End of an Era–My XM Radio

So yesterday marked the end of an era for me.  I cancelled my SiriusXM subscription.  In doing so I realized I was only 4 months away from having subscribed to it for 10 years.  I really enjoyed my time with satellite radio and wouldn’t have a problem recommending it to others if it meets their needs.  More and more, it wasn’t meeting my needs.

I think satellite radio is falling behind the times.  I can get a much better tailored music listening experience with my Xbox Music Pass, which I’ve been using for years since it was called a Zune Pass. 

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FYI, the Xbox Music Pass is finally platform agnostic.  Before it was limited to Zune devices, PCs and Windows Phones.  Now you can get an Xbox Music Pass on Android and iOS, too.  Finally!

The only things I’ll miss from SiriusXM would be the unique talk content (Opie & Anthony) and Dan Patrick in the mornings.  But Dan Patrick is actually available on AM Radio and, more importantly, same or next day podcast.  O&A also have a weekly podcast which covers recent and classic breaks of their show. 

More and more I’m ending up listening to podcasts during my daily commute.  So, ultimately, that’s how my listening habits have been naturally changing over the past year.  Several times in the car when I could be listening to SiriusXM I was actually listening to a podcast or streaming music over Xbox Music. 

So, it’s with a heavy heart but not a heavy conscious that I cancelled yesterday.  They really drew first blood when they cancelled On the Rocks a year after I joined the service. Sad smile  (Footnote:  When I was trying to initially decide between Sirius and XM (clearly, this was pre-merger) it was the fact that XM Radio had a Lounge music station.  I was in the middle of a big Lounge kick at the time.  That was the sign I needed to make my decision.)

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Goodbye satellite radio – I’ll miss you.

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Quick Note: Avatar Kinect on Xbox 360

I’m just watching through the 2011 CES Keynote address given by Microsoft and I’m looking at the segment on a new feature coming soon called Avatar Kinect.  It’s a multiparty chat program that included your avatar and you friends avatars inside some pretty cool virtual environments.

MsComicChatThis immediately reminded me of a fun, silly and short lived IRC client Microsoft included back in the Windows 95 days called “Comic Chat”.  That app built an on the fly comic book based upon your hand typed text messages.  You selected a character to represent yourself in the strip and if you put in an exclamation mark or a question mark in your text the program would change the expression of the character accordingly.  If you types “haha” or “lol” it would make your character laugh.

Fast forward 15 years and now you can do the same with with the Kinect and your Avatar.  The Kinect will soon be able to watch your facial expressions and translate those onto your Avatar.  Your Avatar will be able to walk onto a virtual environment and interact with your friends Avatars in cool, fun ways.

Check it video of this here: skip ahead to about 14:45

Here’s a clip of the different “stages” that will be available.  Looks kinda like the Comic Chat settings from days of old.

avatar kinect stages

So it looks like some old ideas never truly go away.  They just look for ways to get renewed and made cool again.

Oh, and for my Twitter friend who commented he’d rather just have a video chat with someone and do without the Avatars.  Think about this scenario.  You just woke up, it’s early, maybe you’re not fixed up and presentable to people outside your house yet. 

This is a way you can (video) chat with people without having to look presentable. Who cares if your hair’s not perfect or heaven forbid you haven’t put on a clean shirt yet?  Your Avatar is impeccably dressed at all times!

It’s the future, man.