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.
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Village Fetes (and Wallis Bird)

Last weekend we had a lovely family day at the Innocent Village Fete in Regents Park. It’s a nice idea to take a big green space in the centre of London and do an old fashioned village fete (complete with ferret racing, welly throwing and scones) and add in some good live music (Wallis Bird – our absolute favourite singer songwriter at the moment) and a helter skleter and other kid-friendly rides.
As part of the site to promote the event, there’s a handy Fete Finder which will help you find an actual village (or school) fete in your area. And although their fete blog is currently preoccupied with celebrating their own event, it also acts as a nice celebration of fete culture in general.

I thought that fetes would be the sort of things which appeal to I Like Old Shops so I emailed Anne who runs that site to ask if she knew of any other sites which celebrate this particularly British custom. Anne says:
"Not sure if this is in the right ballpark but Strange Britain is good for customs and weird folklore and Wacky Nation does similar. There’s also a good book by Iain Aitch called A Fete Worse Than Death that covers the same ground."

If you’ve never heard Wallis Bird, do listen to the songs on her MySpace page. The songs are good on cd, but live she’s exceptional – a bundle of charisma and a fantastic performer. One of the songs from her set in Regents Park on Saturday has already turned up on YouTube – Click on the play button on the right of this text to enjoy.

Cambridge Folk and online Telly

>> Cambridge Folk Festival

All roads lead to Cambridge this weekend for the biggest event in the folk music calendar. Online highlights include:

– Listen again to Radcliffe and Maconie with sessions from Seth Lakeman, Laura Marling, Devon Sproule and Tunng

– Get an exclusive free download of a Devon Sproule session track (UK only)

– Video of performances from many of the headline acts appearing at Cambridge

– Mike Harding’s podcast features a full audio preview of the festival

– Full line-up details with the chance to listen to tracks from many of artists appearing

– Photos

– Folk blog featuring posts from Mike Harding and some of the biggest names in folk.

>> Blinkx remote

This is useful. An easy-to-browse (or search)guide to all the TV shows legally available to watch online or download in the UK from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five. All this information is already available elsewhere, but now you can find it all in the same place. Simple and effective!

Online breath testing, Darwin online, Google Earth for charities and new features

Something Worthy
>> Google Earth Outreach
This new initiative aims to give charities and non-profit organisations the tools to showcase their fundraising activities to a mass audience via Google Maps and Google Earth.

Something New
>> The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online
Until now Darwin’s original handwritten manuscripts were only available to scholars at Cambruidge University – Now his work has been put online from Voyage of the Beagle to the Theory of Evolution. Choose to view the scanned manuscripts or put the mp3 versions on your iPod!

>> Google Earth Updated
“New! in Google Earth 4.3

  • Photo-realistic buildings from cities around the world
  • Dawn to dusk views with the Sunlight feature
  • Swoop navigation from outer space to street-level"

Something funny
>> Test Your Breath
Laugh-out-loud funny: Breath into your computer’s microphone (or type in details of your last meal) to get an assessment of how fresh (or otherwise)your breath is.

Boat Race, British Summertime and Free Online Photo Editing

Something Sporty:
>> The Boat Race
All tributaries lead to the Thames this weekend for the Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race. The event’s official site is a good ‘un with plenty of video and photos, tips on the best vantage points for spectators and links to reviews of all the pubs along the route.

Something Topical:
>> World Time Engine
Avert post clock-change transatlantic-call catastrophe with this definitive guide to what time it is in any city (or even village) worldwide. Just type in a location to find out whether their clocks have changed yet, or use the meeting planner to work out the best time to make that call.

Something Useful:
>> Photoshop Express
For over a decade Photoshop has been the tool of choice for professional photographers and designers for editing and enhancing digital photos. But at around £600 it’s not a realistic option for cash-strapped amateur photographers. This week Photoshop have launched a completely free online service which provides beginner-friendly online photo editing along with 2Gb of online photo storage for each user.

The Girl’s Guide To Travel

>> Wanderlust: The Girl’s Guide To Travel
>> Vote for your greatest woman traveller
These new features from independent travel magazine Wanderlust have launched to coincide with International Womens Day tomorrow. Find out why Camomile teabags and bicarbonate of soda should be in every woman traveller’s backpack in their downloadable guide. Then cast your vote for the Greatest Globe Trotting Girls of all time.

New BBC Homepage / James Cracknell

>> The new BBC homepage
When you go to bbc.co.uk the general appearance of the homepage hasn’t changed for the last few years. It’s done its job well, but has always been a bit of a compromise because the page had to offer something to everyone in the UK. One of the aims for a new-look homepage was to make the page flexible and allow people to customise both the content and appearance. A test version of the new homepage has been running alongside the old version for a few months, but this week it’s all-change with your personalised homepage replacing the old, static version.

It’s well worth having a play with the new page. Click below for links to a video tour of the new features and a more detailed guide to what has changed.

Highlights include an animated version of the old BBC 2 on-screen clock that appeared during continuity announcements, a choice of many colour schemes and up to 12 different promotional panels for your favourite content (including blogs, iPlayer, weather for your postcode, and much more).
>> Tour the new-look homepage
>> New BBC homepage: Full feature guide

Also today:

>> James Cracknell’s Sport Relief Challenge
Here’s something I had hoped to mention on air but we ran out of time. Last week we talked about the main Sport Relief site. This week I’ve been looking at the site for James Cracknell’s Cross-Continent Challenge in aid of Sport Relief. James is currently on the third day of the challenge, during which he aims to travel to Africa from the UK in less than a week – rowing the channel, cycling down through France and Spain then swimming to North Africa (accompanied by David Walliams.

James has already completed 412 miles out of his target of 1,434 miles. It’s a really impressive site, which uses sophisticated technology to track James’ exact location, and also features regular blog and video updates, a list of the music he’s listening to en route and the chance to sponsor James’s challenge.