Xbox 360 hassles

The E74 error message on Microsoft's Xbox 360 is vindication for one oppressive regime

OK, this is my gripe. And, I'm warning you, it's petty, personal, and directed squarely at Microsoft.

From the outset, the Xbox 360 console has been nothing but a hassle for me. I didn't want one and refused to slap down a credit card in the acquisition of one. But my son -- a stubborn and resourceful 13-year-old -- saved his money and bought one anyway. Ever since, most of my interactions with him have involved negotiations over how much he should be allowed to use it, when he plans to stop playing, and the possibility that someone else might want to use the TV -- or even the living room. Lately those negotiations have involved the implementation of what I insist are necessary time controls but that he insists are the invasive, unnecessary, and desperate attempts of a totalitarian regime to limit the rights of its oppressed people.

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But how much listening to a 13-year-old scream, "You are so pwned!" and "Dude, stop betraying me!" into a microphone while apparently sitting alone in the living room can one totalitarian regime be expected to endure?

I considered dropping the thing, feeding it some malicious virus, or selling it on eBay. But I couldn't settle on a strategy that I knew I could get away with. I wanted the Xbox to die, but I didn't want to be caught killing it.

So when the news that another hardware error is affecting this apparently fragile machine, which reveals itself by displaying an E74 error message and requires a hardware fix, and is causing Microsoft to extend the warranty on the Xbox 360 to affected machines to three years, I did not -- as many Xbox 360 fans did -- feel victimized. No. I was righteous! This was the very moment I'd been waiting for. I studied my son's machine hopefully for signs of the telltale three flashing rights on the console. Nothing.

"It will break," I warned him anyway. "And I'm not helping you get it repaired. You wasted your entire life savings on that thing!" I shouted into the living room in the direction of my 13-year-old's back.

As usual, he ignored me. And his unit shows no signs of slowing down. Microsoft claims only a very small percentage of units are affected by this glitch.

But at least now I have hope.

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