published Friday, September 23rd, 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, what do I need to know about serving on a community board or a charitable committee?

A: First, these are noble and wonderful things, and everyone should volunteer at some point. You also should know that serving on one will lead to being asked to serve on dozens. They breed like mice. Commit to do them only if you can actively participate and contribute. Ask hard questions first about time, money, travel and other obligations. You should definitely give back, but only if you can really contribute.

-- By Barry Courter

ON THE HIGH SEAS

And to think it all started with the Love Boat. About 1 in 4 Americans -- 78 million of us -- have taken a cruise, a new survey by Cruise Lines International Association finds. Our favorite cruise itineraries? The Caribbean is still No. 1, followed by Alaska, the Bahamand the Mediterranean. One other interesting tidbit: People who plan cruises tend to use a travel agent; about 68 percent of us did. That's wise because cruise lines pay the travel agents' commissions, not the customers. And agents know where the good rooms are.

TOP 10 GAMES

Game Informer Magazine ranks the top Kinect-compatible games for September.

  1. "The Gunstringer"

  2. "Fruit Ninja Kinect"

  3. "Child of Eden"

  4. "Dance Central"

  5. "Kinect Sports"

  6. "Kinectimals"

  7. "The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout"

  8. "Michael Jackson: The Experience"

  9. "Kinect Adventures"

  10. "Rise of Nightmares"

TRADE IN OR UP

GameStop has officially kicked off a new trade-in program for Apple products, ranging from first-generation iPod Classics to the latest group of iDevices like the iPhone and iPad. The game stores are offering compensation in both cash or store credit, although as you'd expect, you get more credit than cash for swaps. GameStop's website for Apple trade-ins doesn't list the retailerut a quick call to a store reveals payouts like $17 in credit for a 30GB third-generation iPod Classic or $150 in credit for a 16GB iPhone 4. Granted, there are lots of places you can send your unwanted Apple tech for money, but that often requires shipping out the items and then having to wait for a check to arrive in the mail. GameStop is offering immediate gratification, and with the game-buying season just ramping up, the new program offers yet another way to take the sting out of buying new games. And the bar for Apple trade-ins seems relatively low: The device must be able to power up; be free of dents, scratches and cracked screens; and not have any personal engravings. It seems pretty obvious shoppers will eventually see these devices refurbished and for sale, although a date for sales has not been announced.

APP OF THE WEEK

  • What: Beach Live Wallpaper

  • Price: Free

  • Platform: Android

  • What it does: Android phones allow support for live wallpapers, which turn your phone's background eable scene. This free app turns your Android smartphone into your own 3-inch oceanside oasis. You can change your background to an animated beach scene, complete with dolphins in the water, a palm tree and seagulls. You can even customize how many clouds are in the sky. We choose none.

-- McClatchy Newspapers

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