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April 23, 2007 | by  | in Games | [ssba]

Babel Fish

Those of you who are fans of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy will be aware of the Babel Fish. It is a small, yellow leechlike fish that you stick into your ear, and you instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. Internet search engine Alta Vista also has a thing for Douglas Adams, its site is a very good Internet translator.

What Babel Fish does is machine translate text and entire web pages from one of several languages into another. The translation’s not perfect but you’re able to get the gist of any page or text. Completely easy to use, there’s a small box to copy and paste text into with buttons to switch from one language to another. The usual suspects like Mandarin, Japanese, German and Spanish are there, but Arabic is yet to be added.

You may be wondering why you would be want to use a translator, but believe me it can come in really handy. If you’re looking at suspect Russian websites it will help show you what you’re looking for.

What you’re exactly looking for is your secret of course… Language students can also use it as a useful study aid.

Here’s Babel Fish in action:
Italiano: Il pesce de Babele è un Web site realmente pratico. Provilo se gradite surfing le pagine straniere.
English: Babel Fish is a really handy website. Try it if you like surfing foreign pages.

Rotten Tomatoes

Pondering a trip to the cinema but don’t know whether the movies listed in the paper are good or crap? Well Rotten Tomatoes is here to the rescue.

Despite what the name suggests it’s not just about rotten films but the real gems out there as well. Gamers are also catered for with popular video games rated (PC and most popular games consoles covered).

The staff at Rotten Tomatoes search the Net for as many reviews of particular films and games. An aggregate data system is used to determine whether a film is positive (fresh, marked by a small red tomato icon) or negative (rotten, marked by a small green splattered tomato icon). Reviews rated 60 per cent or higher are fresh, whereas those rating lower than sixty per cent are quite rotten.

The worst reviewed film of all time according to Rotten Tomatoes is Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. It stars Antonia Banderas and has a rating of zero per cent. The best reviewed film is Toy Story 2 with 100 per cent. Its rating is ahead of much better 100 per cent films like Taxi Driver and The Wizard of Oz as it has received more reviews.

Want to avoid hiring a really crap game from the video store? Well you can’t go past Blade (PSone) or Simpson’s Wrestling which both have zero per cent ratings. At the other end of the scale, 100 per cent rated games such as God of War II (PS2), Virtua Fighter 5 (PS3), and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (Xbox 360) will probably have a ‘Sorry I’m Hired’ label on them.

Other features at Rotten Tomatoes are The Vine: Journals and Social Networking where you can meet other bad film buffs and the forums where you can read more caustic views on films than you will get from the most cynical and jaded film reviewers.

Boing Boing

If you are regular reader of blogs you might have noticed that every now and then a lot of blogs have a quirky post like ‘Amazing Cardcraft Robot Goes Up in Peeps Conflagration’ or ‘Girls Gone Wild Tycoon charged with tax evasion’. You may be wondering where they get such random stuff from. Well chances are they ripped it off directly from Boing Boing which describes itself as ‘A Directory of Wonderful Things’.

Founded in 1988 as a zine which dubbed itself as ‘The World’s Greatest Neurozine’, it became a web site in 1995 and was relaunched as a group blog in 2000. It is considered as being an influence in the development of the current wave of cyberpunk culture. Common themes include technology, futurism, science fiction, gadgets and politics.

You can sign up to Boing Boing to receive posts via e-mail, or for the more audio savvy you can get the weekly podcast that covers the week’s posts and upcoming projects. If you are lucky you might find a ‘Unicorn Chaser’ which is a picture of a Unicorn signifying a link to a site containing gross or shocking images.

If you love quirky things off the net but are bored with’s oddstuff section, then you will love Boing Boing.

Youtube Video of the Week:

The Timaru Lady speaks out – herself

The Timaru mother acquitted of assaulting her son with a cane and riding crop defends her right to smack her children.


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