An international library

By | April 15, 2011
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In the Computers newsletter this month:
  • An international library
  • Pathe News: Titanic sinks
  • Tip from next door – IE shortcuts
  • An alternative to the Open University
  • A quick tip if you’re thinking of buying a new PC

I’ve got several websites for you this time – websites I’ve come across recently and found interesting. (I’ll leave out the ones with tips about getting a baby to sleep through the night – not everyone’s going to find that so useful!)

The Open Library

You’ve probably noticed I’m keen on books (I suppose that’s why I write them for a living!) And I’ve mentioned Project Gutenberg before – a website of free ebooks you can download or read onscreen. But there are other places you can get ebooks online, too – lots of websites scattered all over the place.

But a website I’ve just discovered, called “Open Library”, lists all the books on nearly all of these websites and gives you a link to the ebooks. It’s at and you can easily search for a particular book or browse what they have.

They also list books that aren’t available as free ebooks but you can tick a box in the top right to make it only show the ones that are.

There’s one catch though – I saw a book and thought “That’s interesting” and downloaded it only to find I couldn’t read it. Not that there was anything wrong with it – it was just in Latin… and the next version of the same book was in French! So check the book you’re downloading is in a language you can read first!

Pathe News –

Dad mentioned this website to me at the weekend – apparently it was mentioned in Saga magazine but I think it’s fascinating so it’s worth mentioning again here!

It’s a website that has lots of the old Pathe News clips they used to show before films at the cinema – and you can watch them online.

There’s old footage of the Titanic, a clip about Captain Scott’s return from the Polar seas and lots from both the World Wars.

It’s interesting stuff – but watch out… it’s easy to start watching one video for five minutes, notice another one that sounds interesting, watch that, then another and suddenly notice that it’s hours later!

Tip from next door – from Georgia

A tip from Georgia this time:
As you know, I love keyboard shortcuts! Once you get the hang of them, they make using your PC so much quicker and easier, and can be a lifesaver if your mouse is misbehaving! This week, I’ve got some shortcuts you can use while in Internet Explorer:

  • CTRL+E – Open the Search bar to search for a webpage using Google (or a different search engine)
  • CTRL+H – Open the History bar to see the webpages you’ve visited previously
  • CTRL+I – Open the Favorites bar to see the webpages you’ve marked as favorites (or have “bookmarked”)
  • CTRL+R – Refreshes or update the current Web page – you can also use F5. Useful if you’re on a news webpage that might have breaking news or if a webpage doesn’t load properly and you want to try it again.

Academic Earth – a bit like the Open University but free

I know quite a few people who read this newsletter like to do OU courses from time to time. And that’s great! But one snag is that some OU courses can be quite expensive – fair enough if you want a full course. But if you’re not bothered about the exams and having the qualification or you would like a “taster” to see if a proper course would suit you, it’s not ideal.

That’s where the “Academic Earth” website comes in:
It’s got videos of lectures from Universities around the world (most of them seem to be from Yale at the moment) on it – the full lecture courses. So for example you could watch a course “Introduction to Astrophysics”, “Introduction to Ancient Greek History”, “The Poetry of John Milton” or even “Multivariate Calculus”, amongst other things.

Some are harder to follow than others but if you’re interested in one there’s nothing to stop you just watching some of it to find out! And if they do suit you, you can watch the same lectures as students at some of the best Universities in the world.

One last tip – buying a PC

If anyone’s thinking about buying a new PC, I suspect the next two or three months will be quite a good time. Apparently sales of new PCs is very much lower so far in 2011 than was expected and so all the PC makers have made to many – I’d bet they’ll reduce the prices for a while to try to clear all their stocks. Once they’ve cleared them, they’ll put the prices up again – so the next month or two while they do it is likely to be cheaper than normal.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m off to start planning what to get up to over the Easter long weekend – Alastair’s a bit young to get all excited about chocolate eggs this year but no doubt he’ll keep us busy anyway, one way or another!

Tim Wakeling

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