Keep your eye on all the angles

John Gushue
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A game that simultaneously puts your eyes and math knowledge to the test leads off this week's web walk, with stops by some unorthodox productivity tools, a bevy of hints for getting ready for (gulp) Christmas, and a quiz for every shaken, not stirred 007 fan out there.

Eyeballing Game
How reliable are your eyes? And how well do you remember your high school math? Those skills come together in this series of online challenges, as you adjust the lines to form a parallelogram, pick the centre of a circle, and so on. (Finally: a game where math nerds excel!) Even if you're not sure of how well you remember your geometry proofs, you can jump right in and give each challenge your best guess. You get results instantly, and you may just surprise yourself.

Speaking of games for the brain, here's a great example of optics, and how what you see can shift. Grab the bars on the right with your mouse, and see how a peculiar bunch of lines suddenly becomes a pouncing feline. I bet your kids' eyes will pop.

Here are three web-based services that share goals: a way for you and the people you work with to connect. Backpack offers an el-cheapo intranet of sorts that your office can put together with little more than a few quick taps per person. Yammer is a direct competitor of Twitter, the increasingly popular micro-blogging software. While Twitter is free, Yammer earns revenue from company subscriptions, with the idea being that workers can share quick ideas with colleagues, rather than inundating each other with e-mail. Jaiku is another Twitter competitor that can be adapted; expect to hear more, since its new daddy is none other than Google.

Christmas Countdown
Personally? No one should so much as hum a Christmas tune until December starts. And, in a perfect universe, the stores wouldn't dare put up Christmas displays for weeks yet. Well, ho-ho-ho to that. If you're of a contrary mind, and need an extra bit of help to prepare for the busiest time of the year, here's an online tool to help pull it all together.

James Bond quiz
With Quantum of Solace poised to open next week, I'm ready to dive back into the best bit of escapism in the marketplace. Even if you've read all the books and seen most if not all of the movies, you'll have to think carefully with this challenging trivia quiz.

Tiny Ghosts
It's a comic, but it's not drawn … and it admits it's not necessarily funny. Humour, of course, is in the eye of the beholder; I find the two-panel slices of life, often using toys and small props, like glimpses of someone else's askew world.

Instant Rimshot
Ever feel that you needed something extra to punctuate your hilarious jokes? (Obviously, you're not getting the laughter you crave from coworkers or family.) Try the instant rimshot, which gives you that ba-dump-bump-tish! sound that comedians have been using for generations.

Peanuts Webisodes
No link available for this one … at least not yet. I was excited to read earlier this week that the estate of Charles Schulz has authorized the production of new animated shorts, based on Peanuts strips produced in the 1960s. They're available free for download from iTunes, I read. Well, that's true, with one caveat: only in the United States. The free offer is for a limited time only, in any event. The plan, later, is to make them available for sale. I'll keep you posted.

John Gushue is a news writer for in St. John's. E-mail: Read past Surf's Up columns and daily updates at his blog:

Organizations: Google

Geographic location: United States, St. John's

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