Original Xbox turns 20 as new console war heats up
Pretty soon, that classic Xbox console gathering dust in your closet will be able to join you at the pub. The Microsoft Xbox turned 20 some weeks ago. And while many companies have come and gone in the home console market, Microsoft has proven to have plenty of staying power.
When Microsoft first entered the home video game console market, it was considered a bold, but high-risk move. Microsoft certainly had the resources and clout to succeed, but many big companies had entered the video game console market only to be pushed out.
When Microsoft launched the Xbox console, they didn’t have the massive IP library enjoyed by Nintendo. They also lacked the established customer base and third-party support that Sony secured with the original Playstation console (launched 1995).
The Xbox, however, brought plenty of computing power, equipped with twice as much ram and a processor roughly twice as powerful as the Playstation 2. Nintendo’s hardware lagged even further behind. Microsoft also invested a lot of money developing exclusive games for the Xbox, such as the mega-popular Halo series.
The Xbox ushered in the era of online console gaming with Xbox Live. Back twenty-some years ago, if you wanted to play with friends, that typically meant getting everyone in front of the same TV. With Xbox Live, you could play with friends across the country.
The original Xbox sold more than 24 million units, outpacing the 155 million Playstation 2 units sold. Microsoft enjoyed more success with the Xbox’s successor, the Xbox 360, which sold 84 million units to the Playstation 3’s 87 million.
The console wars rage to this day. Over the last few years, the Nintendo Switch has dominated sales across the globe. That said, the newer Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X and S consoles are fighting hard for market share.
Deck trends in 2023
Warmer days are around the corner. Are you dreaming of renovating or decorating your deck? Here are five trends that may inspire you.
1. Indoor furniture. Outdoor furniture is becoming increasingly similar to what you’d find in your home. The main difference is its ability to withstand the elements.
2. Fun textiles. Decorate with various fabrics and textiles, using cushions, rugs, sunshades, throws, and hammocks to optimize your comfort.
3. Plants, plants, plants. Bring your deck to life with greenery. Choose hardy plants that will beautify your yard — and make you feel like you’re on a tropical holiday.
4. Eco-responsible materials. Recycled and environmentally sustainable fabrics, wood, and other building materials are definitely in this year.
5. Modular furniture. Many garden furniture retailers sell sofas and tables that you can configure in multiple ways, so you can readily adapt your deck to your needs and desires.
Finally, neutral colors, like gray, black, and brown, remain a winning choice for outdoor materials and furniture. Add personality to your deck with accessories like lanterns and LED lights.
5 popular walkway materials
Are you thinking of creating a walkway to add elegance to your property? Here are five materials to consider.
1. Interlocking pavers. Available in a variety of designs, interlocking pavers provide a contemporary look. They’re durable and require little maintenance unless the surface is particularly porous.
2. Natural stone. Natural stone is robust and gives your yard a rustic look. Remember that the stone slabs must be carefully installed to ensure they lie flat and don’t create a tripping hazard.
3. Mulch. Wood chips and bark are ideal for creating an organic-looking walkway. However, you must reapply the mulch yearly to maintain a neat look.
4. Crushed materials. Crushed stone, concrete, and brick are some of the most popular options. Make sure the size or shape of the aggregate isn’t too bulky, making it uncomfortable to walk on.
5. Wood planks. A wooden walkway with closely spaced planks is esthetically pleasing. It’s also ideal for wheelchair accessibility.
Before installing your walkway, you must carefully prepare the surface. Remove a layer of turf, raise the middle slightly to facilitate rainwater runoff, and apply the required underlay, like geotextile fabric, rock dust, or sand.
For professional results, hire a local landscaping company to complete your walkway.
Embellish your yard with striking conifers
Do you want to add plants to your yard to make it more attractive? Flowers are an obvious choice, but conifers can add striking contrast. Whether you choose standard size, bushy or dwarf, here are some of the advantages of planting evergreens:
• They shelter your home from cold winds, reducing your heating costs
• They attract pretty birds to nest or take refuge
• Many species can be pruned into elegant shapes like cubes, spheres, and cones
• Unlike deciduous trees, which lose their foliage in winter, conifers retain their beautiful color and volume all year
• Planting several conifers together can increase privacy in your yard and block out sound
• Many types of conifers are edible and have medicinal properties
Cedars, spruces, false cypresses, junipers, and pines — visit your local nursery to find the ideal conifers to enhance your landscaping.
Tantalizing tales of yesteryears: Unraveling a lifetime through Words
There’s a familiar refrain that often echoes around family gatherings: “If only we’d asked Dad about that…”. There’s an inevitable longing for the tales untold and the sagas left unwritten. It is your mission, noble patriarch or matriarch, to gift future generations with the essence of your journey. A grand novel or an Academy Award-winning screenplay isn’t necessary, a simple account from the heart will do. Or perhaps, you might even venture into a heartfelt video memoir. After all, your chronicles don’t have to unfold in a sweeping epic but can gently unveil themselves as bite-sized anecdotes.
Let’s plunge into the realm of yesteryears with these thoughtful themes that may ignite your memory and creativity:
- Familial Tapestry: Embark on a nostalgic journey through the lanes of your childhood, your kin, the elders who bestowed wisdom, and the siblings who partook in your earliest adventures. Paint the colors of your lineage, the laughter that rang through your house, the frightful instances that brought you closer. Remember those traditions that evolved over time? Yes, they’re important too!
- Professional Chronicles: Unearth the gems from your career journey. Relive those moments of triumph, and grapple once again with the challenges that led to growth. Unfurl your aspirations and lessons learned along the way.
- Chronicles of the Heart: Travel back to the time when Cupid struck for the first time. What stirred within you? Recall your relationships, the lessons they imparted, and the mirror they held up to your own self.
- Voyages and Ventures: Travel isn’t always about exotic vacations, sometimes, it’s about unexpected detours or even life-changing relocations. Recall those road trips, no matter how brief, each journey has a story.
- Wisdom Well Earned: Unravel your philosophy and life lessons – the ones learned through joyous victories and the ones that came wearing the cloak of challenges. What advice would you bequeath to the young ones today?
4 signs you need to replace your soffit and fascia
Your home’s soffits and fascia boards protect your attic and roof from water infiltration and keep pests out. Here are four signs it’s time to have yours repaired or replaced.
1. The paint is peeling or flaking. Once the paint on your soffits and fascia begins to deteriorate, it creates an opening for moisture to permeate the boards. This can result in water damage to the roof, interior walls, and siding.
2. The gutters are loose. The soffit and fascia boards act as the support system for your gutters. Consequently, if you notice your gutters are wobbly and unsteady, the fascia or soffits likely require repair.
3. Pests are hanging around your home. Your soffits and fascia boards are designed to keep rodents, bugs, and other small critters from entering your home. Therefore, bite marks, nesting materials, or droppings in your attic often indicate that your soffits and fascia must be repaired.
4. There’s little to no ventilation. Soffits provide ventilation and prevent condensation in your attic. If you notice that your home seems stuffy, your soffits are probably blocked or damaged.
Contact a local roofing contractor to inspect your soffits and fascia and make any necessary repairs.
Why you should let your tulips wither
Blooming tulips are a telltale sign that spring has sprung! Although it can be tempting to cut the entire plant back once the blooms fade, it can affect the following year’s performance.
Tulips use their stems and foliage to gather energy for the bulb as they die off. Cutting them back too early robs the bulb of the energy it needs for the next growing season.
Instead, once the blooms wilt, clip off only the flower head. It keeps the tulip from creating a seed head but allows the greenery to remain. After a week or two, the remaining foliage will die back and slowly turn brown. This is a sign that cutting the tulip down to the ground is safe.
Allowing your tulips to wither slowly goes a long way to keeping them healthy and robust for the following spring.
Wind: 1mph ENE
UV index: 0