Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Microsoft Reveals VISTA Packaging

Microsoft released marketing photos of the packaging for Windows Vista. All of the editions feature the same style packaging, with varying colors to represent each version. [Pictured at right is the Ultimate Edition packaging.]
The next release of Microsoft Office will also use the same styling, lettering, etc. for packaging.
I don't know about you, but the packaging looks like a VCR tape box with a rounded off corner at the upper right. Not bad, but not that exciting either. Let's hope Windows Vista's many editions will be worth the wait... and cost.

Cambridge SoundWorks

God Unplugged Puts Celebrity Faith in the Spotlight

by Gretta Curtis / Christian Today
How Do You Know He's Real? God Unplugged, the second book in the He's Real series, will be released by Destiny Image Publishers on 1 November.
Author Amy Hammond Hagberg shares the profound real-life journeys and dramatic encounters with the living God by young athletes and musicians. According to the book, celebrities, despite their fame, struggle with the same issues that most young people deal with; insecurity, anger, peer pressure, addiction and self-esteem.
Olympic gold medallists, recording artists, professional athletes or extreme sports fanatics are contributors of the book. Always inspirational and often miraculous, How Do You Know He's Real? God Unplugged is a must-read for those who desire to go deeper in their relationship with God. Notable people who contributed are:

Jonny Lang - (platinum selling blues artist)
T-Bone - (rap artist and actor)
Jon Micah Sumrall - (“Kutless”)
Kalel - (“Pillar”)
Trevor McNevin - (“Thousand Foot Krutch” and “FM Static”)
Tricia/Melissa Brock - (“Superchic[k]”)
Vince Lichlyter - (“Jonah33”)
Jontez - (musician and actor)
George Huff - (American Idol finalist)
Kate Earl - (singer/songwriter)
Mark Mohr - (reggae band “Christafari”)
Joseph Rojas - (“Seventh Day Slumber”)
John Cooper - (“Skillet”)
Clay Crosse - (Dove award winner)
Zoro - (drummer for Lenny Kravitz)
Barlow Girl - (CCM recording artists)
Katie Harman - (Miss America 2002)

David Carr - (NFL quarterback)
Bethel Johnson - (NFL wide receiver)
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila - (NFL defensive end)
Dwight Howard - (NBA forward)
Alana Beard - (WNBA shooting guard)
Jeremy Affeldt - (MLB pitcher)
Aaron Baddeley - (professional golfer)
Brandon Slay - (Olympic Gold Medalist, wrestling)
Josh Davis - (5-time Olympic Medalist, swimming)
Kimiko Soldati - (Olympic diver)
Leah O'Brien-Amico - (Olympic gold medalist, softball)
Kristi Overton-Johnson - (water sports champion)
Christian Hosoi - (skateboarding legend)
Tim Byrne - (pro skateboarder)
Jud Heald - (pro skateboarder)
Bruce Crisman - (BMX pro)
Jimmie McGuire - (Motocross pro)
Matt Beacham - (pro surfer)
Hannah Steffens - (pro mountain biker)
Shannon Dunn-Downing - (Olympic medalist, snowboarding)
Lauren Harf (champion wake boarder)
Dave Downing - (pro snowboarder)
CJ Hobgood - (world champion surfer)
Mick Hannah - (World champion mountain bike racer)
Cat Reddick - (pro soccer defender)

A promotional campaign is underway, including a national promotional tour that has Hagberg making numerous television appearances, including At Home Live!, The Jim Bakker Show, Positively Arkansas, Atlanta Live!, Bridges, The Morning Show, and Babbie's House. The author is also making numerous appearances on national radio programs including Strength For Living and Today's Issues on American Family Radio.
The first book in the series, How Do You Know He's Real? Celebrity Reflections on True Life Experiences With God was released in April. The popular book contains 34 real-life stories about celebrities who know God is real because of their personal relationship with Him. The book provides a forum for Christian celebrities blessed with professional career success to share their very personal stories about life in the spotlight.
The third and final book in the series, How Do You Know He's Real? God for All Generations will be released in mid-2007.
Author Amy Hammond Hagberg is a frequent contributor to numerous magazines, such as HomeLife, Living With Teenagers, Christian Singles, Ignite the Fire, Sports Spectrum, Relevant, Radiant, Living Light News, Disciples World and more. She also speaks to church and corporate groups all over the country.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Microsoft Investigates IE7 Breach

iAfrica.com Staff Reporter
Microsoft on Thursday said it would investigate a reported security vulnerability in its new web browser software, Internet Explorer 7, but downplayed the risk. Danish security company Secunia on Wednesday announced that they've discovered a security vulnerability in Microsoft's new browser, which could allow "spoofing" of a URL in the browser's address bar. "The problem is that it's possible to display a popup with a somewhat spoofed address bar where a number of special characters have been appended to the URL. This makes it possible to only display a part of the address bar, which may trick users into performing certain unintended actions," Secunia said in a release to users.
Microsoft, however, downplayed the seriousness of the vulnerability, while vowing to investigate, reports InformationWeek. "We're not aware of any attacks that are attempting to use this," said Microsoft's security program manager at its response centre, Christopher Budd. "But as always we will continue to monitor the situation throughout our investigation." He also suggested that users look at the complete URL by scrolling in the address bar before proceeding on a suspicious website.
Secunia, however, did not share Microsoft's appraisal of the situation: "These are the kind of spoofing vulnerabilities, which IE7 was supposed to be better at protecting against than its predecessor," Secunia's chief technology officer, Thomas Kristensen, told iTWire. "While the issue isn't clear cut since the vigilant user might be able to spot that something isn't quite right, then any user not wearing the paranoid glasses is easily fooled by this trick — despite the built-in anti-phishing mechanism being enabled."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Apple Patent for Touch Screen iPod?

Sources: CNet News & Hrmpf.com
Apple Computer has filed Patent Application #20060197750 for an iPod-like device that has a around the display and can touch-sensitive bezeltoggle between different operating states. However, there seems a scepticism on the web about designs becoming reality due to the problems of screen smudging and scratching.
The user interface seems particularly well conceived and relies on on-screen indicators of the control surface’s function. In addition to buttons the surfaces can act as scroll surfaces. The interface works by the user selecting a control to change and then, using the bottom surface to scroll, adjusting the element in real time.

Will this be the next generation iPod? Only Apple knows for sure...
Patent sketch from Hrmpf.com

Friday, October 27, 2006

PhoneScoop Review: BlackBerry Pearl

by Eric Lin / Phone Scoop
RIM BlackBerries, long the standard phone for any high powered executive to carry, have begun to draw more interest among mainstream users. Maybe it's because people see famous stars carrying them around now. Or maybe it's because they've been talked about for so long.
The Pearl is RIM's first attempt to grab some mainstream market share. It adds a and camera and media player to the Blackberry's email and phone skills and packs it all into a slimmer and dare we say, sexier body. Unfortunately, though they updated the features and design, they seem to have ignored the interface.
If you've never used or held a Blackberry before, the Pearl simply looks elegant. The smooth, slim shape and dark color scheme give the Pearl a classy look. With the screen off, it doesn't look geeky or even like a Blackberry.
If you've ever handled a Blackberry before, the Pearl is simply shocking. You'll wonder what happened to your old Blackberry. The Pearl is significantly thinner and smaller - about half the volume - of even the smallest 7100 series devices. It makes the 8700s look positively huge and clunky.
The Pearl is quite small for a smartphone - even a smartphone with a numeric keyboard. Considering it has 2 extra columns of keys for its hybrid keyboard, the Pearl's size is even more impressive. Its thinness is the most impressive aspect. You wonder how there's room for circuit boards and screens and such inside, especially when you see how large the battery is.
Like the SLVR and other North American thin candy bar style phones, the Pearl looks wide, but only because it is thin. In truth it is not any wider (or taller) than the SLVR or many other phones. But it looks wide because its shape accentuates its thinness. Not only is it the same width as your average candybar, but the sides have mitered edges - visually subtracting size and making it easier and more comfortable to grip than similarly shaped phones.

Read the entire article -- including specifics
on the three S's (Screen, Signal, Sound) -- here.

Wirefly (InPhonic)

Integrity Media Launches 'Devotional' Mobile Phone Service

by Gretta Curtis / Christianity Today
Integrity Media recently announced the launch of a mobile phone service that provides daily devotions, insights and a vast range of inspiring content directly to mobile phones by Christian leaders, artists and ministries. At www.MWorship.net visitors can sign up for a daily inspirational text message sent directly to their phones, watch free music videos, download hundreds of ring tones from top Christian artists and much more. Members have a variety of channels to choose from including devotionals, daily scripture, music news, movie reviews, artist song-stories, parenting and relationship tips.
According to Integrity President and CEO Michael Coleman, MWorship was created to use today’s technology to offer spiritual encouragement, entertainment, practical insight and advice. To do so, Integrity partnered with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT and trusted ministry and resource content providers including FamilyLife, Focus on the Family, the Gospel Music Channel, Integrity Music Group, LifeWay and Provident Music Group.
The resulting initiative includes both regular text messages and a mobile web (WAP) site that provides inspirational thoughts and content from notables such as Dr. James Dobson, Max Lucado, Beth Moore, LifeWay and FamilyLife, along with ring tones from popular Christian artists including Michael W. Smith, Darlene Zschech, Israel and New Breed, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin and many more.
MWorship also offers daily Scripture readings, tips on parenting and relationships, articles and wallpapers. In addition, the “Send-A-Blessing” and “Prayer Group” programs allow customers to send notes of encouragement and to manage and quickly communicate prayer needs to individuals and groups from the web or directly from their cell phones.

Weighty Issues

In 2002, the average weight for American men was 191 pounds and 164 pounds for women. That's about 25 pounds more than the average in 1960, according to U.S. government figures.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Exxon-Mobil = Extortion-Motive?

Source: FOXNews.com
Once again, it's more than obvious that the American public is being ripped off and lied to by the oil companies.

Oil industry behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp. (the most aggregious of the wallet looters) said Thursday its third-quarter earnings rose to $10.49 billion, the second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. The report comes as high crude prices this year have fueled record profits in the oil industry, triggering an outcry from consumers who were being asked to pay about $3 a gallon for gasoline in early August.
Although crude oil prices began to decline toward the end of the third quarter, the average market price for crude held at around $70 a barrel in the period after peaking above $78 per barrel in July. Oil futures prices have recently traded near $61 a barrel, and gasoline prices have dropped to an average of about $2.43 a gallon.
The world's biggest public oil company said its net income amounted to $1.77 per share for the July-September period, up from $9.92 billion, or $1.58 per share, a year ago. The results surpassed the expectations of Wall Street analysts. On average, analysts expected the company to earn $1.59 per share in the quarter. Revenue fell to $99.59 billion from $100.72 billion from a year ago, which saw then-record oil prices (reportedly) because of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
High oil prices helped Exxon Mobil realize earnings from its oil and gas drilling activities of $6.49 billion, up 13 percent from the prior year. The company also saw stronger earnings from its refining operations and gas stations, and profits at its chemicals segment more than doubled. The largest quarterly profit ever was Exxon Mobil's $10.71 billion profit in the fourth quarter of 2005. Its shares rose in premarket trading to $72.14 after closing Wednesday at $71.01 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Computer History - The Laser Printer

Xerox researcher Gary Starkweather invented the laser printer concept in 1969. Starkweather used a laser beam combined with the xerography process to create a laser printer method. Remarkably, the Xerox company showed little interest in his invention. Mr. Starkweather persisted and continued to refine laser printer technology. He completed the first working laser printer in 1971.

Microsoft offers Vista upgrade for PC buyers

(MarketWatch - Updated with additional information in the third and fifth paragraphs.)
Holiday shoppers won't miss out on the newest version of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system, Vista, or Office if they buy a personal computer -- since the software maker is offering a new program that will give buyers either a free or discounted version of the products. The amount of the Express Upgrade offer will depend on each individual PC maker, according to a company press release.
Microsoft said a number of computer manufacturers worldwide have confirmed plans to participate in the Express Upgrade. Lisa Emard, a spokeswoman at Gateway Inc., said starting this Thursday all Gateway and eMachines computers sold direct will be eligible for a free upgrade to Vista when it becomes available. According to the spokeswoman, some customers that buy PCs at retail locations or internationally could be charged a shipping and handling fee or duplication fee.
Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard Co. spokeswoman Ann Finnie said the company will also offer free upgrades starting Thursday. She said customers in the U.S. won't have to pay a shipping and handling fee.
Dell spokesman Bob Kaufman said Dell will charge customers a $45 fee to upgrade to Vista Home from Windows XP Home edition when it comes out. The spokesman said customers will only have to pay shipping and handling if they are upgrading from Windows XP Pro or Windows XP Media Center to Vista Premium. Given that some of Dell's peers have opted not to charge for the upgrade, Kaufman said, "As with many things we do, Dell will evaluate the marketplace and competition on behalf of customers to make appropriate moves if and when its necessary."
Microsoft held a press conference at 5:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday to discuss the program. Microsoft is planning to issue its business version of Vista to business customers in November and to consumers in January, missing the critical holiday purchasing season. The discount program begins Thursday and runs through mid-March, 2007. It has been long anticipated that Microsoft would offer some type of discount program since the delay in the release date for Vista was announced this spring.
Earlier this fall, a company official confirmed during an event that Microsoft was speaking with computer makers about a possible program. Roger Kay, founder of Endpoint Technologies, said Microsoft's move to offer vouchers could mitigate some delays in purchases by consumers this holiday season. Still, he said it doesn't solve the main problem, which is that consumers who buy a computer this holiday season will have to face an upgrade when Vista comes out in January. "It's better than if they had done nothing," said Kay. "It's not as good as if they had hit the schedule." Kay added that most industry watchers had anticipated some form of a voucher.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bose Says "Stick It in Your Ear!"

Info from Engadget and others
We can't help but laugh sometimes when a company's product literature tries to hide the fact that it's late to the market. That's exactly what Bose seems to do, for example, with the description of its new TriPort in-ear headphones: "the only in-ear headphones with the rich audio and comfortable design you've come to expect from Bose." Yeah, that's a first, if you want to call it that.
Anyway, snarkiness aside, these headphones are supposedly noteworthy for the listening comfort of their silicone tips, as well as Bose quality. They just look like your regular in-ear phones, but they look as though they might be at least partly open -- which would be a good for fliers like us who often have inner-ear pressure problems with those sealed-up-tight sound-reducing earpieces. And we guess they'll be a pretty good seller for the relatively un-Bose-like price of $99.95, less than half of other headphone lines.

Apple Laptops -- Good to Their "New" Core

Apple is upgrading the Macbook Pros to include the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. The move comes right after reporting terrific 3rd-quarter earnings and is timed perfectly for the holiday season.
Source: ABC News.com
Related Article: TopTechNews
Apple's iMac desktops made the transition to the Core 2 Duos last month, a move that left Apple fanatics wondering—What about a Core 2 Duo Macbook and Macbook Pro? You have to love how Mr. Jobs keeps people on their heels. Yesterday, the Apple core gets the official refresh, upgrading the Macbook Pros to the Intel Core 2 Duo, but not the Macbooks. The move comes right after reporting terrific 3rd-quarter earnings and is timed perfectly for the holiday season. The Macbook Pro 15.4-inch and 17-inch (5x Faster; 36% brighter; iLife ’06; and still 1-inch thin) laptops will make the leap to the Intel Core 2 Duos.
As with the 20-inch and 24-inch iMacs, the 15- and 17-inch Macbook Pros will let users select the Intel Core 2 Duo T7400(2.16Ghz) and up to 3GB of RAM. Unlike the desktops, the Macbook Pros will also have an option for the T7600 2.33Ghz, the highest clocking Core 2 Duo processor to date.
You can find it on several Windows-based laptops as well, making Apple laptops just as powerful as their Windows counterparts. The new Core 2 Duos should offer significant improvements over the previous Intel Core Duos, especially when it comes to video and audio encoding.
They also happen to be the hottest processors in the laptop market, which raises some concerns about heat issues. As seen with their Windows counterparts, we can expect new MacBook Pro temperatures to get quite hot. Hard drive options will go up to 200GB for both the 17-inch and the 15-inch Macbook Pros, and they'll stick with the same graphics solution, the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600. Surprisingly, the Macbooks, Apple's best-selling, consumer-oriented laptops are denied the upgrade, for now. The Macbook Pros still have the best features around, including the iSight camera, the FrontRow interface and remote, and a trip-proof magnetic adapter. Prices start at $2799 for the 17-inch and $2,499 for the 15-inch with the , and $1,999 for the 15-inch with the T7400 processor. Get Your MacBook Pro now!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The "First Security Hole" in IE 7

By Brian Livingston
Much was made last week about the "first vulnerability" that was supposedly found in IE 7. There is in fact a vulnerability, but it's also one that's present in IE 5 and 6, which Microsoft has never corrected, although it's easy for you to work around it. The Dutch security firm Secunia reported on October 19th that malicious Web sites could grab data from other sites that had IE 7 windows open. For example, if you happened to be logged in to your online banking application and concurrently visited a hacker site, the bad site could see information from your banking site.
Microsoft developers poo-pooed the weakness, saying in an Oct. 19 blog post that the problem actually exists in an Outlook Express component, not a part of IE 7.
I've examined this claim and find that IE 7 does have a real problem, regardless of whether the code being exploited is considered a part of Outlook Express. In addition, the SANS Internet Storm Center confirmed on October 20th that IE 7 is vulnerable.
Secunia has posted a harmless browser test page that you can use to test your own copy of IE, and I urge you to do so. The firm also provides a description of the problem in two separate advisories: one for IE 7 and the other for IE 5 and 6. I tested a workaround recommended by Secunia and found that it works. Use the Tools, Internet Options menu item in IE, select the Security tab, then change the Custom Level. Switch options to run ActiveX content to "Disable," then run Secunia's browser test again. After making this change to my copy of IE, the test no longer found that my browser was vulnerable.
Of course, no version of the Firefox browser has ever been vulnerable to the Secunia test. Until Microsoft closes this and other IE holes for good, Firefox gets my recommendation as the safest browser you can use to surf the Web.

Monday, October 23, 2006

iPod Fans Find Lots to Crow About

Source: Daily Telegraph
FANS of Apple Computer's portable music players will find the new, video-capable models of the iPod and its miniature counterpart, the Nano, clearly worth the wait.
As with previous iPods, the Nano now comes in a variety of storage capacities and colours, not just silver and black. There's green, blue, pink and red, each holding 4 gigabytes of music, or roughly 1,000 songs. Silver is available in 2 GB and 4 GB configurations, and the black model holds 8 GB.
The first thing to notice about the new Nano is that it's tiny. Even tinier than the first-generation models. It's so discreet, slim and light, at 40 grams, that you'll want to check your pants pockets for it twice before putting them in the laundry.
Owners of first-generation Nanos will be happy to see that Apple has done away with the device's shiny metal backing, which was notorious for scratching up almost as soon as it was out of the box. Now an elegant, seamless aluminium enclosure wraps around the Nano. The battery life of the Nano is impressive. Apple rates it at 24 hours, with some less official testing of an 8 GB model supporting that. It charges quickly, too, powering up to 80 per cent capacity in 90 minutes while hooked up to your computer using the included USB cable. A travel adapter for computer-less charging is sold separately. If you don't mind refurbed merchandise, you can save $80 on a 4GB white refurbished iPod nano at the Apple Store!
The Nano's display is 40 per cent brighter than the first-generation models. Song and album titles are easy to read. You can also view photos and album covers on it, but the screen is small, so don't expect to be able to see every nuance. The new Nano models pack a lot of punch into a small package at a small price.
Some may not say the same for the new iPods. Obviously, the big draw here is the iPod's video capabilityiPod's video capability, something not available in Nanos. The display, though rather small at 6.35 centimetres diagonally, is beautiful, crisp and 60 per cent brighter than its predecessor. However, video images tend to pixelise in areas of low contrast, probably because of the data compression necessary to squeeze video down to iPod size. Videos - such as television episodes of Lost and movies like Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest - can be purchased from Apple's iTunes store.

Apple iTunes

Consumers also can convert their own video into the iPod format using iTunes. Apple revealed this week that a virus had infected a small number of the new video iPods. No doubt Apple will be quick to smooth kinks out of new iPods rolling off the assembly line.
The new iPod's battery life is respectable, at 14 hours for music and 6.5 hours for video on the 30 GB model (it is longer for the 80 GB model). That's still greater than the first video iPods, allowing you to watch more shows and movies. The new Nanos and iPods share a few new features, including the ability to search for songs, artists and albums by letter - helpful when you've got 80 GB of music to browse through. Another addition is gapless playback: no more jarring silence between tracks of albums like Dark Side of the Moon where the songs are meant to blend into each other.
Other features were held over from earlier iterations. Both the Nano and the iPod come with the same four dull games included on earlier models, but better games for the video iPod are available for purchase at The iTunes StoreiTunes. (Sorry Nano users, you're out of luck.) And as with all iPod flavours, you can buy music from iTunes - and only iTunes. Copy-protected tunes from rival music services generally won't work. You can also play files ripped from your CDs using Apple's free iTunes software for Windows and Mac computers. Synching your music library is as simple as plugging in the USB cord.
Some of my favourite features are the simplest: The playback automatically pauses when the earphones are removed from the jack, so you don't miss a moment of music. The clock can keep track of multiple time zones. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of all is in the earphones. Usually a cheap freebie with other portable audio devices, Apple resisted the temptation to pinch pennies here and instead gave them a complete re-engineering with the new models.
The result is probably the most comfortable set of earphones, and they seem never to fall out. The sound quality is great, too, ratcheting up to teeth-rattling volume with almost no distortion. One small disappointment with the earphones: They are still available only in white. But that complaint is eclipsed by the many things to like about Apple's new iPods. Consumers can feel comfortable laying down their credit card for either one. Another option is the new iPod Shuffle, which Apple is introducing this month. Barely larger than a cufflink, the Shuffle is designed to be worn, with a clip that fastens onto your clothes. It holds only 1 GB of music and has no display, making song selection difficult. But it's attractive for people who intend to use the iPod while jogging or working out.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Photography: A Simple Guide for Beginners

From Peter Marshall
Your Guide to Photography
Here's a three webpage article from About.com regarding the topic of "Getting Started in Photography". Although About.com is not my favorite website, this article regarding beginners' photography is worth the read. You'll find good advice and concise tips for those who are just beginning their sojourn into the world of photography.

Here are the sub-topics of discussion:
  • Have Fun
  • Learning to Think Photo
  • Automatic Cameras
  • Getting Refined
  • Three Rules
  • Practice Makes Perfect
  • Finding Subjects
  • My First Photographs
  • Loved Ones
  • A Favorite Place
  • Getting Better Pictures
  • Exhaust the Subject
  • Evaluation - The Second Stage
  • Viewing Your Images
  • Rating Your Pictures
  • Other Views
  • Comparisons and Inspiration
  • Learn From Others
  • Techniques

Friday, October 20, 2006

Another Motorola ROKR Leaks Out

PhoneScoop reports: "The FCC approved the Motorola ROKR E6. This candybar style music phone has a large touch screen instead of a keypad, with a few RAZR style buttons for navigation below. It runs Motorola's pen-based Linux OS, indicating it is designed for Chinese markets, which is likely why it only features GSM 1900. The E6 also has a full size SD slot, Bluetooth, FM transmitter, and a 2 Megapixel camera with macro mode." You can see more pictures using the first link; and get a copy of the Users Manual here.


TV Implicated in Autism Rise

Business Professors' Study Links Too Much Toddler TV Time to Autism
By Daniel DeNoon WebMD Medical News
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
Too much TV time for toddlers may trigger autism, according to a study by Cornell business professors. Over the past few decades, there's been an amazing increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism. Some experts think this is due to broader diagnostic criteria for autism. Some point to vastly increased services for autistic children. Others think that something in the environment is triggering an autism epidemic.
It occurred to Cornell University management professor Michael Waldman, PhD, that the increase in autism cases came at the same time as increased opportunities for very young children to watch TV. Could it be, he wondered, that the explosion in children's TV programming, DVDs, VCRs, and video/computer games is behind the explosion in autism diagnoses? Waldman asked his colleagues in the medical world to look at the issue. Nobody would. So he assembled a research team and did the study himself -- using tools more often seen in economic studies than in medical studies. The results bolstered his suspicions.
... Until more direct studies confirm or disprove this conclusion, Waldman and colleagues recommend that parents follow the American Academy of Pediatrician's recommendation of no TV before age 2, and no more than an hour or two of TV a day for older children. ... Like Waldman, child development expert Leslie Rubin, MD says Americans -- including medical researchers -- don't pay enough attention to what television does to kids.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Feds Arrest 125 in Child-Porn Investigation

Source: AP/FOXNews
NEWARK, N.J. — A Bible camp counselor and a Boy Scout leader were among 125 people arrested nationwide in an Internet child pornography case in which subscribers purchased photos and videos of children engaged in sex acts with adults, federal authorities said Wednesday. The case originated in New Jersey, but quickly spread to 22 states. The defendants were charged with either possession or receipt of child pornography. Additional arrests are expected.
Prosecutors said the Web site alerted subscribers that its content was illegal and urged them to be discreet about their purchases. "When I say 'hard-core' pornography, I am talking about child pornography that includes images of children as young as six months involved in bondage and sodomy," U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said. "This type of depraved conduct is something a civilized society cannot tolerate." Christie said none of the defendants appeared in any of the images they obtained from the Web site. He would not identify the Web site or say whether it is still in operation.
Among those arrested were a Bible camp counselor from Vancouver, Wash.; a Boy Scout leader from Mission, Texas; and a pharmaceutical researcher in New Jersey. Several of those arrested nationwide have prior records for molesting or sexually assaulting children, officials said. One defendant from San Diego told agents at his arrest that he had molested at least eight children over a 30-year period, and boasted of being able to identify particularly vulnerable children, said Christie. Another defendant from Sacramento, Calif., was found to be in possession of a hand-held video camera with a videotape showing him sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl, Christie said.
"I'm the father of four young children between the ages of 13 and 3," Christie said. "This is every parent's worst nightmare. It is just deeply disturbing to know there are people like this out there in our neighborhoods."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pope Calls Gay Marriage "folly", Warns Politicians

While reading an article on CNet.com, I saw the graphic to the right. No matter how much it goes on, I am still shocked by the anti-Christian bashing taking place on the Net these days. Being curious, I clicked on the image and the following article came up:

Fri Sep 8, 2006 8:58 AM ET
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Friday Catholic politicians could not be swayed by opinion polls and social trends into supporting practices such as abortion and the "folly" of gay marriage. The Pope repeated his opposition to abortion and gay marriage in a toughly worded address to visiting bishops from Canada.
"In the name of ‘tolerance' your country has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse, and in the name of ‘freedom of choice' it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children," the Pope said."When the Creator's divine plan is ignored the truth of human nature is lost," he said.
Canada legalized gay marriage last year but its parliament will hold a vote later this year on whether to start the process of scrapping the law, which is opposed by conservatives. Since his election last year, the Pope has often condemned gay marriage and last June a Vatican document called it one sign of "the eclipse of God" in modern times. In his address to the bishops, the Pope also touched on the highly sensitive issue of whether Catholic politicians can back legislation allowing practices such as gay marriage and abortion even if they are personally opposed to them. The Pope condemned such behavior by politicians as "false dichotomies".
"They are particularly damaging when Christian civic leaders sacrifice the unity of faith and sanction the disintegration of reason and the principles of natural ethics, by yielding to ephemeral social trends and the spurious demands of opinion polls," he said. "Democracy succeeds only to the extent that it is based on truth and a correct understanding of the human person. Catholic involvement in political life cannot compromise on this principle...," he said.
The Church, particularly in developed countries such as the United States, has been divided over the issue of whether Catholic politicians who support abortion should be allowed to receive communion. The issue divided U.S. Catholics and their bishops during the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry, a Democrat and a Catholic who supports abortion rights. Some Catholic politicians say they are personally opposed to abortion but, in pluralistic societies such as the United States, feel obliged to support a woman's right to choose.
Last June, a task force of the U.S. Catholic bishops conference left the decision of whether Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should be denied communion with local bishops. President George W. Bush, a Protestant and a Republican, opposes abortion and gay marriage. Gay marriage is expected to be an issue in November elections when control of the Republican-led U.S. Congress will be at stake.
First, I was surprised to see a fairly unbiased report -- though the tone is definitely pro-gay. in my opinion, Pope Benedict, makes very good points. When we endure the redefinition of spouse and the ongoing legacy of murdered unborn children, we are losing humanity -- as defined and mandated by our Creator. Mankind will answer for the 30 million aborted children. We will also answer for the 1%-3% of liberal activisits that have chosen the behavior of homosexuality to rule over the other 97%+ of us. The Church will certainly answer for not showing people, in love, the error of their ways and choices.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Many Americans Have Trouble Paying Medical Bills: Survey

From HealthCentral:
A new survey found that 25 percent of Americans said that they or a household family member had trouble paying medical bills during the past year. That's the highest percentage in a series of polls since 1997.
Of the respondents who reported problems, 69 percent had health insurance. The Health Care in America Survey of 1,201 adults was conducted between September 7th and 12th, 2006. Key findings include:

  • 28 percent of respondents said that in the past year they or a family member have put off medical treatment because of the cost. Of those who delayed treatment, 70 percent said they needed care for a serious medical condition.
  • Among those with health insurance, 60 percent are worried about not being able to afford coverage over the next few years -- 27 percent said they are very worried.
  • 54 percent of those without health insurance said they don't have it because they can't afford it.
  • 80 percent said they're dissatisfied with the overall cost of healthcare to the nation. Cost came out ahead of quality when they were asked about their own healthcare.
The survey was conducted jointly by the Kaiser Family Foundation, ABC News, and USA Today.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Prowling for Predators on MySpace

Blogma reports:
Police in Suffolk County, N.Y., recently caught a registered sex offender trolling for underage boys on MySpace, thanks to some code written by former hacker and current Wired editor Kevin Poulsen. Poulsen wrote an automated script that scanned the social networking site for predators, using data taken from the web site of the Department of Justice's National Sex Offender Registry. Poulsen claims to have so far, including found 744 sex offenders with MySpace profiles; 497 who have been registered for sex crimes against children. MySpace has come under fire for not doing enough to protect children; the company recently announced a safety campaign to help children wise up online. Bloggers wondered if robot cops could be the answer to at least some of the company's problems.
Guardian Technology Blog -- "Of course, there's nothing illegal about a convicted criminal having a MySpace profile, but previously the site has said it can't keep control over its members. And the fact that offending registers in other countries - such as Britain - aren't available in the same way as those in the US, means it's hardly out of the bounds of imagination to expect that the number of sex offenders active on the site is much greater."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Previews, News & Reviews...

The Previews, News & Reviews blog is being offered primarily as a storehouse for current news (on most any topic), along with previews & reviews of technology and photography related items. You will also find topics of a political or "world view" nature posted here. I hope you enjoy PNR -- and visit often.
You might also want to visit PNR's sister blog, The Sope-Bocks. It is an interesting weblog read by hundreds each day!