Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Xbox Live: Predator Game Space

Do you know what your children are doing online?

With the internet, many parents have become more careful in the time they allow their children to spend online. Parents monitor the sites kids are visiting and have restrictions set on their computers. In some cases the kids get past those restrictions and meet adults online. While this happens, many parents are trying harder to combat this issue.

Cue Xbox Live.

A few days ago we subscribed to Xbox Live. My husband and brother in law wanted to play Halo 3 online and see what else they could find to distract them from their manly stresses. (insert a chuckle here, I know what they do all day) I didn’t mind, thought it would be fun.

Imagine our horror when we heard some sad sack hitting on a 13 year old girl! The horror wasn’t really from the man hitting on her, it stemmed mainly from the fact that she gave him information on where she lived. State, home town, and the name of the apartment building. Anyone plugged in to that particular scenerio could hear her.

Scary stuff. Parents should think twice before buying a younger teen a subscription to Xbox Live or at least monitor the child’s gaming activities. Children must be responsible enough to not relate their personal information to anyone who asks.

Predators will use any outlet to reach their target. When you use Xbox Live, remember that it is the same as the internet where any number of people came meet and chat together. Some of the people do not have the best of intentions. I cannot stress this enough: Teach your children to never, ever give out their home address, school location, or real name to people met online or via Xbox Live. (or any other platform with interweb capabilities)

Posted in Uncategorized, Parenting, Personal Safety, Technology | 3 Comments »

Here We Go Again…

So, those of you on the edge of your seat wondering when and if we are going to finally get a TV - your time has come!  But we are entirely hiding it from the kids.  Does this make me a bad person?  Really, it is all Lost’s fault.  I’m grotesquely obssessed unlike any other series since The Monkees.  It’s no joke.

This weeked I will venture out to Circuit City and other places of fine technological gadgetry and purchase a TV.  Then I will venture out to various furniture shops and antique shops to purchase a peice of furniture that will cleverly disguise my initial purchase from earlier that day.  The cable man should be here sometime around noonish on Tuesday so that I can be set to go Wednesday night, 8pm.  I don’t know that I have looked forward to anything so much in quite sometime. 

Thus ends the life long debate - To TV or not to TV.  I guess I’m a sellout but, it’s for a good cause - which would be my sanity.  Having that one night a week where I allow myself to get sucked into another world might just be the tonic I need to let go of some stress, lighten up and remember how to chill out. 

Posted in TV and Pop Culture, Daily Living, Mental Environment, Technology | 1 Comment »

It’s Like Dominos

Something happens with comfort and luxury.  You start becoming self involved and isolated in your experiences as a human being.  Hold on a sec while I explain.

So, I have this new car.  A car that, size wise, makes sense for my family but is counter to my beliefs as a primarily anti-resource exhausting person.  We can fit our kids and our dog in it and travel safely from here to anywhere in the country.  I made an addendum to my ideals just by buying the car and, now, when I hear about the oil crises, global warming and the war I get mad at myself - but not enough to give up my new creature comfort. 

In this car that I drive - despite my stronger, more intelligent inclinations to not drive it - I have XM radio.  XM radio further catapults me into a state of seperation from my normal informed decision making self.  Granted, you can listen to news stations on XM radio, but I have opted for the more entertaining channels that both me and the kids love.  We are entertained but altogether too distracted for my own liking.  My husband made the comment this morning that we should get rid of XM radio because I no longer listen to NPR, which was, prior to XM radio, my staple for news and information and, yes, even entertainment.  Yeah yeah, sure, it’s easy to say that it is not the actual XM radio but my decision to not listen to the news stations or NPR - you’d be right, I guess.  All in all, though, I feel like it is a distraction that I fell for.  My husband made another comment, shortly after the request to pull my mind-numbing-listen-to-old-80’s-songs-all-day-xm-radio, that we have nothing to talk about because of the fact that I am now absorbed in nothing but old pop songs that really weren’t good twenty years ago but that I am, now, completely absorbed with for pure nostalia anyway… Gaw!  How rude.  But, after I got over being completely offended that my husband implied that I have, ideally and intellectually, become a wet noodle - I had to agree. I spend my day driving around in a very comfortable car thinking about nothing more than why Tiffany started to suck in 1986 when she started out so strong only a year earlier.  And, how the Cars could’ve been a great band but in the eighties they really started to sell out and make music for Mtv rather for the greater good of music itself.. I do move on to more intriguing topics like how Micheal Jackson used to be great and how it is so apparent on any of the songs from Thriller - and I wonder, a lot, what went wrong. 

But, I missed Hugo Chavez calling our president the devil.  What else am I missing?????????

Posted in Daily Living, Technology, Mental Health | No Comments »

Search and Win with MSN Search

I’m not the greatest fan of Microsoft. In fact, I switched to Apple several years ago. However, I can’t deny the fact that MSN Search sends the most traffic to FamilyResource.com than any other search engine. For that reason, and because MSN Search is actually a pretty good search engine, I’m spreading the word about their Search & Win campaign.

To play, MSN suggests that you search using potential winning keywords. They give Xbox 360 as an example, but after I did a search on it, I didn’t get any results. So I imagine that potential keywords could be just about anything.

Anyway, give it try. Maybe you’ll win something, and maybe you’ll enjoy using their search engine. It may be a refreshing change from Google or Yahoo!.

http://www.msnsearchandwin.com/

Posted in Technology | No Comments »

Grocery List Generator for Firefox

If you’re an avid user of the popular open source web browser Firefox, then you’re well aware of its ability to use extensions that add enhancements to the browser. One of the coolest and most practical extensions is the Grocery List Generator.

The GLG (Grocery List Generator) is a helpful little tool to store your recipe-ingredients and other groceries you need regularly. It creates a well-organized grocery list to help make your grocery shopping as easy as possible.

Features include:

Posted in Lifestyles, Cooking, Technology | No Comments »

Will The Flock Browser Revolutionize Online Communication?

I got my hands on a new Mozilla-based browser called Flock tonight. The Flock browser aims to convert the traditional web browser into a communication and community tool. Adding special functionality to browsers is not new. For example, Firefox uses Extensions to expand functionality, and Opera has an integrated email client. What’s different about Flock is its approach. Instead of adding extensions or clients that enhance only the user’s Internet experience, they’ve built in features that enhance the experience of all Internet users.

Flock Address Bar

Flock seamlessly keeps track of your favorite websites, and then shares them with the world (currently via del.icio.us). The social impact of this is that content and popularity is decided democratically, instead of through advertisers, and those who control media outlets. The idea would be that a user could not only contribute to del.icio.us, but also browse and view websites based on certain tags (keywords) and popularity.

The Flock browser also has a built in blog editor that connects to the most popular blogging tools, like Blogger. Although the tool isn’t as seamlessly integrated with the browser as I would like, it has an intuitive and simple interface that makes it easy to post messages to blogs.

It would appear that the Flock team’s goal is to revolutionize how users interact with the web via the browser. Instead of making the browser a one-way interaction with other websites, they allow the user to contribute to the online community using built-in, easy to use tools. If the Flock team can continue to seamlessly integrate more communication tools into their browser, like VOIP, then Flock may become the de facto application used to communicate, share, and contribute on the Internet.

Posted in Lifestyles, Technology | No Comments »

Find The Cheapest Gas With Widgets

Finding the cheapest gas prices usually involves driving around, and looking for the best deal. This of course counteracts itself, because you’re wasting gas while looking all over town for the best deal.

Now there’s an easy way to check gas prices in your area without ever getting into your car. All you need is Dashboard (available with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger) or Konfabulator (available for Mac and Windows), and a gas widget.

[Thanks to R804.com]

Posted in Technology | No Comments »

Inventor Of Web: Unforeseen Uses Of Web Will Come From Creative Children

CNN: What will surprise us about the future evolution of the Internet?

BERNERS-LEE: The creativity of our children. In many ways, people growing up with the Web and now the Semantic Web take the power at their fingertips for granted. The people who designed the tools that make the Net run had their own ideas for the future. I look forward to seeing what the next generation does with these tools that we could not have foreseen…

Full Interview

Posted in Technology | No Comments »

Help Keep Wikimedia Alive

Wikimedia, the organization behind Wikipedia.org and Wikibooks, which I wrote an article on recently, need public support to keep going.

Did you know that Wikipedia.org alone gets 800 million hits a day? I sure didn’t, but it makes sense. Wikimedia believes that knowledge is power, and that it should be free. That’s exactly what services like Wikipedia.org do. In fact, whenever I want to look something up, or need to know what an obscure acronym means, the first place I go is Wikipedia.org.

If you find Wikimedia’s services helpful in your daily life, and you believe in making knowledge freely accessible to everyone, then please consider donating some money to keep their projects going strong.

Make a donation

Posted in Technology, Websites | No Comments »

What Is RSS (Really Simple Syndication)?

I felt inspired to do a post on RSS feeds, because FamilyResource.com uses extensive use of RSS feeds, but a new survey on RSS claims that the majority of the public has no clue what RSS feeds are. This post is my attempt to explain RSS feeds in plain English.

There are millions of websites on the Internet. As you surf the Internet, you will occasionally come across a website that has interesting content. How do you remember that website? How do you know when there are new articles on that website? Many people will bookmark the website, but bookmarks quickly become huge and unwieldy, and before you know it, you ignore your bookmark list altogether. Bookmarks also can’t tell you if there’s new content available, and if there is, what the new content is.

The idea behind RSS is to give the ability for any user on the Internet to easily subscribe to content, on any website (that’s supports RSS), and to be updated when new content is available. There are a couple ways to subscribe to and use RSS feeds.

First, you can use an RSS reader. An RSS reader is either an application or website that allows you to add RSS feeds. You add a RSS feed by copying the RSS feed link (similar to a regular web address for a bookmark), and then adding it to your reader. Once the RSS reader has the feed, it will automatically, and systematically check for updates. When you open your RSS reader application, or view your web-based RSS reader, you will be presented with all of the new content for the websites you’re subscribed to.

A second way to use RSS feeds is to use a browser that support RSS feeds as bookmarks. For example, Firefox and Safari web browsers support the ability to add RSS feeds as bookmarks. The only difference is that the browser will look for new content on your RSS feeds, and display a number next to the RSS feed bookmark (the number designates that there’s new content). This isn’t an ideal way to use RSS feeds, but some people prefer the simplicity of this feature.

The easiest way to subscribe to feeds is through a web-based RSS reader. There are several to choose from, and most of them are free. Below is a list of the most popular web-based RSS readers:

Web-based RSS readers keep you inside your web browser, so you don’t have to worry about switching between different applications. Another advantage to using web-based RSS readers is that many sites, like FamilyResource.com, will have easy link-buttons that will automatically take you to your web-based RSS reader, and subscribe to the RSS feed for you. I take full advantage of this feature, and have put these link-buttons on almost every page of FamilyResource.com to make it easier for users to subscribe to our RSS feeds.

Once you start using RSS feeds on a regular basis, you’ll start to wonder how you ever got along without them. They do exactly what the name says — really simple syndication. I check my RSS reader (Bloglines) throughout the day, and am able to sanely keep up with the websites and content that I’m most interested in.

Check out Wikipedia for more information on RSS

Posted in Technology, Websites | No Comments »

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