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Johnny Lee demos Wii Remote hacks @TED in 2008 March 3, 2011

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Fitness, Politics, Society, Technology, Work.
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I really need to try this out! Too cool!

Technology has come a long way and even more in just the three years since this presentation. We are going from keyboards, to touch screens, to… it won’t be long before our kids wonder why we have to touch anything to use our computers and phones.


Today’s Run – A New Way with @gdgt April 16, 2010

Posted by shwaldman in Fitness, Technology.
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This is my ninth posting for the week. Wow! I am closing in on 200 blog posts. If only I was getting that many hits! But it is fun nonetheless and people are definitely finding my writings interesting (I think). Thanks for everyone that keeps coming back and welcome to first timers.

This afternoon’s lunch run was a new route. Instead of heading to the local park, I opted to circle the County Administrative campus. Having run into an employee over there that is a fellow runner, I thought it would be interesting to see what types of options he has available to him. It was also good to get out there exploring and try something new. The run itself was good up until the end. As the graph below shows, I had to stop at the end for a short bathroom break before adding another 1/2 miles. It was good to get over 5 miles again.

During today’s run, I started with Dvorak’s Tech 5 – a five minute daily summary of technology new stories. I think I am pretty over this one. I like his other show with is a weekly round table to discuss the big topics. But in this summary show, he does no research and often provides mis-information. For example, recently he mentioned Netflix coming to Wii as being able to rent games from the movie delivery service. As seen in my last post, this is obviously just plain wrong.

But the majority of the run was with Peter Rojas and Ryan Block at GDGT.com. This is another gadget podcast much like Engadget that covers recent new stories and trends in the world of tech and gadgets. They talked a bit about a new feature on their site that allows for easier cross posting of information to discuss multiple tech toys. It is definitely a required feature for such a complex and robust site like their’s. Their talk also turned to the announcement from Microsoft that they are coming out with branded phones with the Danger (think Sidekick) platform. Of course, this is in addition to the Windows Phone 7 OS that should be out by year end. Add to that the conversation going to Palm’s recent poor financial recents and the rumors that they are looking for a buyer, potentially HTC.

Now, I have noted several time my displeasure with the cell phone industry. During this podcast, I was able to solidify what I want from the market. Now, the Kin products are being marketed to tweens (15-25 yr olds) that want to focus on social networking like Twitter and Facebook, but not apps and productivity tools. These phones are coming to Verizon (my current service company) and clearly these are things that are going have them require data plans, but the question remains if it will require the $10 or the $30 plan.

For me, I still fall into a different category. I love my ipod Touch and have it with me most of the time. It obviously has no phone features (but 100s of thousands of apps available), so I have to carry my basic cell phone. I can access the web through my Touch on wireless or pay the fees to use my cell phone. I rarely have a true NEED to get to the Internet when wireless is not available. So, for me, what I want Verizon to do is stop forcing people onto the data plan when all they want is wireless. My dream is for Apple to come to Verizon this summer with this option… I did say it was a dream!

Netflix on the Wii April 16, 2010

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Technology.
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I listen to and watch a lot of content online. Most of the shows are just clips, but shows like Anderson Cooper 360 and Rachael Maddow can be watched on TV or online – thirty to forty minutes long. Since they can be downloaded and watched later and in parts, it is very convenient. I could even listen to them while I commute, although I do stick to audio only podcasts while I drive. There is infinite other content that could be streamed too. I have watched a few Netflix movies online and of course Hulu.com is my favorite. Usually this was done on a small fifteen inch laptop screen. Once in a while I would hook it up to the TV and have 42″ of viewing space. But streaming through the computer I have found that I would get slight ten to thirty second pauses during each show.

Now Netflix has worked with Nintendo to bring the streaming experience to the Wii gaming console. Members can request the DVD be sent, but this one can be kept forever. Once the disc is inserted a quick software update is performed and the Netflix account is assigned to Wii console and it is ready to go.

To watch a video, it first has to be moved into the Instant Watch queue. This is easy enough through a web browser on a computer, but once you get the hang of it, it is even easier on the Wii console. Granted I hooked up the console to an Epson projector that creates a five foot image on a drop down screen and I now have a huge display to work from, but would definitely recommend that.

Of course the most important part of Netflix coming to the Wii is how the movie itself plays. I think we found it really played well. The picture was crisp and the streaming was clean. What this does for me is essentially add another option to view videos. Of course, I will be elated if and when Wii allows Hulu video streaming without another computer and special third-party software. Until then, I will continue to hook up my laptop, but at least I no longer need to do this when wanted to watch Netflix.

Ambidextrous Wii Play Sports February 17, 2009

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For Christmas and my birthday, my lovely wife gave me a Wii game system. I enjoy certain video games on a recreational level. I like the sports and car racing and physicality games. I am not a big fan of maze-type and shoot ’em games. So, this system has been fun or me. I play Tennis, Bowling, Wii Fit, some Baseball.
One thing I realized right away was that I was going to want to experience the games with both my right and left hands. I even set up a second “Mii” for the Left-Handed me. And so each time, I play, I try to play both right-handed and left handed. When I realized my left-handed bowling was actually better than my right, I decided I wanted to see if I can get to the “Pro” level on each game with each hand.
So far, I have reach Pro in Tennis, both hands. And I am in the mid-900s for both hands in Bowling. I am really struggling in Baseball lately. I haven’t won a right-handed game in a while (a few ties). My left-handed level in Baseball is around 300 (100 right handed). I don’t think I have tried Boxing Left Handed yet – not sure what the difference would be – but I am in the 600s on Boxing Right-Handed.

Wii Fit January 6, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Fitness, Technology.
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Kim picked up Wii Fit over the weekend. I have managed to get on it each night since. I am doing the Yoga, some strength and the Balance Games. I like it, except for the fact that it relies on BMI. Body Mass Index is just not a reliable measurement as it does not take into account muscle mass. But I guess that is outside the possibilities of this type of device – and probabaly beyond it’s expectations. Initially I was listed as overweight. Of course, I had just eaten a big dinner and dessert out at a nice restraurant in town. After a couple of days, that worked itself off and i was back to my more normal weight and into the normal range – under 25.

In terms of the yoga… I have gone through one class once in town. I was not good at all because I am so inflexible. It was interesting, but I just could not get past how hard it was to balance and do what is expected of the postures/positions. Besides being a little embarrassing, I am sure it was distracting to people who are capable of “getting centered.” So, I am hoping regular usage of this thing will get me more there. I was definitely a little sore after the first couple of days. I didn’t do a lot of the strength early on, so it wasn’t that.

In terms of the strength, I am not having too high of hopes for that part. As weak as I am, I think it will provide a good round set of exerises, but I don’t get the sense it would provide a true solid workout.

But I am liking the games. For those who have not seen it, they range from slalom skiing and the ski jump to heading soccer balls to floating a bubble down a river without hitting the banks. I think they can definitely work your core muscles, without making you think about it.

I have to get more into the Aerobics programs. There is just something for me about running in place. I am not sure that is for me, but I did find that doing the Hula Hoop really worked my thighs and I think loosened up my hips.

Anyway, it is fun. I am sure we will all make good use of it in our house.

Wii For Christmas December 26, 2008

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Holy Cow – I got a Wii for my Christmas/Birthday present!

We got to play it for the first time a little when we were visting the rest of the family in PA… we stayed in three houses in four nights and each house had one! (Although we only played it at two.)

I managed to hit 7 of 10 home runs in my first try. I also did decently in bowling against big sister, Lisa. I think we were only going to play a couple of games, but ended but playing at least 10… It is a fun system – definitely reminds me of Atari – which I always had to go to my friend’s house to play when I was a kid!

We have Sports and Play – I will have to see how they all work before we decide what else to get. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.