soil with your bare hands and squatting over it."



  • @OldCrow said:

    The Xbox actually has a few OS features that I'd like to see in PC Windows too. Like restricting software access to the filesystem outside the installation folder.

    ...And now that we're dreaming, I'd also like my gaming OS to ask me at installation time whether I want to grant the software any access to resources like webcams, internet, ...

    Isn't that what Metro^W^W^W^W^WWindows Store Apps do?



  • @ender said:

    Isn't that what Metro^W^W^W^W^WWindows Store Apps do?

    I believe you meant ^H, sir. ^W deleted words.



  • @Arnavion said:

    I believe you meant ^H, sir. ^W deleted words.
    You are right.



  • @Mo6eB said:

    the Mac Mini costs 100$ more, but gives you much less value for your money. I mean, you can't even side-snap apps on it without buying a third-party app snapper.
    Is that like wearing an onion on your belt?



  • @Mo6eB said:

    @anonymous234 said:

    "The Xbox One, priced at $499, is an affordable option for small business owners, as there are many features built into the console that could help it rival even the most modest of video conferencing and networking platforms."

    You know what's even more affordable and useful than a $499 console? A $300 HTPC! They're specially designed to run all this stuff!

    Also, "rivals even the most modest platforms"? Isn't that like the opposite of what it should say?

     

    I think he means in price/value. As in, the Mac Mini (which is obviously what one would get in that situation) costs 100$ more, but gives you much less value for your money. I mean, you can't even side-snap apps on it without buying a third-party app snapper. And it can't play all these games like Call of Dog: Wuffles.

     

    I guess that could make sense, but only after someone manages to hack it so you can install a standard Windows/Linuxs OS.


  • @OldCrow said:

    Also, 360 had a PowerPC CPU, which I'df call downright eccentric. ...

    And so does the GameCube, Wii, Wii U, and PS3 (Ok, so the PS3's main processor is PowerPC, while a bunch of other cores are specialized, making it the "cell" architecture, but it is still PowerPC based at its roots).



  • Also, they forgot to count the $50 per year you have to pay to be able to use IE and SkyDrive.



  • Oh man, is the IRS going to receive my FY14 declaration with a few SteamMachines on it or what?!?



  • @The Bytemaster said:

    @OldCrow said:

    Also, 360 had a PowerPC CPU, which I'df call downright eccentric. ...

    And so does the GameCube, Wii, Wii U, and PS3 (Ok, so the PS3's main processor is PowerPC, while a bunch of other cores are specialized, making it the "cell" architecture, but it is still PowerPC based at its roots).


    And if you thought PowerPC was exotic, just remember that the PS1 and PS2 were both MIPS, and the original XBox was nothing more than a glorified PIII PC. The Dreamcast IIRC is MIPS too, and the only console i know of that can run any form of retail MS Windows (in this case CE).



  • @The123king said:

    The Dreamcast IIRC is MIPS too, and the only console i know of that can run any form of retail MS Windows (in this case CE).
    Dreamcast was SuperH (SH-4).



  • @El_Heffe said:

    I'm not sure which is the bigger WTF -- claiming that the Xbox can be used for business, actually trying to do it and being surprised that it doesn't actually work or the fact that the Xbox is essentially an x86-based PC that can't do routine things because of weird limitiations.

    So why is it you people continue buying consoles when regular PC's are better?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @clively said:

    @El_Heffe said:
    I'm not sure which is the bigger WTF -- claiming that the Xbox can be used for business, actually trying to do it and being surprised that it doesn't actually work or the fact that the Xbox is essentially an x86-based PC that can't do routine things because of weird limitiations.

    So why is it you people continue buying consoles when regular PC's are better?

    Because those bastards at Disney continue to refuse to put out Kingdom Hearts 1.743 for the PC?



  • @clively said:

    So why is it you people continue buying consoles when regular PC's are better?
     

    Well, the old (and superior) use case of "just pop in a disc and start playing" is now completely outdated, so I guess that leaves only a single argument in favour of consoles: Because it's a dedicated game box that you put somewhere, and for everything else you have a small laptop or pad or something. I can't think of any other reason now.

    Wait, maybe you really like the PS controller, and you can't get one for PC? :</p>

    Also you don't have to think about the specs of the hypothetical PC you have to buy or build. The problem with that is that the specs of the current consoles can't actually always run the games very well, which is the weirdest thing.

     

    What I'm saying is that consoles just aren't very good. They're okay. But not great. And they're supposed to be great, I think. That's the idea. And that idea was thrown away and now we have PS4 and XBone.



  • @clively said:

    So why is it you people continue buying consoles when regular PC's are better?

    What regular PC plays Forza 5?



  • @dhromed said:

    Also you don't have to think about the specs of the hypothetical PC you have to buy or build. The problem with that is that the specs of the current consoles can't actually always run the games very well, which is the weirdest thing.

     What I'm saying is that consoles just aren't very good. They're okay. But not great. And they're supposed to be great, I think. That's the idea. And that idea was thrown away and now we have PS4 and XBone.

    At one time there were no PCs and if you wanted to play games you bought one of these:

    But then PCs came along and pretty soon they had the same, or better, processing power as the consoles with the added benefit of being able to also do lots of other things. Now there's a problem -- a game console has to be cheaper than a PC, otherwise you just buy a PC to play games, but in order to make it cheaper you have to strip out a lot of features, so essentially you're just selling a crippled PC (for example, the new Xbox)..

    Now that we have PCs that can pretty much do anything and everything, a dedicated game console that only does one thing, or does a lot of things but does them all half-assed, just doesn't make sense.

     



  • @dhromed said:

    What I'm saying is that consoles just aren't very good. They're okay. But not great. And they're supposed to be great, I think. That's the idea. And that idea was thrown away and now we have PS4 and XBone.

    Granted, I have a Wii U. And I only bought that because the kids begged me and they had been good for a long time. I just looked up the prices for an XBox One: $560 and UP. My god that's just insane, you can buy a pretty good computer, or laptop, for that.


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