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watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 26 August 2005, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK

By Kate Russell
BBC Click Online Webscape-r

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

World Wind website

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

Now that every one has gone crazy for Google Earth, here is another download you can go crazy over.

This time it is from the people at NASA and is called World Wind. It is a hefty download, I am afraid, but worth every one of its 184 megabytes.

Once you have installed it, you will still need a broadband connection to use it because, like Google Earth, it takes data from the main server as and when you need it to display the landscape.

It shows the borders of all the world's countries with thousands of place names and you can even call up temperatures from anywhere around the globe and, if you are so inclined, you can even check out rainfall, barometric pressure and cloud cover as well.

The site is also good if you are interested in more specialist subjects like world weather.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre has produced a set of fascinating animations that demonstrate a variety of subjects such as hurricane dynamics and seasonal changes across the globe.

Just like Google Earth, though, the real draw is the graphics. For example, have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly through the Grand Canyon or across the Swiss Alps?

World Wind uses NASA's Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data to allow you to zoom in from orbit and actually fly into and through famous landmarks and geographical wonders.

Its full functions are way too complex to cover here so I will give you the best tip possible to get you started: launch the application and click Help followed by Key Chart.

Be sure to explore all the different rotational and zoom options for the absolute best results.

Michael Bach website

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

From visual imagery to optical illusions now, with Michael Bach's extensive collection of optical illusions.

The layout here is uninspired but does the job just fine. You can either click a particular illusion on the right or just dive straight in with the whole tour, which can be found at the top of that list.

Each illusion page contains a detailed description of what you should be seeing and the science behind the phenomenon.

The text looks pretty daunting but is well worth a read as I found it fascinating. In most cases there are additional controls to help explain the science, the usage of these is also explained to the left.

When you want to move on to the next illusion you will find the next and previous buttons in the top left-hand corner.

I lost count of how many times I muttered, "Oh, I see, that's clever," as I surfed these pages but, to be honest, I had to give my eyes a rest every so often as they began to ache!

DeskPins website

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

This next website, sent in by Richard watching in the UK, contains another really useful little application that is totally free to download.

Deskpins is the name of the application and it is such a simple concept, and yet I find it supremely useful.

After downloading and installing, it basically allows you to attach a pin to any folder open on your desktop. This pin has the same effect as the "always on top" function on programs like media players, but it can be quickly and easily applied to any folder or program.

Just click the icon in the task bar and then click to place your pin. When you have finished what you are doing, a right-click on the icon in the task bar reveals the option to remove all pins, with no complicated sub-menus to navigate through.

Or just click on the individual pins in the windows to take them off one by one.

I find this most useful for pinning folders to the top so that I can transfer files backwards and forwards, and for keeping my winTV window on display occasionally when I am multi-tasking.

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.

Kate's downloading advice
01 Jul 05 |  Click Online


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