Fitness Boxing 2 for Nintendo Switch

Need to get out a little frustration, but still like to move to the beat? Then you might like Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm and Exercise, a game for Nintendo Switch. I came to the game hopeful, because I’ve liked the boxing and kickboxing I’ve tried in the past, but skeptical that it would measure up to the other, very robust, fitness games I’ve already discovered on Nintendo Switch.

Fitness Boxing starts with a comprehensive tutorial walking you through the moves and the basic game interface and how to set your goals and customizations, and only after you’ve completed the tutorials can you unlock other portions of the game. I liked that this was a cumulative and careful learning process, but sometimes I like to drop in and figure things out as I go, so I thought it was a pity you couldn’t skip some of the early steps to just start experimenting. The more I played, however, the slow and steady unlocking of more features made the game addictive and rewarding. Not to mention the fact that jumping into new moves and routines without knowing what I was doing led to some serious sore muscles.

The game integrates the instrumentals of some well-known pop songs (Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, and Marshmello, among others) into its workouts, which I found really helpful when trying to stay on the beat (apparently boxing is all about rhythm?) though I did get distracted trying to sing along. And distraction is BAD in this game, because timing is everything. If you don’t move at just the right time you’ll miss your punch and lower your score, and along with it your “estimated fitness age” that’s calculated at the end of the workout. Me personally, I didn’t really appreciate some trainers’ vaguely judgmental commentary on your performance and estimated age, but maybe that’s just me. Either way it wound up working a number of muscles I forgot I had, and even virtual jabs and uppercuts are strangely cathartic. The specific punches are surprisingly technical and hard to get right, and the instructors (of which there are a pretty good variety to choose from and personalize) are animated in a vaguely unsatisfying style that doesn’t move totally naturally with the actual movements you’re doing – this is mostly concerning in the stretching portion, where doing it incorrectly has real consequences.

All around, it wasn’t the best Nintendo Switch fitness game I’ve tried (Zumba Burn It Up still holds that spot), not least because it’s oddly challenging in unexpected ways, but it’s a solid contender to have in your rotation of virtual workouts. If you like fitness video games, learning in cumulative chunks, boxing, and lively animation, you might enjoy Fitness Boxing 2.

Hidden Database Gems: MasterFILE Premier

Our available library databases have recently changed! Unfortunately, this means we no longer have Credo Reference, Chilton’s, or some Gale databases. However, we have gained a great new resource! With your library card, you now have access to MasterFILE Premier, a database of full-text articles, primary source documents, and more! Including publications like Consumer Reports, Kiplinger’s, and Newsweek, it’s perfect for research, and the interface will be familiar to anyone who’s used an EBSCOhost database before. If you haven’t, here’s how it works:

If you click on MasterFILE Premier on our list of Online Resources, you may be asked to sign in with your library card number, and then you’ll be taken to the basic search page.

To get the most and broadest results, put a general search term in here and hit search.

If the results aren’t what you’re looking for, try a similar search term or related words in the search box on the top of the results page.

If you’re looking to narrow your results down to what’s most relevant, you’ll want to click on Advanced Search underneath the search box. Here, you can search only in one particular publication, you can choose what kind of resources you want to find, you can limit to full-text results, you can specify a range of publication dates, and more! This is also where you can use Boolean searching, where you search multiple terms at once connected by words like AND, OR, and NOT – these limit, broaden, or define your search, respectively. The strategies and tools on this page will give you the most relevant items and cut down on the time you’ll spend sifting through the results.

When you have a list of results, you can narrow down your results list using filters along the left side of the page. Here, you can pick what kinds of publications to draw from, pick specific publications, narrow it down by language, publication date, category, and more.

Once you find something interesting, you have a few options: You can click on the title or on the Full Text version from the result list, as shown.

Clicking on the title will give you a detailed record of what the resource is, as well as some tools to save or access it AND the option to find similar results.

Choosing the full-text version, meanwhile, lets you read the resource directly, access more from the publication, and access the same tools to save or share it.

And as always, if you need any help using this or our other resources, don’t hesitate to contact us for some assistance! Our Book-A-Librarian service is available again, allowing you to reserve a dedicated session for help with any number of topics, including databases and digital resources.

RingFit Adventure for Nintendo Switch

When I bought myself a copy of Nintendo’s hot new game Ring Fit Adventure, I had no idea what a smart investment it would be. Since my purchase in January 2019, the promise of dynamic in-home exercise has become understandably appealing, and copies of the game available for purchase are nearly impossible to find. I’m proud to announce that I officially finished the game’s “adventure” portion this fall, and so I can now officially recommend the game – which I do, whole-heartedly.

The game’s main portion is structured like a pretty typical action-adventure RPG – your customized character finds themself in a strange world of villagers, animals and monsters, which is threatened by a power-mad bodybuilding dragon addicted to the dark side of exercising. It’s up to you and your trusty sidekick Ring to chase down the dragon and defeat him and his minions with the power of healthy, balanced exercise. The game is driven by your actions in the real world: a leg strap and ring accessory record your jogging, squatting, pushing and pulling and use them to move through environments and fight monsters. The more you play, the higher levels you achieve, which unlock new skills, clothing, abilities, and boosters that help you in battle. Everything is on the fitness theme – your boosters are smoothies with real-world ingredients, the skills are various fitness moves, and all the monsters have punny fitness names (yoga mat monsters are Matta Rays, kettlebells are Belldogs, water bottles are Protein Shakers, etc.)

I’ve had a great experience playing this game. The adventure portion of the game makes exercising fun, and it also has other modes that let me fit exercising into my schedule on my own terms. It has a “custom” mode where you can make your own list of your favorite exercises or jogging routes, it has mini-games that you can play outside the adventure for quick workouts, it has a rhythm game that lets you focus on moving to the music, and it even has a “multitask” mode so you can push or pull on the ring accessory while the system’s turned off, and earn points for the game.

Even better, the game makes a real effort to portray healthy, balanced exercise that is personalized to the individual user. Its included warmup and cooldown routines include easy stretches and lots of tips on living a healthier life, and it has an alarm function to help you stay accountable for playing regularly. It even includes lots of accessibility options, including a “silent mode” for simulating jogging (which is excellent if you share walls or floors with neighbors), various settings to adjust, and calibrating the accessories to your own body and strength.

If you’re looking to stay active during cold, quarantined winter months, AND you’d like to try before you buy, I recommend checking out Ring Fit for a family-friendly exercise option.

What Should I Read Next? BONUS: Library LibGuides

To conclude our series of posts highlighting different resources the library offers to help you discover your next read, I’d like to tell you about what we call our LibGuides. These are detailed resource lists created by our librarians. To view them, go to our website and click on LibGuides under the Research Tools tab (Fig. 1). This will take you to a full list of all the guides our librarians have created (Fig. 2). Clicking on a guide shows you a robust and annotated list of resources, often in different formats including books, webpages, and archival materials.

The benefits of LibGuides are that you know these titles have been selected by a librarian, they’re meticulously organized into categories like format and age groups, and the guide’s homepage (Fig. 3) gives you background on the topic or person it focuses on. Some will even provide links to the catalog so you can place items on hold directly — but not all guides do this.

Our more than 30 LibGuides include guides to writers’ resources, soft skills, comics for all ages, ebooks, genealogy resources, historical figures like Annie Wittenmyer, Fifty Shades of Grey readalikes, and much more! Don’t miss out on such a treasure trove of resources.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2


Fig. 3

What Should I Read Next? Resources From Your Library (Part 2)

Continuing the theme of ways you can discover your next read, today I’m highlighting two databases the library offers — free to use with your library card.

NOVELIST

NoveList is a popular book discovery platform used by many libraries. To access it, go to our website, then under Research Tools, click on Online Resources (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1

This will bring you to an alphabetized list of all our library databases. Scroll down to the “N”s, and you’ll find NoveList (Fig. 2). It may ask you to sign in with your library card.

Fig. 2

This tool is powerful because it not only lets you search titles, authors, and genres, but it also provides lists of recommended titles and an “appeal mixer” search tool that lets you look for books based on attributes like writing style, pace, storyline, characters, and more (Fig. 3). The downside of NoveList is that its lists of books aren’t always comprehensive and the appeal mixer doesn’t work with all combinations. Also, you will have to take any book title you get from NoveList and put it into the catalog to find it or put it on hold. I recommend trying NoveList as a way to discover books you might like and explore what makes books appealing.

Fig. 3

 

GALE BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Gale Books and Authors is another database you have access to with your library card, and it’s listed in the same place as NoveList  (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1

In my opinion, this is a slightly more powerful and useful tool for searching for books. It provides an advanced search function, the ability to browse by genres, authors, or by book lists (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2

It includes both fiction and nonfiction in several genres, and provides for a very useful set of subgenres as well. The only problem I had with the genre browsing was that it didn’t seem to provide for literary or general fiction, sticking very strongly to genres. You can’t search by subgenres either, until you’ve picked a genre from their limited list (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

In this way the advanced search function can be a useful workaround, because it lets you search for books featuring certain subjects or certain types of characters – under which is a very impressive list of many ages, occupations, and relationships (Fig. 4). However, you still can’t put items on hold directly, and the lists of books aren’t necessarily comprehensive either. I recommend this resource for a more detailed search for authors or titles you may be interested in.


Fig. 4

Hidden Database Gems: Chilton Auto Repair

Once upon a time, there were big fat books in the library with CHILTON written on the side. You could come into the library and use these books to find any information you might need about repairing or maintaining your vehicle. Sadly, due to changes in publishing and library budgets, not many of these books are still on library shelves. But never fear, that information is not gone, it’s just moved online!

Your library card gets you free access to the Chilton Auto Repair database where all that repair and maintenance information is recorded and easily accessible. Here’s how it works: first, from our website, look under Research Tools and click on Online Resources.

Scroll down this list to the “C”s, and click on Chilton Auto Repair. You may be asked to enter your library card number. Once you’ve logged in, the homepage will look like this:

Select your vehicle by year, make, and model and click Select. Then choose what category of information you’re looking for: Repair, Maintenance, Labor Estimating, or Bulletins/Recalls. From here, you can continue to narrow down the categories until you find the information you’re looking for.

This database is very useful because it includes not only downloadable and printable diagrams but also step-by-step repair procedures, a labor estimating tool, and ASE test prep quizzes for popular certification exams. If you’re looking for robust vehicle repair and maintenance information, I definitely recommend you check out this database!

What Should I Read Next? Resources From Your Library (Part 1)

Chances are, at one point or another you’ve found yourself at a loss for what to read next. With browsing time still limited at our branches, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you of the various ways the library provides for you to explore what your next read should be. I’ve tested all of them and want to share with you the features and effectiveness of each of them.  First up, I’m going to go over the benefits and hidden magics of the catalog. You may not know some of the very powerful ways to narrow down your search on this page, or to find similar things. If you’re interested in a detailed description, see below.

The benefits of the catalog search is that it lets you easily find titles similar to ones you already like, as well as what’s new, and it lets you narrow your search based on many different filters and criteria, including whether we own it at our Davenport Library locations. And, of course, you can put items on hold directly from the catalog interface, which saves you a step as you’ll see in future posts about other resources. I recommend the catalog for semi-directed browsing or for looking for very specific materials..

To get to our catalog: go to our website and type a search term in the box on the top right-hand side of the page (Fig. 1). You can enter any search term you like and you’ll be redirected to our catalog website (Fig. 2) to narrow it down and browse your results.

Fig. 1

First,  check out the filters in the left-hand column. Here, you can narrow your search by subject, author, format, the target audience, which libraries own it, and more. If you search a general term (“romance”, “murder”) these filters can help you create a narrow list of possible titles you’d be interested in.

Fig. 2

Another way you can find books you’d like is to search a book you know you like, and when it comes up in the catalog, click “details” on the right-hand side. From this page (Fig. 3), you should see a list of blue subject headings. If you click on one of these you can see other titles that are labeled with the same subject.

Fig. 3

You can also scroll down the “details” page of a book you like to a section that says “Suggestions and More” (Fig. 4). This links to the website Goodreads and will show you similar books you might like.

Fig. 4

If you’d just like to see what’s new, click on the library logo (top of the page) at any time to be taken to our catalog’s main webpage. Here, our on-order and new materials are highlighted for you to browse.

Hidden Database Gems: Reference Solutions

If you don’t spend much time scrolling through the research tools on our library website, you might not know about all the amazing online databases you have access to with your library card. The list includes encyclopedias, newspaper archives, genealogy resources, children’s encyclopedias, and much more! One specific hidden gem you might not know about is Data Axle Reference Solutions (previously known as ReferenceUSA).

Reference Solutions acts primarily as a business database, allowing you to look up established and new businesses by name, executives, location, or phone number. However, it also includes searches for individuals, health care providers, and job postings. It’s a very useful database for finding contact info or addresses, especially for people or businesses.

To try out Reference Solutions, go to our website, then under Research Tools, click on Online Resources. Scroll to the “D”s and you’ll find Data Axle: Reference Solutions.

You’ll probably be asked to log in with your library card. The front page when you log in looks like this:

Here you can choose to search for an individual, a business, a job, or a health care provider. When you hover over a category, words appear underneath saying “Search” or “More Information”. If you click on “Search”, it takes you to the default search page, which includes an Advanced Search on a second tab (circled).

You can put in as much information as you want, narrowing down by location and a name, and then click Search.  The search results will look like this:

For such a useful database, it’s pretty easy to use and gets you some fast information. One caveat: not every person or business is recorded in this database, so results aren’t guaranteed. Also, in the case of corporations, you may get several phone numbers or separate entries for regional offices. You can see where a business falls in the corporation by clicking on “Corp Tree” in the far right column.

PlantFinder

I want to tell you about an app that could be useful to you as you spend more time outdoors. This free app is called PlantFinder and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. I have it downloaded on my Android phone from the Google Play store but according to a search I did today on the Apple app store, it is also available for Apple products. Since it is free it does have ads, but you can pay a small subscription fee to avoid the ads if you prefer. The ads pop up after you take a photo of a plant and before it loads the results that display the plant’s name and identifying information. I try to remember to turn my phone’s volume down, otherwise it can be quite intrusive during a quiet nature walk.

I have used PlantFinder to successfully identify plants I see while walking trails. Sadly, many of them were invasive species. Examples from a recent outing include honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum), wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata), and creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea). The results aren’t always as specific as I would like. For instance, I was hoping to refresh my memory on what variety of apple tree is growing in my back yard, but PlantFinder could only tell me that it is an “Apple tree,” rather than confirm if it was Honeycrisp or Zestar. I suppose that is only fair, as the fruit hasn’t even appeared yet. I have a Japanese dappled willow (Salix integra) in my front yard and when I snapped a photo of it to test it out on the app, it came back with the result, “Grey willow,” (Salix atrocinerea). Those are not exactly the same things, but it at least got the genus right. Sometimes, though rarely, PlantFinder can get it wrong. For instance, it thought my rose bush was a buckthorn. Perhaps when it blooms I’ll take another photo and get better results. Overall, however, I have been very pleased. It keeps a record of the photos, dates, plant names and details of what you have previously looked up. Access it by tapping “My Plants.” It also offers a “Plant Care” section that will help you keep track of watering & fertilizing frequency for the plants you cultivate at home.

In my opinion, the real test of usefulness is if it it can successfully identify poison ivy, which it did when I sought out and (fortunately? unfortunately?) found a rarer variety called Western Poison Ivy. I wondered if it would show a bright word of caution on the results page for plants like poison ivy that can cause rashes or allergic reactions, but it did not. So although it can successfully identify poison ivy, you still have to be reasonably savvy when you’re out there and take care not to touch any of the wild plants as you are taking photographs.

I would love to hear your comments if you decide to try this app after reading this, or if you are already familiar with it share your experiences. Have fun out there and stay safe!

The Wild Robot

An uncharacteristic thing has happened to this librarian lately: I haven’t felt much like reading. Of all the strange happenings in our world right now during this COVID-19 pandemic, this was yet another unexpected experience. I have no shortage of reading material. I have a reliable device I can use to download a variety of digital books. This seems like the perfect time to work my way through that looming stack of print books on my table waiting to be read.

And yet, my heart is just not in it. I sit down for about five minutes and then I am distracted and put it down and go do something else.

There has been one exception, however. I happened to be in the middle of reading The Wild Robot by Peter Brown with one of my children before bedtime each night before all this began. The chapters are short, and at one chapter a night, it was taking us a while to work our way through this 279-page book about a robot stranded on an island. But each night I read it aloud, the Wild Robot and its island populated by many animals and no humans endeared itself to me more and more.

You might think that reading a book with no humans in it during a pandemic is a lonely choice in an already lonely situation. Or perhaps on the contrary, you think it is a logical and fitting choice to read about being stranded on an island when it often feels exactly like that as we are isolated in our homes. I think there was something reflective about this mechanical protagonist who gradually (though paradoxically) becomes more humane through time and experience that captured my interest and my heart. Human interaction right now -when it does happen- is less warm and personal, more technological. Somehow the mirror image of a technological being becoming more warm and personal through challenging life experiences was a sort of balm to my woes.

Brown’s writing made reading effortless for me once again. His animal characters have unique personalities. The events that happen on his remote island, both tragic and joyful, are magically relatable. I have always been a fan of anthropomorphism. I am even more so now.

I wish I could point you to a digital version of this title that you can download immediately for free through the library, but our library currently only owns this in print. If you would like to request it for purchase in digital format, you can log into your library account using either the Libby or Overdrive apps and request this title. Be aware that it ends on a cliffhanger and you will probably want to read its sequel, The Wild Robot Escapes.

In the meantime, here are some similar books with anthropomorphic characters available digitally when you log into Overdrive with your Davenport Public Library account that you may enjoy: