Playing Critic: 'Soda' experience lacked pop

I can barely believe I'm about to review the following game, but after just too many requests from the man responsible (I'm looking at you, Will Brierly), I'm caving. I introduce to you "Soda Drinker Pro," the ultimate in soda-drinking game simulations.

Voice-activated devices worry privacy experts

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Alexa, are you spying on me?

It's a fair question in light of attempts by authorities investigating the slaying of an Arkansas man to obtain voice recordings collected by an Amazon Echo speaker and its Alexa digital assistant.

Rich Warren: Annual electronics show off and running

Today marks the opening of the cacophony and visual spectacle known as the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. I recall the first winter CES in Las Vegas in 1977, where the entire event barely filled the floor of the small, original Las Vegas Convention Center, which could be tucked into a corner of the current LV Convention Center.

Joan Griffis/Illinois Ancestors: New Jersey data available online

New Jersey's Department of State has a website with searchable indexes for marriage records (circa 1666-1799 and 1848-1878), death records (1878-1895), early land records (circa 1650-1801), Supreme Court case files (1704-1844), legal name changes (1847-1947), the 1885 N.J. State Census for Passaic County and Atlantic City, military and wartime records, and photo collections.

Playing Critic: Test your puzzle prowess with 'Subject 13'

"Subject 13" is a sterling example of an inexpensive "indie" game ($6.99 on PSN) where I expect many players would gladly pay more money for more game.

Wired In: Sushobhan Sen

SUSHOBHAN SEN, a Ph.D. candidate in civil and environmental engineering, and his adviser Jeff Roesler, a University of Illinois professor, are working on a project to identify and model urban heat islands to improve public health. They've spoken to departments of transportation to see if they were interested, and they were.

Rich Warren: Technological advances a matter of when, not if

For the year's final column, we install the new OLED (organic light emitting diode) crystal ball, now made from nearly scratch-proof Corning Gorilla Glass 5, for a full-color gamut glimpse of the future.

Illinois Public Media making PBS Kids available 24/7

URBANA — Illinois Public Media will launch a new, free PBS Kids 24/7 suite of services next month as its latest initiative to support early learning.

The new service, beginning Jan. 16, will provide children and their families with award-winning PBS Kids programming around the clock, both on television on Channel 12.1 and via a live stream over the web.

Joan Griffis/Illinois Ancestors: Vietnam War casualties listed by state

For anyone who has ever wished to learn of Vietnam War casualties who attended school with you, there is a helpful website that provides such data. At, one can click on a state, and then scroll down to the city where you went to high school, and then look at the names.

Wired In: Daniel Kofman

On Sundays, staff writer Paul Wood spotlights a high-tech difference-maker. This week, meet DANIEL KOFMAN, an entrepreneur, engineer and student with a passion for innovation in defense and homeland-security technology. Daniel is a junior in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois, and he's the founder and CEO of Kofman Technologies.