Saturday 31 October 2009

Google Sightseeing is a sightseeing site/blog where visitors are invited to submit any unusual or interesting sightings they have found on Google Earth and Streetview.

For example, there is a shot of Paddington Bear taking a trip to the British Museum.

Friday 30 October 2009 began life when a man called Justin Tan decided to fix a webcam to his cap and stream every minute of his day to day life live online.

Thanks to his show's success, the site has evolved into one of the biggest online communities for broadcasting, watching and interacting around live streaming video.

Shows are organised into channels which have a chat box beside the video window so that viewers can interact

Some of the content can be pretty random; for instance one man is streaming an LED sign showing Twitter comments from his viewers.

Thursday 29 October 2009


If you find Twitter and Facebook too fast-moving and unfocussed, why not try a social network devoted to a specific topic? Such is the concept of Chatter, a community of more than 100 niche networks devoted to topics as diverse as butterfly-collecting, hairdressing, poetry, table-tennis and wine. is the address you need and despite that wealth of choice, the site is simple to navigate and lets you find your space of choice by browsing categories or from the A-Z list. All networks sport a smart, minimalist design that makes sharing content and comments very straightforward. However, you need to register for each one individually rather than using a single log-in to explore the lot.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

KidStart offers an effective way to make savings from your online shopping and put them towards your children's future.

The service is backed by the Financial Services Authority and is completely free to use. KidStart has teamed up with hundreds of big-name companies including Tesco, Argos and Thomas Cook.

Each time you make an eligible purchase, a certain amount is lodged in your ‘Kiddybank’. The percentage varies with each retailer, but it doesn’t take long to build up some coffers. Once registered, you can set up a link to your child’s account and start shopping and saving for the next generation.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

We Are Hunted

Websites normally fall in two categories – those with names that explain what the site is about, and others that either confuse you or deliberately lead you astray. is one of the latter. Essentially it’s a digital music chart that trawls blogs, forums and social networks to discern what the most popular songs of the day are in terms of what’s being listened to and talked about.

From this aggregation, the top 99 tracks are displayed in a grid format, with the option to stream them in your browser or buy them from iTunes. We Are Hunted is impressively crafted and successfully connects the different musical strands of the web.

Monday 26 October 2009

Vet Help is an excellent resource designed to provide pet owners with advice about their beloved animals. It has just been revamped to include new categories for birds and reptiles, as catering for dogs, cats, horses, donkeys and rabbits. is staffed by experienced vets, and presents its information in a authoritative and accessible manner. Simply click through the prompt questions to find out more about your pet’s symptoms.

Depending on your answers, you’ll be advised whether or not you need to contact your vet. Extra services like a vet search, pet-care tips and an insurance directory, as well as the cute ‘sick pet of the month’ feature, make this an essential bookmark for animal owners.

Sunday 25 October 2009

Ciao is the consumer-review and price-comparison site has relaunched with a fresh look and an increased emphasis on community interaction.

You can now view and post video reviews as well as text ones, sharing your views on an enormous range of products. Items that have been rated particularly good or bad are now flagged on the homepage, as are the most-reviewed products of the moment.

Navigation has been tidied up, offering easy access to the site’s many categories, while posting a review – for which you can earn up to £3 – is a doddle.

However, while videos are a welcome addition, Ciao should make sure that the sound works properly.

Saturday 24 October 2009


There are more than a hundred universities in Britain, so choosing which one to apply to can be confusing and costly, involving lots of travelling up and down the country. lets you get a feel for a wide range of universities and towns from the comfort of your browser by watching short films about them.

These online videos, which span Aberdeen to Warwick, are expertly made and cover such topics as accommodation, studying and the cost of living. They’re each accompanied by a map and a link to the university website.

Unionview is an invaluable resource for students, although we found the main navigation menu rather fiddly.

Friday 23 October 2009


Pet charity PDSA has created a little tool to help guide you towards the picking perfect animal companion for your lifestyle.

Take a look at and by answering a few multiple choice questions, this tool will work towards focusing on a couple of recommendations.

Once a pet has been picked, advice is offered on the animal's five essential welfare needs and what kind of environment you should buy them from.

Finally, there is a downloadable checklist of what you will need to invest in before you go ahead and adopt your pet.

Thursday 22 October 2009

Monkey Jam

This site is home to a very easy to use animation package called Monkeyjam - there are plenty of good tutorials on how it works in YouTube.

Take a look at

The software lets you capture frames using a webcam or scanner - or you can simply import individual photos, sound and even special effects using a package like Photoshop.
Lego seems to be a popular medium - but you can use whatever comes to mind.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

FriendFeed is a tool for sharing interesting content with friends.
A group of specified contacts are able to see someone's customized feed, including their updates on social networking sites and blogs.

When creating an account, remember to un-tick a box if you want to make the feed private. There is the option to subscribe to existing popular users channels.

The last big task is to link all social content sites, such as Flickr, Stumbleupon, Facebook and others.

The user can also create private rooms to discuss specific topics with a few select contacts.

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Omegle harks back to a time before social networking when the most popular means of online communication was the chat room.

Click the ‘Start a chat’ button on the homepage and you’ll be connected to a random stranger for a chinwag.

Neither party’s name nor location is given, unless those details are voluntarily disclosed. The interface is as basic as can be, with none of the frills you get in instant-messaging chats, which is either refreshing or dull, depending on your point of view.

It’s a quaint concept, but it’s a shame you can’t talk to multiple strangers or change chat partner if your initial one fails to interest you.

Monday 19 October 2009


Popular travel community WAYN (Where Are You Now) has undergone a radical transformation. Its cluttered old design has been ditched in favour of a more spacious and streamlined layout, which makes browsing the site a much less overwhelming experience.

Most notably, there’s an increased emphasis on lifestyle and social-networking elements in the vein of Facebook and Twitter.

You can view and reply to users’ status updates; share your travel and leisure plans and tips; and post photos, videos and blog entries. WAYN remains free to use and, with 15 million members worldwide, is now an even better place to connect with like-minded people.

Sunday 18 October 2009


This site hosts an online community and content aiming to make the teenage years a little less confusing. Take a look at

It has videos, stories, fashion, body tips, games, quizzes, photos and even a helpful agony aunt called Heather.

The content is aimed at teenage girls aged 13 and up and deals frankly with the topics of sexuality, emotions and body image.

Parents might want to check how the site treats these subjects before recommending them to their daughter.

There is a whole section in the about pages explaining to parents what the website is trying to achieve.

Saturday 17 October 2009

Been There

Been There has been launched by Guardian Unlimited to serve as an online global travel guide.

Take a look at . It provides detailed profiles of both popular and lesser-known destinations, and combines articles written by Guardian staff with content and comment from users.

Travellers can recommend hotels, restaurants and attractions; enter their holiday photos in a monthly competition; and rate the advice posted by others to give prominence to the best tips and tipsters. While the site certainly isn’t unique, it’s less overwhelming than the likes of TripAdvisor and and is already amassing a knowledgeable community.

Friday 16 October 2009

Family Gamer

As the success of the Nintendo Wii and DS has proved, video games can be fun for all ages. This site has been set up to advise keen kids and puzzled parents about every aspect of gaming, from which console to buy to the best (and worst) titles. offers reviews from different perspectives including dad gamer, teen gamer and gamer wife, each of whom has their own profile page, newsletter and blog. The layout of the site resembles a family tree, which makes it easy to browse, but it would be nice to have some more images, such as photos of the people writing the reviews. Overall though, the site looks very promising.

Thursday 15 October 2009


Reams of parliamentary information can be dull to browse, so try this relaunched website for presenting it in a digestibel format. Its much-improved design gives you easy access to a wealth of content, including the latest news from the Commons and Lords, details of recent bills and legislation, and masses of research material concerning topical issues.

You can also watch parliamentary debates (to discover how few members bother to attend them!), join the intelligent discussions in the forums and find contact details for your local MP. Everything is presented in a clear and in orderly manner, which looks much more modern than before.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Share My Playlists provides a place for you to upload and share playlists you make using Spotify, the popular free music-streaming application.

You’ll need an account with both services to get started, after which you can compile a track-listing of your favourite songs in Spotify, and then share them with the world.

The site lets you browse through hundreds of other people’s mixes, which you can rate and post on social-networking sites. It’s a neat idea but the process of transferring your playlist could be made less laborious - you currently have to enter track information manually, rather than the service filling in details for you.

Tuesday 13 October 2009


On anyone can broadcast themselves for free.
But you will need to give the site permission to access your webcam and microphone, and you can even broadcast from a mobile device.

There is the option to interact with other viewers and embed your video into a website or blog.
The usual caveats about user-generated and unmoderated content apply - if you find something you do not like, just move along or report it.

Monday 12 October 2009

Shelfari hosts a global community of book lovers who are more than happy to share their reviews of good and bad reads with others.

Once signed up, you can start adding the books you have already read, are currently reading, or plan to read in the future.

The site offers a graphical representation of a bookshelf and organises your titles into helpful categories.

Like other networking sites, you can join groups, start your own, and gradually expand your web of contacts.

Sunday 11 October 2009

Frets on Fire

If you want to have a go at being a rock star, try out the open source project Frets on Fire which turns your keyboard into a guitar.

Download the full and free version from where you can also watch a tutorial first to get the hang of it.

Use the F1 to F5 keyboard keys as your frets, and remember to hit the enter key for strumming action.

There are lots of tunes to entertain, at varying levels of difficulty, plus you can make your own compositions

Saturday 10 October 2009

Perfect Balance is the web site address you need for this little gem.

The flash site is bursting at the seams with great and highly addictive games.

One example is Perfect Balance where the aim of the game is to balance the shapes perfectly within the play area.

The music and ambient sound effects are really hypnotic, and the levels themselves get tougher and tougher.

When you return to the game you can skip forward to the level you finished at last if you have cookies enabled.

Friday 9 October 2009


Take a look at

Once installed, this drive space manager shows how much data your internal and external hard drives, including pen drives and memory sticks, are carrying.

This application is free to download, and it caught my eye because of its ability to see the makeup of the data.

For instance, it shows what proportion are system files, downloads, documents, music or other file types.

This is a very lightweight and intuitive piece of software.

Thursday 8 October 2009

Medieval Castle is a site about stately residences around Europe is a must for architecture and history fans alike - it has pictures and descriptive passages of text on this period.
Sections include architecture, life and entertainment, plus fantasy and haunted castles.

There is also a fascinating section on Count Dracula, his castles, and the horrific things he got up to within their walls.

There is also information on castles currently open to public tours, and even to host a wedding.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Digsby brings together social networking sites and integrates instant messaging, e-mail and social network accounts into one easy-to-use interface.

When a friend logs on you can see which service they are using, chat and interact from this single downloadable client.

There is a warning when new messages arrive at any of your e-mail or social networking accounts, and you can read a summary of unread messages.

Once it is all set up, you can log in on any computer where the software is installed and have instant access to all your accounts.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Pink 4 Fun is a cheery-looking shopping portal deals exclusively in products that are pink. The site is cleverly structured around a virtual house – just select a room, for example the kitchen or lounge, to view the pink items available for it.

If you find something that tickles you pink, you can then click ‘Buy Now’ to visit an external online store to make your purchase.

Product categories range from toys and jewellery to stationery and plants, while suppliers include John Lewis and Next.

This diversity means you can get a pink iPod Nano in the same place as a feather duster, so unless you think pink stinks Pink4Fun should colour you impressed.

Monday 5 October 2009

Your Gold For Cash

If you’ve got old, broken or bad-memory-tinged jewellery gathering dust at home, why not sell it to

Simply request a free ‘Goldpack’, then place your gold ring, necklace, earring or other item in the padded envelope and take it to your local Post Office, where you’ll be given a tracking code.

Once the jewellery has been valued you’ll be called with an offer, which you can accept or refuse and get your item back.

The basic but clearly-explained site reassures you that this isn’t just a big scam, providing a Consumer Credit License number and real-world contact details, so could prove profitable in these tough times.

Sunday 4 October 2009

Everyday sale

Take a look at if you’re hungry for discounts, there plenty to be found at

The site offers 500 constantly-changing voucher codes across 13 shopping categories, and is partnered with more than 1,500 online retailers.

Discount-code sites are now a dime a dozens (minus savings) but this one stands out with its smart, colourful design and some brilliant futures.

These include the ability to save your favourite stores so you can receive instant code and sale alerts, free e-cards to send to friends and family and a blog packed with shopping tips and news.

EverydaySale seems more female-oriented than rival sites but has bargains galore for all.

Saturday 3 October 2009

Surviving the Credit Crunch

Even if you’re heartily sick of the term ‘credit crunch’, it’s worth checking out this excellent site It offers a wealth of money-saving tips that could save you thousands of pounds a year.

Launched by debt-busting expert Richard Fenton, it’s an invaluable source of advice on matters such as dealing with creditors, choosing the best savings account and supplementing your income. The big, bold design might not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s more visually appealing than rival

A loyal community is already building in the forums and there’s a handy finance calculator to help you work out solutions to your money woes.

Friday 2 October 2009

Bill Monitor - Mobile phone plans often involve such confusing combinations of free minutes and texts that it’s hard to tell their true cost.

BillMonitor helps prevent nasty statement surprises by finding you the best contract for your needs. At its simplest, you just specify roughly how many minutes of calls you make and messages you send each month, but there are further options for data use and overseas access. The site then lists the cheapest tariffs and lets you click straight through to the network site. It can also analyse your online bills to give you savings advice.

BillMonitor is a very useful comparison service that is impressively implemented.

Thursday 1 October 2009

My Shopping Tips aims to be your personal shopping assistant by finding you the best quality products at the lowest prices.

That may sound like a price-comparison service, but this site couldn’t be more different. All the bargains are handpicked from a wide range of online stores, and are written up in friendly and frequent blog entries.

Keyword tags make news and reviews of specific items easy to locate, covering everything from art and clothes to gadgets and gifts. There’s also a handy section devoted to sales, offers and discount codes. The design is busy but not baffling, and both content and community are building nicely