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Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Webscape: Year's top picks

Kate Russell
By Kate Russell
Click Webscape-r

Kate Russell gives us a 2008 highlights selection of the best sites on the World Wide Web.

A DRIVE (www.adrive.com)

A Drive website

How would you like 50GB of free online storage space with the option to share?

To get your 50GB adrive.com - just click the big black button to sign-up and then click the link in the activation e-mail which you are sent to complete.

Once logged in, managing your files is really simple, though the downloader/uploader runs on java so you will need to have that function activated to work successfully.

Click on My Files at the top then use the Upload feature to begin backing-up data from your hard drive. You can also automatically back up all the files on your computer.

Once your files have uploaded you will see a link giving you the option to share them. Click this link to add the file to your shared drive, and a URL will be generated for others to click on to access that file.

ANIMOTO (http://animoto.com)

Animoto website

Picture sharing sites are all the rage, but do you wish you could add a little more pizzazz to your album distribution?

How about adding a banging rock tune and having the pictures animate on and off in a video you can post on YouTube? But that would be far too much work, right? Wrong.

Click Get Started to begin using this brilliant site. You will need to register to make either a 30 second short, which is completely free, or full-length film, which you have to pay for.

Next, choose to upload pictures from either your computer or a photo sharing site. Fifteen shots is ideal for a 30 second short.

Uploading them might take a few minutes, depending on your connection speed, how many pictures you have chosen and what resolution they are. Once they have uploaded, use the buttons at the bottom to rotate, spotlight or add more pictures from another location.

Then add a banging tune. Click the Music tab at the side and choose either from their selection or a track off your own computer.

Now you are almost done. The next screen asks you to enter a name and some details about your video, then just click Create Video and wait while the website does the fancy bit.

You can start working on your next video while you wait, then click My Videos at the top to review your work. After playing the video you can choose to do a remix, altering the pictures and the music. A link to view your creation will also be e-mailed to you.

Finally, use the buttons at the bottom to distribute your film either straight to YouTube or e-mailing your friends.

TBS DEPARTMENT OF HUMOUR ANALYSIS (www.tbshumorstudy.com)

TBS Department of Humour Analysis website

The study of humour is a serious business, or so they would have you believe at TBS, where they have set up a very serious department of humour analysis.

TBS is a TV network that brought us the likes of Seinfeld, My Name is Earl and Family Guy and now they have put together an amusing, off the wall little site to promote their work.

As well as having some great content, this is a really nicely designed website.

It is comprised of a humour lab full of ridiculous short films and a ludicrous video about this fictitious department, all presented and narrated by the eminently amusing John Cleese.

Once you have watched your fill, and played about with the very funky interface, pop along to the survey section and add your thoughts to the mix.

It is not as boring as it sounds. These are quirky little interactive questions that will be used for absolutely nothing. All in a hard days work at the humour labs, it seems.

JOOCE (www.jooce.com)

Jooce.com

According to online application Jooce, 500 million people access the internet from cybercafes each day. And if you happen to be one of those people, or you just want a consistent experience when browsing the web from multiple locations, consider this place.

The idea of this site is to bring the functionality of your personal computer at home to any computer you might happen to sit down at - even if you do not actually have a machine at home.

You will be able to access files, e-mail, instant messaging, storage and lots of other applications.

The first step is to register and reserve your own private space on their servers.

Next up, enter your instant messenger account details and click the green arrow to confirm.

Be warned, when you want to talk to a contact, Jooce will send them a message inviting them to sign-up every time you text them through their ordinary instant messenger client.

Next, click the forward arrow to run through all the options and set up your desktop how you want. There is a useful tips run-through when you first start up, teaching you everything you can do with this application.

As well as being able to use this virtual desktop in exactly the same way as a normal desktop - storing files, making folders and chatting to your friends - there is also a public desktop (known as a Joocetop) accessible through the green desktop icon at the bottom.

Here you can allow friends to access and share files you have placed on it.

It works in exactly the same way as the regular desktop, but through your Jooce instant messenger client, contacts can open up your Joocetop, and vice versa - making sharing files and information a breeze.

As well as being a really useful tool, I love the way the interface looks and works. Though if you are stuck using an older machine on a low bandwidth connection, you might find all the animations make it slow to load.



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