Christmas How-To videos on VideoJug

>> Christmas How-To videos on VideoJug
We’ve featured VideoJug before on the show: It’s a YouTube style site specialising in handy short films teaching you how to do the stuff they didn’t teach you at school (get a perfect wet shave, tie a bow tie, carve a roast dinner etc)
They’ve created an excellent section of short films to help you cope with any aspect of the festive season – From dancing at office parties to removing mulled wine stains, curing indigestion, or wrapping unusually shaped presents. Indispensible!

BBC iPlayer adds ‘Click To Play’ feature

>> BBC iPlayer
>> BBC Press Office Guide to iPlayer
When I was little I used to anxiously await the arrival of the Christmas double issue of Radio Times so I could meticulously plan my festive viewing. In spite of this, I usually found that by the start of the Spring term, I’d missed most of the programmes which everyone was talking about in the playground.
Which brings me to the BBC iPlayer, which launched quietly in the summer as a trial service offering UK licence fee payers free Windows downloads of BBC TV shows. Just in time for Christmas, the service is expanding to include ‘Click To Play’ programmes as well as downloads.
Now you can watch immediately online on any Windows, Mac or Linux computer. Basically as long as you are in the UK, if your computer can play YouTube videos, it should also be able to play any iPlayer Click To Play videos with no additional software.
Around 250 shows from all BBC TV channels are made available each week, and you have 7 days after the original broadcast to watch each show. Which means that even if you forget to set the video for Doctor Who, Catherine Tate or Strictly Come Dancing this Christmas, you can still catch up with all these shows online, making Spring term telly playground blues a thing of the past.

Last Posting Dates

>> Last Posting Dates
One of the most useful sites you’ll find as you try to finish your Christmas shopping online: Last Posting Dates not only tells you the Post Office’s dealine to get your cards and presents in the post, but also pulls together information from many of the biggest and most popular online shops about when you need to place your order in order to ensure that it reaches you in time for Christmas Eve.

Music Club Live / Festive greetings

>> Radio 2 Music Club Live
Earlier this month Radio 2 hosted a concert featuring six acts we have supported from the beginning of their careers. Go online now to see photos, hear live tracks and watch backstage video of james Blunt, KT Tunstall, The Hoosiers, Tom Baxter and more. Then tomorrow from 2200 you can listen again to the whole gig and watch 30 minutes of highlights online or on digital TV (via the red button service)

Also mentioned today:
>> Elf Yourself
>> Everyclick presents Santa Swing

Christmas reading ideas

Here are a few booky sites to help you choose books to give as Christmas presents (or ask for from friends or family)

>> Love Reading
Try-before-you-buy by downloading sample chapters. Plus reviews and ‘like for like’ recommendations

>> Meet The Author
A kind of literary YouTube – Authors have a minute or so to talk up their oeuvre on camera. Plus on the marketplace, unpublished authors can pitch their book ideas and receive ratings and comments from the Meet The Author community.

>> LibraryThing
Social networking for book-lovers: Create an online catalogue of all the books in your collection, rate or review each book, and get book recommendations from other readers with similar literary tastes.

>> What Should I Read Next
Get reading recommendations based on collective taste, as determined by which titles have appeared on other site user’s favourites list.

Friday quick links

>> Doctor Who Advent Calendar
Highlights so far include:
  • Merry Christmas from David and Kylie video
  • Christmas short story – The Frozen
  • Companions Quiz
  • Printable Christmas Cards
  • Unreleased Murray Gold Track – The Old Rugged Cross
with lots more to come before the 2007 Christmas epsiode
>> About My Place
Zoomy-inny maps go 3D! Just like Google Earth, but you don’t have to download it first, this lets you choose from an overhead view of your house, or satellite views from North, South, East or West
  • Accept that you can’t dance
  • Vow that never again will you perform a pelvic thrust
  • No singing, mauling, or woop-wooping
  • Keep things VERY simple
>> Game of the week: Hair Style
Wholly in Japanese, so this animated hair-styling game is slightly baffling, but cute and compelling in equal measure!

Give Or Take

>> Give Or Take
I’ve talked about charity shopping portals and cashback sites before on the programme. Give or Take lets you do most of your Christmas shopping online but gives you the flexibility to choose whether you’ll get cashback for the privilege or donate to charity at no extra cost to yourself.
The site is well laid-out and easy to use with simple instructions. Say you usually buy books or cds online from WH Smiths, Woolworths or Amazon … You can still buy from them, but instead of going straight to their site, you start by going to GiveOrTake, which generates a comission fee from your chosen retailer. You then have the choice of getting that commision as a cashback, or donating it (in full) to the charity of your choice.

Norad Tracks Santa 2006

Norad2005 >> Norad Tracks Santa 2006
So I’ve been let out early for good behaviour, hence today is my last day of term.

Long-standing listeners will know that my absolute favourite site of all time is the Norad Santa Tracker – It always has pride of place as the last Website of the Day before Christmas. You may also have heard NORAD talking to Chris Evans last week, but if this is new to you, do make a point of bookmarking the site now and returning before you go to bed on Christmas Eve.

The NORAD Santa Tracker uses satellite technology to track the infrared signature of Rudolph’s red nose and follow Father Christmas’ progress around the globe from the first moment the sleigh takes to the skies above the North Pole.

Throughout Christmas Eve, the sleigh’s position is illustrated on the site’s special interactive map. As soon as NORAD’s SantaCams capture images of Santa and the Reindeer, the photos or video are immediately sent to the site and the interactive map is updated with a flashing line illustrating the route already taken.

In previous years it has been possible to see the sleigh flying over Sydney Opera House, the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids and (if you stay up really late) Big Ben.

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Website of the Day will return with Steve on January 8th 2007. Until then, why not take a look at some of the other Christmassy sites featured on the show since 2004:

Have a fabulous Christmas – May Santa bring you everything you wish for – Perhaps even a Website of the Day Book!

Online Charity Giftlists

OxfamunwrappedLast week I featured a couple of new sites which help charities benefit as a result of your routine online shopping (more info here). Since then a number of listeners have asked me to repeat the details of the sites I featured last year which allow you to create an online wishlist of charitable donations.

Charities including Oxfam and Sightsavers have their own sites which enable you to choose a value of donation and see exactly what your gift will be spent on .
The Alternative Christmas List lets you create a gift-list of donations to different charities including Barnardo’s, Help the Aged, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Save the Children and Farm Africa.

Crackermatic

>> Crackermatic
One of the most popular festive sites I’ve ever featured is back this year after a two year hiatus. Crackermatic is an animated site which lets you create a virtual cracker to send to a friend as a festive online greeting. You can choose your party hat, corny joke and even select the free gift (mini-playing-cards, nail clippers or screwdriver set). To send your greeting you’ll be asked to make a nominal £1 donation to a cerebral palsy charity.