For the last 5 weeks, aside from some sporadic social interaction, I've spent the majority of my time doing one of three things. I work, I sleep, and I play Xbox.
I use my Xbox as more than just a childish toy to play with. A lot of the time I'm using it, I'm playing online with my brothers or other friends in the US. It's a great way to keep in touch and have some fun. I even have a webcam attached to it that I use to video conference with my brother Mike. It works really well.
Actually, it worked very well. (note the past tense)
It's a sight know far and wide throughout the Xbox community as "The Red Ring of Death."
When the lights on the front of your Xbox360 look like this, it's the machine's way of saying, "I've just turned into a $400 paperweight. You're screwed." The technical term the Xbox manual uses is "General Hardware Failure." In common speak, "Your Xbox is very broken."
This has happened to so many people that Xbox had to extend their planned 1 year warranty period to 3 years. The internet rumors are that at least 15% of all machines fail this way. Others put the number closer to 50%. Either way, it happens a lot.
Fortunately, because of the warranty extension, my machine is covered. Xbox will send me a special box that I can use to send my machine to them at absolutely no cost to myself. It will be returned to me within two to three weeks as good as new. Then, the warranty is extended for another three year period. While the hardware failure is frustrating, it's a reasonable solution...if you live in the US.
If you buy an Xbox in the US and then move to Singapore, then you're screwed.
While there are Xbox service centers in Singapore, they can't work on my machine. Apparently, the boxes are made differently in different countries. Probably because of the parts they use to build it. And the Singapore service center isn't trained and doesn't have the parts to repair a box built in the US. That means, if I want my machine fixed for "free", I've got to ship it to the US, then have someone ship it to the repair people in the box provided by the Xbox people. (By the way, Xbox owners affectionately call this box "The Coffin")
Of course, my problem is that as of June 13, I don't have a mailing address in the US. So I must act quickly. This weekend, I have to find a box and pack my Xbox into it very well. Then, I get to spend $50 to send it to my wife, who will then ship it off in the coffin for repairs by the nice people at Xbox.
Provided there are no snags, I should get the machine back in the mail about a week before my family and I are permanently out of our Texas home. What are the odds this goes smoothly?
At least I'll have a lot me free time to post blog entries. Saturday I'm going to a Japanese colleague's place for Sushi and Sake. I'll try to bring a camera.