Monthly Archives: January 2009

A Month of Wii Fit

I’ve been using Wii Fit casually for a month now, and it has found its way into my exercise routine. I don’t use it quite every day, but it’s pretty close – for the last two weeks I only skipped one day of exercise – not all of it was on the Wii Fit, but it’s because of the Wii Fit that I got so close. That’s not too bad considering all the schedule changes we’ve had with a newborn in the house. Here’s what I like about it:

  • It’s easy to use. My favorite part about the Wii Fit is how easy to use it is. The balance board fits under our TV stand, so it’s out of the way, but you still notice it if it’s not there. You can do the Body Test portion of the game without the game disc, which is a plus because that means you can do a Body Test even if there’s another game loaded in the Wii. There are plenty of mini-games that are entertaining, but I’ve been doing a lot of the Free Step, which is great because you can do it while you (or someone else) watch TV. That means I don’t have to interrupt our schedule too much if I want to get in a 30 minute exercise in.
  • It keeps you coming back. There are plenty of games in Wii Fit to try to master, but the part that keeps me coming back is the graphs and charts of each day. I have a Fitness game on the XBox, but I didn’t use it as much because there wasn’t a real incentive to come back each day. Keeping track of my weight each day keeps me more conscious about my eating and exercise habits, which is great. The longer I use it for, the more interesting the data becomes, as well.
  • It’s fun! There’s a lot of different games on here, and the idea of beating my own records is a lot of fun. Julia started exercising this week with the Wii Fit, so that means more friendly competition! She’s already beat a few of my records. Even little 22-lb. Emmy gets into the game, and she’s great at the Soccer Ball and Skiing games (as long as she remembers not to get off the board!) This isn’t the best game if you’re looking for entertainment or excitement, but if you think of it more as an exercise tool, then you’ll keep coming back, too. It’s fun to show it to new people, and even my mom talks about playing the Wii Fit when she comes to visit.

The first month with Wii Fit has been great. I’ve already lost over seven pounds, even with quite a few days of overindulgence. For me it has been a great motivator, and I plan to keep using it for many more months. Next month for me will be a big test because my coursework will be a lot heavier, but it’s so easy to incorporate into my regular routine that I plan on sticking with it.

Weekly Goals: Week 4

I did pretty well at my goals this week. We finished reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe yesterday (OK, so maybe it’s a slacker goal – the book was only about 100 pages, but still), and I worked out for at least 20 minutes on 5 different days, only missing Saturday for a full six, although I was exhausted after playing basketball for over an hour on Thursday.

Last week’s Goals:

  • Finish The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It was a great book.
  • Work out at least 20 minutes for four days this week. Did it!

This week’s Goals:

  • Work out at least 20 minutes for four days this week.
  • Finish 3 more levels of the Python Challenge.

Why not the iMac

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time, but it has required a lot of thought. After my older computer’s latest death, I needed a new computer for some website work I was doing. For over a year I debated in my head if I wanted to buy a Mac or build my own computer, and I tried to get input from my wife as well. Over and over in my head it was the Mac vs. PC debate, but in my case it was really more about what Linux and Windows together can do versus what a Mac can do. The Mac I was most strongly considering was the iMac, mostly because the mini isn’t quite powerful enough and the Mac Pro is a bit above my price range.

I ended up building a computer myself, and overall I’m quite happy with the decision. I don’t have anything against the Mac, but it just wasn’t for me this time around. Here are a few reasons why not the iMac:

  • Cost. For the money of a 24″ iMac (I wanted the larger screen because anything smaller than 22″ felt really tiny after my dual 24″ setup at work) I found that I could get a pretty good system.
  • Building a computer is fun! I’ve built four computers myself now (and helped in the building of several others), and it has always been fun. I found myself window shopping quite a bit for computer parts, and building my own computer was a great release for that.
  • Customization. I find myself being picky about my computers sometimes. I like to choose a monitor and peripherals that fit me, and I didn’t feel that an iMac met my needs here.
  • Future Upgrades. I can open up my new computer and upgrade anything I want. That just doesn’t happen with an iMac.
  • Learning. This fits in with several of the above reasons, but I think it’s a reason in itself. By building my own computer, I learned a lot. By using Linux daily, I’m learning a lot, too. I already have a place to learn the Mac better (I have a Mac Pro at work), but most of my studies have involved Linux or other UNIX systems, so it has helped me a lot to play around with a real Linux system. I could have just virtualized Linux like I do at work, but I was ready to take off the training wheels and really use Linux almost full-time at home.
  • Free software upgrades. Note that this really only applies to the Linux side of things, not the Windows side (which is OK, since I’m using Linux 95% of the time). I love that I can get the new features of a new release of Ubuntu without any extra dollar cost. I also love many open source programs like the GIMP more than their paid alternatives. (Note: I’m not trying to hate on Photoshop, but the GIMP fits in much better with what I need it to do. Using the Mac version of the GIMP is just not fun.) There are plenty of free Mac programs, but almost everything is free on Linux.

If I had decided (and I was really close) to buy an iMac, I needed to justify it to myself. Here’s why the iMac:

  • Mac OS and Apple Software. This is a pretty big plus in my book. I like iPhoto and iMovie a lot compared to their Linux counterparts. I’ve found out that I have to deal with Vista a bit if I want to make a movie on my computer. The one drawback here is Finder. Just let it be known that I really don’t like Finder and all the Save dialogs in Mac OS – there are just too many ways to interface with it, and it’s really tricky to figure them all out. I’ll probably have it all figured out by the time they redo the interface. If iPhoto and iMovie updates were cheaper or free, I might have gone with the iMac.
  • Wife Acceptance Factor: I didn’t make this term up, but the iMac’s form factor fit really well into a family setting. The fact that everything is integrated means fewer cords, which is a big plus in this respect. I made my way around this one by getting a monitor with integrated everything and doing a better job of cord management up front.

In the end, I will say that the things I miss out on the most by not having a Mac at home is the software – particularly the iLife suite. iMovie and iPhoto are really easy-to-use applications, and that’s probably what I need. I’ve found myself using F-Spot on Linux, which is just OK, and Windows MovieMaker on Vista, which again, is OK. I like Vista quite a bit as a part-time operating system, but it’s way too annoying to use every day. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Vista’s annoying UAC “are you sure you want to do that” dialogs, trust me, you’ll hate them if you ever meet them.

8 Things Meme

Being the good sister that she is, Beth tagged me for another meme. Do you really want to know more about me? This is your last warning that you can leave the site at any time. I started this post two months ago, but that doesn’t mean it got any better.

8 TV shows I watch

Ever since we got a DVR, I watch way too much TV. These are off the top of my head, and the ones I watch by choice.

  1. The Office – More fun than a real job, but I don’t really wish I worked with these people.
  2. The Big Bang Theory – a show about nerds. I swear I work with these people, but Julia swears that I am one of them. Watch it for yourself and decide.
  3. Star Trek, especially Enterprise, Voyager, and The Next Generation. Please do not let this influence your opinion of me for #2.
  4. Eureka – a secret city, a bunch of scientists, things often go wrong. Maybe I should start distancing myself from work with the rest of the “8 Shows I Watch”.
  5. Transformers – I secretly miss the days when Emmy wouldn’t sleep, because we stayed up watching my DVDs of Transformers while I tried to get her to sleep. I’m sure Kaylee learn all about Optimus Prime in the next few months.
  6. Jeopardy! – I like to pretend I’m smart sometimes. The best part is when I get an answer right before Julia when she clearly knows it. It doesn’t happen much.
  7. Chuck – Underachieving geek unwittingly becomes a spy working with the CIA and NSA. I guess we’re back to our theme.
  8. Sports – I usually stick to baseball and hockey, but I know I can’t get Julia to watch much hockey with me, so I’m saving this up for next March. (Wait ’til Julia hears about the World Baseball Classic – it’s an extra month of baseball, baby!)

8 Favorite Restaurants

  1. Obviously, it’s Taco Bell
  2. Taco Bell is good enough for two spots
  3. That one Mexican Restaurant in the Oakland airport that at first glance is really overpriced but after you get your food you realize it’s really large portions and really good. Since then you try to route your flights through Oakland to eat there again.
  4. Someplace with really good breakfast burritos (shocking fact: it’s not Chili Works!)
  5. Fuddruckers – So my mom called me up to tell me Fuddruckers is having a birthday celebration and that their burgers are 1/2 off for one day only. Problem: it’s tomorrow, it’s two hours away, and I can’t go.
  6. Red Robin – though not so much lately. I’m not sure why, but it’s just been a little off. Maybe it’s the two hour drive.
  7. I’ll just fill in the last two with Taco Bell
  8. See numbers 1, 2, and 7.

8 Things that Happened Yesterday

  1. I passed the Technician Class Amateur Radio License exam.
  2. I passed the General Class Amateur Radio License exam.
  3. I didn’t get much sleep.
  4. I played trains with Emmy!
  5. I ate way too many of Julia’s Chicken Puffs. Those things are good, but not good for you. I don’t regret it.
  6. I’m going to leave it here, claiming I forgot how to count. Never mind the numbers off to the side, those are automatically generated.

8 4 Things I’m looking forward to

  1. Watching Emmy and Kaylee grow up together. You can tell Emmy is going to be a great big sister.
  2. Spring Break! It has been since about elementary school that I went anywhere for spring break, and even then I’m not actually sure it happened. This year we plan to visit Julia’s relatives in Arizona and catch at least one game at baseball Spring Training
  3. Graduation. I’m ready to start learning the things I decide are important.
  4. The weekend!

8 Things on my Wish List

  1. Rest and Relaxation
  2. Every 8-bit Nintendo Game Ever. “Pick any game you want. I’m good at all of ’em. I’ve got 97 of ’em.” -The Wizard. Note: this one isn’t really true, because I already have the best ones.
  3. For the Royals to make it to the playoffs
  4. A big house. For now it will do to just visit Beth’s new one, because that’s almost as fun.
  5. That more people will come visit us in New Mexico. (Thanks, Beth!)
  6. To be an awesome Python and Django programmer.

(Some) Things I Love

  1. My Family
  2. My Church
  3. Learning new things. Lately this has been a few of my computer science classes, and I like learning history when it’s just for fun. Experimenting with computers is lots of fun.
  4. When Emmy asks to play with me when I get home from work
  5. A cute pregnant wife Update: I wrote that back in November, when she was a cute pregnant wife. Now she’s an even-cuter mommy.

8 Things I Can’t Stand I’m not “really a fan of”

  1. Grammar Nazis that don’t actually know proper grammar.
  2. Whining.
  3. Getting up early.
  4. Taking classes from professors that don’t like to teach.
  5. Bad drivers.
  6. Anytime somebody tries to say that Groundhog Day isn’t the greatest Bill Murray movie of all time.
  7. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Did you know that the Red Sox are the only team with a payroll of over $100 million to win the World Series? They’ve done it twice and no other team has ever done it. That alone doesn’t make them worth hating, but there’s more. Their fans tend to have the idea that the entire baseball world should revolve around those two teams. The whole world seems to be affected with that mentality, because that’s what is conveyed by ESPN, and that just creates a cycle that I refuse to take part in. Baseball exists outside of New York and New England. It’s OK if you’re a fan because you have ties to the area, but otherwise it’s inexcusable. (End Rant)

8 People I’m Tagging

  1. Kevin Bacon. Thanks to “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” I’ve lost too much sleep in the past few weeks. You’re on the list, Kevin. You owe me.
  2. Spaghetti Cat
  3. Alex Trebek, the many who knows everything, who has never heard of Treebeard.
  4. Joad Cressbeckler and the horse that stomps once for yes, twice for no.
  5. Peyton Manning, host of the only funny episode of SNL this decade.
  6. Shemp, the other stooge.
  7. Particle Man
  8. Chris Sabo. Because Rec Specs were awesome in the 80s.

Goals Update: The Last Week of Freedom

It’s the last week before my last semester before graduation. You know what that means – time to get some stuff done! I didn’t get them all finished, but I did get a few things done! Here’s my progress report:

Last week’s goals:

  • Build a snowman: I regretfully admit that I wasn’t able to build a snowman this last week, because our snow is melting. Most of the snow that is still around is either really crunchy from the sun or full of sand, so that’s why I missed out there.
  • Work on a puzzle: Nope. I don’t think this one will get done, because the only puzzle we have took a few weeks last time and we don’t have a space that we can dedicate to it right now. We’ll have to get an easier puzzle, it seems.
  • Learn all about Ham Radio: Check! I passed my Technician and General Class license exams last night. There’s still much more to understand, but I’ve come a long way. I plan to keep this one up more informally.
  • Read a book: I finished the Magician’s Nephew, and I’m over halfway done with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I can’t believe I never read this whole series before, because these books are very, very good. Anyone who criticizes one of these for being too much of a kiddie book is not cool enough for this website.

This week’s goals:

  • Finish The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This shouldn’t be too bad, I’m over halfway done with it. I’d like to finish the whole series before the end of April. That should be plenty of time even though I’ll have lots of homework in between there.
  • Work out at least 20 minutes for four days this week. Last week I did pretty good with my fitness goals even though I didn’t write them here. I broke my consecutive exercise days streak, so I’ve got to get it started again.