Santa brought the kids a Wii Fit for Christmas and we’ve been playing with it since. If you have a Wii you know that one of the fun things about it is creating a character that resembles yourself, called a Mii. You can then use that Mii as your character when you play Wii games. When we first got the Wii we all created our little Miis and made them look as close to ourselves as possible. I’m not the smallest guy you’ll ever meet so I created my Mii to be as big as possible, but even Nintendo has its limits and my little Mii didn’t look all that bad.
With the Wii Fit Nintendo has decided to really make the Mii match your weight as I quickly found out. Once I got on the Wii Fit it took me through some tests and then pumped my Mii up to match my weight. My poor little Mii must have a glandular problem now because he is so plumped up that he looks stuffed and uncomfortable. It’s too accurate! Poor little guy. I guess I better start using that Wii Fit to get my Mii (and me) back down to a more reasonable density.
I never paid much attention to the big red vending machines that have been popping up outside grocery stores in our area. I heard a friend talking about renting a movie from the “big red box” and how easy it was. So we stopped by on our way out of the grocery store and Redbox has definitely gained a customer.
Those of you that know me know I’m all for instant, downloadable gratification. Why go out to rent a movie when I can click a mouse and be watching it before you’d be back from the store? Redbox allows you to rent DVDs for $1 a day. That’s it. No membership. No application. Just select a movie, swipe your credit card, and within seconds you’re on your way home with a movie. As long as you return it by 9pm the next day you’re fine. If not, Redbox takes $1 from your credit card until you return it or you hit $25, which ever comes first.
But Redbox wins in an area I never expected – availability. We wanted to see the movie Baby Mama but it is not available for rental through iTunes and a few other places until 10/8. I could have downloaded it from Amazon.com for $14.99, but there is no way that was going to happen. Too much money. Redbox had it on their new releases sign but it was out of stock, so we picked another movie. The next morning I went online to Redbox.com, searched for Baby Mama, entered my zip code, and Redbox showed me all the Redboxes in our area and Baby Mama’s availability. Since it was now available at the Redbox we just rented from I rented it online and Redbox reserved it for me on that machine. Isn’t connectivity grand?
The really nice thing is you can return the movie to any Redbox, it does not have to be the one you rented from. Since I entered my email address when we rented a movie, I now get email confirmations for rentals, returns, etc. immediately. And I do mean immediately, as I was getting the emails while still standing at the Redbox. Nice touch.
So, current movies, decent availability, online reservation, returns wherever I want, email confirmation, no membership, and $1 rental fee. Looks like someone figured out how to get me out of the house to rent a movie again.
So why can’t iTunes and Amazon rent movies at the same time? Nice job Redbox.
While driving home from a party the other night I was reminded why I don’t like regular radio in Pittsburgh. The song Morning Train (9-5) by Sheena Easton came on and we were both laughing about how long it had been since we heard that one. Then we quickly realized how awful it was. But, it brought up how much Sheena changed once Prince got hold of her. So we started searching YouTube for her videos and were listening to Sugar Walls when it hit me that I may have just heard the worst lyric ever – “blood races, to your private spots.” Lame. That one gets my pick for worst.
But what about the best? I’m not sure if this one is the best or not, but it has stuck with me the longest. It came at a time when I couldn’t stand Bruce Springsteen but the girl I was dating loved him and forced me to listen to him all the time. I’m definitely more of a fan of his these days and my favorite lyric has to be “is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?” from The River.
What are your picks for the worst and best lyrics you’ve ever heard?
The main reason I had a jailbroken iPod Touch is because I really liked the game Five Dice. Five Dice is an excellent version of the old dice game called Yahtzee. I was hoping that the developer would bring it to the App store once version 2.0 of the software was out and they came through.
This is not the exact same game that was available for free if you were jailbroken. This version has a lot more polish and the graphics are very professional. The game play is very smooth and the little touches of animation are pretty slick. Another big difference is that the game is no longer free – it costs $3.99.
I’m sure there will be people that enjoyed the jailbroken version complaining about the costs, but I think it is definitely worth the few bucks it costs. The game is every bit as polished as any other professionally developed game and I see no issue with the developers getting paid for their work. 3.99 – what’s that – a cup of fancy coffee or a pack of cigarettes?
Hopefully they will make a ton of money from this little application and put some of it back in to the game to provide over the air multi player capability. That would be pretty cool.
If you grew up playing the game Yahtzee you should take a chance and spend the few bucks it costs to try it out. It’s definitely worth it.
I like the convenience of being able to watch TV shows from my computer when I am traveling or am not in front of my TV/DVR setup – especially when that experience is free. I think ABC does a great job with their hosting of shows like Lost, Desperate Housewives, etc., but I just ran in to a problem I never saw coming.
That content is free to me because it contains ads that I have to watch. I don’t mind that much, I’m getting free content and there are less commercials than if I watched it on live TV, so I can live with it. But what I never expected was not being able to watch that content if there was an issue with the serving of commercials. I just hit this error message when trying to watch the latest episode of Lost.
No commercials, no free content for you! I guess ABC feels strongly that you can’t have one without the other.
As I wrote about a few months ago, I started checking the Amazon MP3 store along with the iTunes Store when shopping for music, and I was surprised that most of what I was looking for was not only available from Amazon, it was cheaper as well. Well, I have been buying more and more music lately and I can’t remember the last time I ended up buying it from the iTunes Store. This is a huge change for me, but money talks. I am getting individual songs a little cheaper, but I am usually getting full albums $2 cheaper. That’s significant. I still check with iTunes and I make sure to compare the number of tracks on the full album because once in a while iTunes has more songs for the money than Amazon does, but that has been really rare.
Apple, I realize you have the majority of the market share right now, but as one of your loyal customers that has way too many of your products than most people should, I think you have a problem here. Not only do I have more Apple computers and iPods than any household should, I’m a share holder! If I’m comfortable using another service over the iTunes Store what does that say for the average customer? It may not be today, it may not be this year, but I think you need to address the pricing issue before others see what is going on and Amazon starts eating away at your market share.
I was picking up some new music for an upcoming trip when I thought I’d look at the Amazon.com MP3 Download store. I’ve done 100% of my music purchasing on iTunes for the last few years because it is just so easy the way things are integrated with my iPods. I was surprised to see how easy Amazon has made it not only for those of us that use iPods, but OS X itself.
Amazon provides a decent downloader that brings down the music and adds it to your iTunes library automatically. It’s completely browser based so it’s not as seamless as iTunes, but I think it’s about as good as we’re going to get with a vanilla web browser for a while.
But the fun didn’t stop there. I picked up 3 “albums” (is that really still a valid term?) and not only were they $2(US) cheaper per album, but they even had one that iTunes did not carry – an old Radiohead album. $7.99 for the full album definitely has my attention. The no DRM piece is a nice bonus as well, and I’m happy to take 256k MP3 files for less money.
I think iTunes finally has a little competition here and competition should be good for the consumer. I felt a little like I was cheating on iTunes with the first purchase. The second click was easier, and by the third click the guilt was gone and I was just begging to get caught.
Nice job Amazon, I’ll be sure to check your store as well as iTunes when i am looking for music in the future.