Excerpts from the blog The unmarked Airstream trailer parked across the street from the Space Needle Tuesday belonged to Nintendo and was...

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Excerpts from the blog

The unmarked Airstream trailer parked across the street from the Space Needle Tuesday belonged to Nintendo and was loaded with the company’s latest games, two Wiis and an armload of DS handhelds.

I spent about an hour in the trailer, which was on its last stop on a two-month road trip demonstrating the games to media outlets around the country.

The games are already on the market — including “Wii Music,” “Animal Crossing,” “City Folk,” “Mario Super Sluggers” and “Wario Land: Shake It!”

Most interesting, frankly, was the story of how the demonstrator, Jamie Ball, ended up with a Nintendo fanboy’s dream job.

Ball, 26, grew up in Cheyenne, Wyo., where he spent a big part of his early years playing Nintendo games, especially “Mario,” which he started playing on a Nintendo Entertainment System around 1988.

He studied theater performance at Berkeley, worked in a coffee shop for a while, then came to Seattle. Making the most of those years with a controller in his hand, Ball took a temp job at Nintendo providing customer support.

That evolved into a full-time customer-support job. If you call Nintendo’s toll-free support line, especially with a question about connecting your Wii to a Wi-Fi network, you may end up talking to Ball.

Nintendo’s communications group taps customer-support workers to provide demonstrations, so Ball has been getting paid to play and show games at conferences like E3 and Pax and on road trips like the holiday Airstream adventure.

Although the trailer has cushy upholstery, a stocked fridge and a nice audio-visual, the employees stayed in hotels on the road.

Ball said he still loves to watch people play games. I didn’t get an exact quote, though, because I couldn’t write with a Wiimote in my hand.

Can’t beat the price

Microsoft really, really wants people to try its Live Web services.

It wants users so bad, it’s acting like a geeky fraternity that hangs out a “free beer” sign to lure people to its parties.

If you don’t mind stepping into Microsoft’s world, they’re pretty nice services and the freebies are pretty generous.

Cashback’s been getting attention lately, but a bunch of upgraded Windows Live services announced Wednesday are worth a look.

Especially the upgraded SkyDrive storage service, which lets you upload, store and share up to 25 gigabytes of data for free.

That’s the equivalent of Microsoft giving you a free external storage device. The catch is that you have to register with Microsoft, if you aren’t already registered to use a service like Hotmail. If you use SkyDrive to share with friends and family, they’ve got to be registered as well.

The free storage can also be used with Microsoft’s upgraded Windows Live Photos management and sharing service. It looks great and taps the 25 gigabytes of storage, but it’s also designed to propagate Microsoft’s (free) Silverlight presentation software.

More Bono ties

Maybe it’s time for philanthropic rocker Bono to move to Seattle.

He’s pals with Bill Gates, and now two of the three distribution partners for Bono’s new (RED)WIRE online music magazine are local.

Seattle-based iLike was chosen as the “exclusive social-networking partner” for the magazine, extending the startup’s relationship with U2.

MSN and iTunes are also involved in the publication, which will distribute exclusive content from top artists and raise money to fight AIDS in Africa.

“For us it was just a no-brainer to get involved, a fantastic opportunity to have an impact and use the assets we have in social networking to do good,” iLike Chief Executive Ali Partovi said in an interview. “Thankfully, also I think it’s something that’s very likely to mobilize our audience because it’s amazing content, amazing art and a great cause.”

Content from artists such as Bob Dylan and Elton John will provide content that’s sold by iTunes and streamed on iLike and MSN, and syndicated across social-networking sites by iLike.

This material has been edited for print publication.

Brier Dudley’s blog appears Thursdays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com.