Xbox Customer Service = Fail

This is a public service announcement: Be very, very careful about buying a used Xbox 360 right about now. As you might know, Microsoft is in the process of banning up to a million modded 360s from Live. These bans are affecting the black-market economy of mod-boxes;  modders are racing to unload their illegal and soon to be perma-banned boxes on the internet. Craigslist is glutted with modded Xboxes at dirt-cheap prices, as well as people offering to unban your Xbox (My guess is, it won't work.). I've heard already from several TheFeed readers already who recently purchased used Xboxes that are banned. There's nothing that can be done, so, as they say in Latin: Caveat emptor. Or, "Don't a dink."

Of course, if you are in the market for a modded Xbox (and I don't condone this market, at all), it's a buyers' paradise of cheap, modded machines on Craigslist. As long as you never want to play online, won't use any Live services, don't mind not having any kind of a warranty, and are okay with stealing from people who don't deserve it, you can get a modded Xbox for super cheap these days.

According to Microsoft: "If you purchase a modified console second-hand, the warranty is not transferable and the purchaser assumes the risk for any previous modifications... If you purchase a console that has been previously banned, you will not be able to connect to (Xbox) Live."

Has anyone out there been banned for their mod? Have you purchased a used machine, only to find it's a forbidden Xbox? Leave a comment or shoot me an email! 

The great (unconfirmed) Derek “The Blizzard” Snowden came into work today flossing a plastic guitar he bought at 7-11. The whole office was obviously impressed with the bleeding-edge tech, but when Derek took a sip out of a straw protruding from his axe, a legend was born. Please enjoy Mr. Snowden’s in-depth review of 7-11’s amazing cup/guitar hybrid. Or, gup.


Who Likes to Rock the Gulp?

I'll admit it. I enjoy a nice fountain drink now and then. I like guitars and things shaped like guitars.

Who Likes to Rock the Gulp?Today, I learned that I can appreciate a soda in a guitar-shaped beverage container.  That's it, really.


Holds 54 oz. of your favorite beverage
Available in red or blue
Has an adjustable strap with metal buckle
The raised plastic strings have surprisingly nice action
Good conversation starter
Comes with rad stickers and a handy ice cone


Does not hold 64 oz. of your favorite beverage
Not available in black or Fender
Guitar-stand-slash-hot-dog-warmer not included
Lefty flip is surprisingly unsatisfying
‘Rockin’ the Coffee’ can be fatal
I don’t like stickers or ice


Mmm, tasty and refreshing.  However, do not attempt to plug into an electrical source.  Results may vary.  For those of you wondering why this is on a videogame blog, here's an HTML hyperlink to our Lego Rock Band review.

Cops Caught Playing Wii During Drug Investigation

Everyone knows I have beef with The Pigs -- five-oh be gafflin' me crazy! -- but a recent drug raid in Polk County, Florida is changing my mind. Officers there were conducting a drug investigation in a citizen's home, but some officers got a little bored and turned on the Wii for some Wii Sports: Bowling! 

While some detectives carried out evidence (flat screen televisions, shotguns) others were picking up spares and strikes on the flat-screen. According to the local press:

A Polk County sheriff's detective cataloging evidence repeatedly put down her work and picked up a Wii remote to bowl. When she hit two strikes in a row, she raised her arms above her head, jumping and kicking.


While a female detective lifted a nearby couch looking for evidence, another sheriff's detective focused on pin action.

Those are my kind of cops! Here's a video for ya...

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Iggy Pop in Lego Rock Band

Iggy Pop gets no respect. The guy basically invented punk rock. His song "The Passenger" is among the top 10 rock songs ever recorded, and "Lust for Life" is among the top one rock songs ever recorded. What does Pop get in the video game world for his lifetime of rock and/or roll dedication? Is it a branded Rock Band game ala The Beatles? Is it a second-tier Guitar Hero: Iggy Pop game? Is it even an appearance as a playable character in Guitar Hero 5? No. None of those. Instead Iggy Pop will appear as a mini-fig in Lego: Rock Band.

I'm not sure why the bisexual, unrepentant drug-abusing head of The Stooges, who sang songs about dissolution, heroin and nihilism while cutting himself with broken bottles on stage, is included in the kid-friendly Lego: Rock Band, but I guess if enough time passes, even the most dangerous, subversive artist becomes safe for the whole family, and the most dangerous music becomes a perfect background for advertising family cruises and soda pop.

We were discussing this story at G4 seconds ago, and trying to think of any musician, actor or pop culture figure who is regarded by the culture as "dangerous." Like, maybe how the Sex Pistols were seen in the 70s, or N.W.A. in the 80s, or Marilyn Manson in the 90s. We couldn't come up with anyone at all! Is there anyone dangerous left?

Also: He's a hero to me (a fan of old school punk rock) but have you ever even heard of Iggy Pop?

VividAdult film producer Steven Hirsch (head of Vivid Entertainment) would like to offer his company's movies to users of the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii. Hirsch says he plans to make a formal proposal to Sony to include adult content on the PlayStation 3.

"Our point is pretty simple," Hirsch told Kotaku. "As long as age verification is in place that (Sony) feels comfortable with we see no reason why adults shouldn't be allowed to access adult movies on the Playstation 3."

Recently, Sony allowed the DDM.tv adult movie service to start showing adult content in Japan, and Hirsch doesn't see why his company can't do the same in North America.

"They had made it clear in the past they were not interested," Hirsch said. "Now that they have agreed to in someway allow adult films on the Japanese platform we are going to move forward and make a formal request."

I seriously doubt Sony will allow adult movies on their platform in the U.S. and, honestly, I hope they don't. I'm totally in favor of freedom of speech, but the avenues for getting pornography are already in place. I don't want/need naked ladies everywhere I go. Some spaces should be reserved for wholesome, ultra-violence and not sex.

What do you think? Do you want to see adult movies streamed to your PS3 or Xbox?



Apple iPhone

Everybody panic! According to "cybersecurity researchers" Charlie Miller and Collin Milliner, tomorrow could be the biggest technological freakout since WOPR took over the nation's nuclear program and ran a program called "Global Thermonuclear War." Miller and Milliner say they have identified a flaw in the iPhone's text messaging system that allows people to completely control your iPhone through text messages, and they're going to tell the world how it works tomorrow at a hacker convention in Las Vegas.

The security experts say they can send a series of mostly invisible text messages to any iPhone, and gain control of all of the phone's functions, including visiting websites, dialing the phone, taking shots with the camera, turning on the microphone and sending more text messages that will control other phones.

"The only thing you can do to prevent it is turn off your phone," Miller told Forbes. "Someone could pretty quickly take over every iPhone in the world with this."

Apparently, Apple was notified of the problem over a month ago, but has yet to release a fix. Milliner and Miller say they've found a similar texting bug in Windows Mobile that allows complete remote control of Microsoft devices, and a pair of SMS exploits in the iPhone and the Android phones would supposedly allow a hacker to knock a phone off its wireless network.

Whether or not the iPhone-pocalypse happens tomorrow, this hack highlights what is quickly becoming the biggest problem in electronic-security: Worms that spread through SMS messages. So if you receive a mysterious text message on your iPhone tomorrow, turn that thing off, right away. In fact, just to be safe, why don't you turn off your phone right now, wrap it tightly in bubble-wrap and duct tape and bury it in your backyard.

If you could control every iPhone in the world, what would you do with your vast power?



Team America RonRey

Remember a few weeks ago when there there were news reports that North Korea was going to launch a missile at Hawaii? And then Michael Jackson died so everyone forgot about everything on Earth except what a good album Thriller is? As far as I know, Hawaii still exists (although, I could have missed the news: Michael Jackson had a funeral, after all.). North Korea, though, is still up to its devilish tricks and has launched a cyber-attack on the United States and South Korea.

The DDoS attack took down some of South Korea's most important internet websites, including The defense ministry, the national assembly, Shinhan bank, and that YouTube video of a monkey peeing in its own mouth. The North Korean keyboard warriors tried to disable the White House's website and the computers at the New York Stock Exchange, but Ronald Reagan stopped the attack...from beyond the grave! (Actually, the U.S. internet-defense forces "deflected the cyber barrage")

John Bumgarner, director of research at the US Cyber Consequences Unit, said: "There's been a lot chatter recently about cyber-war. The North Koreans may have felt they were not getting enough attention launching missiles so they moved into another potential warfare – cyber. It's a form of sabre rattling. But the big question is, did the North Koreans launch it themselves or did someone do it for them?"

I have another question: When the our country's big, bad Axis-of-Evil enemy can't even manage to take down a few dumb websites, how scared should we really be? Even 4Chan (or was it ebaums world?) can manage a DDoS attack when they feel like it, and that's just a couple hundred maladjusted teenagers with agoraphobia. North Korea is a whole damn totalitarian dictatorship and this is the best it can do?  I'm not mad at you, North Korea. I'm just very disappointed.



Roxy TheaterAccording to their press material, the famous Roxy nightclub on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip has more Twitter followers than any other nightclub. There are currently more than 10,000 people subscribed to The Roxy's tweets, where they're rewarded with free tickets, drink discounts and other good things.

Sure, 10,000 followers isn't that many -- my friend Jason's cat has 623,017 followers and counting -- but still, Sockington doesn't ever serve me Jack and Cokes, and didn't help launch the careers of music icons Jane's Addiction and The Red Hot Chil Peppers... at least, I don't think Socks had anything to do with the popularity of those bands. You never know.

Anyway, check out The Roxy's twitter feed, join the cool twits there, and see what's up.


sexy soup ladyI remember back in the good old days, when illicit street sales involved either pirated DVDs or black tar heroin, but up in San Francisco, they do it a little differently now. The big illegal street racket is gourmet food. Hardened gastronomic dealers like Curtis the Crème Brulee Guy, Cookie Wag, Amuse Bouche and Sexy Soup Lady have been selling black market food on the streets without getting vendor licenses. Oh, noes!

Due to the clandestine nature of their criminal enterprises, advertising is on the down low, often through Twitter. Sadly, The Man can use twitter too, and the busts may be on the way. According to Richard Lee, San Francisco's director of Health Regulatory Programs, the department has been following suspected unlicensed vendors' on Twitter, and plan to hand them over to the po-po. "Anytime we see or know about a violation, we report it to the police," said Lee.

According to Police spokesman Sergeant Wilfred Williams the case of the hardened food-dealers is still tough to crack: "At this point they haven't been able to find or locate the vendors, because they're not selling on a daily basis. They might not always be in Linda Alley, they might not always be in Dolores Park. They might not always be in the Mission," Williams said.

So hey, criminal food underground, be careful with your tweets... and don't forget to subscribe to TheFeed's twitter. We promise to tell you everything going on the world of video games and tech, and if we start selling street-corner polenta from the trunk of our Nissan, you'll be the first to know.


Willie D (Gheto Boys)

Houston rapper Willie D., a founder of seminal gangsta rap outfit The Gheto Boys, was recently arrested in Texas and slapped with Federal charges  for a wire-fraud scam that allegedly found the rapper selling people iPhones and other electronics that didn't actually exist. If I didn't' know better, I'd think my mind was playing tricks on me.

According to reports, the rapper posed as an electronics salesman, and used eBay to establish his credibility with international buyers. He then conducted sales through email, got his payment via electronic transfer, and then didn't send the merchandise he promised. I can't decide if this scheme is gangsta or kind of embarrassing. A burned buyer eventually contacted law enforcement, leading to the federal charges against Mr. D. Wire fraud carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Fellow Gheto Boy Bushwick Bill was unavailable for comment on the situation at press time, but I imagine he'd say something like, "If you prefer online retailing, refrain from doing business with strangers through email to avoid fraud. Stick to reputable retailers!"


Craigslist Erotic Services

In response to pressure from law enforcement agencies, massive internet message board Craigslist has decided to shut down its "Erotic Services" section. According to the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the section will be closed down in seven days, so you only have a week to purchase the variety of interesting and eclectic services offered therein.

At issue, of course, is the fact that many of the aforementioned services, while possibly erotic, are illegal in the United States. You can't sell people sex, and using a message board as a conduit for prostitution will bring down the ire of law enforcement, especially in the wake of a very high profile murder allegedly arranged over Craigslist.

In place of the current Wild-West style of self-monitored posting, Craigslist will create a system where employees personally monitor and approve adult ads.

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Internet PornIt's a correlation to our story about kids gravitating towards "mature" games due to its forbidden content. Based on a nationwide survey of credit card receipts from a major adult content provider, those living in conservative and religious states consume the most pornography.

"Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by," Edelman says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School.

Eight of the top ten pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain, while six out of the lowest ten chose liberal candidate Barack Obama.

"One natural hypothesis is something like repression: if you're told you can't have this, then you want it more," Edelman says.

I'd love to enjoy pornography, but I'm not sure where to get a pornograph. (Wow, that was a terrible joke.)


Pink Nintendo DS LITE

The Tokyo District Court yesterday ruled that the R4 device -- officially known as the "R4 Revolution for DS" -- can not be sold in Japan. The R4 allows easy software piracy for the DS. It fits into the DS's cartridge slot. Data is stored on a Micro SD and downloaded from websites via a flash drive, and the R4 has a small slot that the Micro SD card slides into. Bam: Pirated games.

So far, sale of the device has only officially been outlawed in Japan. Nintendo and 53 other companies took the manufacturer of the device to court. Nintendo and the rest vow to continue the legal fight against piracy, saying they'll continue to pursue other manufacturers of similar devices.

Barbed Wire PlayStation Controller

Swiss doctors have identified a new and frightening disorder that targets the most helpless among us: Gamers. PlayStation palmar hidradenitism is the name for lesions on the palms caused by gripping a controller too tightly, mashing buttons, and sweating too much.

Dermatologists in Geneva first noticed the disorder in a 12 year old girl who had palmar hidradenitism on her hands. The disorder is usually seen on the feet of people who play a lot of sports, but this girl was a sedentary gamer. The culprit, her doctor discovered, was her game system.

Luckily, there is a cure for PlayStation Palm. Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists said: "If you're worried about soreness on your hands when playing a games console, it might be sensible to give your hands a break from time to time, and don't play excessively if your hands are prone to sweating."  Never would have thought of that one!

Other than the occasional thumb blister, I've never had any specific injuries related to gaming other than a bruised ego from getting my butt handed to me at online Madden again and again. What about you though? Have you ever suffered from any injuries because you game? Tell us about them!


This week in Missouri, a 70 year-old Elvis Presley fan named Walter Hoover was so upset about his digital converter box not working, he pulled a gun and shot his own television in cold blood. Ouch! Right in the screen!

Police responded to reports of gunfire at Hoover's home, and after a brief standoff, took the vigilante viewer into custody where he was charged with unlawful use of a firearm. Hoover's wife later told the police that her husband had been drinking.

Sadly, Hoover will now miss PBS's broadcasts of both Nova and Frontline, and he won't be invited to the best cocktail parties.

Whether the bullet helped his television decide to start working right was not known at press time.

So what would cause you to shoot your TV?


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