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Last Updated: Friday, 1 April, 2005, 15:39 GMT 16:39 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.

Picasa

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

In my years of using a PC, I have amassed a huge amount of images on my hard drive.

This includes photographs, either taken by me or sent and downloaded from friends and family's collections, as well as graphics, animated gifs and movies.

If your hard drive is brimming over with random images scattered all over the place and you need help managing them, then you need to get your hands on a free tool from the guys behind Google called "Picasa".

After a remarkably quick download considering the power of this software, the installation will ask you where you would like to search for files to include.

Once that is done, every time you launch the software it will scan the selected folders, making sure your collection is kept up-to-date every time.

Unless you have been completely organised in your file structure I recommend selecting the complete search, as you could be surprised by some of the images and movies you had forgotten you had.

The slick interface is easy to use.

In the library function, all your pictures are arranged into an easy access file structure on the left, with thumbnails displayed on the right.

The library is also handily referenced by date, and if you click the timeline option along the top you will enter a fun menu allowing you to scroll through the history of your photographs.

The software itself is so packed full of useful editing, tweaking and management tools, that it is impossible to mention them all here.

What is great is that the are so intuitively laid out that absolutely anyone can use them.

I would simply advise you to simply have a play.

One tool which deserves a mention is "Hello".

It is an instant messaging service that allows permitted friends to browse your photo collections and download their own favourites.

And if you want to share photos with someone who is not online, why not make them a gift CD?

An activity made easy by the one click link at the top.


BBC Spooks homepage

Next up, a little gem for all those of you who dreamed about being a spy.

This is the homepage of "Spooks", a BBC drama based on the shady and dangerous world of being a spy for MI5.

But regardless of whether you have seen the show or not, the game on this website stands on its own as an excellent example of interactive content.

On launching the game from the left-hand navigation panel, you will be prompted to set up a BBCi account, if you do not already have one.

From there you are launched into your MI5 office.

Click the computer monitor in front of you to begin playing.

Now you are just a few clicks away from the spy academy.

You have to complete each of the academy tasks before being allowed to actually do any spying, which is a little annoying as the games at this stage are really easy.

But it is a good way to nail down the skills you will be tested on during your tour of duty, including logic, observation and dexterity.

I will not spoil any of the missions by telling you too much, as part of the joy of this game is the tense atmosphere and ambient graphics and sound effects, which really suck you into the world of the unknown.

Video clips explain each mission as you go, and if you are really stuck you can always click the help link at the top of your PDA interface.


Sync2It

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

If you really were a spy, you would probably need to be able to access important websites from anywhere in the world, and if you do not want to be memorising long lists of URLs, or having to eat the paper on which you have written them, then you might find Sync2it comes in handy.

This website is basically a downloadable applet, which allows you to store your bookmarks or favourites from your browser, online.

Apart from the obvious benefit of having access to your favourites where ever you happen to be surfing, this applet also includes a powerful bookmark manager, accessible from the quick launch icon that will have appeared in your task bar after installation.

It also auto detects dead or duplicated links, and records any changes you make the minute you make them, so if you have to switch browsers or computers all of a sudden, the information you need will be handy no matter what.

This is a free service for up to 50 bookmarks, which to be honest is a miserable amount, and I am sure will not be enough for most of you.

But you can try out the software for 90 days in its full capacity, and if you want to subscribe to the unlimited service after this time, it really is not a lot of money.


Car Talk

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

We end with a brief look at a website for all you auto fans that was sent in by Prakash from India.

Whether you are thinking of buying a car, selling a car, maintaining a car, or just like looking at pictures of nice cars, it seems as though there is something for everyone on Car Talk.

This site is run by two guys who host an internet radio show called Car Talk.

It is a kind of amusing phone-in chat show, offering auto-advice to callers.

There is nothing too serious or in depth, but plenty of useful nuggets of information, which you can jump straight to by choosing the right segment to listen to.

As well as the radio show, there are plenty of text and picture sections, with reviews, test drives, hints and tips, and loads more.

It is pretty easy to see what is available from the front page.

Do be careful of some of the links though, as the site is riddled with advertising, and some features will take you to other, entirely commercial websites.

Having said that, this site seems to be a powerhouse of information for those wanting to make the most out of their motor.


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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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