You've probably heard of the Peloton exercise bike. Now there's a Peloton rowing machine. But is it better than the inexpensive machine my mom bought when I was 15?
The Peloton Row, at $3,195, costs at least $3,000 more than my rower. But it's a lot fancier. It has a 24-inch high-definition display and a slew of videos with rowing instructors.
Instructors can be great. At a rowing class in California, I raced six others indoors, looking up at a big screen to see who was ahead. The class was taught by Xeno Muller, an Olympic medalist. He made me work harder than I ever had before.
Peloton says that with every stroke, you're using 86% of your muscles. In 15 minutes, you can get a good cardio and strength workout. The readout tells you your stroke rate, pace, output and distance. The resistance level is electronically controlled. You even get feedback on your form. Unlike bulky exercise equipment, you can stow it against a wall. It ships in December but you can order it now.
My rower is technically an "exercise rider," but it also involves a rowing motion. I row while I talk on the phone or watch a movie. It's similar to the Sunny Health & Fitness "Squat Assist Row-N-Ride," $110 on Amazon. Like my rower, the Row-N-Ride offers an upper and lower body workout. The readout includes the time elapsed, the calories burned, and the number of repetitions. It's easy on the joints and you can adjust the resistance level. It folds up for storage. A YouTube video explains all of its features. To me, it's a better deal than the Peloton.
RING THAT TUNE
I love my new cellphone, the Motorola Power G, but it doesn't have as many ringtone choices as my old Pixel 3a. So I got the "Classical Ringtones" app, free for Android and iPhone.
Under "most popular," the app lists Richard Strauss' "Thus Spake Zarathustra," familiar to fans of the movie "2001, A Space Odyssey." The number two choice is Maurice Ravel's "Bolero." But for me, nothing beats John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever." Talk about rousing.
The app's free version is a bit tricky. At first, when I tapped on "free," I kept getting bounced back to a choice between free and premium. But once I watched an ad, I was good to go. After installation, I called myself from another phone. The new ringtone sounds great.
RETURN TO MONKEY ISLAND
It's been 12 years since a new version of the fantastically popular "Monkey Island" video game came out. So it's no wonder that the sixth version, "Return to Monkey Island" generated so much hoopla when it came out last month.
Its cartoony graphics are greatly improved, but it took me a bit to get into it. I still feel nostalgic about the old versions.
When the game begins, we don't see our hero Guybrush Threepwood. We see his son, who appears to be about 8 years old. Fortunately, after a few challenges, the boy runs into his dad, who continues the story. But instead of the romantic 18-year-old Guybrush who fell in love with the female governor of the island, he's now a grizzled 30-year-old with a family. Still, it's great to hear the old pirate music, enjoy the joke-y dialogue, and try to figure out our hero's next step. On the con side, I could have done without the outhouse scene.
The game is $25 from Steampowered.com, for PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch. Overall, it's a good continuation of the original Monkey Island. But it's too bad Steven Spielberg never made one of those games into a movie. He came close. Unfortunately, he wanted to turn it into a film about monkeys. Definitely a no-go.
GREETINGS TO YOU
Nothing beats Punchbowl.com for free, lovely, online cards and invitations. I just used it for a birthday, a thank-you and a thinking-of-you card.
To start, click on a card, then add your name to the inside. Click "add video" to personalize it further. The selfie camera on your phone or the webcam on your computer will spring into action. My first recipient, a child in Arizona, sent me a thank you right back. She loved it. When she clicked on my photo, she got a video message from me. You can also send it without the selfie video.
In the free version, you have to send it the day you make it. The free version also has a discreet ad banner at the top. It's $5 a month to remove the ads. Somehow, I couldn't figure out how to activate the free version. It kept bringing me back to premium, so I gave in and got it at a discount by choosing the annual fee. It will make my holiday cards environmentally friendly and more personal. The premium version also allows you to schedule your cards and invitations. If you wish, you can send them as text messages or post them to Facebook.
• LaWow.org is a search engine for legal cases. They also list cases, such as "Keith Johnson v. Tesla." Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk is being sued for allegedly making "Dogecoin" sound like a legitimate investment. The cryptocurrency is down to about 6 cents from 74 cents.
• "The End of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch." Search on that phrase to see how a Dutch company is eliminating 90% of all plastic in the ocean.
Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at [email protected]