Friday, November 30, 2007

Version 2.5 is now available

During the development of Version 3.0, we came up with some user interface improvements that significantly improve the usability of the 1337pwn XBOX Live Friends List widget. We've decided to release these changes as version 2.5.

If you've been with us for a while, you'll be quick to note the improvements. Most obvious, the widget will now grow to accommodate the gamertags that you entered. Unless you make a list of gamer tags taller than your screen, you don't need to scroll any more. It's slick.

It also is taking advantage of some features that, while documented, aren't often used in MacOS dashboard widgets. I personally tested it on both my PowerPC and Intel Macs -- it worked like a champ. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if some users encountered problems. If you have any issues with v2.5, please send me a message via XBOX Live (gamertag: borocouncilman).

Thank you for your support.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Codename: Butters

Work has begun on the next version of the XBOX Live Friends widget. While we started out with modest improvements, I now believe we're working our way towards a genuine version 3.0. The new version incorporates some interesting ideas and also gets us ready for Microsoft's forthcoming Friends of Friends functionality. Good stuff.

Given the size of the community, we are planning a Beta to straighten out any of the kinks before wide release. If you're interested, send "borocouncilman" a message via XBOX Live.

Thank you

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Over 4,000 downloads

We crossed 4,000 widget downloads yesterday for the XBOX Live Friends List widget.

On the back-end, our server is currently maintaining data for thousands of tags. More than 75% of these tags are requested at least once per day with gigabytes of data being served to the desktop widgets.

I'm thrilled that so many of you have found the widget useful. We're proud and humbled by the community response.

Thank you for your support and valuable feedback.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Apple Widget Gallery

Both of the 1337pwn widgets are now listed in Apple's gallery. You can check them out here.

XBOX Live Friends Widget
Halo 3 Recent Games

Apple now points to the latest version of the widgets.

Send XBOX Live Messages

XBOX Live Friends Version 2.1 users now have a shortcut to send a message via XBOX Live. Clicking on a gamer pic will open a Safari window allowing you to compose a message. If you aren't already signed in, Microsoft will ask you for authentication, but beyond that, it's a one click operation. Enjoy!

Monday Server Updates

After several thousand widget downloads, it's been a heck of week. I would like to thank you all for your patience and feedback as we work to continuously improve the service. As you can tell, XBOX Live Friends Widget is an active project. We've pushed out a couple of versions over the past week to improve performance and usability of the software. With v2.1, the widget is better than ever.

At the moment, more than 80% of the user community is still running v2.0/2.01. Given that such a large part of the community is still running the older version, we have incorporated the "blank status" hotfix made yesterday into the older server code. While updates to older code won't be a "habit", this change helps the overall service performance. We do recommend the upgrade to v2.1 as it uses our latest server code base.

Thanks again for your support.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blank Status Information Fix

This afternoon, we noticed a little problem with status information under certain conditions. Under the right "bad" conditions, it wasn't displaying. We just put out a hotfix on the server that should help with the issue. This was a server side fix for v2.1, so there's nothing to download. If you're seeing a blank status, try refreshing the widget by showing and hiding the dashboard.

If you're encountering the issue with v2.0/2.01, please upgrade to v2.1.

UPDATE: While the vast majority of tags are updated normally, we're not able to get status information for several valid gamer tags. It looks like we might be experiencing some "Sunday maintenance".

1337pwn XBOX Live Friends Widget v2.1

Early this morning, we released a subtle update to the XBOX Live Friends List widget. The new version of the widget has a further optimized version of the communications code along with usability improvements. For example, you can now have multiple instances of the widget open and give them unique "labels".

The latest version can be found here.

Thank you for the feedback. If you know other folks that might find the widget useful, spread the word!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Game Time

After a week that has included a whole bunch of coding, I'm actually settling in to a night of gaming. I need to spin down the brain with some Halo 3 for the next few hours. If you see me online, feel free to pop me an invite.

Thank you all for your great feedback and support.

1337pwn Halo 3 Recent Games Widget

We just released our second widget for the MacOS dashboard. It's a little widget that takes recent Halo 3 game information from and formats it for display. You'll find it on our main page here.

Let us know what you think. We're also investigating the possibility of combining this feed information into the next version of our Friends List widget.

Friday, November 23, 2007

1337pwn XBOX Live Friends Widget v2.01

A very minor update to the MacOS Dashboard widget was deployed today. With a little manifest housekeeping, we reduced the download size from 2MB to 350k. While there's no real functional impact, it should help us conserve download bandwidth.

If you already have the 2.0 widget, there is no need to download the new version. Unless, of course, you want the absolutely latest version.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

1337pwn XBOX Live Friends Widget Version 2.0

About one week ago, we went "live" with our MacOS widget making it available to the general public. Two days later, Apple listed it in their Dashboard widget gallery. From that moment, the widget was no longer something being used and tested amongst friends. Within 24 hours, we were updating THOUSANDS of gamer tags and moving GB/day of data through the 1337pwn server.

While I have pushed other applications on to the net, I never imagined this kind of immediate response. I created the widget, because I simply couldn't find a nice quick way to display the online status of my XBOX Live friends on the Mac. The available solutions were buggy, suffered very real design problems, and worst of all, asked you to fork over your Windows Live account name and password. They just were not acceptable ways of getting the job done. The 1337pwn XBOX Live Friends List widget came out of a strong desire to have a solution that just worked.

Unfortunately, it did not work very long. In just a few short days of wide availability, Version 1.x of the widget had more/less become unusable with the amount of traffic that it was generating at our server. Quite simply, the application wasn't working. While we tried some quick fixes, it was pretty clear that some major changes were in order. In couple of days, we rewrote the server/client code, tested everything, and pushed out Version 2.0. You can download it here.

At a glance, the new widget is similar in appearance to the old version. Underneath its exterior, the 1337pwn XBOX Live Friends List widget Version 2.0 is better in almost every way that counts - speed, scalability, reliability. With the new underpinnings, we're well positioned to keep things fast and responsive as the 1337pwn community grows. The new server architecture also makes it easier for us to support new devices and platforms. We are on our way!

As always, let us know what you think of the new version. If you were a 1.x user, we're glad that you stuck with us as we worked out the kinks. More good things are to come.

Thank you for your patience, support, and feedback as we work to make the services better.

1337pwn XBOX Live Friends - Browser Version (ALPHA)

We recently ported our MacOS XBOX Live Friends widget to a browser-based version. It's been made publicly available for feedback as an "ALPHA" version. It's quite functional for an "ALPHA" giving users a short-term solution on Windows XP/Vista machines and the Apple iPhone/iPod Touch. Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think.

Click here for the 1337pwn XBOX Live Browser (ALPHA)

As with the MacOS widget, it will display the Gamertag, Score, Recent Game, and online status. It even updates status information after the widget is displayed. The underpinnings do require a modern browser that supports XMLHTTPRequest (ie. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari). It will not work with simplified browsers.

Let us know what you think. We're actively working to support other devices and improve the browser-based experience.