A brief look at new and noteworthy experiences among DVDs, video games, gadgets and the Web.
In the 16 months since "Wii Fit" was released, Nintendo's unexpectedly huge hit has rarely been out of the top 10 sellers. We're talking an estimated 22 million copies sold worldwide since May 2008. Now, that's a workout. Now joining the Wii exercise routine is "Wii Fit Plus." The update is merely variations on a theme, with three new strength-training exercises and yoga activities, and 15 balance games. Oh, yeah -- you can also track your dog's or cat's weight and create an avatar for your pet. But "Wii Fit Plus" has a huge advantage over its popular predecessor: It's available in a disc-only version, for $20, in addition to coming in a bundle with the Balance Board ($90). "Wii Fit" came only in the expensive bundle form. And that's why "Wii Fit Plus" is already a bestseller.
RANDY A. SALAS
The House of Mouse has just launched Disney Digital Books (disneydigitalbooks.go.com), a website that puts more than 500 picture and storybooks from the Disney catalog just a few clicks away for young readers. The service is entirely browser-based, no download required. All of the classics are there -- "Winnie the Pooh," "Mickey Mouse," "The Little Mermaid." I tried out "Toy Story." The experience mimics the read-aloud books that parents and kids have known for decades, whether on record, tape or whatever -- complete with the sound effect that signals it's time to turn the page. Readers can pause the story and select a word to get a definition. For example, highlight "Woody" in the "Toy Story," uh, story, and a window pops up showing that the definition is "the hard material forming the trunk and branches of a tree." Wait -- what? Anyway, the service costs $8.95 a month, $1 less than the price of the actual "Toy Story" read-aloud book released recently in stores.
RANDY A. SALAS
In fashioning a comeback for Nia Vardalos with "My Life in Ruins" (Fox, $30-$40), writer Mike Reiss has cribbed much from her "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" playbook. A classical history professor left high and dry by Athens University cutbacks, Vardalos' Georgia finds herself scraping together a living in Greece as a guide for a tour operation. In an effort to get Georgia to quit, her boss saddles her with an unventilated bus and a global army of tourists. Georgia has two white knights lurking in plain sight: her sullen bus driver, Poupi (Alexis Georgoulis), and Irv (Richard Dreyfuss), a garrulous American tourist with a big heart.
Also out today: "Ally McBeal" (Season 1 and full series), "Anvil: The Story of Anvil," "Blood Ties" (Season 2), "Bones" (Season 4), "Contact" (Blu-ray), "Esther Williams, Vol. 2," "The Gate," "The Hills" (Season 5, Part 1), "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (Season 5), "Medium" (Season 5), "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," "Nip/Tuck" (Season 5, Part 2), "Red Dwarf: Back to Earth," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (Blu-ray) "Trick 'r Treat," "Year One."
Get daily technology news and musings from Randy Salas at startribune.com/technobabble.