As any Mac user can tell you, Microsoft is notorious for leaving Mac users out in the cold. Being a 360 owner who prefers OS X as their platform of choice, I’ve always been green with envy of the ability to access Xbox Live and track friends within Windows Live Messenger.
This has changed recently after I discovered a nifty little application, designed by James Howard, called MacLive.
Buried within Google’s Code site, MacLive allows users to sign into their Windows Live ID and access their friends list from their Xbox Live Account. I’ve been using this app for about two weeks now and while it’s not as comprehensive as My Xbox, what it does do, it does well.
After logging in, you’re able to browse your friends list, sorted from A-Z with those online at the top. You’ll be able to see what they’re up to or the time passed since their last logon, just like the 360 dashboard. Next, there’s a games section which generates a list of the games you’ve played and it’s organized in the order that you’ve played them.
You have the ability to check off players and games which will tell MacLive to notify you via Growl whenever they log in or how many of your friends are currently playing a selected game. Hopefully, James decides to further improve this option in the future — for example, through preferences, I could set to be notified about friends who have played Gears of War within the last week and get a list of fraggin buddies instantly.
Speaking of preferences, there aren’t any right now. Same goes for being ability to view achievements, delete friends, send messages, etc but there is one really nice feature present but its also currently broken — the ability to add friends. Seeing this feature had me hyped for MacLive. Xbox Live gamer cards such as the one I use on 99 lives are all the rage online, there’s thousands of them everywhere. Imagine seeing one and instead of logging into My Xbox through Xbox.com, you just switch to MacLive and enter it in. A lazy gamer can dream, can’t he?
In conclusion, My Xbox may present for a richer experience overall but it lacks the ability to track individual players and games and deliver notifications direct to my desktop.
For those interested, you can download MacLive from its project page on Google Code, found here.
Update: After this article made the front page of Digg and received significant attention on other major sites / blogs, the author of MacLive has announced his intent to resume working on it:
There have been a few mentions of Mac Live in the news today, so no doubt you’re here because of that. I wasn’t really ready to unleash Mac Live onto the public, but if you want to give it a try feel free to download the version that’s posted to the right.
Given the current interest in Mac Live I’m going to hustle and finish a couple of features I’ve been working on and polish it up for release, so check back in a couple of days and I should have something better for you.