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Last Updated: Friday, 30 September 2005, 15:14 GMT 16:14 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.

Mozilla website

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As we have mentioned before, alternative browsers such as Mozilla's Firefox are becoming more and more popular, and as a result, there are more and more funky plug-ins and accessories being made available to complement them.

Here is one that definitely deserves a mention: Thunderbird.

Available from mozilla.org, Thunderbird is a free email client that works with Mozilla's browsing technology, and has some intelligent anti-spam measures built in to boot.

If you are using Firefox I would advise updating it to the latest version first. Clicking About under the Help menu will tell you which version you are currently running.

Once the download is complete follow the installation instructions.

You will be given the option of importing all messages and e-mail settings from your current default client, which makes set up an absolute doddle.

It is up to you whether you make this your default mail client. Personally I would suggest playing with it for a little while before making it your standard mail reader.

I found it a dream to use. It is fully featured and secure. It can handle multiple POP and IMAP mail accounts, and even allows you to read RSS feeds, a technology used by a lot of web-bloggers and other websites that change their page content regularly.

Mozdev website

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If that has given you a taste for tweaking your browser then you are going to need some more plug-ins.

The beauty of these free, open source packages that are becoming so popular is that a healthy community of software coders is building up around them. Take a look at Mozdev.org to see what I mean.

Mozdev is the home of a large software development community who are dedicated to making quality free software to complement Mozilla's browsing technology. Click About to find out more.

The idea here is that it is a place to see what has been developed and what is in development to support Mozilla's browsing software.

Click Active Projects for a list of links that are live. There is a large and interesting collection of plug-ins and extensions in this list, some of which are not complete yet.

Download links generally appear at the top of the extension page and you will need pop-ups enabled.

I have not tried many of them myself, so you will have to find your own way around and let us know which ones work best for you.

Obviously the usual caveats about downloading strange software apply.

Maporama website

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This website was sent in by Paul Whitehead in New Zealand.

He said his wife has found this an extremely useful site for street maps and they have tested it in New Zealand, France and the UK. It is called Maporama.

Aside from the obligatory pop-ups, I found this a clean and intuitive website to use, with an impressive language selection and an even more impressive database of street maps around the globe.

Use the drop-down menus under maps to find the location you want, or you can enter an itinerary and have the best route from A to B calculated for you by car or by foot.

The real joy in this website for me is the map display and settings, far better than any map websites I have been using to date.

Menus on the left allow you to customise the look and size of the map displayed. You can turn points of interests, such as petrol stations, on or off, and it even tells you what the weather is like there at the moment.

Once you are happy with your map it can be exported to email or PDA, or you can print it and take it with you so you never have to get lost again.

Kurnik website

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Finally, for those who like to indulge in an intellectual battle of wits online, here is a gaming website suggested by a viewer called Barry who says he has had many a happy challenge match on kurnik.pl.

It does not look very pretty, but it loads quickly. There are many games available to play with people from all over the world, some of whom do not necessarily have access to a broadband connection, which I think is a plus rather than a minus.

You will need to select your language first, there are plenty available and then choose from games such as Chess, Connect Four, Ludo and Hearts.

You will need to set up a user ID and password for scoring purposes, but no e-mail address is required.

The blurb that comes up after your ID is registered is worth a read too. It is charmingly written and contains some good sound advice about online etiquette.

Once you are signed in select a game, then choose a room and jump on to a table. The rules are available here for you, too.

This is a Polish site and at the moment the majority of its users are Polish nationals themselves, but they say they would welcome a more international feel and maybe we can help there.

It is fair to say though that until we do, you will find the chat aspect of this website a little difficult if you do not actually speak Polish.

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 0745. Also BBC World.

Kate's downloading advice
01 Jul 05 |  Click Online

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


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