Cheap train tickets, Comedy videos and zoomy 3D photos

Something useful:

>> The Train Line Fare Finder


This new tool helps you find the cheapest long distance rail tickets for your chosen journey if you can be flexible about when to travel.

Something funny:
>> Funny Or Die

Will Ferrell’s hugely successful comedy video site
launches in the UK with support and exclusive clips from Matt Lucas and David Walliams.

Something whizzy:
>> Cool Iris

This is a small download which changes the way popular photo and video sites (including Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Picasa, Flickr and Photobucket) appear on your screen. With Cool Iris installed you get a very impressive full-screen 3D view of your photos which lets you quickly zoom in from a photo mozaic to a tiny detail on any photo. It’s a bit like Google Earth for your photos.

Money and Magic

>> Kublax – Keep track of all your finances in one place

A particularly timely launch for this new personal finance site. This is designed to help you keep track of all your bank, building society and credit card accounts in one place. Create a free Kublax account and enter your bank details once. The site will automatically retrieve transaction details from multiple accounts, categorise them and display them on a graph or pie-chart so you can see at a glance exactly where your money is going.

The site uses the same levels of security and encryption as online banks and will even alert you about unusual Merlintransactions which may indicate possible identity theft.  Additional features include a budget tool to help you track your spending against personal targets, plus links to deals which may save you money on the areas where your spending is currently highest.

>> Merlin’s Magic

A terrific all-animated site to tie in with the launch of BBC One’s new epic sword and sorcery series. If you have a fairly recent Windows PC and a webcam, Merlin’s Magic is a must-try and very cool feature. Download the free software and print out a copy of a ‘Merlinesque’ rune. Turn on your webcam, hold your printout up to the lens, and wait for the magic to unfold  on your computer screen.

The Travel Money Maximiser

>> Money Saving Expert: Travel Money Maximiser
This phenomenally useful tool is designed to simplify currency exchange rates and commission charges so you can always get the most foreign currency for your sterling. Choose the amount of currency you want and the site will searches all the online bureaux to find the cheapest deal (even allowing for commission and delivery charges).

Compare prices of broadband, phone & digital TV bundles

>> Broadband Internet UK: Compare prices of broadband, phone & digital TV bundles
Last November we told you about Broadband Genie which compares the price of different broadband services based on factors including download speeds, length of minimum contract and free software supplied. Broadband Internet UK offers a similar service, but raises the bar by comparing not only standalone broadband packages, but also bundle deals which combine broadband, phone, TV and mobile for one monthly fee.
The site is independent and offers extensive reviews of different providers as well as beginners guides to broadband and to switching service providers.

Act on CO2

>> Act on CO2
This new site from the Department of Transport aims to help drivers to reduce their Carbon Dioxide emissions and save money at the same time. There are tips on choosing a new more energy-efficient car and a section devoted to Smarter Driving which explains how to reduce your emissions without changing your vehicle. A savings calculator helps you work out how much money you can save each year by following the Smarter Driving tips.

Budget 2007

>> BBC News: Budget Coverage
>> Times Online: Budget Estimator
As always, BBC News’ online coverage of the budget is second to none with detailed explanations and analysis. For a personalized report on how the chancellor’s measures will effect you, try the Budget Estimator on Times Online

Compare Car Rental Prices

Carhaire >> Carrentals.co.uk
>> Travel Supermarket
>> VrooomVrooomVrooom
If you’re planning on booking a hire car online, your best chance of finding the car you need at the best price is by using one of these price comparison services. TravelSupermarket compares prices from over 25 websites, Carrentals.co.uk searches both suppliers and brokers’ sites – up to 40 sites in total, and VrooomVrooomVrooom searches only the major suppliers, but offers a price promise deal if you can find the same type of vehicle, from the same location and with the same conditions cheaper from another supplier. In my experience no one price comparison site will always find you the cheapest deal, but if you try all three of these sites, you have a very good chance of finding the best value rental package for your needs.

Skiing on a Shoestring

Skiing >> Skiing on a Shoestring
I’ve never been skiing, partially because I lack the basic co-ordination required to avoid breaking a number of limbs and partially because I’ve always assumed that you needed the income of an investment banker before even contemplating a skiing holiday.
This useful (and well written) site shows that it is possible to go skiing or snow-boarding on a tight-ish budget. It’s packed with useful independent information for both novices and experienced ‘powder freaks’ to help you choose the right resort and find cheap clothing and equipment.

Pricextra

>> Pricextra
This new site from charity UK CEED compares the energy consumption of home appliances, cars and computer monitors, allowing you to save money and help the environment at the same time. Also mentioned today:
>> Good Stuff (A Behind-the-Scenes Guide to the Things We Buy)

Kayak UK

>> Kayak UK
Billed as the world’s largest travel search engine, Kayak has been a great success in the US, and has finally launched a UK version. The core of the site is a flight search tool which compiles results from over 120 sites featuring both scheduled and budget airlines (until now most flight comparison sites have specialised in one or the other, but not both).
To help you find the best flight deals Kayak also showcases the 100 best prices found by other Kayak users searching the same route over the past 36 hours and the lowest fares to the 25 most popular destinations from any airport or city found by other Kayak users.