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.

Wired In: Rohan Gupta

On Sundays, staff writer Paul Wood spotlights a high-tech difference-maker. This week, meet ROHAN GUPTA, 21, CEO of Bilder, Build Your Own Community. He is a graduating University of Illinois senior from the Chicago suburbs, and will pursuing a graduate degree in computer science.

Rich Warren: Underwhelmed by instruction manuals

My childhood Christmas gifts often failed my expectations.

After seeing hyped marvels on TV, the real product dimmed in comparison.

This remains an exasperating problem with consumer electronics.

The latest and greatest TV or smartphone will not necessarily improve your life or live up to assured glory.

Joan Griffis/Illinois Ancestors: Civil War materials digitized and online

Mississippi State University Libraries has digitized, and made available online, Orville Babcock's Civil War diaries and Pvt. Arthur McKinstry's Civil War letters — part of the Ulysses S. Grant Collection which is housed on the university's campus, one of only five universities having a presidential library.

Playing Critic: Hit the road to adventure in 'Final Fantasy XV'

Four young men set off on a road trip in a classic convertible. Their destination: the wedding (arranged) of the group's de facto leader to his childhood sweetheart — in effect making this voyage an extended bachelor party, minus the booze and strippers.

Wired In: Paul Braun

This week, PAUL BRAUN, the Ivan Racheff Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and the Director of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory. He studies nano- and micro-structures in that University of Illinois lab, as well as in the Beckman Institute.

Riding it out

CHAMPAIGN — After OPEC announced it would be cutting oil production, gas prices are expected to rise in the short term, although they remain relatively low compared with the past two years.

That's good news for public transit providers, although Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District and Amtrak representatives say gas prices are only one factor that affects ridership.

What to get your gamer this holiday season

Christmas and Hanukkah are drawing near, and you're wondering once again what to get the "gamer" in your life. JOEL LEIZER, The News-Gazette's resident expert on the subject, is here with a few ideas.

Tips before we begin