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Archive for the ‘dance’ Category

Apple of My Designer Eye

In consumer tech, dance, Dance Central, fashion and style, Product on March 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm

You had me at hello, new iPad2, largely because of the new cover.

Call me silly, but this stuff makes a difference to a girl with fashion sense. Silver, orange, navy or red… consumer tech should make you happy to come to it every time and work like a dream.  I have yet to purchase the iPad2, as I was waiting to see how much better it would be.

Richard: “They didn’t change much.   It’s just thinner.”

Me: “But did you see the cover?”

It’s kind of the same principle for car cup holders or the ability to change outfits on my dancer in Dance Central.  Small detail, big impact.  I’m thinking…red.

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Why Am I So Loud? Observations About Kinect Video Chat

In dance, Dance Central, dog, family, Kinect, relationship on January 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Kinect Video Chat.

Now we can talk to each other, much like a split-screen in a newscast – one person/several people in one box talking to another person/group, or an extension of the web cam experience.  Doesn’t seem super futuristic, but nonetheless, I heard about this and thought it might be cool to do it through Kinect.  I wondered how well it would work.   I tried it out with two parties in my Xbox Live crew:  my friend, a former TV news producer, and my brother, a computer nerd and electrical engineer.   Just for the record, these are smart people with a knack for communications technology (and then there’s me).

First attempt with my friend, the former TV producer, and here are my observations:

  • It was not intuitive where to go.  She and I had to get on the phone to troubleshoot how we accepted each others’ requests to do Video Kinect.
  • Just for the record, when you get a pop up “toast”, you have to go to the Dashboard and check your messages.  Via messages, you can accept.  Then you can Video Kinect.
  • I would really like it if you could just say “Accept” when you get the “Toast” and Kinect does the rest for you.  This would use the voice recognition and leave none of the thinking to the user.  IMO.  (More on my early impressions of “toast” in this post: “We Were Making Out On The Couch…”)

Second attempt, with my brother and his family.

  • Same thing, only he had been trying to figure out a bunch of things, such as how to add friends, for awhile, before we had to get on the phone.
  • Richard was with me, so he talked them through it.
  • My question is this:  If you don’t have a Richard, who helps you?  Normal people need fewer steps.

That being said, when we finally Video Kinect-ed with my brother, my sister and law and my niece and nephew, I have to say it was kind of entertaining.  My niece wanted to see the dog right away, so we sat the dog up to say hi.   Then, we talked about our experiences with Dance Central.  If you don’t think this is all terribly boring, here’s a peek at our Video Kinect conversation.

You might notice that I laugh really loudly.  My mother always told me this was inappropriate, but many years later I just can’t help it.  On video though, it does make me think why AM I so much louder than everyone else? Maybe my mom should answer this random question.

Kinect brings a little “celebrity” treatment

In dance, Dance Central, Kinect, Product, workout on November 17, 2010 at 9:54 am

Just finished yoga.  Locker room.

Overheard around the corner: “Did you try Souja Boy?… How about… I thought… was so hard!!”

“Are you talking about Dance Central…?” (this is me)

“YES!!!” (Two women, in unison, with huge smiles on their faces.) “DO YOU LOVE IT!?!” (them, in caps, big excitement here.)

“I LOVE IT!”  (this is me, in caps, big excitement here)


“I can’t believe it, I’m number four on Bust A Move!” (me again)

(GASP!) (them, in caps again, big excitement here)

“NICE TO MEET YOU!! OMG!” (them)

More conversation ensues about which moves were hard, which songs were easier.

Consensus:  The Lady Gaga songs have the most simple choreography.

Consensus:  The sensor is a little picky on certain moves, but not others.  Curious about this.  Still investigating…

My tip:  More important than the “flava” is the exact mimicking of the dancer.  Trying to spice up the move with your own groove doesn’t really get you more points.  Having your arm/leg/body in the EXACT position as the dancer = FLAWLESS!

I have a few moves to work on to break 1,000,000.  Wish me luck!

I’m burnin’ calories along the way…

Two Ideas for Dance Central in the Name of Health

In dance, Kinect, Product, workout on November 14, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I don’t know about you, but I have a weakness for french fries.

One of the most appealing things about Kinect’s Dance Central is the calorie burn, which gives me an excuse to indulge every now and then. It’s harder to work it off as we get older… are you with me here?

So Dance Central, I’ve discovered, after working my butt off (Post: Young MC Made Me Sweat) to be in the Top 10 for Bust A Move (Post: No Way! I’m #6), has a WORKOUT MODE, with a calorie counter that earns you achievements, the more you work out.  Aside from the fact that I would have liked to know how much I’ve burned, I probably would have gotten another achievement by now.

So here’s my suggestion for Dance Central: create a feature that suggest to someone who’s been dancing awhile – or dancing on “hard” (the highest level) – to turn on workout mode. Something like a pop up notification:  “Would you like to turn on Workout Mode?”  with of their simple arrows which guide you to more info about this.  My answer would be: YES, DUH.

Anyway, now that you know this, turn on workout mode, earn an achievement and burn some calories.  Maybe save the fries for another time.

A Mom and a Pilates Junkie Walk into My House…

In dance, dog, fashion and style, gaming, Kinect, Product on November 13, 2010 at 4:47 pm

No joke.  Two girlfriends who have no interest in video games broke free from their Nordstrom jeans shopping (serious stuff here) and came over to the house for a super-fast sampling of Dance Central on Kinect before picking up the kids.

It all happened so fast that the dog got really excited and didn’t quite “stay”.  Out she went on the deck for the time being. (More on what happens with Kinect with a big dog in the picture in the next post.)

I pop in Dance Central. and the intro to the game rolls…

“I’m so excited.”  (the Mom)

“This is a good video.” (the Pilates Junkie)

I sign in.

“I love how it’s so futuristic… that you’re just using your hand for the commands.” (the Mom)

“Okay, which song?”  (this is me)

“PUSH IT.” (Both, almost simultaneously, after seeing a few songs)

I pick the Easy mode just to get started.  The Mom jumps in first.

“This is hard!” (The Mom, after a few steps to the music.)   “This is so much fun!”

Pilates Junkie is laughing at the nerdiness of it all.

“I’m totally sweating!” (The Mom)

Pilates Junkie jumps in, laughing at herself for getting about half the moves right.  She also lets out a little gasp when a move isn’t quite right, and the dude tells her, “That’s alright, everyone messes up on that one.”

And just like that, their inaugural Kinect Dance Central session is over.

Final thoughts from them?

The Mom: “OMG I’m totally getting this.  My kids will love it.  I love the no-controller thing.”

Pilates Junkie: “I don’t like the Freestyle so much… when they take your pictures.  I don’t really want to see that.”

I agree.  I’m not a fan of the photo Freestyle feature.  (Xbox – can we disable this?   Don’t mind the Freestyle, don’t need to see the sweaty playback.)

When they leave, I’m back on Bust A Move, trying to stay in the Top 10.  A few rounds later, I post my highest score yet (another blog post, another time).

No way! I’m #6 in the World!

In dance, family, relationship on November 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Never before did I think I would be obsessed (okay, semi-obsessed) with my gamer score or rank.

Today, I discovered that I’m #6 in the world for Dance Central’s “Bust A Move”.  WHAT?!!!  Check. It. Out.

Now, I know that the competition is limited at this point, because Kinect just came out, so as more people/dancers get on board with it, the board will get more crowded at the top.

How long can I stay in the Top 10?

One thing is for sure.  I’ve  never been in the Top 10 in the world for anything.  I’ll be sweatin’ to Young MC in my attempt to stay there… and working on my abs at the same time.

Young MC Made Me Sweat!

In dance, dinner, dog, gaming, relationship on November 4, 2010 at 11:12 am

“If you want it …you’ve got it…” (this is me, my living room)

I am in my living room, the dog in the corner watching me with a bit of confusion.  I am singing the Young MC classic “Bust A Move” and doing same hip hop moves I remember for the late college years in California.  I. Love. It.

Before I knew it, I was a little bit obsessed, trying out new moves in and via Kinect.

I channeled my inner Kylie in “Can’t Get You Outta My Head”.  I fed my long standing obsession with the disco era in “Brickhouse”.
I wasn’t crazy about The Pony move in the choreography for “C’mon Ride The Train”, but it was still fun.  Oh, and I tore it up in “Push It” (did you know the famous Salt-n-Pepa hair was a result of a relaxer mistake?  Watch Chris Rock’s Good Hair.)

By the end of my half hour session (was it an hour?), I was sweatin’, happy to burn off the calories from dinner.  Could the Kinect sense my sweat?  I was also impressed by the Kinect command-with-hand function to choose titles and scroll.  Very smooth, I have to say.  Even that was fun.

One more thing I liked:  if you get the move on the first try, the game gives you a diamond for a score.  How about that for a little extra sparkle for your day?

Finally, all of this bustin’ a move  made me try to remember what year I was actually jammin’ to “Bust A Move”.  I think I had a Sony Discman at the time. I looked it up and found out something really cool on Wikipedia about “Bust A Move“:  Young MC wrote the lyrics in 90 minutes in his campus apartment at USC, and they were never edited.  And – he recorded his first draft to the track!  What?!!!  Serious.  I knew I loved that Marvin Young from Cali.

By the way, I let my husband play a little too.

Thank goodness we started talking about Family Guy.

In dance, dinner, dog, family, gaming, Halo, Product, TV watching on September 29, 2010 at 5:50 pm

And… cue the quicksand.  I’m sinking deeper into geek-land.

The other day we were visiting friends, whose pre-teen sons were, let’s just say, brilliant and enlightening (it was like talking to two Stewies from Family Guy, but with less anger).  However, they are boys, and they’re very excited about the recently released Halo: Reach (as in Spartans and multi-threat armor, etc.).

They also can’t wait for controller-free gaming with Kinect.  Suddenly, over hors d’oeuvres, I found myself explaining the benefits versus drawbacks of playing shooter games on Kinect.

“Does Kinect work with shooter games?” (John)

“Well, it’s really not for shooter games, because of the timing.”  (This is me… and I can’t believe these words are coming out of my mouth.)

“How does it work with shooter games?” (Trevor)

“It’s not what you really want for shooter games to be effective in your game.  By the time you react, tell it to do what you want, then it reacts and shoots… it’s a little too far past the moment.  In that type of situation, you really want the immediacy of the controller to just hit the button and fire the shot.”  (WHO. AM. I?)

“Oh.  Yeah, I guess you would just want to hit A.”  (John)

“Exactly.”  (I pause.  Please pass the red pepper dip and celery.)

Soon afterward, conversation shifted to the brilliance of Seth McFarlane and the season premiere of Family Guy.

Whew.  That was fun, but just a little bit alarming.

(That being said, I am excited to dance MJ moves on Kinect.)

Can Barely Contain Excitement for MJ and Kinect.

In dance, gaming, movies, Product on July 12, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I’m trying to focus on work, but my lovely husband sends me this email:

“Since you liked the movie so much, figured this might peak your interest…”

He is referring to the upcoming Ubisoft game featuring Michael Jackson’s music, moves and more.  The title’s release coincides with the Kinect release, which means… this will be at the top of my wish list.

After all, I watched “This It It” three times, mostly for the dancing and pure MJ charisma that can never (truly) be duplicated.

I’m a dancer, not a gamer.  (“I‘m a lover, not a fighter.”  Remember?)