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Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Webscape: Year's top picks

Kate Russell
By Kate Russell
Click Webscape-r

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

PICLENS (www.piclens.com/site/ie)

www.piclens.com/site/ie

With the web being such a visual medium, aesthetics are important and the terribly thoughtful people at Cooliris have given us a totally new way to look at images... on a 3D wall no less.

Head on over to PicLens and hit the download button. If you want to find out more there is a very nice multimedia presentation under the Tutorials button, but trust me, download it. It rocks.

Once the plug-in is installed - and you will need to tell your browser to allow editing by the site again - you can go to any site that supports the plug-in and view all the images on a 3D wall in a dedicated full-screen environment.

Sites that support the plug-in are places like Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Deviant Art and Google image search, so there is no end of relevance to this app.

Pop along to Google to familiarise yourself with its remarkably simple operation. Search a term - pick something image rich, like galaxies or cute kittens, whatever takes your fancy - and when the search is returned, click the special PicLens arrow in an image.

You can now use the slide bar at the bottom to zoom along the wall. Click an image to zoom in and use the slideshow controls if you just want to sit back and enjoy.

You can link back to the originating page of the highlighted image by clicking the link in the top left-hand corner of the screen.

GIMP (www.gimp.org)

www.gimp.org

Computers are great for playing with images and not just photographs.

Lots of websites ask creative surfers to contribute their own creations, or you might even have a website of your own you want to jazz up with a few sparkly images.

You cannot go far wrong if you ask Gimp to lend a hand.

Gimp is a free image manipulation programme distributed under the GNU General Public License. It will allow you to make complex or simple changes to the images you are working with in a matter of minutes.

The website itself is nicely designed. It is worth taking a look at the tutorials under Documentation if you are new to image manipulation, as the interface can look quite daunting to the uninitiated eye.

The guides will take you through the features of the programme, from basic touching-up and resizing of photographs, to creating your own icons and 3D floating logos.

A powerful package that is easy to use and completely free. You cannot say fairer than that now can you?

RADIOPAQ (http://radiopaq.com)

http://radiopaq.com

Internet radio is a bit old hat now, especially with all the media-rich websites you can find online. But there is still a time and a place for a good radio station, and Radiopaq provides a friendly place to find them.

On this site you will find literally thousands of stations and a good spattering of podcasts for your listening pleasure, all wrapped up in a good-looking interface that is a breeze to navigate.

This site is in beta testing, so make sure you use the feedback button if you find any glitches.

You can listen for free but just remember your bandwidth will be sucked up by the feed.

If you choose to register you can get additional features, such as a place to store your favourite podcasts so the latest editions will always be waiting for you when you log in.



SEE ALSO
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