Squares 2

Squares2 >> Squares 2
Behold another infuriatingly addictive game that should keep you busy until the end of your next tea-break (or the one after).
Your screen is full of moving red and black squares (and occasional circles). You control a rotating black square, and your task is to hit as many other black squares as possible, while avoiding any red squares. Every black square you hit makes your master-square bigger and the game faster … If you hit a red square then it’s game over.
The black circles are good news – they slow the game down, shrink your master square, give you extra points or make you temporarily invincible. As for the red circles… don’t ask – they’re evil.
All clear as mud then. It’s not as confusing as it sounds though – Just play it, you’ll enjoy it, honestly!

Peppa Pig

Peppapig >> Peppa Pig
Yesterday at Website of the Day towers we were celebrating Ruby’s fourth birthday, so I promised that today’s site would be one of her favourites.
Peppa Pig currently airs on Channel Five and Nick Jr in the UK – it’s a hugely appealing (award-winning) cartoon series starring 5-year-old Peppa and her porcine friends and family (Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, baby brother George and his favourite toy Mr Dinosaur).
The Pig family wear clothes, drive cars, go to school or work, watch telly and play on the computer, but they also retain a few piggy characteristics including snorting and (most-of-all) jumping in muddy puddles.
The music, bright colours and simple animation style make it very popular with under-fives, but it’s also got a nice tongue-in-cheek sense of humour which makes it a favourite with the kind of parents whose tolerance for most pre-school television is pretty limited.
The site is fully animated and has video clips from the show, character profiles, a gallery for toddlers to send in their own Peppa drawings to win a prize, and a range of games which are well-targeted at pre-schoolers. Ruby and I have spent many happy hours here!

Podcasts for beginners

>> Sign up for our Steve Wright in the Afternoon podcast
Attentive listeners will already be aware that our hugely popular Ask Elvis feature is now available as a download or podcast (as part of the BBC Download Trial), so that you can listen to The King’s wisdom on the move, and at a time to suit you.
But our programme inbox shows that many listeners are still confused by the term podcasting, so here’s our quick Website of the Day guide to how to find, download and listen to podcasts.

What is a podcast?
A piece of audio that can be automatically delivered to your computer, for you to listen to at your convenience. It might be a professional radio programme, or an amateur film review – a language lesson, a guide to descaling a kettle, or a daily recipe or limerick. Whatever your interests you’re likely to find a podcast to fit the bill

Do I need an iPod to listen to a podcast?
Absolutely not! You can listen on your computer, or copy the audio file to a blank CD or a whole range of portable devices. iPods are just one such device but many mobile phones can also play podcasts, as can Sony’s popular PSP games console and a massive range of media players from manufacturers including Creative, iRiver, Samsung and many others.

What software do I need?
You will already have software on your PC or Mac which can play a podcast, (Windows Media Player and Real Player can both play downloaded MP3 files) but if you want to receive podcasts automatically, you may need to download additional software to handle the automated downloads (also known as your “podcast subscriptions”).

Apple’s iTunes software is particularly popular because it combines a music player, automated downloads and transfers to iPods (and is itself a free download). There are several alternatives to iTunes for automating your downloads; The most popular of these are called Juice and Doppler. They will be all you need if you only plan to listen on your computer, but if you want to copy your podcasts over to a portable device, you will probably be best off using dedicated software designed for your device.

iTunes remains the most popular option for iPod users… Alternatives include the Zencast Organiser for Creative’s range of portable media players, and Sony’s PSP Media Manager. The latest version of Windows Media Player can also handle transfers to many MP3 players.

How do I sign up to receive a BBC podcast?
You’ll find a full list of available programmes (listed by network) on the BBC Download Trial pages Clicking on a programme name will take you to its own download page. From there click on the yellow PODCAST button for detailed instructions on how to automate the download of your chosen podcast into your podcast software.

Where can I find more information in plain English?
Many of the existing guides to podcasting are aimed at fairly computer-literate readers, which can make them difficult for novices to follow. However, search engine Yahoo! Have put together a simple guide which should clarify the process (and the language used) for many newcomers:
>> Yahoo: What the heck is a podcast?

You’ll also find more help and advice on Podcasting in the BBC Download Trial FAQ pages

Where can I go to find more non-BBC podcasts?
Some software (including the ubiquitous iTunes) includes a podcast directory, which lists a massive range of podcasts by subject matter and simplifies the subscription process.
Yahoo’s podcast site also features a podcast directory which allows you to listen to individual episodes online or subscribe to receive the whole series. Other popular directories include Podcast Alley, Podcast.net and Britcaster
>> Yahoo Podcast Directory
>> Podcast Alley
>> Podcast.net

The Lost World of Friese-Greene

>> Watch full episodes of The Lost World of Friese-Greene
>> The Open Road: Interactive Video Archive
Last night I finally got around to watching the first episode of BBC Two’ fascinating new social history programme The Lost World of Friese-Greene in which Dan Cruickshank travels from Lands End to John O’ Groats retracing the steps of pioneering 1920s filmmaker Claude Friese-Greene.
If you enjoyed Who Do You Think You Are you should like this too. The companion site is a fantastic multimedia resource, which makes the whole of Friese-Green’s film archive available via an interactive video player similar to the Planet Earth Explorer created for BBC One’s Planet Earth series.

Dragon slaying and public holidays

>> St Georges Day
>> The Value of St George
Ahead of St Georges Day on Sunday, here are a couple of sites which are campaigning to make England’s patron saint’s day a public holiday. Survey results reveal that four-fifths of people would actively celebrate St Georges Day if the government declared a national holiday (no surprise there then!).
You’ll find a more information about the campaign and a list of St Georges Day events.
For background on St George himself check out
>> St Georges Day on BBC London
>> St George profile on BBC Religion
Oh and it’s also my 40th birthday on Sunday. Why not send me a nice message in the comments section here or if you’ve got a MySpace page, you could befriend me via my MySpace profile!

The Queen at 80

>> BBC News: The Queen at 80
>> British Monarchy Official Site: Send a Birthday Greeting to the Queen
Earlier today the Queen visited BBC Broadcasting House to mark the 80th anniversary of the BBC being granted the royal charter.
Tomorrow many BBC networks will be broadcasting special programmes to mark the Queen’s 80th birthday. You’ll find full details of all BBC coverage, plus a useful interactive timeline of the Queen’s life and reign on this special site from BBC News.
If you want to send the Queen a birthday greeting, you can do so via the Royal Family’s official site where you’ll also find a whole section dedicated to the current celebrations.

Old Maps

>> Old Maps
We know from experience that Radio 2 listeners love map sites and family history sites, so we expect this one to be popular with the Website of the Day faithful. The site claims to feature “Britain’s most extensive digital historical map archive.”
You can search for a map of your area dating back to the 1870s, and switch to a current map or satellite view of the same area.
If they could improve the interface so you could move the maps around (as on Google Maps) it would be fabulous – As it is, this is still an interesting glimpse at Britain about 135 years ago.

30 Second Bunny Theatre

>> 30 Second Bunny Theatre
I was rummaging around for a site with a loose Easter theme, when Mrs Website of the Day mentioned bunnies. So here we go, with the web’s quintessential collection of iconic films, re-enacted entirely by cartoon bunnies in 30 seconds or less.
From Jaws to Star Wars, Brokeback Mountain to Reservoir Dogs each film gains a new lease of life with the benefit of floppy ears and a carrot obsession.
One word of warning: Some of the animations have the same certificate as the films which inspired them, so keep junior surfers away from the un-bleeped Reservoir Dogs

Chocolate Review

>> Chocolate Review
Unlike some sites which focus on your high-end gourmet chocolates, the UK site celebrates the world of Mars, Kit-Kat, Dairy Milk and Bounty. You’ll find independent reviews of 473 choc bars in their database with an opportunity for you to rate each bar out of 10. Particularly enjoyable is the section on discontinued bars (with interesting facts about why they were withdrawn).
There’s also a games section which challenges you to identify a chocolate bar from its photographic cross section!

A makeover for Transport Direct

>> Transport Direct
I first mentioned Transport Direct back in January but the site has recently had a makeover adding new features and making it an even more useful bookmark.
The site’s main aim is to help you plan the cheapest and quickest way to get from A to B whether travelling by private car or public transport. It already does a good job of that with plenty of advanced features.
Latest additions include a downloadable toolbar for quick planning of journeys, Bookmark This Journey to save regular journey enquiries and Rail Fare Availability which updates in real time to take account of expired offers or sold-out routes.