Saturday, 23 June 2012

Three RUSs (that's Really Useful webSites)...

...not, as a casual reader might think, Rodents of Unusual Size (which would be ROUSs anyway, now that I think about it).

I'm gradually setting up my new laptop after my old one abruptly gave up the ghost, and am reminded of a few well-loved free things on the web, which I thought some readers might be interested in too (and btw just a quick disclaimer to say that these recommendations are entirely disinterested; I don't have any connection to any of these sites).

Today's three sites are Readability, the Wayback Machine, and DVDBeaver.

Readability reformats html pages on screen to make them easier to read. It involves downloading a free widget which installs in your toolbar. I think it's brilliant and it really relieves eye strain reading on the web. Recommended for blocks of text rather than little bitty webpages.

The Wayback Machine is part of the magnificent Internet Archive project. It finds archived versions of webpages which have since been removed. Paste the URL into the search engine and it will tell you what archived versions are available and from which dates. It's not always able to track things down but it's worth trying for broken links or articles which used to be available on open access and now have paywalls.

DVDBeaver was set up by Gary Tooze (interviewed in Kinema magazine here). It has accumulated thousands of the most detailed, lavishly illustrated technical reviews of DVDs anywhere on the web. I use it for finding screenshots from subtitled films (though I am aware that this is probably a slightly fringe interest!). My favourite bit of the website is the comparisons between different editions of the same film.

Feel free to post suggestions of really useful stuff on the web in the comments...

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