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Tech

The Kinect Kicked My Ass

Paul bought a Kinect for the Xbox.  I was excited to try it out after seeing men and women at the Christmas party in dinner attire jumping around like fleas on a griddle.. and more standing in line to try it out. It was a crazy sight.

Paul picked up a few games to try: Kinect Sports, The Biggest Loser Ultimate Challenge and my favorite Kinect Adventures.

The thing is with the Kinect; YOU are the controller, so the evenings of sitting on the couch with a controller in hand are over. My biggest piece of advice pee first. If all that hopping around doesn’t get you the laughter will. Keep a glass of water handy, you’ll need it.

You go through a process to calibrate the sensor and get everything set up initially, and then every time you use the Kinect you will wave at the sensor. You can stop or pause the game at any time by putting your left hand out to the side at 45 degrees.

Move your furniture because you are going to need the space for all that bouncing around. You do need a large amount of space for the Kinect sensor to work properly. In an apartment this may present an issue if you have a smaller living room.

You may need to play with the positioning of the sensor for it to read all of your movements correctly. WARNING: if you have two Shih Tzus fighting by your feet, the sensor will pick them up and point out your bad form. Damned Dogs!

Honestly if you don’t want to feel like you are doing your cardio for the day, slap that Kinect Adventures in the X-box and give it a try. You’ll feel like an idiot but who cares. Wait, if you don’t realize how much of a dork you really are the damned Kinect actually snaps pictures of you while you are playing.. you can post them online, SUPER! Yeah, turn that feature off right away.

In Kinect Adventures you are the Microsoft version of Crocodile Dundee or Indiana Jones (before that unfortunate Crystal Skull fiasco) as you fly though the rapids, duck under or jump over obstacles, fly in the air to pop bubbles, stop up leaks in 20,000 leaks using every part of your body and use every limb to hit balls in Ralleyball.

In Kinect Adventures you play several mini games… they are really fun but I will say they are a bit repetitive. Once you have been through the first round every subsequent round is pretty much the same. That is probably the biggest flaw I noticed. Other than that Kinect adventures was really fun.  I did not feel like it was exercise, but my heart rate was up.  At the end of each mini game you get a living trophy delivered and can animate it (dance, sing, jabber.. whatever) and it will play it back for you.

I think this is a great game, it is repetitive so adults may tire of that aspect but the kids will love it!

Kick the Cable Habit

For those of you looking to switch over to the Roku and kick the cable habit, It is back in stock at the Federal Way Best Buy, of course you could always skip a trip and get it directly from Amazon for the same price.

Canon PowerShot SD 1400 IS 14.1MP Camera

I received this beautiful hot pink camera as a gift from Paul recently. How wonderful is he!! I Love Canon cameras and every one I’ve purchased for myself and the kids have all been Canons. Recently Bethany requested a different brand and hates it. I am delighted that this new camera is so small and sleek and best of all, it’s PINK.

The camera this is replacing is a Canon PowerShot A620 with 7.1 MP. I love this camera but it is time to get a new one. It still works and is in perfect condition. I have hauled it all over Thailand, London and Brazil and took millions of pictures. Canon

What’s different? As you can see the color.. ok no really, the size. The upside is that you can recharge the batteries in the pink one, but the down side is that you need to remember to actually do that.

The A620 took AA batteries and due to that fact was a bit chunkier. The SD1400 is so small and sleek you could slip it into a pocket with no issue, it is smaller than my cellphone.   I’m afraid I will drop it so I have the wrist strap in place at all times.

The controls may be hard to manage for someone with larger hands. It also seems to me that you may want to hold the camera with your right hand, or risk obscuring the flash (so yeah I did that while trying to hold it with both hands.

The downside to the SD1400 is it still has the same wishy washy door to open so you can plug the camera into the computer. It is smaller and really looks like it might just snap right off at any minute.  I actually may just resort to removing the SD card and taking the pictures out of my camera that way.

The Powershot SD1400 is available in the Pink, Orange, Silver and Black and only weighs 4.7 ounces.  I believe this is the skinniest one Canon has out. It is so THIN.

The back of the camera is overtaken by the LCD screen so I think it would be best to get a cute little case for it to keep it from being scratched or damaged in any way.  The familiar function wheel is on the back along with a button to switch over to shoot video! VIDEO!  YouTube here I come! I can now shoot video on my cell and my camera! Who knew!  I am going to need a bigger SD card, that’s for sure!!

The bottom of the camera features a port for a camera stand and the sliding door for the rechargeable battery and your SD card. The camera has a 4X zoom lens and image stabilization (YES!).

I love the camera and I’m sure it will be with me for years to come! LOVE IT!

Canon PowerShot SD1400IS 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 4x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Pink)

Samsung Focus Win 7 phone

I’m all about this nifty phone. Touch screen and good functionality. Customizable screen, you can “pin” your most used items to your start screen. I for instance have several e-mail accounts pinned to my start so I can see at a glance if I have any new email in each one. I also have my kids and my sweetheart pinned to my start screen.

There are not as many applications as there are for the iPhone, YET, but more are rolling out every day! Even so, there are many apps to choose from, something for everyone really. Amazon Kindle has an application so you can use your Win 7 phone to read your favorite books on the go. You have easy access to all of your e-mail & social media accounts, watch your eBay auctions and connect to your pals on your Xbox live account.  Surf the web, update your WordPress blog, check Yelp for a great restaurant, use Open Table to make a reservation, keep up with the news, watch videos on YouTube and sync your ideas for later with Office (One Note, Excel, Power Point and word).

This Win 7 phone integrates with your Facebook contacts (if you so choose) and your windows live account. You can see what your friends are doing at a glance.

On the downside there is so much you can do with this phone… but the battery life is not fabulous.  I am not a “heavy user” and I NEED to charge this phone every night without fail. I did get a cord for the computer, an extra AC wall charger as well as one for the car so I can try to keep my phone charged and ready to go.  I just never know when I’ll have a brilliant thought and need to blog about it. LOL

Once in a while the functions are a tad “sticky” and even more annoying is that the Win 7 phone does not support flash. So forget about your Facebook games on the go. One day someone is going to fix this! Those were really the only things I’ve noticed.  I have read a few complaints about some lacking areas in the head to head gaming interface but I’m not a big gamer (unless you count those FB games) so I didn’t notice it.

The interface is easy to use after you get accustomed to the flow. You can browse for new applications from your phone or on the Zune marketplace. This phone also acts as an MP3 player, but keep that battery life in mind.  There is also an option for hands free dialing. I tell it to call Carl and it does. I love that! At least something around here minds me.

This phone was on a BOGO deal (this may still be running), however I just noticed it is on a deal for $99 on the AT&T website and activation fee is waived.   WHOO HOO!! Love a deal!

Samsung Focus Windows Phone (AT&T)

ROKU HD XDS


This is the top end model for the Roku and comes in at 99.00 directly from the Roku site.
The Roku is a very small (5″x5″x1″) set top box for streaming your favorite shows and movies from Netflix, Amazon and Hulu as well as a host of other smaller channels. Roku has the major national news networks and we have only found two programs we were unable to get
We got rid of cable television in an effort to save money each month. We already had a subscription to Netflix (streaming only is 7.99) then we added Hulu Plus (7.99) for a total of about 16.00 a month.
We started out using a wireless connection and had a few bumps and hiccups when viewing the smaller channels. This could have just been electrical interference from a household item but, we are rearranging the furniture so the Roku can be hardwired to our home network thus avoiding the issue altogether.
We’re very pleased with the service thus far. There is always something interesting to watch. Roku has announced they are adding more channels, I can’t wait to see what those will bring. You can set up subscriptions to all the shows you love and go get caught up on all of the episodes you may have missed. LOVE THAT!
I personally have always been a fan of the independent film maker and we have found a host of that sort of content. So I am delighted. Aside from the money saving aspect I love the programming as well.

Roku XDS Streaming Player 1080p