Pageflakes launches new portal for teachers

5 12 2007

Pageflakes is a customizable start page that allows you to add small widgets or flakes that can display custom content. They have recently launched a prepopulated page designed for teachers.

Teacher edition of Pageflakes

Default layout of the Teacher’s Pageflakes page


 The default items on the page include a teaching timetable, a calendar, email, online file storage, some educational bookmarks, photos tagged education, a todo list and a google search box.


The email can be linked with most major webmail services, and the calendar can import an iCal calendar, so that means it will sync with Google Calendar for instance.


Everything can be customized, and there are literally hundreds of other flakes you can add.


Downsides are that the timetable is only for a one week repeating schedule – schools I have worked at have a two week timetable, so I wouldn’t be able to use that aspect of it.


I already use firefox extensions for checking gmail, though a smaller look at my calendar would be useful.


All in all, a good idea, but not sure I would use it.  For people who don’t already use RSS feeds etc then it’s brilliant – very accessible for the average user.

Retrievr – search for flickr images using sketches

3 12 2007

Ever wanted to draw a picture of what you want? Try Retrievr, it lets you draw a quick image, and in real time searches for images on flickr that look like your sketch. Really quite amazing – no idea how it works, but it’s good!

retrievr - search for flickr images using sketches

New kid on the block – Mixx to overthrow Digg?

25 11 2007

After reading TechCrunch’s thoughts on unhappy Diggers leaving for Mixx, I tried it out myself – it’s definitely an improvement on Digg…  It’s got a much nicer look and feel to the site, it’s quicker, has a pictures section, and allows other users to tag and categorise existing stories. Overall – it seems much more usable than Digg, though it’s RSS feeds don’t seem as precise – not sure if you can have a custom feed of only stories that interest you, it seems that you have to have a feed of all of Tech, or all of Science, rather than a mixture of subcategories. Looking forward to getting to use the site more though!

Need a dictionary that’s better than a pirate?

25 11 2007

Need a super fast online dictionary? Try Ninjawords, it’s fast – just like a ninja…


Interactive Periodic Table

22 11 2007

Nothing as ground breaking as some of my previous posts, but this interactive periodic table is brilliant! Definitely going to use this when teaching about elements.

You can show elements by the date discovered, as well as more conventional information such as melting and boiling points – useful when teaching about reactivity for instance as you can clearly show a link between the date elements were discovered, and how easy it is to extract them.

Brilliant interface as well – I love it!

Interactive Periodic Table – thumbnails for websites

18 11 2007

Having seen these website thumbnails at w3csites, I have found them pretty useful.

If you want a small thumbnail of any website, just link as an image to:

for instance like this:

You can also specify different image sizes using additional parameters, for instance adding &w=240&h=180&sdx=1024&sdy=768&q=90 to the end of the previous example would give a thumbnail with width 240px, height 180px taken on a screen of resolution 1024×768 with a jpeg quality of 90%.

Below is a full list of parameters, as detailed on their site.

url the URL you want to capture
w the width of the thumbnail
h the height of the thumbnail
sdx the screen port size ( i.e. 1024 ) width
sdy the screen port size height
q the quality of the image ( jpeg ) – from 30 to 90 %
rot rotate the image yes / no ( 1 / 0 )
deg degree of rotation ( from – to 360 )
bg background color when rotated in hex, without #

All images taken using artviper take a while to appear, but I’ve found that after around 24 hours they are done. They are cached, so they only need to be generated once.

More details at – social weather prediction

18 11 2007 is a website that allows people to speculate on the weather, and say what they are going to wear today.

Peoples predictions are averaged with data from 3 different weather feeds (apparently this number is to increase) to give an overall prediction for the temperature and weather later that day. If you predict correctly, you get points – currently these don’t do anything, but it’s good to see how well you are doing!

The site is designed using a CSS layout – non trivial for the style of the site, it feels very free-form.

Targeted adverts even allow you to buy the products that are recommended to wear each day! A well executed mash up of different data sources.

Not many users at the moment, but seems a brilliant idea!

Currently I have a score of 67 – beat that!