Tuesday 30 June 2009


GOM is a Windows only player, but it works like a treat on that operating system without the need to find and install codecs for most file formats.

Download it from here www.gomlab.com/eng/

It can often play incomplete or damaged AVI files by using special algorithms that skip the damaged frames.

The software gives you one-click access to the control panel to tweak your playback settings - I especially like the Easy Browser option for searching your PC for files to play.

Monday 29 June 2009

Walk It

The summer is finally here, so there’s no better time to strap on your walking shoes and take a stroll in the fresh air.

But if you don’t know where to start, take a look at walkit.com. This excellent online route-planning site for pedestrians lets you type in any two points in a British city and you’ll get a walking route map.

Each route also includes an estimate of the number of calories the walker will burn, a journey time and the amount of carbon saved by not travelling by taxi, car or bus.

Sunday 28 June 2009

Dress To Impress

You might not be a celebrity, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress like one. www.designersales.co.uk holds five fashion sales each year with more than 100 different labels offering discounts.


With the current temperatures in the UK reaching an all time high this year, the Department of Health has advised people to keep their homes as cool as possible and remembering the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk is essential.

"Windows should be kept shaded and closed when the temperature is hotter outside than inside.

"People with respiratory problems should stay inside during the hottest part of the day," a DoH spokesman said.

Other advice in the government's heatwave plan includes to drink cold drinks like water or fruit juice regularly and avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.

Help the Aged and Age Concern welcomed the advice.

A spokesman said: "Older people, especially those on medication, can often find coping with the heat particularly difficult."

More info here www.dh.gov.uk/en/News/Recentstories/DH_101575

and also here


Saturday 27 June 2009


www.kidzui.com limits the web to a little under a million pages that have been pre-screened for suitable use by children.

There are web sites, images, videos, games and a whole lot more - all dressed up in a colourful and child-friendly interface.

The software contains certain reporting tools so parents can see what their children have been up to - more tools are available in a paid-for account version.

Friday 26 June 2009


Rugby fans now have their very own social network in the form of the cheekily-named Rucku at www.rucku.com

This ‘virtual clubhouse’ gives you several ways to interact with other members, who include such famous names as Will Carling and Austin Healey.

As well as commenting on people’s profiles, you can create and join groups, upload photos and videos, chat in the forums and post short Twitter-like updates called ‘sledges’.

Happily, all these features fit together seamlessly and the site has a fun and friendly feel, with lots of content and discussions to browse.

Highlights range from a compilation of Welsh tries to a thread about man-bags.

Thursday 25 June 2009

Essential Fatty Acids

If you’ve been desperately trawling the net in search of Essential Fatty Acid EFA information, you’ll be relieved to hear that www.omega4.co.uk is where you’ll find them.

The site aims to remove the ‘mystique of Omega’ while explaining its many health benefits. There are also case studies to support its claims and a team of experts is on hand to answer your queries by email or phone.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Anyone for Bingo

www.bingohideout.co.uk is a social networking site for online bingo fans. Create a profile, connect with friends, and enjoy a host of great features to keep bingo buffs occupied between games.

You can browse and submit reviews of bingo websites, chat about bingo-related topics in the forums, and read all the latest bingo news stories. Bingo Hideout gives you £100 worth of free bingo bonuses when you sign up, as well as access to competitions and special offers.

Tuesday 23 June 2009

I Kid You Not

If you are sucked in by random prank emails or urban legends you can now log onto www.snopes.com and see how much truth there is in the story.

The site gives you the origins of the stories and confirms once and for all if they are true or false.

Monday 22 June 2009

Pet Club UK

Animal lovers will adore this regroomed pet site as www.petclubuk.com features a wealth of advice and information about our furry, feathery and scaly friends – from dealing with overweight dogs to caring for fish.

There’s also an online store, which sells a wide range of pet products and offers free delivery on orders over £29.99. But it’s the community aspect that justifies Pet Club UK’s name – register for free to share photos of their pets, chat in the many forums and get discounts on every purchase.

I particularly like the site’s simple, colourful design, whose background changes to show a different animal every time you click a tab.

Sunday 21 June 2009

Breathing Earth

At www.breathingearth.net you will find a lovely simulation of the aspects of the life-cycle on Earth, including global birth and death rates, as well as CO2 emissions.

I love the organic sound effect that accompanies the visuals. And having the birth and death rates pointed out in such an obvious way really was quite shocking to me.

It indicates an exploding population, with the continuous counter on the site showing births going up at twice the rate of deaths. Given global concerns about CO2 emissions, the figure underneath those is somewhat worrying too.

You can find out the details for individual countries by hovering the mouse over them.

The aim of this site is to raise awareness of environmental issues. You can find out at the bottom of the site about the data's origin and how you can make a difference to the planet.

Saturday 20 June 2009

Summer Solstice

Tomorrow is the summer solstice, which means it’s the longest day of the year. And if you want to celebrate the day in style, visit www.new-age.co.uk.

This site tells you the exact time the sun rises and falls today and where to go to see it in all its glory. There’s also a gallery of stunning photographs taken at the summer solstice at Stonehenge over the past five years.

Friday 19 June 2009

Grumble Text

Take a look at www.grumbletext.co.uk if you have a problem with premium rate calls, maybe or anything else to do with telecoms mobiles, texts etc. Have a grumble about it here and see what others say

Thursday 18 June 2009

Restyle Me

Inviting people to rate your fashion sense sounds like asking for trouble, but www.restyleme.com provides an effective means of doing so. Simply upload a photo of yourself for other users to judge, while you do likewise to their pictures.

The fun part comes from the ability to highlight specific elements that you like or dislike in a person’s style - from hair, clothes and makeup to teeth and tattoos - and post comments on his or her page.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Online Office

It’s impossible to take your office with you everywhere you go, but when you need the basics visit www.zoho.com. This is an online suite of free business programmes, with everything from word processing and presentation software to tools for creating databases. This helpful site will mean that you’ll never miss a deadline again.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Test Your Breath

If you’re about to go on a hot date, you’ll want to make sure your breath is minty fresh. So all you need to do is go to www.testyourbreath.ca and type in the last meal you ate. The online breathalyser will tell you how offensive your breath is before you leave the house

Monday 15 June 2009

Money Exchange

If you’re just about to head off for your summer holidays, take a look at moneyfacts.co.uk. This site will check the exchange rate of your chosen destination and help you get the best available deal. It will also make sure you don’t get stung by massive commission rates.

Sunday 14 June 2009

Burger Tycoon

If you think flipping burgers is easy, try running the fast food company that makes them at addictinggames.com/burgertycoon.html.

In this simulation game you run the company from growing fodder to the boardroom with the aim of making the company a success.

Saturday 13 June 2009

Guess The Age

If you’ve ever embarrassed yourself by wildly over or underestimating someone’s age, then train your skills at www.ageproject.specialsnowflake.com. People upload their photos and you guess their age. It all goes to prove that age really is just a number.

Friday 12 June 2009

Wildlife On Film

www.wildfilmhistory.org is an indispensable website that brings together 100 years of capturing nature’s great and small creatures on film in one handy location.

With a mountain of films, photos and oral histories, it could take almost another 100 years to trawl through all the content on this website. Delve into the oral histories to learn more about the lives of the filmmakers, but most of all make sure you watch some of the brilliant wildlife footage from yesteryear.

Thursday 11 June 2009

Lookin’ Italian

For lovers of Italian cuisine and wine, www.italyabroad.com is a worth a visit. Set up by two food and wine loving Italians living in the UK the site sources Italian favourites like olive oil, artichokes and wine from Italian artisans. The attractive design makes it easy to navigate, with a clear menu system offering instant access to areas like Events, Restaurants and Recipes.

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Raffle Tickets

If you’ve bought more raffle tickets that you care to remember over the years, but you still haven’t won anything, then check out www.raffle.it.

Unlike a traditional raffle, where a random number is drawn, here the lowest unique number is declared the winner. Every time you play you are rewarded with a voucher, which could be for a discount on your next purchase at certain high street retailers, or even a product itself.

The results of each raffle are posted on the site as soon as the winner has been confirmed.

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Park Life

National Parks are large areas of land in England, Wales and Scotland, that since 1949 have been protected as beautiful areas for the benefit of the nation.

They contain many of the UK’s most breathtaking landscapes. There are 14 to chose from and www.nationalparks.gov.uk could help you decide which is your favourite.

Monday 8 June 2009

Game On

Got a spare half hour to kill while the boss is out? Log on to www.bestarcade.com and choose from over 3000 video games. Choose from a range of categories including ‘platform’, ‘shoot ‘em up’, ‘brainteasers’ and ‘racing’.

Sunday 7 June 2009

Keep Calm

If you’re off on your summer hols soon, the last thing you want is to be feeling stressed before you go. So do something that helps you relax, be it mediation, reading or walking. Visit www.relaxationforliving.co.uk for some ideas on how to keep calm.

Saturday 6 June 2009

Going Dotty

www.games1.org/games/worms.swf is an odd little game that will remind you of a simpler time. The aim of the game is to make sure that two black dots don’t crash into each other. And if you think that sounds easy, give it a try.

Friday 5 June 2009

Easy As ABC

Even young children now are finding it difficult to resist the lure of the computer, but it need not be a bad thing. Encourage your kids to read more by visiting www.lovereading4kids.co.uk. The site allows you to download and print off opening extracts of hundreds of children’s books, and encourages kids to discover new authors through their recommendation service.

Thursday 4 June 2009

Bright Spark

You can’t move on the internet for sites about the supernatural, but if you don’t subscribe to that world view, there’s now a home for you too.

If the prospect of ghosts and gods sounds like hogwash, head for www.the-brights.net. There you’ll find a movement of like-minded people who believe in nothing but science and evolution. So if you’re an atheist, humanist, or just a skeptic, check it out.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Baking Mad

If you like cake you are going to love this site www.bakingmad.com

From the very opening page the design is delicious. There are plenty of mouth-watering illustrations, and with a menubar across the top it is a real dream to navigate.

Check out the recipes drop-down menu first for the staples, then why not sift for ideas under baking ideas. Here you will find suggestions for particular occasions, such as morning coffee treats and winter warmers.

All the recipes are really easy to follow, with step-by-step instructions and plenty of pictures to illustrate.

And because cakes are not traditionally considered a healthy food, if you want to know all about nutrition then browse through the sections under health.

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Think U Know

Any parent whose child goes online will no doubt have worried about who they might meet and talk to in cyberspace. Think you know who you are talking to online? Think U Know is a site set up by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the UK, but its advice is relevant wherever you are. Find it at www.thinkuknow.co.uk

First of all, I love the design of the site. It has impact without being over-dramatic and it loads really quickly, especially the video on the opening page, which is well worth a look for any teenager who is new to online communities.

Parents should be aware that it is very frank and open about the potential dangers, so make sure you are around to offer support if they are disturbed by it. But perhaps better they be disturbed by the potential than fall into any traps.

Laid out in easily accessible chunks, covering all sorts of subjects like mobiles, podcasting, chatting and the like, the site teaches that the internet can be great fun, but also teaches children to recognise the signs of grooming and abuse. And if they should come across trouble, there is an easy way to seek support and report an abuser to the UK police - just use the Report Abuse tab at the top. Here you will also find sections aimed at parents and teachers.

All in all, a very good website.

Monday 1 June 2009


Education is important the world over but it can also be very different the world over. What I particularly like about www.skoool.com is that it recognises and caters for these differences with dedicated sections accessible from the opening page.

Regions covered at the moment are Ireland, the UK, Thailand, Sweden and Turkey. Just click on the relevant button to enter the country-specific site.

Once inside the site, everything is very self-explanatory and nicely designed. There are games, study tools and plenty for the teacher and parent too. Scan the tabs across the top with your mouse pointer to reveal dropdown menus, and explore in your own time.