links for 2010-03-08
You probably can’t watch your kids 24 hours per day. Just because they have free time doesn’t mean you do. Luckily, your computer can help out. Windows Vista has robust parental controls. They’ll help you monitor and limit your children’s computer usage. Now, nothing can substitute for parental vigilance. So, talk to your kids about computer safety. And have them read and sign my 10 Commandments for Kids Online.
There was a time, as 1999 rolled into 2000, when it seemed as if everyone was rich. Or, at least, as if they could be rich. They had equity. Or a big idea. Or a lock on friends-and-family shares in an IPO. With tech stocks soaring and venture capital money flowing, cashing in on the cyber revolution seemed a worthy bet. That was then, of course. It’s been a decade since the tech-fueled NASDAQ reached its all-time high, on March 10, 2000, having nearly doubled itself in just a year. It was a dizzying peak reached thanks in part to a spectacular rise in the valuations of companies that had hitched their wagons to the Internet. Later, it would be called a bubble, and much of the paper wealth it had created would evaporate. But in the spring of 2000, anything seemed possible. And the Washington area, with Northern Virginia’s tech corridor leading the way, had established itself as one of a handful of national tech hubs.
Chris Chapman owns an Anne Arundel County business that sounds deceptively simple. It brings him a comfortable six-figure income on more than $1 million in revenue, allows him to employ a handful of relatives and is built around a sport he loves. The company is called Loucon, named for his sons Louis and Connor, and it sells used ski equipment — skis, boots, bindings, socks and other stuff — mostly on eBay, but also through Amazon.com and Loucon’s own Web site.
Dana Moore sells rain. He sells a lot of it, for about a buck per reusable storm. “I don’t know why people love buying rainstorms,” he said, watching his product drizzle last week, “but they do seem to like them a lot.” The attraction isn’t rain, per se, but Moore’s rain, which can deluge swaths of land on command. The rain falls not in Bowie, where he lives with his wife of 37 years, but in the virtual world of Second Life, the Web portal where he also markets snow, clocks, University of Maryland basketball T-shirts, Duke basketball T-shirts (grudgingly), two-story Tudor-style homes, pinup posters from the 1930s and the sounds of barking dogs.