Sunday, 27 May 2007

Mousetrap - 104

Curious minds want to know
How Products Are Made
The holidays are winding to a close, so perhaps this is a little late.. But, nevertheless, if the young ’uns are driving you up the wall with questions you’re hard-pressed to answer, send them over here. This is a huge repository of information about the making of just about anything you can think of, “from daily household items to complicated electronic equipment and heavy machinery.” That isn’t all. There are detailed notes on inventors, and on each of the products that go as far as possible future applications. Heck, forget the kiddos; you’ll have a hard time getting unstuck yourself.

Curious minds want to know - II
Encyclopedia of Life
Giving you this URL now is a bit premature; this is a project very much in its nascent stages, and its intended scope is, to put in mildly, humungous. Which is to list and describe all species of life on earth. It will “serve as an online reference source and database for every one of the 1.8 million species that are named and known on this planet, as well as all those later discovered and described.” You can’t do much on the site as of now, except read their FAQs and check out the few sample pages, but that’s enough to give you an idea of how, if it all pans out, the EoL will work. Register for updates; I just did.

All the web's a computer - III
I’ve written twice before about the so-called online suites (14th and 21st January), and it was pretty unforgivable to neglect this set of apps at that time. Mea culpa, apologies, and go see it now. In fact the delay helps, because they’ve added to the already awesome range of products. You have a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation maker, wiki, planner, mail, chat, and, well, more. Most of it is free (with charges coming in when you upgrade on some of the services), so definitely worth your while to check out. I’ll confess that I haven’t really examined it all in depth, partly because there’s so darn much of it. Perhaps you want to let me know what you think? You know the drill.

Bikini Wars
Leia’s Metal Bikini
As this paper noted yesterday, fans all over the world are celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the first Star Wars movie (and Mr Lucas is undoubtedly still chortling as he cruises to the bank). Among the various fan sites that’s getting a lot of attention—not that it was suffering in anonymity before—this site’s focus is the outfit that Carrie Fisher wore in Return of the Jedi, when she is a captive of Jabba the Hut. Hordes of women have make up their own versions of the costume and posed in them for photographs that are added to the site’s gallery. Ah, nostalgia. (And if you’re a Star Wars fan, you may want to check out the Wired magazine special on the anniversary.)

Poll 2.0
The best 100 Web 2.0 sites and services?
A quickie to close. This is a survey that seeks to rate the best Web 2.0 services. Go vote, please.

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, 27th May, 2007.

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