An all-'Zelda' weekend, with no guilt involved

Five college guys plan to spend their entire weekend playing Zelda--and they don't even have to apologize to their girlfriends.

That's because they'll be playing the Ocarina and wielding swords with a virtuous goal--raising money for Child's Play, a game industry charity that brings toys and games to children in more than 40 hospitals around the world.

The 72-hour Zelda Marathon, or Zeldathon, kicks off at 7 p.m. EDT Friday and will last through Monday--if at least one team member can keep his hand on a controller at all times. Sean Gonzalez, Pablo Penton, Bobby … Read more

Ukrainian MySQLer needs help to cover the cost of his son's operation

MySQL has been very good to the open-source world. In turn, I'd like to see if we can give something back.

Andrii Nikitin is one of MySQL's support engineers based in Ukraine. As Zack Urlocker recently posted on his blog, however, Andrii has a major concern right now which has nothing to do with customer support:

Andrii's son Ivan, who is 2 1/2, is in need of a bone marrow transplant operation. This will require going to a clinic in Europe that will not be covered by regular insurance. So Andrii has aksed to see if we could help raise funds. The cost is expected to be $150,000 - $250,000. A huge amount for an engineer from Ukraine to cover. But a small amount by many people could make a big difference.

Consistent with your interest and means, I'd encourage you to help Andrii out.

As for how to donate, here are the details:… Read more

Project Red lays groundwork for subscription music service

Good news, celebrity charity aficionados: Project Red is going to be providing some music for that Bono-approved iPod Nano of yours.

The high-profile nonprofit, which donates a chunk of profits to combat AIDS in Africa, will be launching a subscription music service this fall.

The as-yet-unnamed service will launch in September, according to The New York Times, and cost $5 per month.

It's structured like a newsletter: each week, members will get an e-mail with two MP3s--one an exclusive song from a well-known act and the other from an emerging artist--as well as a "Crackerjack surprise" (say, … Read more

Microsoft after Gates, Bill without Microsoft

As Bill Gates prepares to walk away from Microsoft, both the man and the company he founded will face challenges getting along without each other, according to the new issue of Newsweek magazine.

Gates, who is stepping down from his full-time role at Microsoft this week to focus on his $37 billion charitable foundation, is the subject of an article that profiles Microsoft's successes and failures during his tenure, as well as the difficult transition the company and its founder will likely face. (CNET plans to publish its own retrospective on Gates' departure, but in the meantime, … Read more

Meals on wheels (but without the gasoline bill)

We at the CNET appliance blog network are no strangers to portable appliances; we've already shown you the perks of portable grills and portable ride-on freezers. But in our busy-bee age, where almost everything has been resized and reshaped to be more conveniently transportable, single portable appliances just don't seem to be enough anymore. So how do we satisfy our appetite for portability? By combining all of the appliances that we'd ever need into one all-inclusive, gloriously compact package.

Enter the Transportable Kitchenette. Powered by only a wall socket plug, the unit includes a stowaway cubby for … Read more

New York digital art center honors Craig Newmark at annual benefit

NEW YORK--"We skipped the paparazzi," Eyebeam director Amanda McDonald Crowley said as she welcomed several hundred people to the digital art center's annual benefit on Tuesday night. "We've got a photo-taking duck."

That requires a little bit of context.

On display at Eyebeam's "Freedom and Creativity"-themed benefit, held at the organization's headquarters in the post-industrial West Chelsea neighborhood, were a number of commissioned artists' and fellows' projects. One of them was Taeyoon Choi's "Camerautomata," literally a robotic duck that skittered about the floor, Roomba-like, taking … Read more

Microsoft: A year of IM pulls in $1.3 million for charity

Last year, Microsoft launched the "I'm Initiative," which donated nibbles of advertising revenue to 10 selected charities each time a Windows Live Messenger user started an instant message with the word "I'm." On Tuesday, after a year of the gimmick, Microsoft representatives announced that $1.3 million had been netted so far.

Bill Gates would be proud.

"Because of your enthusiasm, we're also excited to announce that we will be continuing this program," Windows Live Messenger product manager Dharmesh Mehta wrote in a blog post. "And with no set limit … Read more

CNET Live - Episode 46

Help a brother out. Or help out someone you've never met. Seriously. Fiona Ramsey of stopped by to talk about how to make microloans to help small businesses in developing countries.

Watch the show soon on CNET TV.

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Google launches tool portal for nonprofits

Google for Nonprofits, a site designed to educate charities about the search giant's suite of Web-based tools, debuted Tuesday.

Essentially, it's a lineup of links to Google's various applications and tutorials for using them, but with a charitable spin. A link to YouTube is accompanied with "broadcast your cause to the world's largest online video community." Google Groups come with a suggestion of "communicate easily to staff or volunteers and encourage discussions among supporters."

But the Google for Nonprofits page also highlights special initiatives for nonprofits, like free advertising through the Google … Read more

Finally, a really worthwhile Facebook app

There are tons of Facebook apps, many that seem to be, well, silly and useless.

A new app that will help a nonprofit coordinate blood donation is really worthwhile and could make a significant direct impact on people's lives.

The app from New York nonprofit Takes All Types sends Facebook alerts to people who opt in and will send reminders for regular donation, according to The New York Times.

"We were reacting to our sense that most of what was on Facebook was too academic or frivolous," Ben Bergman, who created the program, told the newspaper.

However, … Read more