Tag Archives: kids

FaceChipz are POGS for a New Generation

If you remember POGS, you remember how crazy kids were over them. They had to have them at all costs. They had to trade them with their friends. If a kid didn’t have POGS, they weren’t cool!

While POGS have now gone by the wayside, there is something new – and VERY cool – on the horizon. FaceChipz is a new social network for kids. Kids can buy and share their FaceChipz, much like they did with POGS. However, the website offers social interaction for kids… in a completely SAFE environment.

Intended primarily for the “tween” set who’s outgrown children’s websites but aren’t old enough for Facebook yet, FaceChipz mixes real-life networking with online networking. After buying a starter set of five chips, the parent registers an account for them on the FaceChipz website. Then the game begins!

All of the chips are registered on the site using the identification codes found on the back. When all of them have been registered, they can then be traded with friends. Likewise, the friends will give their chips to your child. Your child then goes back to the website and enters the new codes. This will automatically link the two real-life friends on the social site. This then turns into a large social network of friends who actually know each other in the physical world.

The FaceChipz network offers a more secure and private environment for kids than a site such as MySpace does. No strangers can solicit friendship requests here – the child’s only online friends are those they’ve connected with in real life. There also is no search function on the site. Strangers cannot “accidentally” find your child and add them as a friend. The ONLY way that a child will get friends on the site is by knowing them in the real world.

This is such a fantastic idea. By interacting on the site, children will begin to learn how to act and communicate in a social networking type of environment. Since you – the parent – have control over their account, you can monitor their activity. However, you can also use this as a tool to teach your child the correct ways of behaving on a site such as this, so that you are confident they will know how to handle themselves when they are ready for Facebook or MySpace.

Another large bonus is that the chips are seriously cheap. The five pack is only $4.99 at ToysRUs. There is a one-time site registration fee of $1.00. This fee is not there to make money for the site. Instead, it’s there so that parents are forced to be the one to sign up their child (using a credit card), and will therefore know what their child is doing online.

While this is a fantastic idea, it remains to be seen how well it will take off. Are today’s kids going to be interested in something like this, as those in the 90s were with POGS? Or are they too busy sneaking onto sites such as YouTube to watch the latest viral video? Heck, they may have their noses buried in their favorite gaming console, causing them to snort with derision when Mom offers them the cute little chips.

Time will tell how this will turn out. What are your thoughts? If you’re a parent, let me know what you think about this site, and the premise behind it. If you’re a tween… is this something that you’ll do?

What Toy Would You Want for Christmas?

I admitted in a video earlier today that I still enjoy playing with LEGO Bricks. I also apparently still like the Lite Brite!

There’s nothing wrong with occasionally letting your inner child come out to play when you’re a grown-up. I personally think it can help keep you sane and stress-free if you let your hair down once in awhile, and take the time to remember what it’s like to play. What do you do during occasions like these? Do you indulge yourself with crayons? Do you prefer to duke it out with action figures?

What toys do your inner child still love to play with?

Now that Cyber Monday is here, our download center team is working hard to come up with new and amazing programs for you to grab at deep discounts. Be sure to check every day to see what they have found for you!

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How to Raise Kids and Propagate the Geek Species 201

Geek!This is Christine Cavalier’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Prerequisite to this course includes Birds & Bees 101. The “Marriage and Family” course helps, but is not necessary.

In this course, we will learn how to teach our iterations to carry the torch of the geek culture onward. We will be studying these five main guidelines on how to properly raise geeky spawn from pre-alpha stage to formal launch and Initial Public Offering:

  • Assume your spawn, even at an alpha release, knows how to do a lot of stuff already. “Baby” comes with a lot of bundled knowledge, including its own maintenance schedule. You shall not disregard this build. The notifications (a.k.a. “crying fits”) are varied, and you can learn to read them for the different error messages that they are. If you institute this strategy effectively, you will have a healthy spawn who has faith that you can respond quickly to issues.
  • Always read to your spawn, even in the pre-alpha stage. Your spawn has voice recognition software that kicks in at about 14 weeks after start-up. Contrary to lore, it actually doesn’t matter what you read. Code manuals are acceptable, but may educe error messages from your partner / venture capitalist (a.k.a. “significant other”). Lord of the Rings may be a bit more entertaining for your start-up’s advisory board.
  • As your spawn reaches the late beta stage, you will have been working in the “Attachment Parenting” model for a few years. You will have mastered the immediate response to bugs by instituting the Time Out malware. Sometimes repeated physical download of Time Out is necessary. Along with Attachment Parenting theory, you will also be comfortable with the behavioral / cognitive approach adopted by the ultimate geek spawn master, SuperNanny.
  • Share the geek culture early on, but in small doses. Overtaxing your spawn’s disk with too much data will crash it. All geek input may be rejected after a crash. There is no way to wipe the disk. Work out a timeline for geek upgrades and stick to it. Remember: Less is more.
  • Encourage Open Source. Share your knowledge and explore the world together with your spawn, but always remember to embrace your spawn’s unique abilities. Each spawn is an independent client. Remember that the geek culture is wide and vibrant. If your spawn chooses a different version of the culture to adopt, be Tier One line of support for that option. With copious application of the Love and Respect donationware, you will have a spawn that will not only continue our time-honored geek traditions but you will get profound Returns On Investment.

Please comment with any additions to the syllabus of this course. We encourage a “Devcamp” atmosphere, so please share any knowledge or insights you have about the subject in the comment section. Thank you.

Can Kids and Computers Combine?

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Do you remember what it was like when you were a kid? Unless of course, you still are one. I know we have a large audience of teenagers, and that’s wonderful! I have an Email here from Amy, with her top five reasons you should encourage your kids to make use of all Technology.

  • Letting your child use technology early in life will allow you to instill respect… instead of fear… into them. The difference between respect and fear is that fear prevents you from doing something. Respect allows you to use a gadget, knowing the full power and consequences of using it for good or bad.
  • It will help them advance in school at an advanced rate. Kids are made to do testing on the computer. By learning technology early on, it will allow them to be more confident… and competent… when the testing time comes.
  • Learning to use a computer is like learning to walk… it’s easier to learn when you’re little than when you’re older. I know that if I were a kid today, I’d be all over technology.
  • It’s a fact of life that your kid will be using technology for the rest of his or her life. The ability to adapt to a new technology will be much easier if they are taught to use these things at a young age. Kids just tend to pick things up a lot faster than most adults.
  • Letting your child use the computer gives you an opportunity to spend quality time with them… as well as allowing you to know what they know. By sitting with your child when he or she is learning, it allows you to show them what different methods and tools there are, and how to use them.


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How to Take Pictures of Pets and Kids

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It’s that time of year again. Families will come together, children will be in wonderful, smiling moods, and you’ll have your camera permanently attached to your hand. Here are some tips sent in by eatsalot, to help you take better pictures of your loved ones.

  • Take as many pictures as possible: thanks to digital cameras, you can take hundreds of pictures and then just pluck out the bad ones and delete them. Some cameras also have a rapid take feature, which is very useful.
  • Don’t make them pose: simply give them some toys (or in a pets case – some treats) and start taking pictures. Try to do a sort of candid shot. These always turn out to have better memories, and be more realistic than any posed picture.
  • Experiment: try different filters and editing programs. You never know how useful software is until you try it. As long as you use a copy of the original to “play” with, you’ll never accidentally lose the original photo due to bad changes.
  • Lighting: make sure that there is enough light, and try to use the flash as little as possible. Reducing the use of flash also means less red-eyed pictures. You wouldn’t want anyone thinking your child or pet is the devil themselves. We all know they’re little angels.
  • Sending and Printing: Make sure when you want to print them to get good photo paper and a photo printer. If you are sending them in an email, send them at the highest resolution possible. You don’t want to send someone a fuzzy picture. A good thing to keep in mind when emailing large pictures, or several at once, is to zip them into a compressed folder, and attach the entire folder to the email.


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One Laptop Per Child vs Asus Eee Notebook PC

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SWAT sometimes hangs out on Ventrilo with us, and even occasionally streams for me when I’m gone. He was wondering if he should go with the One Laptop Per Child(OLPC) program and help another child as well, or spend the same money and get better components for his daughter by buying the Asus Eeee.

I just spoke with my friend David from EyeJot the other day about this same thing. In the terms of price and what you get, the Asus would be a better deal. But for the same price, you get a tad bit “lesser” laptop for your child… AND get one sent on your behalf to a needy child in a third world country. We talk all the time about how technology changes lives. We talk about the ways computers enhance our daily life, give us opportunities, and broaden our horizons. How could you not want to give those same opportunities to another child… and not have to pay anything extra?

One learning child. One connected child. One laptop at a time.

The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. In order to accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege. Between November 12 and November 26, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. During this time, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution.

The laptop through the OLPC program is a solid laptop. It’s good, and will work wonderfully for your child. Many years and an infinite amount of sweat equity went into the creation of the XO laptop. Designed collaboratively by experts from academia and industry, the XO is the product of the very best thinking about technology and learning. It was designed with the real world in mind, considering everything from extreme environmental conditions such as high heat and humidity, to technological issues such as local-language support. As a result, the XO laptop is extremely durable, brilliantly functional, energy-efficient, responsive, and fun.

If you’re planning to buy a laptop for your young child, or any young child… this is the one you should buy. It’s an excellent machine, and you’ll be giving the gift of opening the future to a child who otherwise may not ever have that chance.

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