January 2007

Sun 28 Jan 2007

IMSafer

IMSafer

I was reading the BetaChurch blog a couple of days ago and came across this article about IMSafer, a new service which helps keep our children safe when they are using instant messaging applications in their computer.

The service will notify parents of IM conversations which our children are having with potentially dangerous people. Here is part of what IMSafer says about their solution:

IMSafer monitors the instant messenger conversations of your children to help you balance protecting your children and respecting their privacy. The IMSafer service will only notify you when your child is engaged in a potentially dangerous conversation on IM.

At IMSafer, we have worked with law enforcement officials to learn how potential predators initiate, develop and maintain inappropriate online relationships with children. We are always working to fine tune and update our analysis engine.

My 11-year-old-daughter doesn’t yet use an instant messaging app (we’re a bit behind the times, I know), but I know that she will want to soon. So seeing this service was timely for our family. We’ve signed up and I’ll be talking to our daughter about it and how it can help keep her safe in the online world.

Category: Parenting • (0) CommentsPermalink
Sun 14 Jan 2007

Disney Mix Sticks

Disney Mix Stick

A few weeks ago, my daughter came home with a Disney Mix Stick, a small MP3 player for tweens.

At first, I wanted to tell her that she should have asked me before she spent her Christmas money on an MP3 player (thinking she would have done better if she had saved enough money for an iPod shuffle or an iPod nano). But the more I’ve thought about it, I’m not quite as disdainful of the product as I was originally.

She paid about $50 for the Disney Mix Stick and another $18 dollars for a mix clip (a sort of music cartridge that fits in the Mix Stick). It plays either from a mix clip or you can download music in either WMA or MP3 format. Beyond the mix clip, it will hold up to 60 songs in WMA format or up to 30 songs in MP3 format in its 128MB onboard memory (expandable up to 1GB). The Mix Stick comes in a variety of models (although the specifications are the same for each - the different models simply represent different “skins” for the unit): Little Mermaid, Tink, High School Musical, Mickey, Princess, Cars, Jack Skellington, and Pirates. Each model comes with stereo earbuds, a lanyard, and a Windows Media software CD. One of the cooler features is that the bottom of the unit slips off to reveal a USB connector that can be plugged directly into the USB port of a computer (either for recharging the unit or to download music files to the unit).

While it’s not the most sophisticated MP3 player on the market, it serves as a nice introduction to digital music for my daughter and since it carries the Disney brand, it has some amount of familiarity for her.

Category: Music • (0) CommentsPermalink
Sat 13 Jan 2007

Creating Rooms Of Magic

Elf Foundation

My family gets our hair cut together by the same stylist. Today, after my hair had been cut, I was waiting for the stylist to finish with my wife’s hair, and while I was waiting, I picked up the latest issue of Sound & Vision Magazine. As I was flipping through the pages, I came across an advertisement for the Elf Foundation, a unique and intriguing non-profit organization which marries technology with the needs of some special kids.

From the Elf Foundation’s website:

The Elf Foundation is a 501 C3 non-profit charity that brings the enchantment of uplifting music and film to sick children around the country. We create Rooms of Magic — private entertainment theaters — for children’s hospitals so that countless special kids can look forward to a delightful evening of laughter and intrigue.

From the Elf Foundation’s founder:

To see a child’s face light up and a parent lay down their burden for a few hours — to witness a kid in a wheelchair kick back and enjoy an exciting cinematic experience — it really is magic!

I can think of no better subject for the first post of this blog. Take a look at the wonder on the faces below, then visit the Elf Foundation’s website, and I’m sure your heart will be touched.

Elf Foundation

Once you’ve reviewed their website, check out the myriad of ways you can be involved.

Category: Movies • (0) CommentsPermalink

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