Halo 3 cured my Hotmail problem (really!)

Getting invited into the alpha playtest for a certain high profile science fiction save-the-Earth shooter that may or may not be released in 2007 finally gave me a good enough excuse to buy myself a 360... An excuse good enough to reduce the wife's complaining to an ignorable level anyway. "Honey, it's for work. Honest!" Heh. I'm not supposed to say anything about the alpha playtest of the unnamed game, but I don't think anyone will complain if I say for the record, "It absolutely rocks." A lot of Bungie people still routinely take my lunch money in the rumble pit, but that's OK, I love the game anyway.

Back to Hotmail for a second... I have NEVER been able to setup my ancient MSN account in Outlook (originally created sometime before Algore invented the Internet).  I was not able to set it up with Outlook XP, not with Outlook 2003 and not with Outlook 2007. Nobody could ever figure out why. Not the Hotmail folks. Not the internal IT folks. Not the Office team. Nobody. And I work here!

For years it became like a sore tooth that you poke because it hurts and feels... weird... at the same time. Every new patch, service pack, version of Office, whatever, I would try to get Outlook to authenticate me to MSN/Hotmail so that I could get my email all in one place (all the IMAP accounts, Exchange, etc). The promise of unified messaging didn't even bring success.

But trying to recover my Gamertag on the Xbox 360 led me to the solution!

Bizarre but true.

The 360 would not accept my Live ID password, either. Rejected. Just like Outlook 2007 trying to handshake with Hotmail. Grrr! Don't make me angry. You. Not. Like. Me. When. Me. Angry. I can live without Hotmail in Outlook. I cannot live without Halo. It's like oxygen for geeks. Breathe deeply and play on the soothing strains of Finish the Fight on your Zune one more time...

So I tried changing my password @ Passport.net (which is something else now I guess for Live IDs). Passport let me log in, but when I tried to change my password, it told me that my original password wasn't correct. euUHR?! It's starting to feel like there are two passwords stores hiding behind there and they're out of sync. But how to sync them up? I can't change it because the change password widget is trying to match against the out of sync store, but the log in page matches against the store with the right password in it... Egad!!

Geek intuition led me back to the forgot password widget after all these aeons. Yes, obviously, I've been bad and not changed my password for Hotmail in over a decade; I never forget passwords, so why would I even try the forgot password widget? Doh! But that did the trick. I pretended to forget my password and forced Passport to make me pick a new one. This apparently synced up whatever was out of sync for so long and finally allowed me to setup my Hotmail in Outlook! Woohoo!! (I wonder if this was the reason why I couldn't get my Live ID to work for Zune. Not that I cared much, but I'll have to try out acquring the Zunetag again for my Live ID.)

Most importantly, though, this little exercise in frustration let me upgrade my Gamertag into the wonderful, brave new world of Xbox 360. I watched the latest Halo 3 ViDOC on my tablet first, before I found the free 720p download in the Live Marketplace. Trust me, it looks and sounds much cooler on the big screen with lots of bass than it does on a tablet pc computer. I bet that Brute hammer hurts when it comes down on unsuspecting Marines. I'm late to the 360 party, but I've already taken my fair share of SPARTAN-III trophies. I won't name any Gamertags, but I've taken some who'd be embarrassed to be fragged by "an old guy." Heh. The shiny new toys go bang very nicely. The Elites may have run away like frightened little girls, but if the rest of the Covenant think they can take Earth and hold it, they've got another thing comin'. Bring on the Brutes!

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