Web Reviews: Charity Sites, Rove, LinuxforKids, Homewreckers, Lists of Bests

Editor's choice: Give a little

Returning home one Saturday afternoon recently I noticed a card left on my front step. Not a gift for me, rather a request for me to do a bit of giving: it was from the Salvation Army to say they had called looking for a donation to their Red Shield Appeal. That weekend was a major doorknock campaign for the organisation, but other methods were used to collect donations — including its Web site.

Charity sites are not just an easy way of donating to a worthy cause. Along with the option of making your donation electronically, you can also read information (in many cases) on the campaign and where the organisation plans to spend the money you donate. The Salvation Army (www.salvos.org.au), for example, has statistics on its activities. Did you know that it provides 160,000 meals around the country each week?

The Smith Family (www.smithfamily.com.au), meanwhile, has details on its different programs and a secure server to make donations. If you donate to its Learning for Life program, the site details, 100 per cent of the donation is given to a child to help with their schooling.

Of course, you may have another charity or organisation you like to support, and it’s worth checking out its site. If you’re looking for a cause to support, sites like Givewell (www.givewell.com.au) have profiles to help you research.

There are also more ways to give than money. If you can offer some of your time or skills to a charity or organisation in need, directory sites will help you find the right volunteer role. GoVolunteer (www.govolunteer.com.au) lets you search based on type (arts, sports, education, and so on), position type, key words and post code. The results read like job ads and you can click a button to register your interest in a ‘position’.

Making it more practical isn’t the only way IT and the Net are helping charities: head honchos of tech companies like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison are high-profile philanthropists. To give you an idea of the scope of this support, Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have endowed The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (www.gatesfoundation.com) $US24 billion to support a range of causes, particularly those focused on health and education.

Whack-a-Rove

Some people must love Rove McManus — he won the Gold Logie, after all! — but for the rest of us there’s Whack-a-Rove. This twist on a well-known type of game has Rove’s head popping out of holes, ready for you to whack with a mallet. Be careful, though: if you hit other characters as they appear, you’ll be deducted points. Maybe this PC World reviewer has a soft spot for the comic: our lowly score of nine prompted the response ‘Is your mouse plugged in?’.
www.benmedia.com/rove

LinuxForKids

Although not a new site (it’s been around since 1999), LinuxForKids is an interesting development. The project aims to highlight Linux software of education and entertainment interest to kids for parents and teachers. The project stems from an idea by the site’s founder to recycle some 486s for a primary school. The plan foundered, however, when they couldn’t find a good range of software to run on the reconfigured PCs. With Linux distributions featuring friendlier interfaces these days, perhaps it’s time to turn that old PC into a machine for the kids?
www.linuxforkids.com

Homewreckers

If the number of DIY shows on televisions today is anything to go by, Australians are home improvement junkies. If, like so many TV viewers, you’d prefer to see others stuff it up rather than attempting some DIY yourself, you’ll probably like Homewreckers, a home improvement blog. You can follow the progress of several home improvers around the world. However, the site is woefully lack­ing in horrendous DIY disasters, so you won’t enjoy much schadenfreude — but you may pick up a few tips.
www.mizdos.com/gardenblog

Lists of Bests

If you feel you have a few gaps in your knowledge of books, movies and music, take a spin by Lists of Bests. Lists are grouped under literature, movies and music — so it couldn’t be easier to check them out to see how up to speed you are with popular culture. Feeling pretty confident? Perhaps keen to work your way through The Guardian’s 100 Best Books of All Time list? You can record which ones you have read/seen/heard at the site.
www.listsofbests.com

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