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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 17:55 GMT
Webscape
Kate Russell
By Kate Russell
BBC Click Online Webscape-r

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

Le Louvre

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

My recent interest in finding historical and cultural sites on the internet has caused me to stumble into some rare finds - but also uncover some old classics that have been given the high-tech treatment, such as Le Louvre.

You can view these pages in four languages, so there should not be any of the usual communication problems associated with foreign travel.

From the opening page you can click links to all the sections, which remain in a resident menu panel on the left throughout your stay at the website - very useful indeed. In my opinion every website should have this feature.

Surprisingly, despite these pages being fairly picture-heavy, they load incredibly quickly - the sign of a really well built website.

The content does not let the side down either (would you expect any less from Le Louvre?)

There are 360-degree views of some of the grander sights in the virtual tour section, and plenty of pictures and information about selected exhibits from the museum under "collections", including a glimpse of the famous Mona Lisa.

It is one of those websites you need to explore at your own pace, preferably with some dignified classical music playing in the background.


My Bit of the Planet

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David Jones wrote in to suggest his little bit of the planet might be worth taking a look at, and I would tend to agree.

Not so much because of its style and presentation, but more for the passion and dedication with which these pages have been created.

They chronicle, in pictures and words, the activity in David's back garden over the past four years or so.

The website has a charming name, and really reflects the pride with which its creator keeps his garden.

And the local wildlife clearly appreciates his efforts too.

There are nesting Great Tits, with some excellent shots from inside the nesting box, the story of various pond visitors, and ladybirds frolicking in the undergrowth.

Laid out in a diary format, it is easy to follow and really charmingly written.

I have enjoyed exploring your garden, David Jones from Aldershot - thank you very much.


Spy vs Spyware

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

Anyone who likes to surf the web will have heard about spyware. Pop-ups, hijackers, trackers and spiders are everywhere.

But what on earth are they? How do you get them? And more importantly, does it really matter?

You go to any number of anti-spyware websites and they will spout a litany of reasons why you should be protected up to the hilt - but then, they have a vested interest in you adopting their way of thinking.

How can you tell whose product is best for the job, and what you should worry about, as opposed to what poses no real threat?

Spy vs Spyware was created by a PC consultant who works for a large firm, and who has been required to discover the things that work best for dealing with spyware in his office.

He must have had a lot of cases to deal with as he has gone to some trouble putting this information into the public domain.

It is not very aesthetic, but then the guy does work in IT.

What is important here is the clear, concise, no-hype information about the nasty things you might pick up as you journey through the pages of the web, and how to get rid of them - including links to download pages for the tools he is using.


AliceBot

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

And so to our final website, and a nice little chat with Alice - a computer chat program which recently won, for the third time, a prestigious prize for human-like conversation.

The pages of AliceBot hold a wealth of essential reading about artificial intelligence.

There is even information about the technology used to build Alice, and how you can start programming a robot for yourself.

Click "Chat with Alice" to begin chatting with the robot herself. It is a unique and surprising experience.

It is only text-based, but the artificial intelligence is really very impressive.

Alice responds politely and with complete relevance, and even asks counter questions from time to time.

In the past few days I have spent some time trying to trip her up.

Getting into a conversation with her about whether she is real or not was interesting to say the least.

But on the whole, aside from the speed with which she replies, one could almost be fooled into thinking one is chatting with a person.


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Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. A short version is also shown on BBC Two: Saturday at 0645 and BBC One: Sunday at 0730 . Also BBC World.

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