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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Webscape
By Kate Russell
BBC Click Online Webscape-r

Kate Russell gives us her latest selection of the best sites on the World Wide Web.

24-hour Museum

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The UK is blessed with a rich and colourful history, which is celebrated through the many wonderful museums scattered about the country. Now you can enjoy a tour of thousands of the UK's best museum, gallery and heritage sites without ever leaving your computer screen.

24-hour Museum can best be described as a portal. It links through to websites and data from about 3,000 historical and cultural sites and organisations around the United Kingdom, but has loads of added features for explorers to enjoy.

The key aim of the website is to promote publicly funded attractions in the UK. If you are planning a sightseeing tour, I would say a visit to this site is an absolute must to help organise your trip. But even if you have no plans to set foot in the country, I strongly recommend a browse anyway because there is plenty for the virtual tourist to do as well.

The links are laid out clearly on the left, allowing one-click access to the key areas of the site. Check out the "trails" section for a great example of this website's functionality. Here they have organised the linked pages into virtual and physical trails, a bit like a treasure hunt. Choose a trail by theme, or geographically, then follow the links to explore. I loved the virtual trail for the younger browser - a young wizards special about myths and magic.

Also worth noting are the online exhibitions, such as a virtual tour of No 10 Downing Street, where you can use the 360 viewer to have a closer look at what they hang on the walls in one of London's most famous residences.


3-D Papercraft

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Our next website was sent in by viewer Niki Neck, who watches the show with her family and wanted to share a website she discovered that will entertain young and old alike, and get them away from their computers for a couple of hours.

This is origami gone high-tech! Hosted by a well-known print company, the resources on these pages are offered free and without registration, and I have to say they contain a fantastic range of educational paper models you can make, presented in a really stunning way. All you will need is a colour printer and a copy of acrobat reader installed, and you can download PDF files containing printouts, instructions, and even some educational information about the subject.

There are models of animals, cars, buildings, science and even seasonal stuff. Each print file is available in either A4 or US letterhead, and on broadband takes just a couple of seconds to download. Print out and cut out, then follow the detailed instructions to put your model together. There is even a section for kids where they can make colourful scenes with less complicated models to make. Marvellous.

I think it is a great activity for the whole family to do around the kitchen table on a Sunday afternoon - and if you do not have a decent colour printer at home, why not pop along to your local Internet café and do some colour printouts there instead?


Function X

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The next site caught my eye because two viewers - Muhammad Wasim Khan and Ketan Sharma - suggested it in the same week! Knowing how discerning the Click viewer is, I simply had to take a look.

On the surface, FunctionX looks a little plain and the scattering of techie acronyms and C++ on the front page would be enough to send the casual surfer scurrying away. But scratch the surface and you will find a wealth of information for those interested in using computers, and no matter how complicated the subject looks the tutorials begin the learning process from the very beginning.

Admittedly the subjects are pretty dry and businessy, but all very useful, and for many professions these days, the skills covered here may well be a necessity. There is loads to choose from - basic programming, database and spreadsheets, presentation packages like PowerPoint, and even website development.

The tutorials themselves are web-based, easy to follow, and often include downloadable exercises and samples to help you follow along at home. I strongly recommend the Excel tutorial if you have ever wanted to handle your budgeting better at home.


SOME PRIORART DESCRIPTIONS

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Finally, something a little off-the-wall to lighten the mood after all that tech. Priorart is a quaint little application which serves no purpose other than to entertain - and, who knows, it might even lead to inspiration!

The idea is that you type in the name of a made up product, and Priorart randomly generates a description for that product. Some of them are just plain silly, but a lot are really funny, and even make a bizarre kind of sense - such as offoble, a water resistant mobile phone you can use to scrape your windscreen.

Although I am not sure how much use there is for a mousemat that kills ants,or a voice activated samurai sword!

I even tried putting in some real product names - the amusing results of which I will let you discover on your own from here. I love those little web gems that just kill the last five minutes of lunch break, don't you?


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Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 0745, 2030, Sunday at 0430, 0645 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. It is also shown on BBC Two: Saturday at 0745 and BBC One: Sunday at 0645. Also BBC World.

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