Sunday, 2 December 2007

Mousetrap - 128

Cat food
A promise. The last LOLcats link. Yup, I’ll make it quick: This site will “LOLinate” any website for you. Just go over, enter the URL, and giggle. For best effect, choose a site that takes itself really, really seriously. (Courtesy friend of this column, Jugal Mody.)

No subtitles
Listen to a Movie
The site name says it all, but your columnist needs to earn his weekly crust by trying to sound all wise and glib and all. This site has, as of this writing, 1406 movies, and 284 TV episodes for your listening pleasure. Pick one, an audio player launches in a wee new window, and you’re set. The streaming audio was pretty decent even on my rickety home connection. I imagine this would work well for all the really fervent fans who have seen the movies in question many times over already, and could close their eyes and see every scene in their minds. Or, with their eyes allegedly looking at the spreadsheets they’re supposed to be working on in the office. I found it rather interesting to pick a movie I’d never seen and listen in, but then I’m weird. Say, does anyone know of a site that streams just the visual? Imagine watching one movie while listening to another.. Okay, I’ll stop now.

Veni, Video, Vici
This site takes the wiki model of collaboration to a level I would never have imagined. Its focus is video. An obvious development, I can say now, in hindsight, considering how digital camera prices have dropped and storage space on PCs has grown. You—or anyone—can start videos (the site calls them “kalturas”) and specify what you see as the goal, or aim. You don’t even have to have actual video footage ready to edit to be able to start; the site lets you import your video, audio, and still photographs from other sites, and put them together using its online editor. And you can choose whether to limit editing rights to just yourself, with invited friends, or throw it open to everyone. Likewise, you can look around for works in progress by other people and contribute your own work, sound, video, pictures, whatever. Right then, lights, camera, click!

A word in your ear
World Wide Words
This site is an old favourite that I drop into every once in a while. It is the hobby, obsession, avocation, call it what you will, of a gentleman named Michael Quinion who, as his tagline says, “writes on international English from a British viewpoint. The man’s a scholar—he has written large chunks of an edition of the Oxford Dictionary of New Words, plus several books on language—and a very witty gentleman. He picks words (or readers send in queries) and then writes short pieces about them, going over etymology, citations and much else, all with a little smile flavouring the words. No, no, don’t worry, no emoticons. I suspect he’d rather be boiled in oil. Also on the site: a set of longer articles, reviews, and a section on topical words which is worth a visit all on its own.

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, 2nd December 2007.

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