published Friday, August 12th, 2011

The Strip

THINGS I WISH MY KIDS WOULD ASK ME

Editor's note: Barry Courter has a 22-year-old son who recently graduated from college and a 17-year-old daughter who is a senior in high school.

Q: Dad, I've had a friend suffer a terrible loss. What can I say to make him feel better?

A: There is no magic phrase. Very often, the best thing you can do is just be there to listen and let him know you care.

-- By Barry Courter

TOP 10 GAMES

Game Informer Magazine ranks the Top 10 down-loadable games for August.

  1. "Bastion," Xbox 360

  2. "From Dust," Xbox 360, PC

  3. "Ms. Splosion Man," Xbox 360

  4. "Call of Duty: Black Ops Annihilation Map Pack," Xbox 360, PS3, PC

  5. "Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet," Xbox 360

  6. "Limbo," PS3, Xbox 360, PC

  7. "Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax," Xbox 360

  8. "Dragon Age II: Legacy," PS3, Xbox 360, PC

  9. "The Adventures of Shuggy," Xbox 360

  10. "Trenched," Xbox 360

APP WATCH: iSHEETMUSIC

iSheetMusic, a free iPhone and iPad app that provides a mobile meves users an interactive music experience aimed at transforming musicians' access to music. Like e-books, iSheetMusic condenses bulky print works into slim, convenient products that users can take with them anywhere on their mobile devices. The app's music library replaces a carrying case full of sheet music. Users can choose from more than 10,000 songs through iSheetMusic's licensing agreements with sheet-music publishers. Three to four times as many songs are expected on the site by the end of the year. Musicians can buy sheet music for 99 cents per song or five-track bundles for $2.99, either through the app itself or on iSheetMusic.com. Several of the app's features are designed to let musicians focus on their main goal of just playing music. The sheet music's pages turn automatically, so there's no more need for breaks in the music or enlisting the help of a page-turner. A built-in metronome counts musicians into the song and can keep the beat for the piece with a few touches of the screen. It also lets users follow where they are in the song. And the song can be sped up or slowed down. Users also can adjust the display by rotating and resizing it. iSheetMusic will expand to other operating systems and mobile devices soon, co-founder Matt Mostad said on iSheetMusic's blog, and it currently is available in the iTunes app store.

PANDORA ON A ROLL

Pandora's ratings were better than some top terrestrial radio stations for younger listeners, according to a new report. The online streaming service's first set of traditional radio ratings shows that Pandora is performing pretty well in the Top 10 markets, especially among listeners 18- to 34-year-olds, according to AdAge. Pandora posted numbers better than two stations in New York among 18 to 49 year olds, and its rating were strong in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington.

ORGANIZE SUMMER PICS

Back from summer vacation with a memory card full of digital images? With Shutterfly's new Custom Path line of photo books, thereke your memories accessible. Users have full control in creating custom coffee-table photo books with an incredible amount of ease. Once your digital photos are imported from your computer, Shutterfly account, Facebook or just about anywhere your images are stored, you design your own book, including the layout of the photos, backgrounds, text, designs and the front and back covers. Without any instructions, it was amazingly easy to move photos around, resizing them and customizing the whole thing. I started off using auto-fill to place my photos on pages, and it was kind of amazing how well that feature worked. However, I wanted to make my book look more personalized. Prices vary depending on the book size but can be as low as $12.99 for a 20-page 5-by-7 book or up to $69.99 for a 20-page 12-by-12 book. Additional pages can be purchased along with different cover styles. You will need a free Shutterfly membership, but that gets you 50 free 4-by-6 prints.

Details: www.shutterfly.com

-- McClatchy Newspapers

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