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Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Friday, 8 August 2008 13:44 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.

PLAXO (www.plaxo.com)

Best of the web from Kate Russell

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

With so many ways to communicate it is difficult to keep on top of all your contacts, especially with people moving house and changing e-mail address and telephone numbers so frequently. Losing touch will be a thing of the past if you sign up to Plaxo.

This is basically a contacts management service which connects you with your friends and family and helps you all keep up to date with each others' changes.

Choose between the free version or the paid for premium, which you can have a free 30-day trial if you want to consider it. But the cut down and totally free version will be more than enough for most people.

After activating your account you need to point it to your contacts book. Unlike some other sites of this kind they will not store your password or send any e-mails to your contacts without your permission, which is a big plus for me. Make your selection from the supported options and then wait while the website processes the data.

Contacts who already have a Plaxo account are offered for processing first, followed by the option to link up to all your other contacts. There is so much more to this site, have a good explore of the features. I do want to draw your attention to the option to link up your account with other sites that you subscribe to - such as YouTube, Del.icio.us, your blog, or any number of photo sharing and social networking destinations.

WAFFLEBOX (www.wafflebox.co.uk)

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

Social networking sites are all about staying in touch.

You can text people, leave messages pinned to their board, or send them pictures of what you are up to at the moment. But would it not be nice if you could just call them up for a quick waffle?

Wafflebox site is an awesome idea. It basically allocates users with a voicebox telephone number that people can call to leave short audio messages. Now you can sign up from anywhere in the world.

The number is a UK 0845 number, so people will have to put +44 in front of it to call from other countries. This will be charged at an international call rate and some networks will charge it as a premium number. Check out the site's FAQ for more details on the charging.

UK users are charged an 0845 rate, which makes it pretty inexpensive for people to leave messages - and totally free for you to receive them.

You can even embed Wafflebox in your social networking site - such as Friendster or Facebook. It is really easy to do and adds a neat little widget to your profile that should keep your friends and contacts amused for hours.

COPERNIC (www.copernic.com)

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

At Copernic.com there is a very handy search tool which should speed up your browsing.

You can download the basic version of the totally free search tool which will not leave you wading through pages and pages of results.

This application differs from a standard search tool by simultaneously querying all the major search engines and over 90 information sources on the web. This means it can bring back far more thorough results than many of its peers.

The basic free version includes filtering options, as well as dead link removal, grouping and numerical value scoring to really help drill down to the information you want.

The interface is a bit daunting at first, but well worth persevering with if you want to get serious about your searching.

SEEK (http://simile.mit.edu/seek)

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

Another useful tool to help you manage your emails is Seek. It is made by the boffins at MIT and distributed freely as open source software for users of Mozilla Thunderbird.

It is not a pretty site to look at, but the premise of the download is that it adds faceted browsing to your Thunderbird mail boxes.

By this they mean it adds the kind of categorisation and grouping to searching through messages that you experience when browsing through online shops.

This is a must have if you are a Thunderbird user and find it difficult to keep on top of your inbox.




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