And then, a workout… kinda…

So, instead of getting Wii Fit Plus and a balance board for the family for Christmas, I went with the EA Sports Active 2 exercise system. It got great reviews, tons of accolades as the best exercise system of the year, and I was able to find it at a better price than the balance board setup, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I set up an account in it easily enough, and the kids went ahead and made their own accounts too. It’s not a bad system, from what I can see so far… except for a few things:

1) Networking problems.

Apparently a lot of people got this system for Christmas. Why is this a problem? They keep a lot of records and usage related information stored on EA servers. I have tried three times this afternoon since completing my workout to get that data uploaded, and have been unable to connect to their servers. Not the biggest deal, since I still get the routines from the game system itself, and it will upload my results “next time”.

2) “Support” for left and right handers.

I was able to set my account up to be left handed with no problem. However, there were some exercises that I was doing that wouldn’t read my motions properly while doing them left handed with the Wii remote. When I performed the action with my left hand (which was holding the remote), it would register it as a motion for the right hand. Kind of a big deal, since it’s frustrating that it’s not seeing what I do properly. But then there’s:

3) The leg sensor.

You see, there are two motion sensors with this game – one that goes on your left arm that doubles as a heart monitor, and one that attaches to your right leg. Well, the one on the leg has a tendency to lose contact with the Wii for some reason. When it does this, the machine IMMEDIATELY STOPS the routine you’re in and throws up a screen saying it lost access to the sensor(s). You then have to fiddle with the leg sensor to turn it back on, and then grab the Wiimote and click on the okay button to start the routine again.

I thought I might have been brushing up against it and turning it off by accident doing exercises, but I watched Michael use it, and saw it cut out when his arm was nowhere near the thing. And it’s not just me – there is a forum posting one EA’s discussion boards with the same problem. They also put out an NFL branded “training camp” game which likely uses the same motion sensing system, and I’ve wandered across a report or two of their leg sensor not working either.

The sensors operated over wireless USB, and the USB ports are on the back of the Wii. I’m hoping that it’s just a matter of the leg sensor being lower than the arm sensor, and losing signal due to interference from motion or some other signal from the machine. I’m going to look for a USB extender cable in my pile of stuff and connect the USB dongle that way. Hopefully that will fix the problem. I didn’t buy the unit locally, so returns could be a problem…


A healthy breakfast?

After making a fried egg sammich for the wife’s breakfast this morning, I thought some ham and eggs sounded good for me. So… 


I re-heated the little frying pan I used for the wife’s egg…


sliced off a few pieces of ham that were left over from Christmas…


scrambled up two eggs and dumped them in the pan…


and put the mess on two pieces of buttered toast with a sprinkle of shredded cheese. (Never mind the dog in the background, he’s just waiting for me to drop something.)


And voila! One ham and egg breakfast sandwich.


Sitting down at the table to enjoy this, I decided I needed a beverage, so I grabbed a glass of grape juice, and a judiciously placed sunbeam, and…


enjoyed 🙂

Chest pains and Anthrax

So I woke up this morning with a sore lower back and an ache in my chest. I’ve been sleeping poorly this week, and have been carrying a lot of stress in my back and shoulders; enough stress that it’s affecting my entire upper torso, apparently.

There’s also a spot in the middle of my chest that I’ve identified as a source of aches and pains that’s related to a playground accident I had with the kids years ago. It’s getting more and more sensitive as I put on more weight, and I did something to it on the way in to work this morning that felt like someone poked a knife in between my ribs.

So I lumped around work this morning trying to ignore a twinge in my chest, while feeling my breathing getting weirder as things progressed. (Chowing down at the office Christmas party surely didn’t help with the swollen feeling.) By the time I got out of work around noon and went to do some late Christmas shopping, I wasn’t feeling well at all. It felt like I couldn’t catch my breath at times, even though I knew I was breathing adequately. On the drive home, I decided to crank up some tunes to try and perk myself up. On the iPod randomizer popped up Anthrax and Public Enemy’s “Bring The Noise”:

…and I only dropped one line singing along to the whole song.

At least I knew I was still able to breathe 🙂

Then, after I got home and back in a comfortable environment, I got more relaxed, and started feeling better. Well enough to write this down, in fact. So at least I know I’m not dying again… just the same old aches and pains, and the same old cures 🙂


On Net neutrality

So the FCC formally passed “net neutrality” rules today, and it looks like things are going to get worse for Internet users. I made a comment on CNN’s page about this (, but wanted to post it elsewhere, just in case they decide not to approve my posting

In response to this post:


With cable, I pay the cable company a monthly fee for HBO. They in turn pay HBO. I’m fine with that. But if I’m going to have to pay extra to access facebook, is my ISP going to cut a check to facebook? If so, then I might be for it. But somehow I doubt that would happen.

What about sites I already pay a monthly fee for, like Netflix and Rhapsody. Am I going to have to pay both the ISP for access and the site to access content?

I said:

From the article:

“…the rules won’t absolutely prevent broadband providers from “pay for priority” — giving faster service to those able to pay for it, or to one favored business over another…”

This has been widely discussed for months as something that providers are considering doing. Since the FCC has now formally stepped up and NOT said “No, you can’t do that”, you should expect exactly such a thing to happen in the near future, as they try to squeeze even more money out of customers.

Comcast, for example, will charge you more for Hulu, Pandora, and Netflix traffic, and offer it to you at lower speeds, while offering their own services at a non-limited rate.* (They already did this to me when I used Vonage as a phone service, instead of the VOIP service they provided. When I picked up the phone, my bandwidth dropped to dialup speeds.)


My wife’s HHR = teh awesome!

(Note: not the HHR in question)

So we got a little snow here yesterday. Reports bring the average in at around 4 inches. It rained before the snow, so there’s ice everywhere. 405 school closings were reported in the Detroit metropolitan area. It’s a bloody mess on the roads today.

So, of course, I had to make a run to the store tonight for a prescription and some last minute Christmas cookie fixings. No problem, I thought, I’ll just take the wife’s new car and see how it handles in this weather.

It handles GREAT.

This car has the first anti-lock brake system I’ve used that actually feel likes it works. I couldn’t lock the tires up no matter how I tried. I pointed the car in a straight line, stomped on the pedal, and it kicked back against my foot, slowing the car down nice and gradual. It also has a traction control system that is ridiculously effective. With it active, I couldn’t fishtail, no mater how hard I tried. I accelerated into a turn on an icy patch, and it actually kept me going at the proper speed and direction for the turn, and I didn’t slip once.

I like this car even more now.