Osama Loves

Osama the Banker, 31, from London >> Osama Loves
This is interesting – A Dave Gorman-influenced quest from 2 London-based Muslims (in collaboration with Channel 4), to find and meet 500 people who share the same name. In the process, they hope to change many people’s perception of Islam:

"By meeting 500 people who share nothing but their first name, I want to show that, whatever the cultural or religious background, we all love much the same things. (Well… that’s the plan!)
For the next 50 days I’ve got a perfect excuse to do what I like best: chat to strangers. The only difference is, this time they will all be called Osama!"

Long-standing listeners will know that I like a pointless quest, so it’s nice to see a quest/travelogue which aims to do someting a bit more positive. If you know an Osama who they haven’t yet featured on the site, you can submit a photo or video to help them get closer to their target of 500 Osamas.

World In One City

>> World in One City
Londoners Alex Horne and Owen Powell are approaching the end of their one year quest to prove that London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world. To do this they aim to meet and chat to a citizen from every country in the world who currently lives and works in London. With 7 days remaining, they have 12 countries left to find. Read about their adventures and see if you can help them find their last 12 international ex-pats.
Also mentioned today:
>> The Cliché Rotation Project
A site which aims to replace all overtired clichés with fresher equivalents of similar meaning. Thus ‘Born with a silver spoon in his mouth’ is replaced by ‘Born with a venture capitalist in the family’ and so on.


Wikihow >> WikiHow
First things first … a wiki is defined here as "a web site that anyone can write and anyone can edit". You’ll doubtless already be aware of Wikipedia – which now has over 7 million articles and ranks among the top twenty most-visited websites worldwide.
If Wikipedia is a living, breathing encyclopedia with as much detail on popular culture as it has on science, history and philosophy, then WikiHow is like an instruction book for everyday life.
WikiHow’s 18 thousand (and counting) ‘How To’ guides aim to explain and demystify the kind of bizarre but routine challenges or chores we face every day – from tiling a shower to wiggling your ears via playing guitar like Eddie Van Halen. Keep an eye on this one – it’s well on the way to becoming indispensible.

Interactive Pavlov’s Dog

>> Nobel Foundation: Interactive Pavlov’s Dog
Until today we’d never tried recreating a Nobel Prize-winning experiment on Website of the Day. But now, thanks to this nifty online exhibit on the Nobel Foundation site, you can try training a cartoon dog to salivate to order in true Pavlovian style!

World Book Day 10

Worldbookday10 >> World Book Day 10
Last year I described the main World Book Day site as a wasted opportunity.
This new site to mark the event’s 10th birthday still seems a bit pedestrian compared to some of my favourite literary sites but it’s a big improvement on last year’s effort.
Features include a vote for the 10 Books Your Can’t Live Without, a competition to win a spa weekend by identifying which book featured particular quotations, and a quiz which challenges you to guess which favourite book is shared by a pair of authors or celebrities.


Geograph >> Geograph
Today is the second birthday of this interesting and rather addictive site, which aims to assemble a photographic archive of the whole of the UK, comprising photos submitted entirely by site visitors.
The nation is broken down into square kilometre grids and the first photo submitted to represent each grid is known as a geograph. More than 50% of the grids are already represented and the site now boasts over 350,000 images of local landmarks submitted by 3750 photographers.
Geograph was (deservedly) voted Best Travel Site in Yahoo’s “Finds Of The Year 2006” awards.

100 Jobs

Hats off to Oliver Davies of Middleborough, who spent 5 months “getting turned down for a whole range of jobs that I’m perfectly qualified for, so I decided to apply for 100 jobs that I’m clearly not suited for and see what happens”. Oliver’s blog chronicles the success (or otherwise) of his applications for roles including:
• Male Escort
• Head of Programme Acquisition at Chanenl 4
• Chief Executive of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
• Artistic Director for the International Dance Festival Ireland.
• Guitarist in Thrash Metal band Bleed The Sky.
• Part-time Antelope Keeper with the Oregon Wildlife Foundation

A cliché in the hand is worth two on the web

You wait ages for a site called The Cliché Finder then 2 come along at once…

>> The Cliché Finder (1)
“Have you been searching for just the right cliché to use? Are you searching for a cliché using the word "fish" or "cheese" but haven’t been able to come up with one?”

This Cliché Finder offers a unique service- a fully searchable database of over 3,300 cliches. There’s one for every occasion, and at the end of the day you can’t say fairer than that.

>> The Cliché Finder (2)
Meanwhile this cliché finder is useful if you want to ensure that your writing is cliché-free. Simply paste a few paragraphs into the form on this site, and it will check your prose against clichés listed in the Associated Press Guide to News Writing . Any clichés found will be highlighted in red, enabling you to find an alternate fresher way of saying the same thing.
When all’s said and done, there’s no better way to tie up the loose ends in your writing, or I’ll eat my words.

2006 Year-End Google Zeitgeist

>> 2006 Year-End Google Zeitgeist
Every year, the world’s most popular search engine publishes a Zeitgeist Report highlighting some of the most searched-for words and phrases over the last 12 months. The report is always an interesting read providing some genuine (if occasionally depressing) insights into what interests the average web user.
Thus we find that Paris Hilton was the top news search of 2006 (well ahead of Hurricane Katrina) , that more people want to know who Borat is than Hezbollah and that Nicole Kidman’s wedding was the most searched-for wedding (just ahead of her ex-husband Tom Cruise. Unsurprisingly the McCartney divorce is well ahead of the field for break-up searches!

Website of the Day: The Book

The shameless plug starts here.

The Book from Amazon

If I had a fiver for every time someone had said to me "You should do a Website of the Day book", I’d have well over twenty quid by now. Maybe even £25 actually. But once I’d given the idea some serious thought, I realised there might be some demand for a webby book that’s not remotely geeky.

So in my ongoing bid for multi-media super-stardom (or something), I spent the spring and summer turning the Website of the Day archives into a book.
The whole thing is cunningly designed to appeal equally to people who wouldn’t be seen dead anywhere near a book about the internet, and those who fancy themselves as webby know-it-alls. It’s got lots of lovely pictures and thousands of links (many of which have never featured on the programme).

Bigbookcover_1 I’ve tried to make it the kind of book you could enjoy on the bus or in the bath – It’s chatty and enthusiastic (like the on-air feature) and there’s stuff in it for your parents and for your kids as well as lots of fantastic sites you won’t have found for yourself.

You’ll find detailed guides to getting the best broadband deal, spambusting, legal music downloads, online DVD rental, family history research, eBay and route-planning.

The whole thing starts with 15 sites you can’t live without then moves onto sections on Online Shopping and Money Saving, Travel, Music, Film & Telly, Kids Sites, Extreme Sports, Retro Sites & Nostalgia.

And of course there are plenty of the kind of daft sites which have been the bread and butter of the on-air feature – games, diversions, timewasters, bets, quests and silly stories. Rent A Peasant, Skateboarding Bulldog, Big Whale on a Lorry, The MC Hammer Project and Banana George (the legendary nonagenarian jet-ski enthusiast) are all present and correct.

As you can probably tell, I’m really proud of it. I would say this, but it’s a fantastic Christmas present – and it’s in the shops now – Waterstones, Smiths, Borders, Tesco etc etc (and the BBC Shop of coure).

Please make my Mum happy and order a copy!

>> More info on Website of the Day: The Book