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Archive from June 2009

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Sunday, June 28, 2009 9:11PM
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9:11 PM - Star Trek's Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and George Takei (posted by Allen )
TrekFest 25 in Riverside Iowa has concluded, and photos have been updated. The photos are here:

And if you just want to jump in to the parade float with the Trek stars on it, you can begin here:

George Takei (pronounced like "okay") was hollaring out "Live long, and prosper!" to all of us has passed by. All three of them stopped by a local ice cream shop to autograph a Trek inspired wall mural (you can find pictures of that too) and we got to see them up close at a Q&A session at the nearby Riverside, Casino.

I had never done any type of sci-fi themed event before, and it was great fun.
Sunday, June 21, 2009 6:28PM
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6:28 PM - Star Trek - Captain Kirk's future birthplace. (posted by Allen )
New photos have been added to my "Other Places" gallery. Yesterday, we took a two hour drive over to Riverside, Iowa, future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk of Star Trek. Next weekend is Trek Fest XXV, a yearly celebration of this future event.

In 1984, someone in Riverside, knowing that Kirk was "from Iowa", wrote Gene Roddenberry for permission to make Riverside the actual city in Iowa. Roddenberry agreed, and for twenty five years they've been honoring this bit of future history.

Last year, original Star Trek castmember Walter Koenig was onhand to cut the ribbon for their new Voyage Home museum (and city history center). This year, the cast members who played Chekov, Uhuru and Sulu will be there.

Photos of the museum and some other fun things here:

Photos of next weekend's event will be added soon after, and a video is currently uploading to YouTube.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 9:54PM
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9:54 PM - A new Disney "netbook" computer??? (posted by Allen )
Now this is cool. Netbooks (ultra small and usually much cheaper PC laptops) are quite the rage right now, and it looks like Disney is getting in to the action by partnering with ASUS for a Disney branded netbook. The unit targets kids (well, of course) and could be a big hit. Here's the press release (and I'm trying to get a review unit to check out -- I'll let you know if I can arrange that).


The Disney Netpal Makes Kids’ Computing Fun, Web-Safe And Easy

With A Unique User Interface, Wi-Fi, Windows XP and Parental Controls

GLENDALE, Calif. – June 17, 2009 – Disney Consumer Products (DCP) and ASUS, maker of the pioneering Eee PC™ netbook, have collaborated to develop the Disney Netpal, a netbook computer for children that’s fun, web-safe and easy to use. Developed with parents and kids in mind, the Disney Netpal by ASUS is durable, with a reinforced mechanical design, and offers a truly magical and engaging computing experience with a unique Disney user interface. Features include more than 40 robust parental control options, an 8.9-inch LCD display, Wi-Fi capabilities, Windows XP Home, and kid-friendly software featuring Disney characters and icons in stunning visual environments. Browsers and email have extra filters to assure that parents are able to control online safety and content for their children, and can easily select with whom their children can correspond via email. The Disney Magic Desktop “gadget tray” offers a creatively designed 2D menu displaying Disney-themed email, Disney-themed browser and a robust suite of Disney-themed parental control options.

With a user interface that is incredibly easy to use for both kids and parents, from package to set-up in four simple steps, the Disney Netpal will be available in late July in two models with prices based on features (see graphic below for Netpal feature comparisons). The Disney Netpal by ASUS is designed for kids ages 6-12. Retailers include Toys”R”Us and, and the suggested retail price is $349.99. Carrying cases will also be available separately.

“Today’s kids are a digital generation,” said Chris Heatherly, head of Disney’s Toymorrow team and VP of Toys and Consumer Electronics for Disney Consumer Products. “Parents are comfortable with their kids using the Internet, but they want to be assured that their kids are having a safe online experience. The Disney Netpal, designed together by ASUS and our Disney Toymorrow team, is a no-compromise device. There are plenty of terrific features and fun applications designed just for kids, but parents have ultimate control over the experience, with the power to set limits on how their kids are using the PC.”

Disney’s Toymorrow team is an internal group of Disney inventors, designers, engineers, researchers and product development experts. The Toymorrow team meets several times a year to brainstorm and develop new products and product concepts that focus on the convergence of toys and digital media in exciting, fun and creative ways.

ASUS is an established leader in the netbook category and is widely credited with launching the netbook craze, with nearly 7 million Eee PC™ netbooks sold to date.

“We’re proud to be involved in the creation of this very unique netbook for kids,” said Eric Chen, Vice President of ASUS' Systems Business Group. “The Disney Netpal is creatively designed in a way that truly keeps the Disney magic alive, and its state-of-the-art features make it an excellent choice for kids and families.”

Disney Netpal By ASUS Is Easy: Kid-friendly Disney Magic Desktop, Applications and Widgets
The Disney Magic Desktop installed on the Disney Netpal by ASUS is an easy-to-use interface specifically tailored to kids, with an intuitive visual interface and instructions that make it easy for kids to operate the computer. Right out of the box, the Disney browser launches numerous kid-friendly Disney websites for kids to explore. The Disney Magic Desktop features a 2D “gadget tray” that displays bold visual icons for easy access to applications. Rounding off the Disney Netpal by ASUS’ fun, kid-friendly features are a collection of 15 easily-accessible widgets, including a stopwatch, digital memo pad, which inserts “reminder notes” on the Disney Magic Desktop, and a calculator.

Disney Netpal By ASUS Is Fun, Customizable And Colorful
The Disney Netpal by ASUS features two choices of stylishly designed lids; Disney Princess Pink boasts beautiful pink florals and Disney Magic Blue cleverly displays rows of miniature Mickey Mouse icons. Kids can dress their desktops with more than 10 customizable themes inspired by popular characters from Disney’s and Disney∙Pixar’s most popular franchises, including Cars, Club Penguin, Disney Classic Characters, Disney Fairies, Disney Princess, Vintage Mickey Mouse, Toy Story and WALL-E. Themes that appeal to slightly older kids, such as Hannah Montana and JONAS The Series styles, are also available. Favorite character icons can be attached to email addresses.

Additional Disney-developed applications include Disney Mix for music and media management, and Disney Pix for photo customization and organization. The Disney Pix application features fun Disney Bobblehead software, which lets kids insert images of their faces on top of bodies, download them into videos and postcards and play wacky moving dance scenes, for hours of fun. The Radio Disney widget streams real-time music and lets kids simultaneously submit song requests, if they wish. The Disney Netpal by ASUS also includes a driving game, number game, memory game and photo scrapbook.

Disney Netpal By ASUS is Optimized for Web-Safety and Sports a Sleek Durable Design
The Disney Netpal by ASUS is designed to be kid-friendly, both in terms of durability and content permissions. It’s rugged and durable, with a spill-proof keyboard that protects against inadvertent liquid spills. The Disney Netpal by ASUS’ ShockShield data protection guards against data loss when the computer is subject to impact.

The Disney Netpal also allows parents to create a web-safe computing environment with 40 parental control options. Parents can pre-select email correspondence options, browsers, the websites their kids visit and the programs they use. These permissions can also be scheduled on a calendar, providing parents with a convenient, automated means of granting access on the days and times that they choose. Parents can also pull up data to determine where children spent time, and for how long. Additional websites can be added for access, but only if the parent approves and submits the request within the password-protected system.


Model Disney Netpal by ASUS MK90H Disney Netpal by ASUS MK90 – exclusively at Toys”R”Us
Operating System Genuine Windows® XP Home Genuine Windows® XP Home
Display 8.9” LED-backlit WSVGA screen (1024x600) 8.9” LED-backlit WSVGA screen (1024x600)
CPU Intel® ATOM N270 Intel® ATOM N270
WLAN 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n
Storage 160GB HDD 16GB SSD
Interface 1 x VGA port (D-sub 15-pin for external monitor)
3 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x LAN RJ-45
2 x audio jacks: Headphone / Mic-in 1 x VGA port (D-sub 15-pin for external monitor)
3 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x LAN RJ-45
2 x audio jacks: Headphone / Mic-in
Camera 0.3 M Pixel 0.3 M Pixel
Reader MMC and SD (SDHC supported) MMC and SD (SDHC supported)
Audio Hi-definition audio CODEC
Built-in stereo speakers
Analog Mic Hi-definition audio CODEC
Built-in stereo speakers
Analog Mic
Battery 4200mAh Polymer, 5hrs* 4200mAh Polymer, 5hrs*
Dimensions 248mm (W) x 173mm (D) x 28.7mm (H) 248mm (W) x 173mm (D) x 28.7mm (H)
Weight 1.2kg with battery 1kg with battery
Casing Colors Princess Pink, Magic Blue Princess Pink, Magic Blue
*Subject to system configuration and usage.

Note: Specifications are subject to change without prior notice. Please visit for more details.

About Disney Consumer Products
Disney Consumer Products (DCP) is the business segment of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) that extends the Disney brand to merchandise ranging from apparel, toys, home décor and books and magazines to foods and beverages, stationery, electronics and fine art. This is accomplished through DCP's various lines of business which include: Disney Toys, Disney Fashion & Home, Disney Food, Health & Beauty, and Disney Stationery. Other businesses involved in Disney's consumer products sales are Disney Publishing Worldwide, the world's largest publisher of children's books and magazines, and, the company's official shopping portal. The Disney Stores retail chain, which debuted in 1987, is owned and operated by Disney in North America and Europe. The Disney Stores chain in Japan is operated under a license agreement with Disney. For more information, please visit

About ASUS

ASUS is a leading company in the new digital era. With a global staff of more than ten thousand and a world-class R&D design team, the company’s revenue for 2008 was 8.1 billion U.S. dollars. ASUS ranks among BusinessWeek’s “InfoTech 100”, and has been on the listing for 12 consecutive years.
Sunday, June 7, 2009 5:22PM
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5:22 PM - Adventureland (Iowa) photos... (posted by Allen )
Hundreds more photos from Iowa's Adventureland, which was not the inspiration of the current Adventureland movie, have been added to the gallery:

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