e-Friends over for the holidays
I kept hearing about people being lonely over the holiday season and I thought, “Don’t these people know this is why the gods gave us the interwebs?” Social Networking seems old, yes? Remember Friendster? But networking is still huge. Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS handheld can bring you online to battle with people on the other side of the Earth who may not even know it is Junkanoo/Ganga Bois/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Eid-al Adha/Bodhi Day/Christmas. Plus there are networking Web sites beyond Facebook and MySpace such as Habbo, Freecycle and WAYN. Habbo is a chat room/game created in 2000 for teens. Greenpeace has a presence on this online network of 82 million registered characters that recently went through a makeover. Freecycle networks more than 4,000 nonprofit-type groups concerned with the idea to “reuse and keep good stuff out of landfills.” Repackage your holiday gift with the more than 4 million members of this e-community. WAYN is the UK’s 10th most popular Web site bringing together over 10 million travelers around the world. They share budget accommodations and other services appealing to wanderers (via www.BBC.com).
Preschool social networkers
Even my 4-year-old nephew is into social networking. Santa left him a raccoon stuffed animal under the tree, but this is no ordinary plush toy. While we parents were still trying to shock our systems into awake-land with coffee, Benjamin was online registering his made-in-China pet on the Webkinz Web site. He was given a virtual apartment and $2,000 in KinzCash to decorate the accommodations or buy food. Ben has to play with and take care of his pet online in order to keep its Health, Happy and Hunger meters high. He can earn more KinzCash by playing video games or trivia through their Web site and he can invite his friends over and KinzChat with them. Even though this popular phenomenon has been around since 2005, on this Christmas morning the Web site stated, “Webkinz World is currently experiencing a large volume of traffic. We are working hard to accommodate the load.” Take a Flash tour to learn more at www.webkinz.com.
The good, the bad and the out of business
CompUSA has gone belly up and, according to one of my workmates, even their liquidation prices are higher than those at NewEgg.com. Circuit City is letting tech shoppers buy online and then pick their items up at one of their brick and mortar stores within half an hour of their Web purchase (wonder if you have to pay tax?). And finally, Best Buy is not living up to its name. Even after being slapped with a lawsuit for a “bait-and-switch scheme,” it is still acting less than best. According to Gizmodo.com, the company made its internal Web site, accessed via in-store kiosks, to look identical to its normal site, except the prices are higher. Apparently this is to trick in-store shoppers that the price had gone up since they checked from home.
Wacky Web site of the Week
Adjectives altered quickly in my mind from “cool” to “spooky” when I used EveryScape. I was virtually “flying” around old haunts in New York City’s East Village when I realized I could go to the front door of an ex-girlfriend. I wasn’t checking to see if she was captured in the 2D photos turned 3D with a new boyfriend … really.