THINGS I WISH MY KIDS WOULD ASK
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, since I've been old enough to remember, you've quizzed both of us on the names of singers whose songs pop up on the radio. Why?
A: Partly it's a nerd thing on my part and partly it's to educate you on the important things in life. Everyone should be able to instantly recognize music of the masters: Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles, Beethoven, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. Those are good starting points.
-- By Barry Courter
SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO VIDEO CHAT
Santa Claus is coming to town and not just to the mall. He's logging onto the Internet and listening to children's holiday wish lists on free, real-time video chats. New York-based social networking and software provider Paltalk will launch a video chat room with Santa on Thursday. Santa will be available daily from 1 to 11 p.m. Every child will havene-on-one with the jolly, bearded man without the hassles of waiting in line at a mall. Paltalk also will provide an administrator to monitor the chat room.
PBS KIDS ON iPHONE, iPOD TOUCH
PBS Kids released a video app Tuesday for the iPhone and iPod touch, offering free streaming to more than 2,000 videos, including clips and full episodes from series such as "Sesame Street," "Curious George" and "Dinosaur Train." PBS' video app for the iPad has been downloaded more than 450,000 times and has streamed more than 430 million videos, an average of 2 million a day. The iPhone-touch version of the app now on iTunes expands the mobile viewing audience just in time for the holidays, when some children will be opening up iDevices as gifts and others are using their parents' while traveling to see friends and family. The app also streams videos from PBS shows "Super Why," "Wordgirl," "Wild Kratts" and "The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!" as well as providing local PBS station TV schedules; the download related educational apps and TV episodes; and sharing of PBS videos through e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. The PBS Kids Video App is part of the PBS Kids' suite of apps, which are designed to help children exercise skills such as literacy, science and math. Download it at iTunes or http://to.pbs.org/pbskidsvideo.
-- McClatchy Newspapers
Recently I was sent a holiday gift of Godiva Coffee, which, in simple terms, was outstanding. The company that has made eating chocolate an art is doing the same for coffee, since you can't just stop at one. I'm hooked. Enough said. Details: www.godivacoffee.com.
-- Gregg Ellman, McClatchy Newspapers