ActiMates Barney Acting Out -- In 1997, Microsoft's hardware group introduced the ActiMates Interactive Barney, a plush, interactive version of everyone's favorite purple dinosaur. ActiMates move, play games, sing songs, and - using optional wireless transmitters for VCRs or PCs with MIDI/game ports and Windows 95 - interact with compatible software, VHS video tapes, broadcast television programs, and even Web sites. However, children's advocacy groups are now warning parents about software programs dubbed "Barney Trojan Horses" appearing on the Internet. These programs, usually labelled as "Barney shareware," typically simulate a system problem when they run and appear to exit, but actually remain in memory and continuously send commands via the wireless PC transmitter. According to Chris Hedges of the Barney Advice and Research Foundation, the Barney character will misbehave when it comes into range of the transmitter and speak phrases such as "Let's go draw on the walls," "I hate sharing," "It's fun to throw vegetables," or "We can go pee-pee right here!" Hedges notes these programs deliberately don't attack the Arthur and D.W. ActiMates characters, but warns parents that Barney and the Internet are a volatile mix. [GD]
Avoid Naming Pear Note Files
If you create a lot of documents, coming up with a name for them can sometimes be a hassle. This is especially true now that search is becoming a more prevalent way to find documents. Pear Note provides a way to have the application automatically generate a filename so you can avoid this hassle. To use this:
- Open Saving under Pear Note's preferences.
- Select a default save location.
- Select a default save name template (Pear Note's help documents all the fields that can be automatically filled in).
- Check the box stating that Command-S saves without prompting.
- If you decide you want to name a particular note later, just use Save As... instead.
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Published in TidBITS 423.
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