I’ve had my say – what do you think?

By | November 1, 2012
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I’ve said what I think, Julie’s passed on her opinion… I even know what Alastair thinks.  But what about you… what do you think?

Useful websites: here are mine, what do YOU think?
There are millions of websites out there, about almost anything you could think of.  And if you want to find a website about something in particular, you can use Google or another search engine to find it – for example just type it into the box on www.google.co.uk

But there are some handy websites you might simply not know about – and wouldn’t think to search for.  The kind of thing where if you don’t know it exists, you wouldn’t think of it, even though it might be useful to you.

So I thought I’d tell you some of the websites that are my favourites – the ones I use a lot.

And then I thought it’d be even better if I added in favourites from Julie & Alastair, too.  (Edward’s a little bit young to have a favourite website yet, at six months!)

And then I had another idea… more about that after I’ve told you about the websites…

My favourites:
www.wikipedia.org
This is an online encyclopedia.  You can type anything you like in and chances are there’ll be an article about it.  What’s more, it’s available in umpteen different languages.

I must admit I like paper encyclopedia (I’ve recently got a reprint of the original 1768 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica and that’s fascinating) but it’s very handy being able to quickly look things up on the PC… and it doesn’t take as much shelf space as a full set of the modern Encyclopedia Britannica!

www.gutenberg.org
Project Gutenberg has thousands of books in electronic formats – all available free of charge.  Again, sometimes I like a paper book but it can be really interesting to browse through old out of print books that you wouldn’t find in the average bookshop.  For example I recently downloaded and read Anthony Trollope’s (the Victorian novelist) autobiography.  My local shop doesn’t stock that!  (It’s an interesting read, though I admit I don’t follow his lead of getting up at 5am to write my books before going into the office!)

www.autosport.com
I don’t want you thinking I only read intellectual websites like out of print books or encyclopedia.  I’m also a big fan of motor racing and I use this website to keep up to date.  Of course, if you’re not into motor racing this particular website won’t be of any interest to you but I’m mentioning it as an example of a magazine that also has a website.

So whatever hobby you have, if there’s a magazine for it, chances are they have a website.  Whether it’s gardening or cookery or even vintage tractors, try searching in Google for the magazine’s name and see if they have a website and whether they put much on it – some don’t do much more than say “buy the magazine” but others give lots of articles and news on the website itself.

Julie’s favourite:
A couple of year’s ago we moved house – and the house we moved into needed a bit of work.  And being bigger than the place we’d been in before, we also needed some more furniture.  We wanted it all to be in keeping with the style of the building (it’s a beautiful house from around 1900 or so) but we didn’t want to pay a fortune.

And I didn’t expect we’d be able to find much of what we’re after online – but it turns out you can.  www.ebay.co.uk has all sorts of lovely antique furniture.  In fact we’ve just bought 6 Edwardian dining chairs, in great condition – for £120 including delivery.

Not everything is that much of a bargain but it’s worth looking!

And Julie’s just discovered there are even people selling kitchen units on there – including the type made of real wood, with no mdf or chipboard, with marble worktops – but cheaper than pretty much anything new.  Of course you need to arrange to get it home (marble worktops aren’t light!)  but if it’s what you’re after, you could save a hefty sum.

(Though I’m insisting we get the dining room finished first!)

Alastair’s favourites:
Whenever I get out the computer and Alastair’s around, the first thing he says is “raa raa?”.  That’s because his favourite website is www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer, where you can watch TV programmes that the BBC have shown over the last few weeks… and he wants to watch Raa-raa the noisy lion.

Being the cunning chap he is, if I say no, instead of keeping on, which he knows wouldn’t work, he thinks “Well, if I can’t have Raa-raa, maybe I can have Peppa Pig” and says “Pig?  Yes?  Oink oink?” because his second favourite website is www.youtube.com, where (amongst other things) there are lots of other old TV programmes, including lots of episodes of Peppa Pig.

(I like the one where they give Mummy Pig’s old PC to Granddad and Grandma pig – and when then ring up Daddy pig with problems with it, he tells them to turn it off and then turn it back on again.)

Phew, so that’s our favourite websites…  But I mentioned I’d had another idea.  Which is that you must have websites you’ve found particularly useful… and chances are not everyone else who reads this would have heard of them.

So I’ve put together a special webpage where you can leave a comment saying what websites you find useful or interesting… and you can read what everyone else has said.

Click here to leave a quick note saying what websites you like and to read what everyone else says.  It’ll be interesting to see what’s popular!

http://helpfulbooks.co.uk/emailnewsletter/?page_id=85

Windows 8 is out – but most of the gadgets aren’t out (yet)
You probably know that Windows 8, the new version of Windows, is out now.  But if you are thinking of splashing out on something new with it on, there’s something worth knowing.  Although lots of PCs are on sale now with Windows 8 already installed, a lot of the touchscreen tablet PCs that different companies are coming out with, which will run Windows 8, aren’t out yet.  A lot of them are saying they’ll be out by the end of November (I suppose they want to be ready for the Christmas rush).

Microsoft’s own tablet PC (the Surface they’ve called it) is available, but only direct from Microsoft.  And since the other ones aren’t out yet, I can’t say whether the Microsoft Surface will be one of the best – I don’t even know the prices of the other tablets yet.

One more reason to wait a month or two before splashing out.  (And of course, if you are going to move to Windows 8, I’d recommend getting my new books. www.helpfulbooks.co.uk/win8books.htm .  Of course, I would say that, but Windows 8 is a big change, so if you’re switching to it, best get hold of something to explain all the changes, even if it’s not my books!)