A great big record collection

John
John Gushue
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This week, we peek over the shoulder of a Great Big Sea member as he picks through his music collection, find a better way to sort through the avalanche of online videos, and find an easy way to get your name in lights, regardless of how much - or how little - talent you happen to possess. All that, and more, in our weekly hop.

Bob's Soundtrack

http://www.greatbigsea.com/theband/bobsoundtrack.aspx

On the Great Big Sea website, member Bob Hallett - who brings an encyclopedic knowledge of music, far beyond the Celtic stuff, to the band - combs through his music collection in this regularly updated feature. It's a musical education unto itself, and fun to read - and makes me wonder whether Hallett (a journalist who found better luck with music - it's almost always the other way around!) should write a book.

This week, we peek over the shoulder of a Great Big Sea member as he picks through his music collection, find a better way to sort through the avalanche of online videos, and find an easy way to get your name in lights, regardless of how much - or how little - talent you happen to possess. All that, and more, in our weekly hop.

Bob's Soundtrack

http://www.greatbigsea.com/theband/bobsoundtrack.aspx

On the Great Big Sea website, member Bob Hallett - who brings an encyclopedic knowledge of music, far beyond the Celtic stuff, to the band - combs through his music collection in this regularly updated feature. It's a musical education unto itself, and fun to read - and makes me wonder whether Hallett (a journalist who found better luck with music - it's almost always the other way around!) should write a book.

Qooqle

http://video.qooqle.jp/

YouTube is a great resource, but it seems to be sinking under its own popularity. Common search terms, for instance, will yield a stunning number of returns. Too many, in fact. For those kinds of searches, Qooqle can be really useful. This Japanese tool sorts through YouTube's library, and returns results in a much more useful (not to mention more visually appealing) format. Give it a try.

Name in Lights

http://www.notcelebrity.co.uk/

Does your fellow cubicle-dweller need a morale boost? Want to brighten a sibling's day? How about engaging in a little fantasy of your very own? Name In Lights is a bright little site that allows you to put any name you choose in a virtual marquee; you can then e-mail the result to your target. There's a serious (or semi-serious, anyway) intent here: a campaign that apparently wants to spark a debate on celebrity, while running a competition that will conclude in April that will truly put someone's name in lights, on a building in Birmingham, U.K.

Miniclip

http://www.miniclip.com/

Miniclip seems to have been designed with kids in mind, but I'm willing to bet that much of the traffic it gets comes from cubicle-bound grown-ups. Miniclip offers a variety of free games that are fun to play, and easy on the eyes, too. Best - at least for parents - is that it's kid-safe, with age-appropriate content that'll dazzle the kids and not make moms or dads too fretful. A favourite in our house: bonus cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny and friends.

Fridge Magnet Game

http://www.funnyjunk.com/abcgame/ABC.php

There's nothing like a magnetized set of letters to make a fridge come alive - or to turn, say, a fully formed adult into a gleeful preschooler. Here's a drool-free online alternative: a set of virtual boards in which you can drag around letters, and spell out whatever you want. The catch: any number of other users could be involved (the number is spelled out in the lower left corner), and you will have to learn to share with your friends. (Or learn some patience, to wait a few minutes, and then wreck all their work.)

Astronomy Picture of the Day

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

There are countless photo-of-the-day sites, but this one is heavenly, literally: a shot of the cosmos, or at least the skies, from sources all over the planet. Recent examples have included shots of a lunar eclipse, a "moonset" and a nebula called Barnard 163. Some pictures may be of interest to hardcore astronomy buffs, but I find the offerings are usually outstanding. An archive is available, so you don't have to log on each and every day.

MyBrain Trainer

http://www.mybraintrainer.com/

Can you train yourself to be smarter, or at least have better recall? A number of products out there claim to have the answer, and this is one of them. You can poke around for free, but you'll have to shell out a few bucks to stick around what Slate has called "Pilates for the mind."

John Gushue is a news writer for CBC.ca in St. John's. E-mail: surf@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Great Big Sea

Geographic location: Lights, Birmingham, U.K. St. John's

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