Hi-ya friends and netizens! It’s another weekend with reflections of the Web. And with Thanksgiving coming up next Wednesday and the retail industry’s big day (aka Black Friday), there are some tech gadgets worth noting for the gift giver in you. In this edition, a talk show giving away Wii systems, the cool gadget list from PC Magazine, and a new site for the Park Ranger (sans Yogi Bear … hey Boo Boo?) in all of us. Yes, it’s Jim’s WebLetter for the Web wanderer in all of us …
In the news, and under the heading of “take everything you read with a grain of salt”, the BBC reported this week that China (the guys who sell us toys with lead paint) is “pursuing new technology ‘aggressively’, legitimately through research and business deals and illegally through industrial espionage.” And they have also, “’embraced destructive warfare techniques’, the report says, enabling it to carry out cyber attacks on other countries’ infrastructure.” Again, such reports can be somewhat slanted when coming from the BBC, but it does bear investigating. Apparently the report says that the, “Chinese espionage activities in the United States are so extensive that they comprise the single greatest risk to the security of American technologies.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7097296.stm
Something else I’ve seen in several places online is the story of Microsoft working for world domination. Even while I am writing this, it feels like I’m writing with a “flare for the dramatic” … “World Domination by Microsoft”. But while Google has been grabbing all the headlines (the latest is about owning Wi-Fi signals in America and Canada … http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/11/google-to-go-it.html), Microsoft has been working behind the scenes on it’s “10, 20, 30, 40″ plan. The company is looking to increase shares in web search, page views, percentage of time on the Internet, and the percentage of advertising dollars. Tick Tick Tick … here’s the story … http://mashable.com/2007/11/16/microsoft-5-year-plan/
OK, so let’s get away from the drama and let me show you some things less “world crashing”.
Have you seen the ads for the Kidizoom Camera from VTech? This “peanut butter proof” camera has a real viewing screen and binocular-vision viewfinders. It takes pictures, captures videos, and has an on-screen editor. Then an easy hookup allows playback results on either a TV or a computer screen. The Kidizoom can also work with a joystick to play tic-tac-toe, a Concentration-type memory game or a sliding square puzzle using photos stored in the camera’s memory. A slot for an SD card lets you expand the memory beyond the 16 megabytes that it comes with. It also provides a way to back up photos, which are erased from the internal memory if the four AA batteries need to be changed. You can see this little gadget at http://vtechkids.com/
For the higher-end tech toys, a quick read at PC Magazine gives you a listing of the most desired for 2007. The Apple Ipod Touch has to be one of my favorite “looking through the store window” gadgets. Picture me now, hands and face pressed up against the window, pearing in to see this little thing of beauty with the capabilities of video, audio, and top line performance. The window fogs up as I exhale a deep breath all the while thinking of the possibilities of somehow owning such a device … oh, sorry … just wishful thinking. Here’s the list … http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2704,2217823,00.asp
Next Friday (the 23rd), join CNET TV online for their live call-in show where they will be answering holiday tech shopping questions for 10 straight hours starting at 12 noon, Eastern time. Call with your questions 1-888-900-CNET, or e-mail them in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your call is answered on the air, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win one of eight Nintendo Wii Holiday Mega Bundles valued at $600. Drawings will be held every hour starting in the 2 o’clock hour (again, that’s Eastern). http://www.cnet.com/holiday-gift-guide/holiday-helpdesk/?tag=cnetfd.mt
Finally, with so much attention paid to the Web these days, other forms of adventure are being largely ignored. Case in point, National Parks. A show of hands, when is the last time you visited one of our parks? I can’t remember. A newly remodeled National Park Service website has embraced so-called “electronic field trips”, an increasingly popular teaching tool in schools nationwide. Teachers tune in for free, and the National Park Foundation and other nonprofits pick up production costs. http://www.nps.gov/ An additional site, called “Tails from the Tetons” has seven “webisodes” covering topics including wolves, forest fires and how plants and animals adapt to their environment. http://www.bsu.edu/eft/tetons/
When a nun collapsed in the sales representative’s office at our time-share resort, the rep ran to the front-desk manager.
“Two nuns walked into the sales office, and one of them fainted!” she yelled breathlessly.
Unfazed, the manager just looked at her.
“Well,” said the rep, “aren’t you going to do anything?”
He replied, “I’m waiting for the punch line.”
We took the family to one of those restaurants where the walls are plastered with movie memorabilia. I went to see the hostess about reserving a table.
When I returned, I found my 11-year-old daughter staring at a poster of Superman standing in a phone booth. She looked puzzled.
“Doesn’t she know who Superman is?” I whispered to my husband.
“Worse,” he replied, “she doesn’t know what a phone both is.”
Two guys left the bar after a long night of drinking, jumped in the car and started it up.
After a couple of minutes, an old man appeared in the passenger window and tapped lightly.
The passenger screamed, “Look at the window. There’s an old ghost’s face there!”
The driver sped up, but the old man’s face stayed in the window.
The passenger rolled his window down part way and, scared out of his wits, said, “What do you want?”
The old man softly replied, “You got any tobacco?”
The passenger handed the old man a cigarette and yelled, “Step on it,” to the driver, rolling up the window in terror.
A few minutes later they calmed down and started laughing again.
The driver said, “I don’t know what happened, but don’t worry; the speedometer says we’re doing 80 now.”
All of a sudden there was a light tapping on the window and the old man reappeared.
“There he is again,” the passenger yelled.
He rolled down the window and shakily said, “Yes?”
“Do you have a light?” the old man quietly asked.
The passenger threw a lighter out the window and yelled, “Step on it!”
They were driving about 100 miles an hour, trying to forget what they had just seen and heard, when all of a sudden there came some more tapping.
The passenger rolled down the window and screamed in stark terror, “WHAT NOW?”
The old man gently replied, “You want some help getting out of the mud?”
Bartenders and waiters have heard ’em all. But what we rarely hear is someone turning down a drink. “Nah, I better not have one,” said one man after I offered him a glass of wine. “I have the world’s worst stomach. I eat so many antacids that if I were to keel over dead right this minute, I’d leave my own chalk outline.”
And that’s this week’s collection. Thanks for your time and, for those who sent them in, jokes from all over. I’m still laughing over the “chalk outline” joke. Good one. Have a great weekend, and until next, may God continue to bless you and keep you safe.
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