published Friday, January 13th, 2012

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 an 18-year-old daughter who is a senior in high school.

Q: Dad, what is the best way to find out what is going on in the world?

A: Read a newspaper. It doesn't matter if it is this one, though it's the one you should read for obvious reasons. Just reading a newspaper every day will increase your knowledge and awareness of just about everything going in the world, and you will be amazed at how many things relate to each other. Suddenly your history, economics, sociology, religion and even English classes come into focus and become more real. You also will be entertained.

-- By Barry Courter



TECH QUESTION

Q: What is DRM and how does it work on mobile devices?

A: DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It is the technology that controls your access to copyrighted works such as movies, music, literature and software. The files are encrypted so you can use themdevices. For example, if you have downloaded music onto your PC and want to access it with your smartphone, you may need to enter a username and password. There may be a maximum number of devices from which you can access your purchased files. While convenient to keep media on your mobile devices, remember to adhere to licensing agreements. Amazon MP3 Music Service, for example, specifies that you must only use its digital content for "your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use." iTunes authorizes you to use its products on five iTunes-authorized devices at any time, except for content rentals, which may only be used on one at a time. The exception is iTunes Plus products, which do not limit your usage. According to Apple, "you can copy, store and burn iTunes Plus products as reasonably necessary for personal, noncommercial use."



TOP 10 GAMES

Game Informer magazine ranks the top Xbox 360 games for January.

  1. "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim"

  2. "Battlefield 3"

  3. "Call of Duty: Modern Warfarrine 2"

  4. "Saints Row: The Third"

  5. "Rayman Origins"

  6. "Forza Motorsport 4"

  7. "Batman: Arkham City"

  8. "Assassin's Creed Revelations"

  9. "Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary"



TV ON DVD

What: "Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season" (NR, 2010, HBO)

"Empire Boardwalk" has an ability to exhilarate in spite of the oppressively predictable overtones that accompany its premise. Anyone with any historical comprehension already knows how well the United States' flirtation with prohibition went, and anyone with any clue whatsoever could scarcely even feign surprise when the legislators responsible for pressing the big red Prohibition button are the same folks cutting secret deals to keep the booze flowing for themselves and their friends in business, leadership and organized crime. These and some of "Empire's" other themes -- woman suffrage, post-war trauma, every "-ism" in the discrimination playbook -- are so rigidly set in their thematic ways as to materialize without help, and the show's attenstorical accuracy would appear only to stifle it further. But in mixing the dramatizations of real people with characters of the show's own creation, "Empire" perfectly threads the needle, tipping its hat to history with a gorgeous re-creation of the era but overwhelmingly keeping its focus on the detailed development of a massive roster of terrific characters from the largest and most acute corners of the era. With an eye for detail this good, "Empire" is free to let the themes play out like you know they will, because the real story lies between the lines.

-- McClatchy Newspapers

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