Bookmarks for those in-between hours6 min read . Updated: 29 May 2008, 11:51 PM IST
Bookmarks for those in-between hours
You love reading. Yet you’re too lazy or self-conscious to carry a book to office. How about catching up on your book-reading in your email? Dailylit is a subscription-based service that delivers book instalments right into your inbox.
Browse or search for a book you wish to read, enter your email ID, and hit subscribe. Public domain books are free, as are a few copyrighted ones.
Most copyrighted tomes require payment after a few free sample instalments. The instalments are delivered as small, five-minute messages that are convenient to read. You can easily manage even with a BlackBerry, Treo or any large screen PDA phone without getting too squint-eyed.
The website’s tag line says it all, “Funky ways to express yourself". It allows you to upload photographs into digital artwork, animated cartoons, and black-and-white pencil sketches. The “cartoonizer" tool does the “comic style" toon creations while the “uvatar" tool conjures up avatars from your photo. You can beef up the creations by altering hairstyles, attire, accessories, even add backdrops. A warp feature with allows you to play with specific parts of a cartoon—tweaking a nose, enhancing the lips, lengthening the ears lobes… You can even convert video clips into cartoons. It’s freaky, it’s fun and it’s free.
Theoi Greek Mythology
If ancient Greek gods, spirits and monsters fascinate you, log on to this fabulous vertical resource that consists of more than 1,500 pages and 1,200 visuals. From Acheloides to Eileithyia, Lampetia to Thymbris, you’ll find them all here with the rest of the better-known characters from Greek mythology.
This comprehensive free reference guide spans gods (theoi), spirits (daimones), nymphs, titans and titanesses, fabulous creatures (theres), heroes (heroi), and giants of ancient Greek mythology. From the pantheon of the gods, cults and kingdoms, Greek star, plant and flower myths, this website seems to have anything an ardent follower of the Hellenic world could possibly want. It also links you to the Theoi Classical Texts Library: an extensive collection of classical Greek literature, including the works of several not-so-well-known poets not otherwise available online.
Moviebuffs who delight in dialogues, or the lack of them, welling even on the subtleties of sotto voce, the nuances of silence without the aid of moving visuals, plug your headphones here for complete audio renditions of 1,457 movies and 284 TV shows. Spanning classics such as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly to The Da Vinci Code, and Mission Impossible to Trading Places, this online reservoir stockpiles all types of movie genres along with some worthwhile commentary tracks. “For the cubicle workers of the world", is the site’s tag line and it couldn’t be more apt.
Here’s a cyberplace that will wisen you up on the latest and the loudest in snazzy slang, pseudo-swear words, hip jargon and vernacular coinage being imbibed into English. So when the moneymoon is over and you have shaken off that craxy, foul-weather friend, dealt with attachment disorders, and realized that this is not a bit of collateral misinformation or slacktivism, it’ll be time to say “Cheers big ears!"
Sketchswap, Swarmsketch, and Queeky
Like to draw and doodle when you have something special on your mind? Check out these websites. They can be quite entertainingly expressive and expressively entertaining, especially when you’re in the thought mode.
Sketchswap: The simplicity and no-nonsense approach is surprisingly pleasing. You don’t have to register or go through any of those irritating steps of providing information. Load up and simply start sketching on the screen. When you’re done, hit the “submit drawing" button. In return, you get a random drawing (from a database of more than 25,000) made by another doodler. Each drawing comes with a video showing how the other person drew the picture. Some of you may find it quite thought-provoking.
Swarmsketch: This is like doing collaborative sketching on a single canvas. Or, as it is officially put, it is “an ongoing online canvas that explores the possibilities of distributed design by the masses". Every week, a randomly chosen search phrase becomes the subject of the sketch. Everyone can contribute and then vote for the opacity of lines submitted by others, thus moderating input from other people. It’s quite exotic, and often fascinating.
Queeky: A Web-centric recreational community of amateur artists and drawing dabblers who love to draw online. Here you create and edit drawings, work on pictures made by others, comment on their works, replay any drawing as a video, and exhibit your drawings on your blog or website. Or, you can simply pop into the “gallery" and view what other artists have produced. You can ask others to join in to draw together in real time and also participate in community drawing contests.
You’ve heard of audio books. Now get used to podiobooks—serialized audio books which are available in podcast format—in episodes that can be received via RSS feed, heard on your PC right off the website, burnt on to a CD/DVD, or transferred to your MP3 player for anytime-anywhere listening. Yes, even on your car stereo via a USB pen drive. So, you just need find a book that interests you, hear a sampling, and subscribe to it or download the tome right away if you like it (right-click on link and save).
About 199 titles in 4,129 episodes are currently available for free download. The book genres span everything, from alternative history to travelogues, essays to fantasy, suspense to spirituality and more… The authors? Unfortunately, no one that you would be familiar with. Which is why the books are free… Donations are welcome, of course, if you like a book. Nonetheless, the readings are professionally done and very palatable.
Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
If your idea of fun is exploring the pragmatics of post-modernism, Petrizi or Plato, so be it… You will find substance and semantics at SEP, the free online encyclopedia of philosophy maintained by Stanford University. It aims to be a full-reference repository that encompasses every category within the ambit of philosophy as a subject. SEP is supported by several university libraries and library consortia. Each entry is written and maintained by experts and specialist authors in the field, including professors from more than 65 academic institutions worldwide.
Thus, an editorial review board of nearly 90 scholars oversees the work of more than 600 authors. The charter for the encyclopedia allows for opposing points of view on a single topic, reflecting reasoned disagreements amongst scholars.
And, if you think the content of this website is somewhat insufficient, please point your mindspace to the resources at:
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: www.iep.utm.edu
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy: www.rep.routledge.com
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