Virtual Stapler

Virtualstapler >>
A year or so ago, Steve Wright returned from one of his trips to the States clutching a book called 505 Unbelievably Stupid Web Pages. Virtual Stapler has the honour of being that book’s stupid site #505. If all you want is an animated online stapler, then you’ll find three of them here, but there’s plenty more as well, including a stapler FAQ which explains the advantages of “loop in/loop out” stapling methods and on a more artistic level, a whole section devoted to stapler poetry, from which this profound haiku is taken:

Stapler, so simple
And yet, so astonishing
Could I live without?

Flea Circus

Fleacircus_1 >> Walt Noon’s Flea Circus
>> Wikipedia: Flea Circuses explained
I never got to see a real-life flea circus before they fell out of favour in the 1960s, but Walt Noon’s Flea Circus site contains fascinating video of fleas in circus action as well as instrcutions on how to stage your own Flea Circus. Definitely an education!

Google Earth

Google_earth >> Google Earth
It’s not that often that I see something online which prompts the response “Blimey, that’s cool”, but this is definitely one of those must-see sites. Google Earth is a free download (currently only available for Windows – so sorry Mac users – but watch this space!) of a virtual globe, which lets you zoom in from space to any location on the planet. Just type a town, roadname, or postcode, to zoom into an aerial view of that location. Try flying from Wales to New Zealand – it will make you dizzy! You can even follow driving directions from the air. Highly recommended (but be aware that Google Earth may not run on PC’s that are more than 2 years old).

Free security software downloads for Windows

Also mentioned today:
>> Download free Windows security patches from Windows Update
>> Zone Alarm: Free firewall software
>> AVG: Free Anti-Virus Software
>> Avast: Free Anti-Virus Software
IMPORTANT: Please note that free firewall and anti-virus software is usually unsupported, so install and use at your own risk. If you want a product which includes free technical support, expect to pay for the software. You’ll find reviews of a range of windows security products (both free and paid-for) at the following links
>> Web User: AntiVirus software reviews
>> Web User: Firewall reviews
>> Web User: Anti-Spyware software reviews

>> Website of the Day: More online security links

The Haka

Website of the Day: Monday 22nd August

Haka_1>> Tourism New Zealand’s Interactive Haka
When it comes to pre-match sporting rituals, nothing comes close to the haka, used by New Zealand’s All Blacks. This interactive site from Tourism NZ lets you join in an animated haka by hitting your keyboard in time with the chant. You’ll also find information about the origins and meanings of this awe-inspiring ritual.

Rain Games

Rain >> Wishing for Rain
>> The Rain Game
Usually at this time of year, I’d be wheeling out my favourite barbecue sites, but clearly that’s not appropriate given the current meteorological conditions. So instead here are a couple of online games with a damp theme  – both as addictive as they are pointless. Wishing For Rain features a frog called KeroKero who needs to jump from clouds to flying pigs to reach the top of the Rain Mountain, while in the Rain Game, you play the part of Little Jamie Hodgson who has to dodge the downpour to avoid his clothes shrinking.

Don’t forget your toothbrush

Website of the Day: 18th August 2005Toothbrush

>> Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush
Billed as the ultimate holiday checklist service, this is a handy bookmark for anyone who’s every forgotten to pack sun cream, or sort out travel insurance before going on holiday. The site provides definitive checklists for every possible holiday variation – from summer sun to winter sports, via camping, sightseeing and road-trips. You create a personalised list by ticking the boxes that apply to your holiday and printing the whole thing out.

Student Essentials

Potnoodle >> Student Essentials on Radio 2
Tension is mounting in 450 thousand family homes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland this afternoon, as that’s how many people are expecting their A and AS level results tomorrow morning. If you (or your children) don’t get the results you’re hoping for, there’s plenty of invaluable advice here – and on the Radio 2 helpline on 0808 100 8000. You’ll find sections on the clearing system, student finance, and alternative qualifications, and experts are on hand to answer your questions on the message boards.

Local Superheroes

Website of the Day: Tuesday 16th August

Localsuperheroes_1 >> Local Superheroes
While the superheroes of Marvel and DC Comics continue their leap from the printed page to the big screen, today we pay tribute not to Batman, Spiderman and the Fantastic Four, but to local heroes like Disturbance Woman, Potato Peeler Man, and Unconcious Man. Those heroes feature on a site which celebrates local newspaper headlines like “Pension Man In Court” and “Strimmer Man Fined” by designing appropriate superhero costumes for each headline.

Beast Blender

Website of the Day: Friday 12th August 2005

Beastblender >> Beast Blender
Indulge your inner Frankenstein on this largely pointless, but oddly addictive site. The idea is to create your own species by combining body parts from different animals ranging from Ring Tailed Lemur to White Cockatoo via Muskellunge. You select animals from a list, click on the body part you want to drag it onto a blank canvas and then assemble your creation. You can save your animals into the online gallery or email them to a friend. It’s not quite science, but, at a push, it might just be art!