Monday, March 30, 2015

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

I'm pretty excited about this. His segments on The Daily Show so far have proven that his sense of comedic timing is damn near perfect. Add to that a large dose of charisma and cleverness and I think he'll be a lot of fun to watch.

Even better, he's already shown he's as willing and able as Stewart to tackle uncomfortable topic like race relations and their current tensions in the US and I think he'll be able to knock this out of the park.

Good Luck Trevor! Congratulations!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Zelda WiiU Delay

So Zelda for WiiU has been delayed indefinitely. According to this video, the development is going so well that the dev team is discovering all kinds of things they want to add to the game. This fleshing out and completing the game to perfection is the current goal. As such we will not be seeing Zelda WiiU until not 2015.

I am not surprised but I am disappointed. With the maintained lack of third party support Nintendo really needs to bring their A game to any in-house games they release. And with the luke-warm reception of Mario Party 10, they've already used their one "Ok, that one wasn't good, but all their other stuff is, so I'll keep buying" for the year.

As for the Club Nintendo closure, I'm sill frustrated that they didn't roll memberships of Club Nintendo into whatever the new loyalty program is going to be, but I am excited to see what kinds of mobile games are in the works.

I play a lot of mobile mini-games when I'm in between things, and don't necessarily want the extra weight of my 3DS with me. So I can easily see situations where I would want an iPhone/Android game that gives me my Pokemon/Zelda/Mario fix while still wanting and having the full or bigger versions on the 3DS. I know some people think that phone-based mobile games will be the death of handheld consoles, but I still like the separation.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

BeatBurn by Lolo Review

So since I run on a treadmill I have a hard time staying motivated to run for much longer than 15-20 minutes, which is about 1 mile for me.

My husband was browsing apps today and found this amusing one, though it doesn't really work for a treadmill as you have to be able to change speed on the fly since you're running from zombies.

So I started looking for apps that were geared toward use with/on a treadmill and I found this one. BeatBurn by Lolo. As someone who is new to the whole 'working out' thing, this app is very interesting.

Firstly, it's a really nice, clean interface. Full props for intuitiveness and simplicity. Second it has a lot of possible choices. You start with 'Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced,' then select how long you want the workout to be, if you prefer walking/walk-jog/run for your pace and finally if you prefer going faster or more incline for challenges.

The next thing you do is import music from your phone/ipod to the app where it scans the tracks and pulls down the BPM from the internet.

The app then selects a song from your music library that roughly matches the pace you should be moving at, so that your feet are hitting the treadmill to the beat. To further this, the app is capable of slightly altering the speed of your music. So it picks one that is close and then speeds the song up or down as needed. It's really interesting to hear a song you know really well slower than usual.

I've seen in some reviews that people were complaining that it wasn't altering the speed of their music. I suspect these reviewers either a) weren't paying close enough attention or b) aren't musicians to notice the often subtle changes as the app does pick songs that are very close so that you don't get a deepening or chipmunk effect.

And then during the workout. This is where I've found this gem of an app to really shine. It calculates a new routine for you every day based on the initial information you gave it. With my settings I get both some speed and incline based intervals. The app both shows and tells (via headphones) when to change the settings on the treadmill and what to change them too. I've had 5 minute intervals at a medium effort level and 15 second intervals of "holy shit." The need to be thinking and changing the treadmill manually, combined with the music, helps me keep from getting completely and utterly bored that I usually do when on a treadmill. As a result, (this is day 4, I think?), I've actually walk/jogged for my full half-hour been dripping sweat and averaging 1.5 miles. Prior to this I was doing about 1 mile, and not pushing myself at all.

To top all that off, you can change the intensity of the workout on the fly in app. It'll adjust from wherever you are in the workout on to give you a breather or to make it more intense. It really gives a sense of having a trainer and freedom to do what feels best at the same time.

This is the first app I've bought in ages, if not ever that I felt the $4 price tag wasn't exorbitant. It's not an applet or mini-program like so many apps are. It is a full, comprehensive workout companion.

(you know, I never thought I'd be reviewing work out stuff and liking it.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Is Anyone Actually Surprised?

Well, Ted Cruz announced his vie for Presidency today.

Folks, I hate to break it to you, but he is currently a viable candidate. He appears to be clever, he has the "pulled up by my own bootstrap" narrative, and he's damn near as flashy as Governor GoodHair. Yes, we are still over a year out and Cruz has plenty of time to make a pratfall, but don't count on it.

He announced his run at Liberty University, yes, that Liberty University that offers a minor in Creationism.

He is a Dominionist. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a group of Evangelical Christians who believe that the United States was founded on solely Christian principles and that the religious laws in the Bible should be made secular (read state/federal) law.

He has also recently tried to interfere with the passing of some laws in the city of D.C. I mean, seriously. Why is it my employer's goddamned business what contraceptives I might or might not be using? Or if I've had an abortion?! (The answer in case you were wondering? Is "None")

Back to my main point. The political climate of the US right now is such that rallying behind an apparent preacher, someone who can provide the appearance of purpose. We American's are suckers for that type of charisma and emotional manipulation.

So please, please don't laugh Cruz off as an impossible candidate. He's all too possible. And yes, while the US can survive 8 years of a Cruz presidency, I don't want to have to.

Remember all this when it's time to vote in the primaries and don't ignore them. Vote. Please. Vote.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fitbit Charge HR Review

So Husband and I have been trying to get into shape, that dream of all New Years resolutions.

To that end I've been trying to discipline myself to calorie track and use the Fitbit Force I got for Christmas. Well. Husband and I finally started actually doing the "working out" part of that about two weeks ago, and I discovered the fundamental flaw of the Force. It doesn't pick up steps or distance traveled on a treadmill.

But I liked how accurate it was picking up my approximately 2 mile walking commute, so I decided to try the Charge HR. So.
Things I like:

  • To the best of my ability to tell, accurate for heart rate and distance
  • Picks up/tracks distance and steps, even on a treadmill
  • Don't have to put it into "sleep mode" to track sleep
  • Reasonably comfortable
  • Watch strap where the tab to hold down the end has a plug to go through the last hole and hold the strap still. Why have watches not done this before?!
Things I don't like:
  • Silicone band
  • It's textured on the outer surface, so it picks up *more* dog fur and dust than should be possible. I got the black one, and have a white dog. You do the math.
  • You do need to move it around periodically as the heart rate monitor is designed to press slightly into your skin. I have ridiculously formable skin, so it leaves an indentation on my skin. However, that's probably just me.
  • The "face" that actually sits on top of your arm (not wrist) is actually a little bit wider than my arm. So even with a "small" I have about a fingers worth of empty air on both sides.
So to sum up. It's comfortable, the Fitbit app works smoothly, I've had no problems with getting the devices to sync, and it's a fairly slick bit of tech. But those of us who are smaller than the "average" small adult are still getting left out of the wearable tech market in the sense of having things sized correctly.
Lovely gap between my wrist and the band. The green light is the heart tracker LED. 

All The Fur!!!!

I wear it third from the end on small

Size reference. Yes that is an U.S. quarter. Yes it is nearly the size of my wrist.