Sunday, 24 December 2006

Mousetrap - 84

It’s Christmas tomorrow; a nice excuse for giving you a lot of good free stuff.

Soft spot
Since this is a web column, let’s start with stuff you can use on your computer. Oodles of free software here, for all of you who’d rather not spend money pimping up your machine. It’s all neatly sorted: Windows (natch), but also Mac and Linux stuff; programs for your handheld and cellphones; drivers; and yes, games. There are over 35000 products listed, though many are free-to-try (or what the rest of us call demos). Even better, the site reviews products, and new stuff comes in at the rate of around 100 a day. ’Tis indeed the season to be jolly.

Books for Kids
Want to get the little pride-and-joys out of your hair for a bit? Worried that they’re not reading enough? Concerned about the stuff you get on the web? Here are a few sites in which to let them loose.
The Rosetta Project
International Children's Digital Library
Children's Storybooks Online

Recipe Source: Christmas Recipes
If you haven’t quite had the time to figure out what the family’s going to eat tomorrow, Recipe Source will save the day. 77 recipes here, from the simple to the ones that you really have to love your family to take the time to do. I got hungry just looking at the titles, so you know who to invite for leftovers.

It’s a wrap
Word Wrapping Paper
Not a whole site, this. It’s a post on a blog, but a useful idea here for those of you who leave your gift-wrapping until the very last minute. You’ll need access to a printer, though.

Not-so-secret Santa
This one’s a repeat from last year, but it’s enough fun to repeat. In a nutshell, it’s the combined USA-Canada NORAD (North American Air Defense Command) at your service, to help you track Santa. It’s a fascinating story, and a really sweet initative. And it’s the 51st year since it began, offline.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail The writer blogs at

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 24th December, 2006.

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