Summer Tech Guide for Kids

A special Report: St. Petersbrg Times

Take a look at the new Game Boy Advance, wearable tech gear, find out what’s new in Internet messaging and more in this annual Tech Times special report.

Hands on with the Game Boy Advance
One of the most important things about a new piece of gaming hardware is its look. One look at the new Game Boy Advance and I just had to play it.

Handheld gaming advances
Nintendo hopes to tighten its grip on the handheld video game market with the new Game Boy Advance.

Video game systems
Here's a look at the major video-game systems available now, along with upcoming machines:

Game Boy's long-term effects still uncertain
WASHINGTON -- Rawley Loken is one of those lucky kids who own a closet full of toys. But most of the time, the 8-year-old from Vienna, Va., reaches for the same one: his Nintendo Game Boy.

Turning your PC into your music teacher
After a 40-year break, I finally took my second music lesson. It has been no more successful than the first, and this time it inflicted the added injury of having to deal with tech support.

Suiting up, booting up
Forget those geeky belt holsters for your cell phone, handheld computer or music player. Soon, those gadgets may be part of your clothes.

Video Games
Unlike movies, summer is a time of few releases when it comes to games. Call it the calm before the holiday storm. The tradition holds especially true this year, as the industry revs up for Nintendo's Gamecube and Microsoft's Xbox in November. But that doesn't mean game companies have ignored players. Here's a look at some games for summertime play. Release dates for upcoming games are noted.

Promises undelivered
It sounded so promising: A first-person action shooter with elements of narrative storytelling and amazing graphics, three years in development.

It's a kids' Web
No kid should be able to mope around this summer, complaining that there's nothing to do. The Web is a rich resource for information and activities, some of which may pry the kid away from the computer and out of the house. Here are a few we found interesting. If you find others, send nominations to

Glitches tarnish debut of Myst sequel
When Myst debuted in 1993, it introduced millions of uninitiated home computer owners to the world of computer games with its breathtaking graphics and easy-to-play sensibility.

A shocking new development hits game controllers
Video game consoles are continually reaching new levels of sophistication, as Sony's PlayStation 2 and the soon-to-be-released machines from Nintendo and Microsoft attest. But game controllers, those button-laden pads used to play the games on these consoles, are fairly standard stuff, having long ago lost any cutting-edge charm.

Keeping tabs on tomorrow's kids
The future of parenting has a definite high-tech flavor, and kids may need to be a bit more wary of mom and dad watching what they're doing during the carefree days of summer.

Fatbubble wants to let you surf with your buddies
If you're not a teenager or a Net-chatty office worker, you may be only dimly aware of the extraordinary popularity of instant messaging, a system in which words typed on a computer appear almost simultaneously on the screens of one or more other people.

 Automated buddies could change instant messaging
NEW YORK -- His name is Googly Minotaur and he wants to be your friend, or, at least, your computerized "buddy."

PowerPoint moves from the boardroom to the classroom
Kelvin Mazara, a seventh-grader at the Edison School in Union City, N.J., could not have appeared more engrossed in the morning's assignment. He and his classmates had been asked to assemble a report about a play they had just read, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, and Kelvin's teacher was reviewing the topics to address: Who are the major characters? What are the conflicts? What are the broad themes?


[Times art: Teresanne Cossetta]
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