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Tag: Nintendo

How To Lose Weight

Posted by Andrew at 6:07 AM on October 23, 2013

You might be forgiven in thinking that we’ve moved from a tech blog into a lifestyle magazine but I wanted to share a little of my life from the past 18 months. In late spring last year, I visited my doctor and she pointed out that in the 20 years since I joined her practice, I’d put on over 20 kg in weight – about 44 lb – and that my blood pressure was up. All classic signs of a heart attack waiting to happen. I had to lose some weight, get the pounds off and lower that blood pressure or an early exit beckoned. Obviously I’m still here but did I shed the pounds and how did I do it.

First of all, let’s get over the fact that there’s no diet in existence that will make you magically lose weight; you have to work at it. However, the recipe for weight loss is very straightforward – there are only three ingredients really.

  • Eat less
  • Eat better
  • Exercise more

While the recipe for weight loss is easy, I’ll admit that following it isn’t. The good news is that you can have three square meals a day; the bad news is that it means no junk – no crisps (chips), sweets or late night peanut butter sandwiches. There’s no need to starve: just take smaller portions and if you are full, stop eating.

Wii Fit Balance BoardAs a geek, I also employed a bit of tech to help achieve my goal – a Nintendo Wii with Balance Board, a Fitbit Zip and food apps / web sites.

Most people will be familiar with the Nintendo Wii though sadly its discontinuation has been announced in the past few day. The Balance Board is bundled with WiiFit and WiiFit Plus, and while the associated programs are fun enough, I used the Balance Board as electronic scales to record my weight. Each morning, shortly after getting up, I’d weigh myself on the Balance Board. If my weight was down, I gave myself a mental high five. If my weight was up, it was a mental “you need to do better”. The Wii records your weight day by day and will show a graph of your progress.

Fitbit ZipThe second piece of gadgetry is the Fitbit Zip. It’s an advanced digital pedometer that will upload its data to your PC and onwards to Fitbit’s portal. I received this for Christmas and Fitbit tries to gamify the activity of walking further by competing against friends and awarding badges. While I don’t need any stinkin’ badges, I was quite chuffed to be awarded my 1000 mile badge last month. The Zip doesn’t make you fitter by itself, but it does make you aware of walking and now I often choose to walk where previously I might have taken the car. Every little bit helps.

Finally to help eat better, I used a range of foodie websites and apps to find new, interesting and low calorie recipes. I find the BBC’s offerings both on their main site and on the Good Food site are excellent. Many of the supermarkets, such as Tesco, have good recipes too. Look for sections on healthy eating. App-wise, there’s a Good Food app on Android too. It helps if the app and website cater to metric as well as imperial units and do the conversions properly as directly converting from oz to g doesn’t work terribly well.

A word of advice. When browsing the supermarket shelves, “low fat” is not a particular benefit when the product is laden with sugar to make up the taste so approach with caution any food which loudly makes those claims. Ultimately, I found that weight and calories were the best guides so read the nutritional information on the back of food.

Did I succeed in losing weight with help from this tech? Absolutely – I’ve managed to lose nearly 18 kg (40 lb) and 4″ in waistline. There’s still a few pounds to lose but I do feel tremendously better for it. It has been hard work even with the tech – it requires willpower to say “no” to food, and food is so very much part of Western culture. But you can do it as I did. Remember; eat less, eat better, exercise more. Take encouragement from your success and determination from your setbacks.

Former Nintendo President has Died

Posted by JenThorpe at 4:43 PM on September 20, 2013

NintendoHiroshi Yamauchi, a visionary who is credited with transforming Nintendo from a trading card company to a leading force in video games, has died of pneumonia. He was 85 years old. He ran Nintendo from 1949 until 2002, and had an enormous influence on the gaming industry.

Yamauchi was a driving force behind getting Nintendo into arcades. How many of you remember putting quarters into a Donkey Kong machine (after waiting around for your turn)? He was president of Nintendo during the NES, the SNES, the N64 and the Gamecube.

I’ve never met Hiroshi Yamauchi. I didn’t know him personally. Yet, I find myself saddened by his death. Where would console gaming be today without his influence? I think back to happy memories of playing Super Mario Brothers on the NES with my siblings for hours upon hours.

One of my siblings has autism. He was able to completely memorize all the details and patterns in Super Mario Brothers. His interest in the game encouraged him to try and communicate more with the rest of the family. He wanted to teach us how to play the game better. This was remarkable, and would not have happened without the existence of the NES.

I’m certain that I am not the only gamer who has fond memories involving Nintendo games. What are some of yours?

Nintendo Goes After Player’s YouTube Profits

Posted by JenThorpe at 7:41 PM on May 17, 2013

NintendoNintendo has started doing something that is not making gamers very happy. The company has started taking the ad revenue from videos that players post on YouTube of themselves playing one of Nintendo’s games. These are referred to as “Let’s Play” videos, and people make them about all kinds of different video games (not just the ones from Nintendo).

Have you ever watched a YouTube video that showed a portion of a video game? People make them all the time. For gamers, it is a good way to learn how to beat a “boss”, to check out end-game content before their characters are big enough to get there, and to discover techniques that they may not have figured out for themselves. Other people will stream themselves playing a game so people can watch “in real time”. The player might record what he or she is streaming and post it on YouTube.

When a new game comes out that looks interesting to me, I will go to YouTube in the hopes of finding videos that show what the actual game play is like. I’ve also watched live streamed games for the same reason. It’s a good way to find out more about the game than the official ad shows. If I can’t find any further information about the game from these type of sources, it is highly unlikely that I will end up buying it.

Nintendo is using YouTube’s Content-ID to identify the videos that contain content from their games. One of the options that the Content-ID system allows is for the content owner to block that video from YouTube. Another option is for the content owner to make money from the videos that include their content but were posted by someone else.

In this case, Nintendo is placing ads that generate revenue onto the videos that were posted by gamers that showed them playing one of Nintendo’s games. Effectively, what happens is that the gamer is now unable to make any revenue from those videos. Instead, that money goes directly to Nintendo.

This can be problematic for people who have a YouTube channel that is filled with gameplay videos that have been generating ad revenue for the gamer. GameFront posted a statement from Nintendo:

As part of our on-going push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media channels in an appropriate and safe way, we became a YouTube partner and as such in February 2013 we registered our copyright content in the YouTube database. For most fan videos this will not result in any changes, however, for those videos featuring Nintendo-owned content, such as images or audio of a certain length, adverts will now appear at the beginning, next to or at the end of the clips. We continually want our fans to enjoy sharing Nintendo content on YouTube, and that is why, unlike other entertainment companies, we have chosen not to block people using our intellectual property.

I believe that Nintendo is “shooting themselves in the foot” with this choice. Gamers who make “Let’s Play” videos, and who have a YouTube channel that is making them a profit in ad revenue now have good reason to stop making videos of Nintendo’s games. They are going to choose games from other companies instead. The result will be less “Nintendo content shared across social media channels”, not more.

Behind the scenes – Netflix on the Wii U

Posted by Alan at 5:02 AM on January 16, 2013

You probably already know that Netflix is available on both Nintendo consoles — the Wii and the Wii U. However Netflix pointed out the Wii U version marked the first time the company has ever built an app for a brand new game console.

Now, the DVD giant has produced a behind-the-scenes video that shows a bit of what went into all of this. It is especially interesting given that Netflix claims that “it was also the first time we worked on a second screen experience, for the Wii U GamePad”. If you want even more geeky information then UI Engineer Joubert Nel has written about building Netflix on Wii U over at the Netflix Tech Blog.

In the meantime, you can check out the video posted below to get a feel for how this works.

Still collecting those old games? Here is a “deal”

Posted by Alan at 1:35 PM on December 10, 2012

Nostalgia is big business these days and perhaps there is no bigger tech nostalgia field than old games and gaming systems. If you were smarter than me and didn’t give away your original Atari and all of the games then you may be able make some money off of these devices. There is no better example than a current Ebay auction.

The auction consists of what the seller calls a “Complete US Super Nintendo (SNES) collection with all boxes and most manuals”. The sale claims that the collection consists of “all 721 games sold at retail in the United States, Canada and Mexico”. The games are mostly in good condition and man even contain the original manuals, inserts and boxes.

Now for the tough part, the price. The auction is set for a “Buy it now” price of a mere $24,999. An entire list of every single game included and even what each contains and the conditions can be found on the auction site. Do you have your wallet out yet?

PowerSkin Charges Smartphones and Portable Gamers

Posted by Andrew at 6:48 AM on January 11, 2012

At CES International 2012, PowerSkin has announced new portable power solutions for smartphones and other rechargeable devices. SolarCharge, Key Charge and Gaming Skins are all designed to keep the mobile user going for longer.

PowerSkins SolarChargeThe SolarCharge is a universal charger for all types of smartphone including iPhone, Android and Blackberry, and it comprises a 1000 mAh battery paired with a solar panel in a one-piece housing. The SolarCharge recharges smartphones (and other devices) via a supplied micro-USB connector and other connectors are available for non-standard devices. The battery in the SolarCharge itself is recharged via USB from a PC, via a micro-USB mains charger or from the sun through the solar panel, so there are plenty of options for the mobile user. The blue rubberised skin has embedded LEDs to show the battery’s charge level.

PowerSkins KeyChargeThe KeyCharge has a smaller capacity at 750 mAh and is intended for a quick boost rather than a full recharge. Small enough to fit on a keychain, the KeyCharge only comes with a micro-USB connector and consequently is not suitable for use with iPhones or iPods. Two variants are available to cater for the different positions of the micro-USB connector on smartphones, i.e. side or bottom. As with the SolarCharge, the KeyCharge is recharged via a micro-USB connector, either from a PC or from a mains adaptor.

Also on display at CES will be PowerSkin’s Gaming Skins for iOS and Nintendo 3DS, which were announced in December 2011, along with an array of battery-boosting smartphone skins for all the popular makes.

PowerSkins

PowerSkin’s SolarCharge, $69.99, and KeyCharge, $24.99, will both be available beginning February on www.Power-Skin.com. Visit PowerSkin’s booth at the Hilton Suites, Booth # 28-128.

GNC-2010-10-29 #622 Feel Like a Ping Pong Ball :)

Posted by geeknews at 1:00 AM on October 29, 2010

Just a couple of more days here in Hawaii before I start my extended road trip. Just as my body is getting back on schedule gonna throw it into Jet Lag again. Lots to share tonight, plus a special offer.. Big thank you to all of our Sponsors for supporting the show in October, hope you have had a chance to show your appreciation by trying or buying one of their products or services. Lots in the Tech hopper tonight along with your favorite geek acting like a rookie.

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