EA Sports Active for the Wii Review

Everyone has probably heard of the Wii Fit because it was the first fitness product for the Wii and had that balance board.  The problem is, I never thought it was a good workout.  EA Sports has recently released a new product called Active which is meant to be more like a personal trainer.
Ea Sports Active
EA Sports Active is a different approach to Wii fitness.  Instead of doing more game-like activities like the Wii Fit, you spend most of your time doing what feels more like real exercise.  Included is a resistance band and leg strap.  The resistance band is used to give you an upper body workout though it may not be resistant enough for some.  There are a very wide variety of activities such as squats, lunges, all kinds of resistance band activities and running.  There are still a few game activities like basketball and tennis but they are not game-like.  Simply repetitive exercise hitting a tennis ball or shooting a basketball.

Getting Started

It took me a little time to figure out how to put together the resistance band.  It is just a long rubber band with some straps that you actually have to wrap around each end.  You can use a Wii Fit balance board if you have one but I find it is not only not necessary but not my preference.  Some of the activities  just change a bit with the wii board.  For example, there is an inline skating activity where you have to jump at appropriate times.  Instead, if you have a wii  board, you have to lean to one side or the other.  It is a personal preference but you definitely do not need to own a wii fit board to use this.

30 Day Challenge

The game wants you do a 30 day challenge.  The goal is to do 20 exercises in 30 days where you do 2 days of exercise to every 1 day of rest.  On a given day, there is only about 15-25 minutes of actual workout on the medium setting which is what I chose.  It takes longer than that to do a days workout depending on if you watch the demo videos (which you should the first time) and how much you rest in between exercise.  One day may focus on lower body and the next upper and others mixed.  I’m sure it has some logic to the schedule.  As a result, one day you might feel quite tired afterwards and the next day you felt was easy.  If you skip a workout day, that’s ok, just try to pick back up the next.  Don’t try to make up the day, just get back on schedule and the game is happy.  Once you’ve done 20 days of workout, you are done the challenge.


Active generally works quite well but it still has some problems.  The most annoying thing is that the sensors don’t always work.  You might make a motion as you are supposed to but it wasn’t detected.  This can be extremely frustrating.  After time though, you learn more of how the game wants you to move.  Some activities are more prone to sensor issues and you have to kind of work around them by moving the controllers a bit more than you would otherwise to make sure your motion is detected.  Another annoyance is the girl yells at you when you mess up (or aren’t sensed).  Fortunately, there is a setting to turn her off during exercise.


After completing the 30 day challenge, I lost about 1.5% of my body weight, but more importantly had clearly gained muscle and lost fat.  I was actually surprised the results were so good.  I worked through the annoyances and got used to them.  After my first week, I wasn’t too optimistic but now I’m planning on doing another 30 day challenge.

Dish’s DTVPal DVR for Over-The-Air HD TV

Dish, the satellite people, sell the DTVPal DVR, a small box that is a digital video recorder (DVR) similar to TiVo. But this box only works with digital over-the-air TV. It gets its guide information for free digitally over-the-air as well. Therefore, unlike TiVo, it has no monthly fee. It costs $300 but is currently being sold with a $50 instant discount.


If you don’t need a cable tuner, this is a great alternative to TiVo. And if you mainly watch over-the-air programming such as NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, then you can consider ditching cable or satellite for the DTVPal.

Dish subscribers will see that the DTVPal DVR’s Program Guide is the same as that in Dish’s satellite boxes:

DTVPal DVR Program Guide

When we purchased this box, it was clear that the Dish company is still setup to only deal with satellite sales. We got an email welcoming us as a Dish subscriber and referencing their satellite offerings. We even got a service bill for $12.95. After calling Dish, we found out that this was actually just the tax due on the purchase of the box. But the bill made it look like we were Dish satellite subscribers.

Despite those annoyances, this is a great box that makes your television viewing more productive by allowing you to time shift your TV shows.

Verizon MiFi

The Verizon MiFi is a new device that provides Internet from Verizon’s cellular data network. What makes it so special is that it is also a small router providing Internet for up to 5 people. It can run off of a battery and is the size of a deck of cards so you can easily carry it your pocket, making you a walking WiFi hotspot.

Verizon MiFi

Some people, fed up with the relatively spotty AT&T network, have even used the Verizon MiFi to use a better data netwok on their iPhone.

It costs $99 with a 2 year contract and a $60/month data plan.

This is a pretty good deal if you are a frequent traveler or even if you just are in a rural location that doesn’t get cable or DSL. It certainly is faster with better ping times than satellite internet.

Line for Apple Store in Arlington Selling iPhone 3GS

Because Apple and AT&T allowed people to pre-order for delivery, the line for the new iPhone 3GS at 7am today at the Clarendon Apple store in Arlington, Virginia, was about 10% of what we saw for the original iPhone and 3G.

In many ways, this was a less significant upgrade than the upgrade to the 3G. Key selling points of the 3GS include: faster speed (network and phone), video recording, better battery life, compass, and higher quality camera.

Several other upgrades are available to the previous iPhone through the recently released iPhone 3.0 OS. The new software includes cut and paste, photo messaging (available later when AT&T enables it), universal search, and a voice memo app.

I’ll probably buy the 3GS in several months when I qualify for the cheaper upgrade price.

iPhone 3GS line in front of Apple Store in Clarendon Arlington Virginia