For the kids

I have two children, Maggie and Jake. If there’s one thing I’m concerned about, it’s surfing the web. Now, Jake is just 2 at this point, so his main purpose when it comes to the computer is to see how quickly he can rip the keys off of the laptop. Maggie, on the other hand, has really impressed me at how quickly she’s learning the ins and outs of browsing the web. Of course, the only place she wants to visit is the subject of this post – NickJr.com.

I discovered www.nickjr.com about a year or so ago. If you have a 3 to maybe 6 year old, this site is great for games. I don’t have to worry about what she’ll click through to because the kid section loads in a different window that I can maximize.

Give it a look. The games are great and most are learning games. Maggie is spelling everything she sees. And, who knows, maybe this will take the place of a new Nintendo for a while . . . naaaah, I’ll have more to say about that in a bit!

Other website for girls: www.barbie.com – not so much education, but fun nonetheless.

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To DRM or Not to DRM

My reason for this rant is to expose you to some sites out there that offer unrestricted MP3 music. The prices are the same (or cheaper) than services like iTunes and once you download the song, you can use it however you want.

OK, so by now you know I like the iPod, I like iTunes. What I do not like, however, is DRM. What is DRM, you ask? It stands for digital rights management and it’s the reason, for example, you can’t play purchased songs from your iTunes through anything but iTunes or your iPod. They use a proprietary audio format different from MP3. And, yes, I know you could rip a CD, then re-rip to MP3, but that loses quality and is a hassle.

I see why companies “need” DRM. They don’t want folks swapping files over programs like Kazaa or Limewire and such. I don’t blame them. But, I have other devices I’d like to use (like cell phones, TiVo, other MP3 players) that I can’t use with copy protected music. This is why I’ve only bought one album through iTunes (Don Williams hits . . . awesome, by the way).

The first site I’ve seen with unrestricted music is Audio Lunchbox (www.audiolunchbox.com). The selection isn’t too mainstream (you can find older artists), but you just might find some stuff you like. The other site is Emusic (www.emusic.com). They have a higher amount of popular music (still adding more and more every day). Emusic also has a promotion for 25 free songs for trying them out. They are based on the subscription model – you pay $10 per month for a certain amount of downloads. And, like Lunchbox, you keep what you download to play wherever you want.

I don’t know how DRM is going to pan out. I know that I’ll gladly pay for something if I can use it how I want (which is why I mostly by CDs still and rip to my iPod). And that’s the thing, if you’re the kind of person that will pay 99 cents and get a song, it’s likely you aren’t going to give it away and/or share it with others illegally. That’s my opinion anyway . . .

Hope you enjoyed this post. CDs will only be here so much longer . . . let’s hope they figure out an acceptable solution for a replacement.

Got Tivo?

Google + Youtube = 1.65 Billion Dollars

When I told Alison that Google bought YouTube for 1.65 Billion, she had to do a double take. Yup, that’s billion with a B. To me, it’s a bit unbelievable, but word is, Google has over 10 billion in the bank to fool around with, so more power to them! I thought this was a topic worth mentioning.

Why the purchase? From what I hear, Youtube has at least 50% of the internet’s online video traffic. That’s a pretty good place for Google to place text advertisements and otherwise . . . and Google knows a little bit about text ads. Let’s face it, video online can only get more popular as more and more get broadband.

The Brilliance of Pandora

Have you heard of Pandora.com? OK, this is one of those things where you just have to tell someone to try it knowing that they’re going to love it. Trust me on this . . .

I have compiled all of my music into iTunes by now. I enjoy listening to all my music on random just so I can change things up. However, now that I’ve listened over, and over, and OVER again, I’m getting somewhat bored. I like the idea of Napster’s new subscription service, but don’t want to fork over money for music I can’t own. I also tried emusic.com (great service), but found that the music I wanted just wasn’t there.

So, I heard about Pandora (www.pandora.com). What they’ve done is brilliant. They compiled a database of music, but didn’t stop there. They review music and assign each artist to a predefined style. So, if I type in James Taylor as my radio playlist, I get a decent quality music stream of not just JT, but other artists that share the same style. AND, they play with no commercial interruption (for now anyway).

If you want to purchase a song, you just click the album and iTunes, Amazon, and other purchase links appear. It’s really a great way to discover new music. Give it a try even if it’s just to listen to great new music while working. Send me some comments – I know you’ll like it!

Welcome!

Well, it took Bradley to push me over the edge with this idea. He said, “Hey, I’m always coming to you with questions (and lots of other people too). Why don’t you create a blog of all the ‘junk’ you know so folks can read about it”.  So, I guess that’s what I’m doing. I’m not sure how it’ll pan out or even if it’ll keep going, but I’ll give it a shot.

What this site is about | If you know me, you know that I am sort of a “tech junkie”. I don’t always have the most recent new gadgets and such (actually, I rarely do), but I really like to keep up with what’s out there. I realize this is just my opinion, but, hey, that’s what blogs are for, right?

So, dig around and come back any time to see what’s new (can get here from www.mooresites.com too). I welcome your comments as well!