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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Webscape
Kate Russell
By Kate Russell
Click Webscape-r

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

Sound Junction website

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

Let us kick off with a site that is ideal for budding musicians.

SoundJunction is an extremely comprehensive site dedicated to all things musical. If you want to find out about different styles of music from rock to jazz, or if you are thinking about taking up an instrument, it is all here.

There is a heavy bias towards education, which tends to mean each topic is discussed in exhaustive detail.

For example, navigate through the "How music works" section and you will find articles, photos and the history of specific musical instruments. There are even expert tips on how to play instruments, in some cases there are video clips demonstrating the instruments in use.

But if you really want to get your hands dirty, head back to the main menu and click on the "Composer" section, which contains a simple piece of music-editing software.

It is loaded with a selection of pre-recorded samples. These can be dragged and dropped onto a timeline, eventually building together to make a finished track.

While it might not be up to professional standards, it is free, and this simple application allows the novice to grasp the basics of digital composing.

A great site for anybody thinking about taking up an instrument or if you just want to know the difference between a violin and a viola.


Diseno Art website

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Billing itself as an online encyclopaedia of interesting vehicles, Diseno-art is a must-visit site for fans of all things vehicular. This site ignores average everyday vehicles and focuses on innovative and interesting machines.

The homepage features top notch news, which is regularly updated with photos and articles about the world's most exotic vehicles. But the site really comes into its own when you stray away from the pictures of the latest super cars and start investigating the weirder vehicles stored in the archive.

Broken down into sections focusing on cars, boats and aircraft, a quick click on any of these groups reveals hundreds of pages detailing exotic vehicles, old and new.

The concept car and strange vehicle sections are of particular interest. Here you will find photos and stats about some of the weirdest modes of transport ever conceived. How about the land-walker exoskeleton, or the dolphin-shaped speed boat?


Scratch website

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If you would like to animate your own cartoons, write your own video games or even create interactive artworks, but cannot be bothered with all of that complicated coding business this next site could be for you.

Scratch is the brainchild of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) media lab. It is a set of tools designed to be used by people without computer programming skills - that is most of us then.

It makes use of a graphical interface which allows the user to build a sequence with building blocks. These are dragged, dropped then linked together, a little bit like multimedia Lego.

Images can be selected from an existing library or imported from your hard drive.

Once imported, a number of action blocks can be assigned to the image. These blocks are assigned commands like "move" or "play drum", and the blocks can then simply be stacked together to create an animation.

Once your masterpiece is complete it can be uploaded to the Scratch site for other users to check out.

Scratch's inspiration comes from Hip-Hop DJs, who take a bit of this and a bit of that to create something new.

While the site is primarily aimed at younger users, it is still a lot of fun for grown-ups with a creative streak.


Heavens Above website

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

Finally a site for anybody with their feet on the ground but their eyes fixed on the heavens. Astronomers have thousands of sites dedicated to stargazing, but this next site is for fans of man-made celestial objects.

Heavens Above is a community dedicated to watching satellites, the International Space Station and even the Space Shuttle.

A community of thousands of stargazers, they have built up a database of satellite orbits and their co-ordinates in the night sky.

To find out when a satellite or other object is orbiting and visible from where you are, click on the "Select location" option, simply choose your country, then choose your town or city.

From here the site will present you with a list of visible objects in space and where a telescope will need to be aligned to see them.

Click on the "International Space Station", for instance, and the site reveals the time and date of its next visible orbit from your location.

Even if the weather obscures your view of space you can still check out the progress of an object of interest. Choose the orbit option on the satellite info page and the site offers a graphical representation of the object's path through the night sky.




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