Thinking about this summer’s vacation? Now it is possible to head for some exotic place that won’t cost you a fortune to stay once you get there. The gimmick here is Charity Guide, a not-for-profit online organization that offers public service projects to those who want to make the most of their unused days this year, instead of just going to Disney World. Choose dates and time, and volunteer for such projects as creating a tree nursery in Equador, saving sea turtles in Thailand, or curtailing vanishing wetlands in Brazil.
In most instances you will receive room and board in exchange for you not only visiting a foreign country, but by helping them to help themselves. Check them out for even smaller contributions you can make by offering an iota of time that you might otherwise spend growling about the effects of global warming by building a solar oven or patronizing green hotels.
Read More | Charity Guide
After Gear Live’s coverage of all the news about the release of the iPhone, we watched excited shoppers stand in line overnight and run into the Apple store on Release Day as if they had just won a marathon. We just couldn’t believe all the sickos that have decided to sell their obviously non-cherished iPhones on eBay this past weekend. This page alone featured over 60, and over 260 items were listed in all with the average price being between $550.00 and $750.00. Greedy, greedy, greedy. What else can we say?
Read More | eBay
Aside from all the hoopla surrounding the possible entering of actor/former senator Fred Thompson into the presidential race, it seems that the man is a veritable blogging fool. He has been seen on many conservative sites, posting a wide variety of contributions and opinions. Here is one guy who knows how to get the attention of Republican geeks on line and actually enjoys the pastime, while praising the blogosphere as part of “a true information revolution.” At least we will have a public account of his opinions should he eventually become subject to “flip flop” tactics.
Read More | Reuters
Watching my local news station last night, I heard a story about a local District Attorney who had listed 28 local sex offenders that he and his team had found on MySpace. Although we don’t always agree with our local politics, we applaud the efforts of this group to go to the trouble to research and list the offenders which were removed from MySpace, who continuously deal with the problem. Michigan’s Mike Cox warned parents to be more aware of their children’s activities online. Gear Live goes one step further and hopes that more localized officials/police departments/concerned families take the hint and follow suit.
Read More | Fox
Blockbuster has decided to rent only Blu-ray in 1,450 of its stores beginning next month when it expands its inventory. Renting both formats in 250 stores late last year, the company said that consumers preferred Blu-ray more than 70% of the time. It will continue to rent both types in those original stores as well as online. Gear Live was so curious about the decision that it studied the “facts” and came up with this:
- More titles were available on Blu-ray than HD.
- Several of the major studios, including Disney, were releasing exclusively Blu-ray titles.
- Sony Playstation 3 already comes equipped with Blu-ray capability.
- Releases of the popular Casino Royale, Spiderman, and Pirates of the Caribbean came out solely on Blu-ray.
We are still thinking that maybe a battle has been won, but certainly not the DVD war. We just don’t think that buying a new player is worth the price of admission just yet.
Read More | CNN
Vonage E-911 isn’t helping us at all in our home. For some reason, despite inputting the correct address over and over, Vonage automatically changes it to a completely different address. One that isn’t even in the same city, in fact. At first, it was an annoyance. You see, when we signed up for Vonage, we gave them our address and thought that was that. A couple weeks later, we got a confirmation email saying that the address we submitted was accepted - however, in the email, it listed an address we had never seen before. Odd, we thought. We changed it back, and went along on our way…until a couple weeks later we got the same email. Our change has been accepted, but…again, Vonage changed our submission to that same address in a city that is ten minutes from where we have service. We changed it back, and dropped Vonage a support email. We never heard back from Vonage on support. However, two days ago we needed to call an ambulance to rush our 3-year old to the hospital in what was a life-threatening situation. Fortunately, the 911 operator has our correct address come up on her screen - something that when you are in the midst of an emergency, you don’t want to take the time to have to recite.
However, the day AFTER that frantic 911 call, guess what we found in our email inbox…
A former official at The Smithsonian claims that the Institution has toned down a climate change exhibition of the Arctic so that they will not irritate the Bush administration and Congress. Robert Sullivan, a former associate director of the Natural History Museum, claims that the script of “Arctic: A Friend Acting Strangely,” has been rewritten to interject more uncertainty of the effect that global warming may have on humans.
Also included in the alteration were scientists’ interpretations of some research and graphs that now “show that global warming could go either way,” Sullivan said. Although the exhibition closed in November, you can still see it online. We had a bit of a problem in trying to navigate to the site in question, but managed to find a last line of a report that may back up Mr. Sullivan’s statement.
“The climate system represents a complex network of linked processes that help to both moderate and accelerate large-scale change, so it is difficult to predict the effect on living systems and particularly the rates of change that may occur over the near future.”
Current officials at the Smithsonian deny Sullivan’s allegations.
Read More | ABC News
We were horrified to learn that an Australian man has already created an online computer game based on the Virginia Tech Massacre. In V-Tech Rampage, the player controls Cho-Seung-hui. The game includes background sounds of shots and screaming. We were even more surprised that he was able to place and keep it on the Internet.
Its creator, unemployed Ryan Lambourn said he would remove it from each of two sites that it is on if offered $1000.00, and that “I’ve done offensive things before but they’re not usually this popular. No one listens to you unless you’ve got something sensational to do. And that’s why I feel sympathy for Cho Seung-Hui. He had to go that far.”
Lambourn also says that he was bullied and abused when he was a child and identifies with the killer. Isn’t this exactly the kind of behavior that should immediately trigger a bell somewhere that the game’s inventor may be the next to go postal? Although Gear Live learned this afternoon that one of the sites banned the wretched game, we suggest you not only not download the game, but that you contact NewGrounds as we did and ask them to remove it or, if you know Lambourn, get in touch with his mother, so that she can get him some much-needed mental health assistance.
Read More | Newgrounds
Beginning in June, if you live in Japan and go up to an Apex vending machine, you will have the option of watching a 30 second ad instead of paying for your drink. We thought that MediCafe sounded too good to be true, and it turns out that while you are watching the spot, your drink is being poured into an ad-covered cup.
Apex currently maintains about 35,000 of the machines that are priced from 70 to 100 Yen (~.60 to $1.00). That’s a lot of advertising, but isn’t that what every large American fast food/drink company already does? Why don’t we all ask Starbucks or McDonalds to give us a freebie when we become walking billboards on our lunch hour?
Read More | Japan Probe
You can’t go anywhere without running into those “free hours of AOL” discs that aren’t really free. If nothing else, they make good coasters. Yesterday, we were visiting our local camera shop and noticed giveaway DVDs, geared towards promoting “Spiderman 3.” Content is supposed to include “the story, movie clips (including behind-the-scenes,) challenge game preview, cheat codes, and a chance to win a 2007 Mitsubishi Spyder, downloads, and product information.” Alrighty, we thought, fun freebies, but deep in our heart of hearts, we thought it might be too good to be true.
Here’s what we really got:
- A written synopsis of the movie.
- A trailer and 2:30 minute promo of cast and crew telling us how great the movie “Spiderman 3” is.
- A Challenge Game that began April 2 and ended May 4, the premiere date. No challenge, no cheats.
- Five non-exclusive wallpaper choices and 1 screensaver.
- A blatant commercial for Sony’sVaio Series PC/Laptop, Cybershot Cameras, Alpha DSMR Camera, and Handycam Camcorders.
Thanks Sony, for the new cupholder.
Read More | Spiderman 3 Challenge
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