St. Cloud Times from Saint Cloud, Minnesota on August 28, 2000 · Page 8
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St. Cloud Times from Saint Cloud, Minnesota · Page 8

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Monday, August 28, 2000
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Techcetera Asitetosee For political junkies: www.lib.umich.edu UbhomeDcnmients.renterele;2000.htinl ' rnri ST. CLOUD Times 1 8A Monday, Aug. 28, zuw Marian Rengel Times columnist v Turn off kids'TV, plug into sleep's power Children, education, good grades, television in their bedrooms. Which one doesn't belong? Children with television sets in their bedrooms get worse grades than children whose parents have kept those devices out of their sleeping chamber, according to a recent study by the National Institute on Media and the Family, a Minneapolis-based advocacy group. That study revealed that most kids with TVs in their rooms don't read as much as their non-TV counterparts. They watch 5.5 hours more of television each week, up from the 25-hour high. And they join in few activities that do not involve electronic media. Those numbers tell only part of the story. Television sets and the easy convenience of having one on a dresser in the bedroom also defy the purpose of a child's bedroom. In the comfortable, darkened quiet of their own room, children are to find sleep. Surrounded by warm blankets, their favorite stuffed animals, children more easily drift into their much-needed night time of sleep. Sleep's importance In the same week that I heard of the study by the Media and the Family organization, I began reading "The Promise of Sleep" by William C. Dement As a pioneering researcher into sleep medicine, Dement has seen firsthand how Americans have developed terrible sleep habits and how those habits cause harm to all of us. Without a good night's sleep, we are less productive, less creative, less able to concentrate. We may not feel the results as we struggle, habitually, through our days, but when scientists run people through tests of their alertness and their thinking abilities, sleepy people fare far worse than well-rested people. Distractions in their sleeping chambers keep children from a good night's sleep. The television, the harm of which has been well established in the scientific community, brings double harm to children. It keeps them awake when they need to sleep and it distracts them from more interactive, involved and creative learning opportunities. Teens watching TV The case is worse for teens (56 percent have TVs in their bedrooms) than for younger children (46 percent of 8- to 12-year-olds have TVs in the bedroom). Dement explains that a teen's sleep cycle shifts due to the maturing of their biological clocks and their sleepwake cycles. A peak of energy hits many teens late in the evening, giving them energy and drive to stay awake. If that energy moves them to switch on Jay Leno or David Letterman, not only are they going to wake up tired in the morning, their heads will be filled with useless, if funny, information. A television set in a kid's bedroom is a double wham-my. It deprives the child of intelligence building interaction and refreshing, renewing sleep. Check out Dement's book. It's in paperback from Dela-court Press for $24.95. Then check out www.mediafamil y.org or call (888) 672-5437 and review results of the organization's studies of TVs influence on the family. This column is the opinion of staff writer Marian Rengel. She can be reached by calling 255-8769 or by e-mail at mrengelstclouAgannett.com. Photos courtesy Mike Danzeisen , , (Below right) With standard processing, St. Cloud diver Mike Danzeisen got a murky blue image of a margate he saw during a February trip to Bonaire. (Above) When Danzeisen tried Kodak Sea Processing, the added red tones brought out the true colors of the margate and the smaller fish around it Cutting-edge technology for underwater pictures is available in St. Cloud BySueHalena , Times staff writer Mike Danzeisen shot 10 rolls of film with a rented underwater camera when he took his first ocean diving vacation in February. He brought them to a discount store developer when he got back to St. Cloud, only to leafn th Umitations of standard de veloping. "When I first looked at the pictures, I thought, 'That's not anything like what I saw.' So when Danzeisen heard that a St Cloud dive shop was hooking up to a new Kodak service called Sea Processing this summer, he was eager to have new prints made. "I think it's a dramatic change," Danzeisen said. "It's luce night and day." Limited sites The cutting-edge technology that appeals mainly to scuba divers and snorkelers is available through only 25 retail sites in the United States, including the landlocked city of St Cloud. Underwater Sports Inc., 552-25th Ave. N, started handling Sea Processing Virtual Philbin realistic, but repetitive Gannett News Service ABC-TV has been riding the trivia game show phenomenon with its record-shattering "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" program, with the charismatic veteran Regis Philbin as host It also became a best-selling CD-ROM game series for the personal computer, and now, the sequel is available for the Sony PlayStation. .. Unfortunately, while the game proves faithful to the look, drama and questions of its television counterpart, there are a few glaring shortcomings that hurt the overall gameplay. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, 2nd Edition," challenges players to successfully answer 15 multiple-choice questions in a row to win one million (virtual) dollars in cash. To get to this "hot-seat" play, the player must first place four items in the appropriate chronological order faster than the other contestants "fastest finger." And also as with the --" innnrnamn rn ill 1 fi it " ' - - - - - - - ' ., -"Tr'ii ITrtftT T I'll J orders in mid-July. Co-owner Muriel Spychala spied Kodak's idea at a January trade show and persisted with her requests to become one of the 25 retailers. She's not sure how , her store was selected; she just knows that she and her customers are happy ' about the service. Sea Processing changes the way photos are printed, not the way they are processed. It can be used with film or digital images; negatives must be converted to digital images to use specially designed printing' software. It's Kodak's response to the fact that water filters out red tones. The farther the subject, the greater the filtering. Under traditional processing, rental cameras and even disposables might get decent results on subjects no more than a few feet away. But the excitement of underwater discoveries tempts divers to push those limits, and it's also easy to misjudge distance under water-imposed magnification. The results, Spychala said, would be a few good shots out of one whole roll of film. Who Wants to be Game: "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, 2nd Edition" Platform: Sony PlayStation Genre: Trivia Developer: Image-Builder Software tf Publisher: Sony Price: $39.99 Rating: "E" for Everyone Score: Three stars out of five real show, contestants also have access to three lifelines: Phone-A-Friend, 5050 and Ask the Audience. .. 1 The music and sound effects are right out of the TV program. And although he's not in the game as much as you'd probably like, Philbin's presence also adds to overall charm and authenticity. He sets up the questions and then comments on the chosen answer, but the questions themselves are Only in text format, and Better prints Serious photographers traditionally have relied on pricey equipment and costly, time-consuming color printing adjustments, while vacationers usually have settled for disappointing prints from mechanized labs. Kodak's new system combines the trained eye of a technician with the speed of specially programmed adjustments to' remove the typical blue haze and restore reds, greens and oranges. The service could double the 1.5 million rolls of film taken by divers annually, according to Kodak.1 "Now they have the machines and the mathematics and the computers to replace all that color that was there," Spychala said. Some professional photographers generally recommend the system; others are skeptical about the degree of improvement that can be expected when amateurs shoot with normal lenses and low-power flashes. Selling itself Before-and-after photos m Spychala's store sell the new system. The blended a Millionaire? not read out loud. The problems begin with the repetitive questions and comments. Sure, the questions can get quite tough, not to mention . Philbin's kibitzing can be quite entertaining, but consumers may be disappointed paying $40 for a game with little replayabil-ity. There are roughly 600 questions in total, and the same ones start appearing after a while. Second, while Sony has decided to make this game also for two players, this 'pmt'wtw 'Urn., 'S. pastels of the queen trigger fish and highlights on a shiny barracuda appear. Scales and small stripes show up. An ocean scene shot from the beach shows the true turquoise color of the water. The cost: $14.27 for 36 4-by-6-inch prints at Underwater Sports. For an additional $7.70, Kodak will put the images on a picture CD (with software included), and for $4.50 the images can be transmitted online to a customer. The picture CD and online transmission must be ordered at the time of original processing. Turnaround time for prints usually is three days. Pre-paid mailers can be purchased in person or by mail for Kodak's suggested retail price of $16.49 for up to 36 images. Users send the pre-paid mailers directly to Dale Laboratories in Hollywood, Fla, the sole printing site. For the first two weeks after printing, the laboratory will keep images stored in computer files. That means enlargements and reprints can be ordered with just a fax. See PHOTOS, 9A really only encompasses the "fastest-finger" round because the player who wins makes it to the hot seat, leaving the other behind. Why bother at all, then? Lastly, Philbin asks his famous "...is that your FINAL answer?" phrase randomly, and only later on in the game. This is frustrating because it's possible to select the wrong answer by mistake, and, alas, it's too late to change it after the "final answer" last chance. In short, while the game proves to be a reasonably enjoyable diversion for the whole family, the fun doesn't last too long. Maybe in future incarnations of the game (it doesn't take a genius to guess more can't be far behind), Sony could slash the price of the CD in half, squeeze in more questions and introduce a novel mul-tiplayer mode and then we may very well have a trivia game fit for a millionaire. Mysteries can solve problem of getting kids on a computer Gannett News Service The computer can be a great way to teach children. The key is finding software that will make your child want to play. Since so many children enjoy mysteries, it is an excellent genre to explore on the computer. Most will eagerly participate in learning games to solve a caper. Here are four software series that deliver the cyber-sleuth goods: Freddi Fish Series: For the gumshoes with little feet, Freddi is an adorable yellow fish who finds a mystery wherever she swims. There are four Freddi mysteries, the most recently released being: Freddi Fish 4: The Case of the Hogfish Rustlers of Briny Gulch and Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell. The modus operandi of this series is for children to direct Freddi's sleuthing throughout beautifully drawn underwater scenes. But you will be amazed by what goes on in this ocean: fish wearing hard hats, an octopus playing music, and hogfish mat are "rustled." A host of whimsical characters and a slew of clues await While children are busy being detectives, they are also learning how to think logically, because they can only win by using clever thinking and solving multi-step problems. Choose these titles for children ages 5-8. From Humongous Entertainment (800-499-8386, www.humongous.com.). The Cluefinders Series: For tweeners, (8- to 12-year-olds) investigate any of the seven titles containing the word "Cluefinders." The Cluefinders are four brainy children who are supposedly world-renowned for their sleuthing talents. In each title, players join the Cluefinders team and help solve a mystery by playing academic games. The newest in this series, Cluefinders Search & Solve Adventures, takes place in a "haunted" amusement park. , Its academic games all involve logical thinking skills including pattern recogni Cyberbuzz Mega-reference site for young students Education FactMonster.com is a mega-reference site for young students. Combining a cool, user-friendly format and bright, informative graphics, it's packed with information on everything from dragons and giants to pets and proverbs. www.factmonster.com. Take an online tour of the FAA's Air Traffic Control System Command Center. www.fly.faa.govlnforma tionTourtour.html. Learn something new with the help of FindTutori-als.com, a search service that targets courses and guides on subjects ranging from the arts to fitness to sports, www.find tutorials.com. Entertaining Five thousand square miles of silence. A fitting description of the Sonoran desert, which used to be called a wasteland but which many now feel is the nation's last great natural treasure. See for yourself. http:oneworldjourneys.co msonoran. Finances BestCalls seeks to allow individual investors access to "analyst calls" telephone conference calls that most publicly held corpora tion, sequencing, hypothesis testing and spatial reasoning. Others in the series focus on math or grade-specific academics. From The Learning Company (800-543-9778, www.mattelmteractive.com). Carmen Sandiego Series: This series features Carmen Sandiego, the grande dame of crime. Carmen has been plaguing software sleuths for more than 15 years. She's glamorous, she's shifty, and she is smart She is also great fun to chase. Children can pit themselves against Carmen in one of four titles currently on the market They are all good, but our favorite is Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time. This title has 18 different mysteries, and each requires the player to time-travel back to a significant period of history. Players can talk with Julius Caesar, help Beethoven rearrange a symphony, and discuss science with Ben Franklin. All the Carmen titles are appropriate for children ages 9 and up. From The Learning Company (800-543-9778, www.mattelinteractive.com.). The Nancy Drew Series: This two-title series will appeal more to teen-age girls than to boys, but we have known both to enjoy the complex mysteries that these programs present Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill and Nancy Drew: Stay Tuned for Danger feature exquisitely drawn scenes, interesting story lines, and a highly intelligent heroine. They are complicated and richly developed mysteries that take perseverance to win. From Her Interactive (800-561-0908, www.herin teractive.com.) You don't have to worry about brain-drain when children are playing these programs. So, turn on your computer; tell your children to grab their magnifying glasses, overcoats and notepads; and unlock the secrets of these mystery titles. tions hold to discuss the results of the quarter. Membership in the service is free, www.bestcalls.com. Movies Jennifer Lopez pops back into the headlines with a futuristic psychological thriller, "The Cell," a flick whose Web site offers some spooky futuristic effects of its own, including a manipulate brain. (Not for the faint of heart.) www.cell movie.com. Speaking of Lopez, act resspictures.com serves up some splendiferous pix of the actresssingerdancer. The site boasts that it's the only one on the Net that lets users copy and paste photos from its extensive galleries onto their own Web sites, www.actress pictures.comjenniferindex. shtml. History The USS Indianapolis was ambushed after delivering the atomic bomb that would help end World War II. You can follow crewmates from Indy's final cruise who have returned to the Pacific to join explorers as they look for the wreck of their ship. www.discovery.comexp indianapolisnews.html. I

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