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Comment Here you go (Score 1) 742

If you would consider upgrading it to Windows 7 you will get parental controls that are simple to control. You can set allowed access times, game access based on ratings, and which apps the child can/cannot run.

Set the machine so it can only browse pbskids.org, which should keep him busy for hours. If you do this at the router level then you don't have to worry about the kid being able to defeat the filter.

I have a 12-yr old with autism, and as soon as he was curious about computers (5 yr old or so), that's how I dealt with it. My only beef with parental controls is Youtube, which refuses to use proper ratings. Instead it takes into account the age (minimum 13) of the account holder and it refuses to show content flagged as objectionable if the viewer is not at least 18. The problem is that the child eventually runs into content that hasn't been flagged yet, which is annoying as hell. Except for the youtube issue, pretty much everything else respects the parental ratings. Firefox for some reason didn't like to play nice with these in OSX 10.5 and 10.6, but Safari is fine. I haven't checked if this is an issue with Windows 7 too.

The other thing I did is I setup his mac in the living room, facing a wall. My wife keeps her laptop at a spot in a living room that is in a direct line of sight of his, so all she has to do is look up and she can see what he is doing.

And yeah, *my* laptop is set so I can see HER screen and his. She's clueless about computers, so I have to keep an eye on hers as much as the 12-yr old.

Comment Re:Impossible? (Score 1) 426

I have no idea, but based on how it was impossible for me to shoot the A1 properly right-handed, I guess my left eye is dominant. I can shoot pistols ambidextrous, but if I shoot Weaver then it is lefty. As for that cast-in deflector stub, its usefulness became obvious the day I got that casing stuck under my eyeglass and my drill sergeant was so furious that I was not issued the clip-on deflector that he had me turn in the A1 and exchange it for an A2 (the first one with the cast-in deflector).

As for "lefty" rifles, I have seen bullpup rifles that let you pick if you want the brass to be ejected left or right.

Comment Re:Impossible? (Score 1) 426

I don't know, we lefties have spent so long in a right-handed world that we adjust to some things without even noticing. I am 39, and to this day I can't even sign my name with my right hand, but I bowl, bat and golf right-handed (yet I throw balls lefty), I am ambidextrous as far as cutlery goes, I use the mouse with my right hand and I shoot firearms lefty (not fun learning to shoot with an M16-A1 that required a clip-on "lefty" brass deflector, forgot it once and was rewarded with a hot casing stuck between my face and my eyeglasses). It is extremely rare to find an adult that is a pure lefty.

Comment Re:*cough* (Score 1) 360

Comment Re:Gmail? (Score 3, Insightful) 385

Yes! The thing that appeals to me the most about using Gmail is that searching through 5+GB of old emails won't make everything in my machine slow to a crawl. Even with the free Gmail account, you can up the storage to 20GB for $5/year, and that extra space is available from other Google services connected to the same account.

If you want to have more flexibility, sign up for a Backupify account, which can backup Gmail pretty well. As a bonus, when Backupify stores your backups they are kept in plain text format, so you can always pull these and move them elsewhere without having to worry about issues with Gmail's storage formats.

Comment Re:love it (Score 4, Interesting) 247

We got two Kindles here, it is just too convenient to have the books available anywhere. With two of us in the house reading so much, we already had one wall covered with bookshelves and it was starting to get out of control (those things are dust magnets). Now all of our purchased eBooks are kept in a convenient location, we don't even have to worry about losing a book because the device fails.

Even if I forget the Kindle when I leave the house, I can use the Blackberry client and pull whatever I was reading. The flexibility I get outweighs any concern I may have had about DRM and lock-in.

Comment Re:Why I prefer physical media (Score 1) 232

Yup. I put 50 hours into Red Dead Redemption for the 360, then Amazon paid me $40 for my used copy (they are currently offering $32.50), they even paid for the shipping.

And yes, it's an Amazon gift card, not cash, but I spend so much at Amazon that to me it is the same as cash.

That's 50 hours of entertainment for a little over $20. I would not be able to do this if I bought a full game download for the console. At least in the 360, you would only be able to play it in the original console that was used to buy it, or with the original Live ID used for the purchase.

Censorship

Pentagon Seeking Out Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange 628

clustro writes "The Pentagon is desperately seeking the 'cooperation' of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, in order to stop him from releasing over 250,000 pages of confidential foreign policy documents. The documents were allegedly provided to Assange by Bradley Manning, the same solider who leaked a video showing a US Army helicopter killing unarmed civilians and international press correspondents."

Comment Re:Parental controls (Score 1) 618

He actually enjoys the popping (but not a twisted balloon sculpture, he keeps these around until they deflate on their own). There are other popping videos that are hilarious, like for example a Jack Russell terrier popping what seems to be a full living room crammed with balloons in just a few seconds.

This could be easily solved if Youtube embraces a standard content tag and allow the content generators to rate their videos. I am sure that balloon popping lady wouldn't have trouble rating her videos higher than the PG level that I try to keep as the max for my son.

Comment Parental controls (Score 4, Interesting) 618

Both Windows 7 and OSX have parental controls that enforce usage times in a per-account basis, which apps can be run from these accounts, which sites can be accessed, etc. I have been using these with OSX (a good write up at http://theappleblog.com/2009/01/13/kid-proofing-a-mac-with-parental-controls/) with my 11-year old autistic boy and they couldn't be any simpler. He can only log into the machine at certain times, and I have the option to set a maximum session time per day. He can only run apps that I approve, and can go to sites only if I explicitly allow them. The bad news is that, at least in OSX, Firefox doesn't respect the parental control settings (Safari does it fine).

I checked with Windows 7 and the parental controls seem to be pretty similar. More at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/features/parental-controls.aspx

My only real annoyance is that Youtube doesn't have real content rating, which makes it a pain to filter properly. My son loves to make balloon sculptures and is always checking for new video tutorials, the problems is that while looking for these, he runs into the videos of the balloon popping fetishists. One second I am hearing a video explaining how to twist balloons into a roadrunner, next I hear a 300-pound woman in a bathing suit giggling and sitting on balloons to pop them. Gross.

Comment Re:Coloured writing (Score 4, Informative) 56

Yup.

I am the father of an 11-year old autistic boy with an escape artist complex. He has already tried to run away from his teachers many times, and in one occasion he actually made it out of the school grounds. My only relief at the time is that when he took off running almost everyone was outside, so everyone, even the principal, took off after him.

It still took a good 15 minutes to catch him, and they had already called the police.

A fence is not going to stop this from happening, but it provides a decent speed bump for wandering children that don't understand the concept of danger.

Comment Why is this news? (Score 0, Troll) 276

Are these the only two programmers in this field that lost their jobs today? Not really.

Are these two responsible for writing all the code in the game? Not really, it takes hundreds of people to put out even a mediocre game. There are more QA people in just one game than the total number of programmers I have worked with for the past 10 years.

Plus lets be realistic here, they are lead developers, which means they probably spent most of their days riding the damn phones. I am a lead programmer and there are days that pass without me being able to write one damn line of code, and my projects are tiny in comparison to a retail video game.

By all of the noise published so far about this, one would believe that these two are being canned due to nefarious purposes. Maybe they kept forgetting to use the new TPS cover sheets. Or they said the wrong thing to the wrong exec. If you think that you are "essential" to the company, figure out if the company has key man insurance on you. If they don't, then you probably aren't.

Comment Re:Kindle (Score 1) 684

You are missing the biggest part of the $10 debate. Amazon is paying certain publishers $14 wholesaler per title, then turning around and selling the title for $10. Why? Because they are willing to use the books as loss leaders to drive sales of the Kindle, which gives them more strength to negotiate for a lower wholesale price later down the road.

The publishers are whining because at $10 it lowers the perception that the contents books are worth a lot of money. They don't want you to think ebooks can be discounted perpetually until they sell for a buck a title.

Amazon is whining because they are paying the agreed on price to the publisher and it is their business how much money they are willing to lose per title as long as it drives up Kindle sales.

Us ebook buyers are whining because it is borderline price fixing, which is illegal in this country. And while rare titles should command a price, there is no way in hell that a mass release title needs to cost more than $10 for everyone involved to make money.

And yes, the two biggest losers here are going to be the mom and pop bookstores, which are going to be relegated to used bookstore duty only, and the small authors, who are getting sabotaged out of creating grassroots interest in their works since obviously the big publishers aren't interested in marketing them but have no trouble sabotaging new channels that allow them to do the marketing on their own.

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