Traffic lights tell you when your Xbox Live friends are gaming

It sounds like [Andrew] is trying to build a Pavlovian response into his behavior when it comes to online gaming. He wants to make sure he doesn’t miss out when all his friends are online, so he built this traffic signal to monitor Xbox Live activity. It will illuminate the lights, and drive the meters differently based on which of his friends are currently online. When the light’s green, he drops everything a grabs a controller.

The base of the light is a black project box. Inside you’ll find the Arduino compatible chip which drives the device mounted on a piece of protoboard. A WIZnet W5100 adds network connectivity at the low price of around $25. There is one problem with the setup. The API which [Andrew] found doesn’t use any authentication. This means that he can only see the public status of his friends; anyone who has set their online status set to private will always register as ‘online’. If you know of an existing Xbox Live API that would solve this issue we’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Banned Xbox 360’s – boon or bust?

We’re sure you’ve heard about Xbox 360s facing an other round of bans from Xbox Live last week. It seems that living in a hole, or even in Grenora, North Dakota couldn’t help you escape hearing this from every news source possible. Apparently, this has caused a slew of banned consoles to go up for sale in a buyer-beware quagmire. This is a joke in several ways; didn’t the hardware problems of the machine already make the used market risky enough? Now consumers will be even more wary, losing game sales because less people are buying used consoles.

If you have just the right kernel, and a copy of your CPU key, and a second unbanned Xbox 360, you may be able to reactivate your machine. But how many people have those things available to them? Undoubtedly an Xbox 360’s desirability is greatly diminished if Xbox Live is removed from the equation. This is something Nintendo could learn from when it comes to the Wii (no online multiplayer with New Super Mario Bros Wii?… Really?). So whether you are the one who was banned, or you decided/were tricked in to purchasing a banned console, what are you going to do with it now that online play is out of the picture?

We’ve seen the console emulating SNES games and even XBMC run with the help of Ubuntu. Leave us a comment and tell us if you are planning to just go without Xbox Live, use the machine as a desktop running Ubuntu, or spearhead the effort to repurpose this powerful (and flawed) hardware platform. Will you go out and capitalize on cheaper hardware, or have you been burnt by the grim reality of a crippled rig?

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