IF IT MOVES, SHOOT IT

Time to stop worrying and line up your gun sights. Video games are not making us more violent.

In Victorian times, people feared the effect of novels on the young. John Locke worried about their eating too much fruit. Then in the 1950’s, rock ‘n roll was the boogie man. Now people fear video games. There’s still time to panic.

Most video gamers are not children. The average age is around 30. As the Economist Magazine points out, “violent crime in America has fallen as games have become popular.” A study in Britain recently found that crimes committed by teenagers there are down a whopping 86 percent.

This is even better news than you’d think. Bob predicted a decade ago that video games would outpace movie box office. That pace keeps accelerating. Video games are a $150 billion-a-year industry now, nearly five times what movies are expected to bring in this year. Things will get worse, or maybe better, depending on which company’s stock you own.

Super Mario Brothers and its spin-offs have grossed $34 billion, according to Wikipedia. The highest-grossing movie franchise, Marvel Cinematic Universe, grossed $18 billion. The currently-hot game, “Red Dead Redemption 2,” brought in $725 million in its first three days, behind only the film “Avengers: Endgame”, and “Grand Theft Auto V,” a game from 2013.

Google has a new streaming video service for games. It’s called “Stadia.” It doesn’t have a lot of games yet, but includes some of the hottest titles. It costs $129 to join and $10 a month after the first three months. (The once-you-got-‘em, keep ‘em business model.) The price includes a controller and a Chromecast, to put the games on your TV. Microsoft is launching an “XCloud” service in 2020, similar to Stadia, and Amazon is expected to follow. Time to stock up the refrigerator and sit back in a comfy chair.

Blue Light Blues

 Joy ordered new glasses for computer work after she broke her old ones. But she forgot to get the kind that filters blue light. There’s a fix for that.

 But first, why care about blue light? That’s the kind we get from the sun. The thing to remember is: We don’t stare into the sun. But we do stare at our screens. According to PreventBlindness.org, blue light from electronics can cause eye strain, irritated eyes and difficulty focusing. At night, it makes you too alert to fall asleep quickly.

 In Windows 10, type “Night Light” into the search bar. When it comes up, move a slider knob to the left to get a softer, slightly-orange, glow. The settings have an automatic turn on and turn-off time, but you can adjust these to get almost continual soft light. We chose 5 p.m. for our turn-on time and 4:45 p.m. the next day for our turn-off time, which gives us only 15 minutes of harsh light. After selecting each time, click the checkmark to save it.

 On a Mac, type “Night Shift” into the search settings, and go from there. For more info, see the article at DigitalTrends.com called “How to Use a Blue Light Filter on your PC or Mac.” If you want a softer light on your smartphone or tablet, search for an app, using the phrase “Night Shift on iOS” or “Night Shift on Android.”

 Internuts

 ● “How Well Can You Decode Text Message Slang?” Search on that phrase to find several articles. For example, “Ship,” stands for “relationship,” as in: “I totally ship you guys,” which means you think they’d make a great couple. “Sus” means “suspicious.” “IKR” means, “I Know, Right?” and “JSYK” means “Just So You Know.”

 GreenChef.com and HelloFresh.com are two new meal kit services Joy likes. In her experience, they make good gifts.But you don’t want to keep paying for them forever, which is the latest marketing trend. If you order one under your own name, you can cancel it before the second week begins.

 Going Abroad

We mentioned in a previous column that we wondered why a reader didn’t use her sister’s Google Fi phone abroad, since there are no extra data charges. However, the reader was talking about phone calls, not using Skype, Facetime, or some other app for WiFi calls.

 Regular calls on Google Fi cost 20 cents a minute in over 200 countries. A ten-minute call would cost $2. You might do better with a local SIM card, but this way you don’t have to get one. Google also offers a new unlimited calling plan for $80 a month, which includes free calls from the U.S. to just about any other country.

 Digitizing CDs

 We were thinking of using MusicShifter.com to digitize our CDs. Then we’d donate the physical disks to charity.

 But a reader told us this isn’t kosher. “You can’t get rid of the original recordings as planned,” he writes, “you’re going to have to hold onto them as long as you have the copies. The way the copyright law is written, you can make all the copies you want, but they have to remain in your possession, along with the original CDs.” After hearing this, Joy thought we’d better keep them all, but Bob said “fuggedaboutit.” (He’s spent some time in New Jersey.) Then we decided we like CDs.

 The reader adds that ripping the CDs is a good idea no matter what you intend to do with them. “At some point, CD players are going to go the way of the dodo,” he says.

 

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