Web site reviews - December 1999

CHRISTMAS

Claus.com

www.claus.com

Unfortunately not even dear old Santa Claus has dodged the dot-com bullet. Fortunately, though, Claus.com does a good job of making even a commercial site full of Christmas cheer and fun for the kiddies. Here you can visit Santa's village, learn a little about the history of Christmas traditions, partake in some Christmas karaoke or find some inspiration for Christmas crafts. The Santa Tracker monitors Saint Nic's journey on Christmas eve, while you can send your wish list to Santa via e-mail (and expect to get a reply). The illustrations and animations are fantastic and the depth of content means there's plenty to keep the kids busy.

TRAVEL

Microsoft Expedia Maps

www.expediamaps.com

Pick a place, anywhere in the world, and Microsoft's Expedia Maps site should be able to take you there. Zoom in, zoom out, Expedia Maps also offer links to Web sites and Encarta Online articles related to your destination search. And if you're travelling in the US, Expedia Maps provides an address finder and driving directions - type in your departure and destination, click go, and back come precise directions with estimated travel times.

REFERENCE

OneLook Dictionaries

www.onelook.com

Ever had trouble finding a word's definition on the Internet? OneLook Dictionaries indexes hundreds of specialist and general glossaries and dictionaries online, offering a one-stop search engine when it comes to words. To narrow down searches, the dictionaries and glossaries indexed by OneLook, are classed into several groups - special subjects, general words and spelling - or you can search the entire database in one go. The results of a search provide direct links to the word you are seeking, plus details about the dictionaries and when they were last indexed.

SOFTWARE

The Software Patch

www.softwarepatch.com

With buggy software comes the need for a patch. While the Web doesn't lack software sites, finding what you need and fast can be a time consuming job. The Software Patch offers a fast loading site with concise content and links to patches for major software programs. The site's content is ever-expanding and visitors can sign up for a newsletter which informs of the latest updates.

Ask an expert

Why is the sky blue? Why does the car make that funny noise? If your kids demand authoritative answers to their every question, you might want to ask an expert - online, and free of charge.

Competing for your questions are three sites (Allexperts.com, XpertSite.com and ExpertCentral.com) that claim to offer thousands of experts in hundreds of categories, from entertainment to computers to family counselling. Each site includes a profile and user rating of their experts, so you can pick the appropriate guru. Most work on a volunteer basis, while you can also hire an expert for more comprehensive jobs - they keep all revenue from such work, while the sites seem to make their money out of banner advertising.

Please send review suggestions to Molly_Furzer@idg.com.au.

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