Snout and about with movie tips

John Gushue
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Can a little pig help you choose which movie you ought to see? Can a bunch of virtual Vikings give you a good laugh? And what happened to all of that spare time we expected to have on our hands?

The answers to these questions (which, by the way, are probably, absolutely and not a clue, sorry) tie into this weeks random roundup of sites you may want to visit.

Movie Pig

Think of Movie Pig as something like the movie-mad friend who always has a good tip at the ready. Heres how Movie Pig works: you pick some movies youve seen from a queue on the left, drag them on to the queue on the right, and then rank them from top to bottom. Then, preview whats new in theatres or on DVD (or choose a list of golden oldies), and have Movie Pig rank what it thinks youll enjoy. Is it helpful?

Ms. Dewey

There are loads of competitors to Googles stranglehold on the Web-based search, but few engines have as much, um, personality as Ms. Dewey. Google is famous for its streamlined, no-nonsense design, so a new arrival like Ms. Dewey sticks out before you even type in a word. Ms. Dewey appears to be a real person, and shes got attitude, too. Often, shell have a comment related to your search term.

Which raises the question: how could she know? Ms. Dewey is actually a recently launched marketing initiative from Microsoft, for its Windows Live division. The search engine works, although it takes a while for Ms. Dewey to think of her responses (the actress shown recorded hundreds of line readings), and the novelty act wore off pretty quickly for me. Another point: just leaving the site running in the background can cause Ms. Dewey to yell out for attention something you can solve in advance by hitting the mute button. A cute gimmick, but Ill stick with the main engines, thanks.

Tower Blaster

With this animated, easy-to-play game, its you against some Vikings. The Vikings are actually managed by the program running the game, but theyre fun all the same, and the matches actually engage your brain cells, too.

Where Did the Time Go?

Do you have the sensation that youve wasted a chunk of your life? Maybe, even, quite a lot of it? Where Did the Time Go is upfront in having only a shred of a pseudoscientific counting of the minutes, but its a curious way to think about how we live our lives.


The ladies of Shaye released a new album this month; you can keep up with Damhnait, Kim and Tara here. Preview tracks, watch a couple of videos, and get updated tour dates and other news.

Oxford Biographies podcast

From the U.K. comes this podcast with a biographical bent. Oxford University Press publishes the Dictionary of National Biography, a prestigious and quite ambitious academic project.

The podcast is updated each week with a new chapter, and the mix so far has been eclectic. Subjects have included Forrest Mars, the man who created the Mars bar; romance novelist Barbara Cartland; and Bee Gee Maurice Gibb. Episodes have ranged between seven and 14 minutes, and while they may be a bit dry they essentially consist of brief essays read out loud theyre well done and would be a good candidate to go with your iPod on a brisk walk.

20 Greatest Guitar Solos, with Videos

Guitar fans have likely made this link the most e-mailed of Yahoo!s recent picks. Click on the list to see a video of famous tunes and their solos, featuring the likes of Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, David Gilmour and many, many more.

John Gushue is a news writer for

in St. Johns. Read past Surfs Up columns and daily updates at his blog:

Organizations: Microsoft, Windows Live division, Time Go Oxford University Press Yahoo!

Geographic location: Oxford, U.K.

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