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Click to see full-size!For years now, cable TV has been offering phone service, and more lately Internet service. In our Nov. 26, 2011 issue you learned about the magicJack PLUS that gives you local and long-distance phone service over the Internet for under $30 a year. We switched: the deal-maker for us was that we could port our home phone number to our magicJackPLUS. [Disclosure: the author receives no financial incentive from magicJack, he's just a happy customer.] Well, just this month I learned that NetTALK, a similar device, is offering number porting too. Now that cable TV and other companies are providing phone and Internet service, old "Ma Bell" has started to offer Internet and TV service. Even the TV networks frequently remind us that you can watch the news or certain programs at their websites. This is what we call "Convergence" - all sorts of services are converging, coming together, on the Internet.

With Amazon Instant Video you can "buy" a movie or a TV episode and watch it on any device. When you sign up for Amazon Prime ($79 / year), you can stream over 13,000 movies to your PC, Mac, Kindle or TV-attached device, download and and get free shipping on "real" books and other stuff you buy at Amazon.com. [Disclosure again: the author receives no financial incentive from Amazon, he's just a satisfied customer.] In the article How Amazon is changing the rules for books and movies we read that you can not only get a movie or a book from Amazon, but now at the Amazon Studios Website you can actually take part in producing movies!

If you take a laptop computer along for a run, you could jog your memory.

Click to see full-size!You might think $2 for a TV episode or $4 for a movie at Amazon is a bit steep, so check out other services such as Hulu and Netflix that give you unlimited viewing of movies and TV episodes for $7.99 / month. Not to be outdone, Google TV combines Netflix, YouTube, Google Music, games, search, live TV and more. This almost leaves Apple TV in the dust, with its "bare" offering of Netflix, TV shows and music on your Mac, iPad or iPhone, and with a $99 device you can connect them to your TV.

In the Feb. 25, 2012 issue of our CN.Net-News, you learned about Calibre, the free e-book program, and how you can access over 100,000 free classics of world literature from Google Books. With so many choices and so much video, audio and reading material available, the questions arise: How will we ever find enough time to absorb and enjoy all of the education and entertainment that's available on the Internet, let alone find any time for work, eating and sleeping? And how is this changing (or diminishing) our ability to relate with compassion to real people in real-life situations?

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These are not merely rhetorical questions: Psychologist Dr. Philip Zimbardo, professor emeritus of at Stanford University, was recently interviewd by CNN: in 'The Demise of Guys': How video games and porn are ruining a generation he describes the way computer and Internet addiction to games and porn causes boys and young men to be "hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz." This addiction to computerized "thrills and kills" actually changes the way a young person's brain becomes wired. It's time to take these questions seriously!

The Security Blurb:
In the news story IBM Outlaws Siri, Worried She Has Loose Lips you'll see that the once-mighty IBM has taken a jab at Apple's Siri, outlawing its use in IBM's facilities because Siri converts speech to text and archives this text on its serviers for searching. Their concern is that Siri can be used to write emails and other documents that might contain proprietary company information. But what about Android's and Google's equivalent speech-to-text services?

The fact is, there's no way to get around "BYOD" (Bring Your Own Device) in business any more. Many employees and their bosses carry Blackberrys, iPhones, Android phones, iPads, tablet computers or other devices with them all the time, at work, on the road, at the gym and at home. Where I work we often have vice presidents, department directors or rank-and-file employees calling the help desk for assistance in connecting their personal devices to the organization's email system. And then these devices can become an insecure gateway into the organization's network: read How To Fix The Gaping Holes In Mobile Security.

On a humorous note, some "Your computer is infected!!" scammers, pretending to be from Microsoft, phoned a man at home, explaining they could remove the malware if he'd let them remotely connect to his computer. What they didn't realize was that he was a computer security expert, and he played dumb to string them along while he set up a virtual machine in his PC. You can read about how he recorded the whole session: Security Expert Fools, Records Fake Antivirus Scammers, and see the YouTube video of their clumsy scam attempt here.

The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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