IPads and Parenting

My parents had it easy, technologically speaking. I’m 35 years old and I remember when my parents only had to deal with the TV and the Atari games. Currently, I have to deal with my children using the iPad, TV and the DVR, the computer, video games, smartphones and social media websites. I am a fan of technology but I’m trying to find a way to have it all work together and minimize the fighting that goes on between the kids.

My children are eight, four and two. They’re all professionals at using the iPad. I didn’t have to teach any of them how to use it or where to go to find their favorite app. My oldest child knows how to read so she finds her games easily. The younger one can identify the apps by the icons. I let all of my children use the iPad or tablet frequently because I control what games or apps they download. On my iPad, most of the apps are educational with a few dress up and car games. They’re still all too young to have their own Apple IDs and passwords.

Since purchasing the iPad, the computer and video game systems have become obsolete to my children. They still watch TV but it seems off more than on. The TV keeps them in one room while the iPad enables them to move from room to room. Whenever I need to accomplish something in a different room, I prefer them to watch TV versus the iPad.

The iPad and our smartphones are patience-savers especially when you go out to a restaurant. I remember when I was pregnant with my youngest, my middle child was two, we went out to dinner as a family and all she wanted to do was to run around the restaurant. In order to get her to sit in the high chair without screaming, my husband broke out his iPad. Back then, we used to get looks of disdain from other patrons but now it’s the norm. Nowadays, almost every child has their head down playing a game or watching a move in the restaurant. iPads, tablets and smartphones are the perfect going out accessory for children of all ages.

Technology provides excellent learning tools for children. Technology has changed the way parents parent their children and its always changing. It can be hard to keep up with the new gadgets and gizmos on the market but life is always changing so adaptivity is important.… Read the rest

Writing Ideas: Events in June and July

Summer officially starts in the month of June and is going strong in July. News publications and writers across the country have many options when planning coverage for special sections and more traditional news items in June and July.

The first day of June is Marilyn Monroe's birthday. The controversies of her life, career, romances and death are still popular interests for people across the nation.

June 21, 2009, marks the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer. Though many people's summer fun started with the passage of Memorial Day, others are still making vacation plans. Summer festivals and events in communities across the country are items of interest for many readers. Avoiding sunburns, beach safety and summer fashions are also of interest.

Independence Day, July 4, is our nation's most popular day of national pride.

The second Saturday of June is the final event in thoroughbred racing's "Triple Crown." The Belmont follows The Kentucky Derby and The Preakness, both of which took place in May. Though odds are established and gambling is popular, the sport of horse racing remains unpredictable.

June 14 marks Flag Day in the United States. Readers can be taught how to properly display and dispose of the American flag. The flag's appearance changed several times through the nation's history, and many traditions are associated with it.

The third Sunday of June is time for fathers to be recognized. Father's Day coverage ideas include gifts dads want compared to what they actually receive, and good gifts for kids to give their fathers.

Students graduate in early June or late May and head off on senior trips or start summer jobs before heading to college in the fall. June and July are also popular months for weddings, which can open up an array of possible story ideas, from dresses to cakes and flowers.

The summer hurricane season also starts in June. People can be informed on staying safe and how to protect their homes from storms if they live near the coast. In other parts of the country, hurricanes send heavy rain across the states. Hurricane history, especially since the tragic storms in the Gulf Coast and Louisiana, are also of interest.

In sports Major League Baseball is well underway. Traditional stories about players and statistics can be paired with other feature stories on items like hosting a baseball party. The All-Star Game takes place July 14.

George H. W. Bush was born on June 12, 1924; Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872; George W. Bush was born on July 6, 1946; John Quincy Adams was born on July 11, 1767; and Gerald Ford was born on July 14, 1913.… Read the rest

Best Websites for Car Collectors

If you are a car collector, you are probably always looking for ways to improve your hobby. One of the best ways to do this is through various online resources which are either professional or community oriented. However, many times these sites are full of junk and might even infect your computer with a virus or other malicious software. Therefore, I have complied a list of appropriate websites that offer useful, as well as safe, online car collector resources.

Car Collector: This is the online version of Car Collector magazine. It offers a digital version of the print magazine, blogs by professional automotive and car collector experts, online car sales, user forums, and other multimedia presentations. This site made my list because it contains much of the print magazine content for free eveny month. For example, in January 2009’s edition, there is an article about car auction sales and the classic 1959 Cadillac. Check it out at www.carcollector.com.

Car Restoration: This site is run by two guys who put together some video’s on how to do car restoration. This reason this site is included in the list is because under the “Used Parts Locator” contains links to literally hundreds of sellers and parts suppliers who will then offer you their best price for the part. It also contains links on which parts you might be missing to complete your project for dozens of makes and models. No popup’s either! You can get there at www.carestoration.com.

Super Cars: Supercars.net takes a different approach to car collecting. This site is dedicated to throughly modern cars. It features thousands of images and hundreds of thousands forum posts. The photos are dynamic and show exactly how powerful the cars are. Need advice how how to get into super cars? Just ask in the their extensive forum!

About.com: For the new person who wants to start learning about classic car collecting the classic car section of about.com is a wealth of information (http://classiccars.about.com/). Use this site so you do not get scammed when buying your first automobile, to learn how to properly insure your car, or how to store your car appropriately. As of December 2019, there are 13 main subject matters with over 80+ individual articles.

Autopedia: This is a must have site for car collecting and car restoration. This site is more of a “Who’s who” listing of car collecting and user forums – including multiple links for USENet car collecting and automotive forums. This site will also link you to the best parts suppliers and product specialists for the unique hobby of car collecting. You can find this site at www.autopedia.com.

Lastly, a fun site that I learned about on late night television is Jay’s Garage. Jay Leno collects cars and this site shows them all. See them here at http://www.jaylenosgarage.com. The site includes both photos and videos of Jay’s cars.… Read the rest

Musicovery: Interactive Web Radio

One of the never-dying fads among music lovers is online music. They'll get their doses from any source – online radio stations, band Web sites, free MP3 sites, online radio sites, MySpace musician profiles and more. These are all great ways to listen to music. However, if music lovers want to discover new music, they are quite limiting.

Music lovers need to know what artists they like or at least what style of music they like. It makes it hard to discover new music as exploring completely new content is almost impossible.

A great site on the Internet is Musicovery. The name is a play on the words "Music Discovery." The site allows users to choose from a variety of music types. It also allows users to choose music in two different range. Those ranges are "dark to positive" and "calm to energetic." Users can choose any area that rank between both of these ranges. Users are allowed to choose these ranges by themselves with a selection of certain music types (or all of them) or just from one certain music type.

Musicovery will then play different songs that fit that description. It lists the song title and the artist. Users will always know what songs they are hearing. If users absolutely fall in love with a song they are hearing, musicovery provides links to Amazon, iTunes, and Ebay where they can find the song.

If users don't like a certain song, they are not forced to listen to it. Musicovery allows users to pause and play songs. They can also just play a song and then browse others in the same category by following the flow of songs shown on the screen. If users want to hear a song they see on the screen, all they have to do is click on the song.

There is a big enough library that users will not easily get bored with the site. Unlike hearing the same song on the radio with in the same day, Musicovery has enough songs that not a single song would be heard in the same day if they all were to be played.

Musicovery brings the comfort of listening to different music before buying into the home. Gone are the days of browsing library shelves for a certain genre or going to the music store to listen to a certain genre of music through the headphones that so many others have worn on their heads.

Musicovery is found at http://www.musicovery.com… Read the rest

Peppermint Tea

Spicy fresh tang
Green-looking
Yet so yang
Peppermint tea.

As chai this tea is
Refreshing –
As iced tea,
Both cool and hot
A steaming cup –
This peppermint tea.

Spicy fresh tang
Green-looking
Yet so yang
Peppermint is for me.

Soothing scent –
Aromatic coolness –
Slowing down thoughts,
Not heaven sent.
Relaxing the palate
Stopping the madness
Try .

Spicy fresh tang
Green-looking
Yet so yang
Peppermint tea.

A plant so green and cool
To give up its growth
To make me a drink
Once a plant waving
In the breeze
Now these leaves are part of
This steaming brew in a tea cup.

Spicy fresh tang
Green-looking
Yet so yang
Peppermint tea is for me.… Read the rest

Dish Network's Satellite Programming Better Than I Expected it to Be

I had a satellite dish installed in my home for the first time five years ago and I haven't looked back since. Before we set up an account with Dish Network, good old fashioned rabbit ears were the only sort of tuning device we had; yes we did use metal coat hangers and aluminum foil once in a while to get a clearer picture. My family had taken turns balancing the coat hangers and foil, standing on one foot and holding their noses to their knees for nearly three years and we finally felt it was time to reward ourselves with real TV. So we decided to go with Dish Network Satellite service.

At first our real big worry was the signal. Several friends had remarked that once the wind started kicking up in the winter time we would lose our signal. One of my husband's co-workers informed him if we had trees in our yard that we'd also lose the signal that way. We were so worried about having a headache in our house that we almost changed our minds. Once you go to rabbit ears the kids pretty much stop squabbling over the TV because there's nothing on it according to them and life tends to become quiet and peaceful.

On the day the service technician from Dish Network came to install the satellite the first question we asked him was, how often would we be likely to lose the signal? Our nice and friendly technician put our fears to rest and assured us that under most normal circumstances, including some pretty big wind gusts, our signal would continue to reach our dish without very many interruptions. I am happy to announce that he was right. We have had a few outages but they are extremely rare and when they do happen the signal is picked right back up again while at the same time showing us a ticking counter of its activity.

One of the coolest things about having Dish Network satellite TV is that you gain the ability to pause shows, movies, commercials or whatever you happen to be watching. I must warn you though; this becomes a rather addicting behavior. Once you become accustomed to pausing your television you will find yourself trying to pause real life situations. Dish Network gives you the ability to pause up to two hours when watching normal TV but if you are watching a pre-recorded movie on the DVR, or digital video recorder, then you will have unlimited pausing control.

Recording shows to watch later are another addicting feature. When the technician installs your receiver box he will explain all of this to you. With Dish Network you are allowed to record 100 hours of broadcasting. Sounds like a lot doesn't it? Trust me when I say it's not. With a satellite dish that gets tons of channels it is very easy to use up those hours with shows that you plan to watch at another time. It's also … Read the rest

Is Gamespot the Best Website for Video Games?

Gamespot is one of the most visited video game websites. Being popular doesn't always equate to being the best, however.

The biggest problem becomes apparent once you visit the homepage. The background of the entire page is covered by one big advertisement. Only about half of the page is based on the site's content.

While this usually is not a problem, Gamespot got into some controversy recently regarding a review of Kane & Lynch: Dead Man. Publisher Eidos Interactive, who also had advertisements on the website, was not pleased with the wording of the review. The reviewer was fired soon after and most of the displeased staff left as a result.

It is hard to trust the opinions of the website after what transpired. Gamespot used to be known for its tough grading system on even the most popular of games. After this particular incident, they simply can't be trusted.

Fortunately, Gamespot does just about everything else right, especially if you like looking at the latest screenshots in addition to watching the latest official and user videos. You have to pay for high-definition ones, however, which is pretty stingy considering you can most like find the same high-definition video online for free.

The site also includes blogs, podcasts and video shows. These are great for Gamespot as they try to win back the fans that were hurt by the Kane & Lynch: Dead Man incident.

The biggest competitor to Gamespot is IGN. Like Gamespot, IGN has its fair share of blogs, podcasts, video shows and even subscription only content for the community. However, Gamespot has the leg up by enabling user submitted videos.

Aside from that, IGN has the advantage in just about every other aspect. The biggest one is organization. The design of the website is simply better compared to Gamespot's. The content is way more organized for IGN since you basically know where to go from the onset instead of taking a couple of seconds to find where the content is.

The game database is about even for the two websites. For older games, however, IGN is simply better. Classic games like Chrono Trigger are described in more detail on the IGN website.

The IGN's editorial team is also more reputable now that most of Gamespot's writing position has received a huge turnover. It is a lot easier to trust the opinions from IGN's editors rather than the ones from Gamespot's.

The only drawback for IGN is the advertisement. Pages with nothing but advertisement will pop-up on every other page on the website. Although you can skip then, the advertisement can become an annoyance (even more so than the advertisement layout for Gamespot) when browsing on IGN.

While IGN has a slight edge over it, Gamespot is still a premier video game website. Just take their opinions with a grain of salt, at least for the time being.… Read the rest

Improving Your Global Image as a Freelance Writer

Many U.S.-based freelance writers have come to realize that working with foreign markets can easily triple their income without having to learn a new trade. If you want to deal with editors and clients in foreign countries, you'll need to improve your global image. This means that all methods of correspondence must be globally friendly without being too obvious.

Improving Your Global Image: Telephone

Your telephone is one of your most valuable tools as a freelance writer, so you'll want to use it to improve your global image. For one thing, you'll want to include your full phone number on all correspondence, including your international dialing code. This will help editors and clients enormously because they won't have to look up the information just to ask you a question. It's an expected courtesy when dealing with international clients and editors.

Improving Your Global Image: Voice Mail

When you are only working with U.S.-based clients and editors, your voice mail message can be pretty standard. However, when you're working with foreign individuals, you'll want to make it as friendly as possible. For one thing, you can't expect everyone to get the time zone differences right on every try, so you'll definitely need voice mail for clients and editors who accidentally call you at three o'clock in the morning. For another, you might want to include a message in English as well as in the language of whatever countries in which you have clients.

Improving Your Global Image: E-Mail

When sending e-mail to foreign clients and editors, make sure that they're globally friendly. For example, if you're communicating with a client from Spain and you want to write in Spanish, make sure that your e-mail won't automatically change words that are correct in Spanish but not in English. Furthermore, you'll want to use an e-mail account that offers web-based mail in case you wind up traveling. That way, you can access your e-mail from any browser in the world.

Improving Your Global Image: Spelling

You will have to communicate in writing with editors and clients from foreign countries (obviously, since you're a freelance writer), so you'll want to make sure that you have a spell check system that allows settings to different languages. Even if you're corresponding with someone in England, the spelling will be different for many words (i.e. recognize; recognise) and you'll need to show that you can communicate using both versions of the written word.

Improving Your Global Image: Language

Even in English, you'll find that some words have different meanings when translating across oceans, so familiarize yourself with those differences. For example, if you were writing an article about fashion for a UK magazine, you wouldn't want to refer to "pants" as the things you wear over your boxers. Instead, you'd call them "trousers" as "pants" in the UK go underneath trousers. Make sense?

Improving Your Global Image: Query Letters

I hate to tell you this, but even if you've mastered the art of writing query letters in … Read the rest