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Last Updated: Friday, 6 January 2006, 15:16 GMT
Kate Russell
By Kate Russell
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Kate Russell gives us her latest selection of the best sites on the World Wide Web.

Digital Home DIY

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With the holiday season behind us, you might want to think about updating your technology.

Or maybe you have been given a gift of a new hi-tech gadget and you are keen to set it up and start using it.

If so, this little gem of a website will be there to hold your hand at every step of the way.

Digital Home DIY is an interactive site full of tutorials on how to set up various aspects of a hi-tech digital home. It covers loads of topics from adding voice chat to your gaming experience, to connecting up your new High Definition TV.

Navigation is made really simple with a panel on the left, which links through to all the main sections such as digital imaging, games, home control and home theatre.

The Convince Me section, which opens up first when you launch a project, is a great idea - especially if you have someone else to persuade before starting the work.

Click the tabs across the top to advance through the various stages of the instruction. When you get to the How To section, it contains a short movie with a commentary to step you through the task.

And of course there is the faithful Print This Project button if you prefer to work at your own pace.

Fashion net

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If you are more interested in self improvement than home improvement, maybe you want to catch up on all the latest trends and fashions that will be hitting the high street this year.

Fashion net provides a really cool portal that will help you find your way on the web to all the top designers' websites, and a whole lot more.

The ultimate in chic, the front end of this portal is elegant and minimalist, with links to the five core sections clearly marked, and the subsequent internet trail through to the information you want is really easy to follow.

Click on Fashion and you will be offered a list of choices from all over the world. Clicking on Designers brings up a list of key fashion locations to choose from. Once selected, a list of designers and where they can be found in that city appears underneath together with, where possible, a link to their website.

If you like to soak up popular and unpopular opinion, checking out some of the fashion blogs is also highly recommended.

This is the kind of site that you just need to wander around and see what you can find, but don't forget to plug in your Gucci mouse before you start surfing.

Identity Theft Resource Center

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

If you have hammered your credit cards and ordered lots of items online over the break, you might have found yourself wondering about the financial security of your details.

The Identity Theft Resource Center is the place to go if you want to set your mind at rest.

This well presented website is aimed at consumers who are looking for tips on how to avoid the risks associated with identity theft. The menus are clear and easy to follow, and I like that fact that the straightforward tips and information try not to sensationalise the threat.

There are tips for individuals and businesses, and there is even a section dedicated to those unlucky enough to have fallen victim to the crime, or think they may have.

Taking the Victim Guides tests will help you assess if you are in danger of being caught out, although it is worth remembering that the creator of this website is a non-profit organisation based in North America, and so the contacts and specific laws will generally be aimed at the American audience.

It is a valuable resource nonetheless, if only to help put your mind at ease.

My Virtual Bartender

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

Finally, an interesting site for those of you celebrating this time of year. If you went to a party over the holiday break, and tasted a cocktail you would like to recreate at home, then you could do worse than to get the virtual bartender to assist you.

My Virtual Bartender is the home of an agreeable young lady who will remember your name and make small talk with you as you discuss the drinks you want to know about.

Click on Meet Shannon to get started, and very responsibly she will make a statement regarding the legalities of drinking alcohol if you are under age. You will then need to click the Meet Shannon tab on the right to finally get to talk to the girl.

The rest is pretty self explanatory, mainly because Shannon talks you through it herself. Admittedly there are not a huge amount of cocktails to choose from - but I have picked this site more for the novelty factor than anything else, and there are a reasonable number of tasty beverages that she can serve.

Kate's downloading advice
01 Jul 05 |  Click Online


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