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Where Kids Fly Safe Online?

I simply couldn’t find time to blog this week, on my personal site. Busy week at the office, with the Consumer Electronics Show—and I didn’t even attend! I feel for my boss, who traveled to Las Vegas and soon goes onto San Francisco for Macworld.

My first catchup post is followup to my two posts, “What Kids Reveal Online” and “Minimizing Kids’ Online Risks“. Jan. 16, 2006, Business Week has a story about new online social network, Yfly.com, which opens on February 1. Apparently, Jessica Simpson’s soon-to-be ex-spouse Nick Lachey is behind the venture, which seeks to provide teens a safe place to socialize online. 

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There’s Still Time

Tomorrow work resumes for lots of folks, following the great Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa holiday. I blew off a bunch of vacation days during the holiday so that I wouldn’t lose them. Turns out, I needed the time off, and more. No doubt, other folks could say the same.

It’s 2006, but I’m living in the past. My calendar says December 2005 because I have yet to find a replacement. New calendars will be gone soon, now typically discounted to 50 percent. For years, I bought the Hansen Planetarium “Wonders of the Universe” calendar, but it stopped publication couple years back. Before the Web really took off, I subscribed by U.S. mail to the planetarium’s “Sky Watch” newsletter. I have yet to find a good replacement for “Wonders of the Universe.” Someone gave me the 2005 calendar that’s still on my wall, of Canadian provinces, in English and French. 

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Minimizing Kids' Online Risks

As the parent of an 11 year-old that is active online, I’m concerned about the risks she might encounter there. I also realize that my daughter is fairly insulated from many dangers, because of simple rules she willingly agrees to follow. Risks remain, as they would anywhere, walking along Capitol Hill at night, driving fast on the highway, or climbing a ladder to change a light bulb. Living is about taking risks. But taking unnecessary online risks, particularly when there are predators online hunting teenagers, is another matter. Adult content websites such as hdpornvideo are widely available and accessible all over the internet, but should only be viewed by those of us that are fully mature enough to understand what they represent.

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Whew, a Breather

I am on vacation this week—well, mostly—and have used some of the time to play with a few my tech toys. It’s a relief to actually enjoy some of the technology available to me. The tech toying means more time with the Canon EOS 20D and real chance to tinker with this blogsite. I also plan to overhaul the look of my blogsite, hopefully over the next month (fingers crossed).

Back in 1996, I bought some great Image Club clipart that I used for my first website. I still have the original floppy disks, but no floppy drive to use them, assuming the installer would even load under Windows XP (installer doesn’t work on Macs). I recall backing up the lot of images to CD ages ago. If so, extracted artwork available for the blogsite redesign (fingers crossed, again). 

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Matchmaking Marketing

I am fascinated by marketing and how it is filtered through culture. This morning, I clicked through to a news story from Express India, for which RSS feed I subscribe. A banner ad for Indian matrimonial site Shaadi.com piqued my interest, because of its emphasis on matchmaking. There are similar services in the U.S., but they—even match.com—focus on dating or personal ads.

Shaadi.com’s marketing pitch is about finding the right match, utilizing the company’s eMatchmaker technology. The service’s focus isn’t about dating, but I would be shocked if the technology turned out to be dramatically different from other “singles” services. 

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‘Pride and Prejudice’

Last Thursday night, my daughter did a sleepover, and I used the occasion to go out on a date. My wife and I watched “Pride and Prejudice” at the AFI theatre in Silver Spring, Md. Movies in this genre generally appeal to her. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, which I highly recommend.

But the plot moved too slowly for Anne, who found some of the dialogue to be too accented and archaic to follow. She is right on both counts, but, still, I really got into the movie. Strange, because I don’t much espouse to, uh, love stories. 

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Christmas Presents

Santa brought some good gifts this year, but some wallet busters, I might add. I’m not that happy with the presents given to my wife, who I think deserves much better than she got. Simple presents, but stuff she wanted, appeared under the Christmas tree. Goodies included a delightful iPod case, CD, and DVD.

For my daughter, my wife took care of the thoughtful presents, while I tackled the tough task of finding adorable and unexpected manga items. Through Google search, I found many of the gifts, some purchased on eBay and almost all paid for using PayPal, regardless of seller. 

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Another ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Okay, so a few days back, I grumbled about how all those repeated showings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” had kind of killed the movie’s appeal for me. Maybe I am extra sentimental this holiday, because the classic film is yanking on yea `ol heartstrings.

I got some sentimental boost from OldFunRadio.com, which has a radio theatre version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, with original cast (including Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed). [Editor: Original link is gone, use this one.] 

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Miracle on 34th Street

After reading Thomas Hawk’s account of his bad shopping experience at PriceRitePhoto and good experience with B&H Photo, I wanted to pipe an endorsement for the B&H folks.

My family visited long-time friends in Fredericksburg, Va., on Friday. My good friend told me that she had ordered a combo camera/camcorder for her husband for Christmas. She called B&H, which didn’t have the device in stock. After she expressed disappointment, the sales clerk suggested calling Adorma, where she eventually purchased the camera. In an experience straight out of “Miracle on 34th Street,” she praised B&H for recommending a competitor and pledged to shop there again. 

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The Christmas I Couldn’t Forget

When I was in fourth grade, my parents both had jobs—a novelty in Northern Maine during the late 1960s but start of a national trend.  Dad worked as a supervisor at the food processing plant and mom was night manager at a local hotel/motel. Financially, those were good years, when both my parents generated income. My mother would later lose her position, after the elegant facility burned down under mysterious circumstances. But that’s another story.

Christmas Eve, when my three younger sisters and I could open one present, I hardly could contain my want. Actually, I couldn’t contain it. My parents had gone out to food shop, preparation for feast as part of a spectacularly planned Christmas Day. They could afford to spend more on us that year than ever. Quite excited were they to give to their kids.