GETTING YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED

It seems like a lot of the people we meet want to be writers. And they have a great subject for a novel: it’s about them. A good start might be finding an agent. Nowadays, you can find them online. QueryTracker.net lists over 1500 literary agents, with brief information about each. It’s free to sign up, and the site can keep track of how many pitch letters you’ve sent, where they went and when. This could prevent some embarrassing moments, like sending the same letter to the same agent several times. Click on any agent’s name to find out the kinds of authors they represent. Some prefer pitch letters by email, others ask you to fill out a form online.  Click […]

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GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Our attention was captured recently by a Wall Street Journal article about executives playing video adventure games. One was 34, another 49. Their ages were apparently meant to surprise us, but in fact it’s normal. There has always been an assumption that only kids play video games. It depends on the game. In fact, in the decades we have been writing this column — and it is the oldest and longest running technology column in the known universe (and parts of New Jersey) — the great majority of video game players have ranged from their mid 20s on up. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average male player is 35, the average woman 44. We’re talking about complex games […]

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TEACHING AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS

Recently, we bought a $21 smart phone for our 97 year-old friend, Ida. It was not only economical (meaning cheap), but it’s been fun and instructive…

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MAKING MUSIC

Topics: Free music app, refurbished computers, geography game, Netflix Releases,security for Android phones, Dropbox tip.

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WATCHING TV SPORTS ANYWHERE

When our friend from Wisconsin (No, his name is not Yon Yonson) is in our neck-of-the-woods, he wants to watch the Green Bay Packer games on his phone. Can he do it? One way is to use “Watch ESPN,” a free app for Android, iPhone and iPad. We tried out the ESPN app on our phone to watch football in a doctor’s waiting room and it worked fine. But the catch is, you must verify that you have a subscription to cable TV. Our friend Lee does not have a cable TV subscription. Instead, he has a lifetime subscription to the TiVo service. TiVo users can stream programs to their TV at home or to their phone or tablet. But […]

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CHAT WITH A WORLD WAR I SOLDIER

Topics: Texting a soldier, retro game, video trends, avoiding loud commercials, family safety settings, sketching tips, ten enigmas that defy explanation.

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100 ARCADE GAMES FROM THE OLD DAYS

This Spring, thanks to Atari, 100 arcade games from the old days will be available for playing online through the website Steampowered.com. The games include Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, Tempest and Warlord. We got a wee bit excited when we read that many of these classic games are already available on Atari’s “Flashback” console, now out in version 6. But when we checked the reviews on Amazon, nearly half the reviewers give it only one star. The machine gets confused if your hand actions are too animated and the joystick is difficult to use. Missile Command is described as virtually unplayable. Some kids like it because they didn’t know how these games worked in the old days. And by the […]

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NEW YEAR REFLECTIONS ON THE CHANGING UNIVERSE OF GAMES

December 2015 was the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s lecture on the “General Theory of Relativity,” changing forever the way we see the Universe. On a somewhat lesser level, it was the 40th anniversary of “Colossal Cave Adventure,” usually called simply “Adventure.”

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GOLF WHEREVER YOU ARE

“Optishot Golf” is a $500 simulator that fits in a briefcase and connects with a computer to analyze your swing. Videos and still shots from world-famous courses are projected onto whatever wall you happen to have handy. You can play alone or with two to four companions.

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BATTLE FOR THE OLDIES

Avast mateys! You scurvy dogs! Playing games like “Monkey Island” back in the 1990s was the most fun we’ve had playing video games. But some of those old games won’t play on new machines — unless you can get new versions.

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