Friday, February 24, 2006

Chip Off the Block

I guess as of today I am, quite literally, "yesterday's news."

I suppose I could be annoyed that my most prominent feature in the New York Times article is a tendency to write bad poetry. But as I see it, I'm carrying on a fine family tradition. One of my great-grandfathers was known as "the radio poet". Possibly the first of his kind - radio was a new medium and nobody was quite sure what it was good for. So he got a show based on his newspaper column that mixed poems he liked and poems he had written.

The poems he had written weren't all that good either, but enthusiasm is worth something...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

NYT article on videogame exercise

The New York Times article on videogame fitness trainers came out, and it's great! I don't know why I'm surprised any time newspaper articles are accurate, but everything there I had anything to do with is correct. The article covers Yourself!Fitness and Eyetoy:Kinetic in some detail, and I got to provide color commentary:
IT'S not every personal trainer who inspires a client to write poetry in her honor. But after a few weeks of training with doe-eyed Maya, Glen Raphael couldn't help but extol her virtues in verse: "Sweet Maya never sleeps or even tires/I rarely get a sense that she perspires."
Hey! I'm a published poet! Coool!
Posting such ardent poetry might be embarrassing — if Maya could actually read it.
Or...if an excerpt were published in newspapers around the world so everyone else could read it. That also might be embarrassing. [The full poem, cheesy as it is, can be found here.]
But Maya is not a real person; she is a computer-simulated woman designed to be an ideal trainer. "She's my personal trainer," said Mr. Raphael, 38, a software engineer in San Francisco. "She just happens to live in my television."
Virtual trainers in such programs come to seem real to the people who use them not only because they are designed to be affable but also because, through the magic of computing, they can actually keep track of users' progress over months. Unlike fitness DVD's that show the same exercises day after day, virtual trainers can suggest ever-more-difficult workouts.

In just over a year, more than 100,000 copies of Yourself!Fitness have been sold, a drop in the bucket compared with the mammoth sales of traditional games. But at-home exercisers, out-of-shape novices and video game players who have tried the game say they enjoy combining exercise with a video game and that, with consistent use, it helps boost fitness.


The makers of Yourself!Fitness are working on a sequel, one that will do away with glitches and provide more gaming hooks so users don't get bored. The idea is to offer a dose of exercise that doesn't seem like medicine. "The fitness component isn't what is driving people," Mr. Lowenstein said. "It's the 'Matrix'-like experience."
Read the whole thing.

[cross-posted with]

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Find That Save Point...

Here's a funny nerdcore song by a group called Tripod: Make You Happy Tonight:

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Soon to be in the New York Times!

I will be featured in the Styles section of Thursday's New York Times (2/23/06) as an informed user of fitness video games such as EyeToy:Kinetic and Yourself!Fitness. With any luck, my blog will also get a mention.

The scary thing is that the reporter found my poem. If she quotes it, can I call myself a published poet?