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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 14:13 GMT 15:13 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.

WeatherPixie

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

WeatherPixie is the best named site I have seen in ages and Tamsin Bowles is the brains behind it. It is a really simple idea too. It grabs weather data from around the world and feeds it into a little cartoon character.

You point to the part of the world where you want to see the weather from, pick a character and then the character automatically dresses according to the temperature of the place you are looking at.

It gets its data from the US weather service which collects weather data from around the world.

You also can have fun choosing your pixie; if you are so inclined you can pick one of several weather goths or perhaps a 1920s flapper and as the weather gets colder, warmer or wetter your pixie has more and more - or indeed less and less clothes - and an umbrella. Oh yes, there is a cat that comes and goes too, nice touch.

A feature I love is the world weather selector. You click on a map of the world and it tells you to what the weather and time is there - perfect for just browsing the world on a rainy day.

There is code you can use to embed your weather pixie on your site if you wish and if you feel so inclined you can even have the character sitting on your desktop - you have to switch active desktop on and the instructions on how to do that are on the site. It may not be too ground breaking but it is fun!


FileInfo.net

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Now a site that is a little more technical but very helpful for those of you stuck with files on your computer that you cannot identify.

Fileinfo.net is a resource that lists the last three letters of a file - known as a file extension - and explains what they are, or do.

These last three letters, be they .doc or .mov tell the operating system what programme the file should be opened with. So the .doc file will very likely be a word processing file opened by Microsoft Word and the .mov a video file opened by QuickTime.

So if someone sends you a file with an extension you do not recognise you type it into this site and it will give you a chance to find out what software you need to use or play it.

There is a very useful page explaining the different formats used by MP3 players and what software will play them. And a nice touch is it talks about both Apple and Windows platforms, an approach that it repeats for the other files too.


Economist.com

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Here is another handy resource if you ever want to write English proper, like... innit...

The Economist Style Guide is based on a book published by the Economist magazine that lists dos and don'ts when writing for it.

Over the years it has been a very successful book among journalists and now it is available on the web. It will give you the chance to avoid clichés like the plague and using the word inferring when you are in fact implying.

If you are really brave you can try out the quiz where you can test your skill at the language - although I like the idea of the "just show me the answers now" button - if only real life was like that.

It is a great place to drop in and visit when you have a question or two about what you are writing.


Writer's Cafe

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Having learnt all you can about the language the place to put it into practice is the Writer's Café.

This site was set up to sell a software program for writers - but if you do not want to buy the software there are lots of other resources for the would-be novelist or screen writer.

With articles on character plotting or storyline development it is a place where you can read up on how other people go about writing their books and talk to other would-be writers in the writer's forum.

As ever you have to register to add to the forum and so usual forum rules apply.

So I expect you all to be starting your novels and screen plays immediately and they will all be perfectly spelt and punctuated. Just like all my scripts. Honest.




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