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The best websites in the world…ever. Vol.5

Alex Christie

7 October 2008

I spent ages trying to think of something weird and wonderful to use
as my three favorite websites – something a bit kooky or something
people might not have seen coming, like milliondollarhomepage.com – where some young entrepreneur put himself through college just from selling pixels – or isitchristmas.com,
where, in case you have forgotten what day it is, you can just make
sure it isnt (or is) Christmas. Have a look, depending what day it is,
you might get lucky…

Instead, I’m gonna go for these three:

iGoogle

I think a previous blog mentioned Google, but this in my mind is
even better. It’s pimped up Google on your terms, just the way you like
it, with all the good stuff that you want. I got on board fairly late
with the whole RSS thing, but I reckon Google is the neatest way of
organising them. You can organise information into tabs which, given
the focus on tabs and how central this was made to the design of
Chrome, Google obviously feel is the future of internet navigation and
organisation.There are also all the brilliant applications you can
add, Google’s own – like maps, which I use and love. Most sites with
any application worth writing about have a version for iGoogle, such as
the National Rail routeplanner, which I use on the occasion of my car
being in the garage. So a lot, as it is an Alfa Romeo and is ill rather
often.

Nike+

Yesterday, 51,999 other sweaty people did the Great North Run in
Newcastle upon Tyne, along with this rather tired individual. Seeing as
it was so useful, I’m going to blow Nike+’s trumpet. However, I will
write another more detailed blog about Nike+ – just because I love it -
but I’ll give you a brief synopsis here first. Before we get started,
you need a few things to make it work:

1) An iPod Nano
2) Some Nike+ shoes, or some gaffer tape to secure the transponder to your foot
3)
A slightly perverse motivation to run distances in the rain and the
cold (otherwise known as the UK) with nothing but Survivor’s Eye of the
Tiger for inspiration.

Forgetting all of the benefits you get from the Nike+ addition to
the iPod when you run (like timing, powertunes, Paula Radcliffe and
Lance Armstrong jollying you along, and lest we forget, the lady with
the sexy voice who announces every mile you trot – phew), the other big
plus is the website – which despite always taking a while to load, is
well worth the wait. Your personal profile information is updated from
your iTunes, with the telemetry from your latest run, mapping time,
pace, distance: and all in a pretty graph. The website also offers
routes to run near you, ability to compare your last run with your
previous ones and your friends, as well as the opportunity to become
part of the Nike Running community – the biggest running club in the
world.

LoveFilm.com

Here, I thought I’d try and choose something that I find useful, not
just a cool website. LoveFilm isn’t free like the other sites (aside
the twenty quid you have to pay for the Nike+ sensor), but you do get a
lot for your money. Oh, and a two week free trial!

Not only do you get (as they advertise relentlessly) the convenience
of watching and returning a film as you please without being stung for
a late fee – and depending on how much you want to pay, as many films
as you like a month, you also get the use of a website that is really
interactive.

From the very beginning, the site tailors to your tastes, and
suggests films for you (No comments, Henry). You can select a list of
all of the films you want to see from LoveFilm’s rather sizable
selection, and you can order and prioritise when you want them to be
despatched to you. If you rate films that you have previously seen (and even ones that you have not seen from LoveFilm) this will be used to
provide a list of films that is bespoke to your taste. The site
automatically cross references films that you rate highly with users
who also rate the same film highly, and will pull their best rated
suggestions from their lists and recommend them for you. LoveFilm keeps
very much on top of an order, and communicates this very efficiently
through a well ordered email system. It’s one of the best relationships
I have with any online company.

And no, they didn’t just pay me for all that fanfare above.

So for now, that is all.

Out.

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