Virtual Barber Shop

Saturday, May 3, 2008

This YouTube video had me squirming in my seat with delight and amazement, and I am not saying any more than that or I'll spoil it.

I'm not going to labour the point but please just put on some headphones and close your eyes. You honestly won't regret it.
If cave crawling in Carlsbad or fly-fishing in arctic Russia sound like your idea of a great getaway, then consider GORP your travel guru - it stands for Great Outdoor Recreation Pages.

This site is rammed to the seams with amazing ideas for adrenaline-packed adventures as far away or as close to home as you care to travel.

Use the tabs across the top to access the various guides, or if you're looking for something specific, like sandboarding through desert dunes, use the handy little search box provided just underneath.

There's a tip of the week for the hardened traveller, and the gear guy offers some sound advice for those of you planning to travel off the beaten track.

Get inspiration for your next trip in the activity guides section, and when you're ready to book the site links to various travel sites where you can organise your trip.

It's worth remembering you are under no obligation to use these though, and you might find a cheaper deal if you surf around looking for it yourself.

We Tell Stories

We Tell Stories
Story-telling is one of the oldest professions in the world, but Penguin has brought it bang up to date with this interactive website.

Here they offer six stories that unfold over six weeks in various unusual formats.

For example Slice takes the form of two blogs, from the perspective of a young girl and her parents, and The 21 Steps follows the journey of the author on Google Maps.

I'm not going to spoil the plot for you by talking about the stories, just pop along and immerse yourself in the authors' worlds for a few minutes and you'll soon understand a lot more about it.

There's information about the stories, the authors and the classic fairy tales their works pay homage to in the panel across the bottom.


There are lots of picture editors available online, but I really like this one because of the funky interface which is really easy to use - and it makes working with other online resources a breeze.

You'll need to register and when you log in you can start working straight away by loading up a picture from your PC, or even your online photo storage account, such as FlickR, Facebook and Picasa.

Once you upload a picture it's stored in your album, where you can access it any time to do work on it. To do this click and drag it from your album into the workspace in the top half of the screen.

Click the arrows on the right of the divider to minimize the album, then use the tabs across the top to switch between activities such as editing, adding text and arty stylizing.

Two features I really like are profilR & mobilR, where you can easily resize the image to be perfect for your phone of social networking profile. You can even make your pic into a postcard using the templates under the StyleR tab.

Once you've finished working with the image you can save it and share it using the buttons along the top of the workspace.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

We've all seen an ideas map - where notions and thoughts are linked together with boxes and lines to see where connections can work and not.

Click Start Brainstorming to begin and enter the root of your thinking where it says State Here. Hit Enter to save your text and another box appears. Click it in the middle to enter another thought and then you can start building the map.

You can change the colour and position of various boxes, using the clickys around them to make additional links and paths to progress. Just have a play around, it's pretty simple to get the hang of.

Signing up is simple and free and then you can save your brainstorming maps and share them online, just give your map a name and click Save on the right to enter the registration process.

So now you have the ideas, inspiration and the tools to get creative.

Ted talks

Ted talks
Next up, if you're passionate about technology, entertainment and design, there's a place on the web for you to get your fill of information. You want to be talking to

The website is based on a series of annual conferences where the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers are challenged to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. The website offers up more than 200 of the best talks from the conferences, free for you to enjoy.

Soak up the atmosphere as Deborah Gordon enthuses about ants , Craig Venter vents about the creation of synthetic life , and then why not take a little time out and enjoy the Raspyni Brothers joking around and juggling with beanbags ?

I really like the way this site navigates, as the thumbnail sections slide out and react to your mouse pointers presence. With the navigation panel clearly displayed on the left it's a breeze to get about. The only thing you'll be stuck with is how to find enough time in your day to get your fill.


This slick and tasty looking site is a foody's heaven. It's a multimedia feast crammed with audio, video, photos, blogs - and of course the obligatory community forum.

The recipes and party tips, cooking guides, primers and equipment reviews are aimed at a younger audience, which means the style and language of the presentation are much fresher than a lot of other sites of this nature.

Articles cover food, food culture and food trends - and of course there are lots of delicious recipes for you to get your teeth into, many of them submitted by visitors to the site.

But for me the section of this site that really sings is the videos section. As well as lots of How To movies and cooking guides, there are interviews and features with people who are passionate about food.

Check out the wedding cake artist under the obsessives section. Simply stunning.

I have to say, thought, that the streaming was more than a little clunky on a lower powered PC. Definitely not a place for narrowband surfers to hang out.