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Tech Guru @ WABC/ Channel 7
Thursdays 6:45 a.m. (New York time)

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Sree's Thoughts on the Weemote
Thursday, Oct. 4, 2001

If you have small children, keeping them from watching TV
shows you don't want them to see is not easy. There are several ways to try and block channels, including the V-Chip (which has yet to catch on) and lock-out features on standard cable boxes. Most of these seem punitive and are not really good for positive reinforcement. I would rather use technology to let children watch "good" programming, rather than spending my energy trying to look out for the "bad" stuff.

Enter the Weemote, a purple, kid-friendly device with nice big buttons -- just right for kids ages 3 to 8. You train the Weemote to tune five channels and then it becomes your child's own clicker.

It's the brainchild of John Stephen who wanted something that his real child could use. His small Florida-based firm, Fobis Technologies, launched the Weemote in March 2000 and more than 80,000 of these have been sold nationwide, though the major rollout has just begun.

It works well, giving children a sense of control and parents peace of mind. Most kids in the age group will welcome a chance not to have to deal with the big black remotes with the myriad buttons that even some parents can't figure out.

One of the useful features is the volume disabler. It comes with standard volume controls, but younger kids can drive parents crazy by running the sound up and down. Until they can handle it responsibily, you can cut out the volume controls.

Also, as the child grows older, you can tune in five additional channels, giving you 10 in all.

The list price is $29.95, but Target is currently selling it for $19.95. The Weemote site offers details about where you can get one.

There is some prep work you need to do to set it up and it require reading through the manual. But it isn't as complicated as programming your VCR and, hopefully, you won't need your child's help to set it up. Be sure to program it before you announce your purchase to the kids. Otherwise, they will be disappointed about waiting as you figure it all out.

In the months ahead, we will look at other options for dealing with TV programming.


Weemote official site

V-Chip Education Project

FCC V-Chip site

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Sree's Site of The Week

At a time when there are so many false stories being circulated via e-mail, it's a rare site that actually helps you sort through all the stuff flooding your inbox. does a wonderful job of going through each e-mail "story," item by item, and telling you whether it is true, false or unproven.

Its "Rumors of War" section is excellent and useful at times like this.

I like the little red and green buttons next to each statement, so you can tell right away.

Did Nostradamus predict the attacks? No. Were a pair of bound hands found at Ground Zero? Yes. And much much more.

Next time you get a rumor via e-mail, be sure to visit this site before you hit that forward button. Your friends will thank you.

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To join the LOW-volume "Sree Tips" e-mail mailing list, send your name and e-mail address to No more than once a month, you will receive an e-mail message with tips and tricks about new, useful and fun Web sites.