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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Tag: Internet Page 2 of 3

Go To The World Cup! Sort Of

The Football World Cup kicks off tomorrow morning, most of us won’t be in attendance because South Africa is a long way away. But thanks to technology you can travel to the stadiums the games will be played in from the comfort of your own home by following this link. Sure, you could just watch the games on TV, but these virtual tours are in 3D thanks to Google Earth and therefore cooler.

Scratch Day

“Scratch” is a young people’s animation and programming tool developed by MIT’s Media Lab in the USA. It has a half-million followers worldwide, mostly teens. Sort of like facebook, but more animation-y (therefore better?), it has a strong community of users who collaborate on designs and hang out at things like “Scratch Day” .

Incidentally, and the reason for this post, there is a Wellington “Scratch Day” happening on Saturday 22nd May in the CBD. There is a facebook event page you can RSVP to here. If you are a seasoned veteran of the scratching, or even just a curious n00b, go along and join in on the animation fun.

Lazy Readers

Not into reading long books? The Lazy Readers’ Book Club is an American site with, well, lazy readers in mind. Not that you are, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time. If that’s the case, you might like to browse their recommendations: the books are generally under 250 pages long.

Found via Contra Costa County Library.

Happy Birthday Interwebnets

It is the 20th birthday of the Internet, which means that it hasn’t been entitled to a YA library card for a couple of years. Also, that for many people (i.e. this blog’s intended audience) there’s not been a time when there wasn’t an Internet, or WWW, or chat, or even online shopping. Can you imagine – a world with no social networking? Truly a dark epoch.

Anyway, here’s an article about the beginnings of the Internet. Pretty complex stuff!

Poetry is for listening to

Classic Poetry Aloud is a “podcast series for some of the greatest poetry in English.” So says it. Now you can listen to ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ (Tennyson) or ‘Because I could not stop for death’ by Emily Dickinson (incidentally, you can sing this to the tune of ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’). If you neglected your beloved on cough Valentine’s Day cough you could make up for it by playing some love poems perhaps.

Googlewhack: An Idle Google Game Part 2

An oldie but a goodie for wasting time.

Googlewhack is a game where you type two words into a Google search to yield only one result (it even has its own website). It’s pretty difficult but infinitely rewarding (as all time wasters are). In a few minutes of trying the best I got was two results for “shwar aardvark”. You have to spell things correctly of course or else you’re cheating (even with spelling errors it’s still hard since lots of people can’t spell).

The first rule of Googlewhack: don’t brag about your Googlewhack find on the internet; you’ll unGooglewhack yourself. So if you get one we’ll just have to take your word for it.

We can haz teh facebooks?

The Wellington City Library Teen Page has gone all 2.0 with its new facebook profile. You can use it to keep up to date with all our happenings – things like upcoming events, new books and CDs will be posted. Become a fan of us (we know you are already …) and receive invitations and alerts first!

An Idle Google Game

If you’re bored try this, courtesy of John Green’s blog (and here, Hank is his brother) via Marshall County Library’s Young Adult Blog:

Type your name into Google followed by a verb then hit ‘search’ to make all sorts of discoveries.

Example number 1:
Grimm says…
… he is ready for Steelers’ top coaching job.

I sure am, yes siree, let me at them! The Steelers, they play American football right?

Example number 2:
Grimm does… 
… not need to hide behind some absurd mask

Actually yes I do – it’s much easier to write with mask firmly intact.

Other verbs to consider: eats, loves, needs, wants, wears, loves… basically anything you can think of.

This really is totally a great way of looking like you’re doing important work.


Some neat and interesting websites. For the weekend! Or week. Whatever.

Become a Garfield Illustrator

This Digital Inspiration blog post entitled, informatively, Create your own Garfield Comic Strip, will introduce you to the wonderful world of, well, creating your own Garfield comic strip. In summary, you can download this application and drag and drop (so you can do it if you can’t draw) and hey presto! I guess it’s similar to creating your own giant squid (mine has now swum 180 kilometres and most recently beat up a diver).

Writers’ Blogs Part 2: read them for random insights

Last year I did a post about authors who blog (regularly). I’ve dredged up some more, which are rather enlightening (to varying degrees).

John Green, author of Paper Towns, published last year (which we quite liked), writes in a chirpy, humorous, self-deprecating fashion, and even reads comments and comments on them.

Megan McCafferty of Sloppy Firsts fame, has an interesting take on blogging. She’s called hers a (retro)blog, and she includes writing assignments and essays she produced in school (going back to the 1980s). You’ll also find articles she’s written on the Twilight saga, containing a hint that Marcus Flutie (from Sloppy Firsts, not Twilight) is based on a real person (or persons).

Susan Beth Pfeffer, author of the horribly harrowing (really, really) stories about what happens to the earth when the moon is knocked out of orbit by an asteroid (The Dead and the Gone, and Life As We Knew It).

Brent Hartinger updates his regularly (the key to keeping a good blog, that). 

Robin McKinley, author of Beauty and Sunshine (for those vampire fans). I love what she’s called her blog.

Ysabeau S Wilce, author of two of the coolest-titled books ever. Her website is pretty flash, too.

William Kostakis, who kindly responded to our questions last year.

And for those Bear Grylls fans, keep up with what the Bear is up to: http://beargrylls.blogspot.com/ 

Incidentally, the wonderful Neil Gaiman is going to win the 2008 Weblog Best Literature Blog Award, unless people start voting for Samuel Pepys (actually, I find Samuel rather dull).

Hip Hop Album Covers Lego Style

Nothing puts a person in their place better than seeing themselves recreated in Lego. Some genius has produced Lego versions of classic Hip Hop album covers. They’re really special, so I had to pass them on. King of Rock by Run-DMC is my favourite.

Gooooooooooooogle Books

Google Books is a pretty cool book-specific search engine (including magazines) which you can use to, as the name suggests, search for info on books. Being Google it’s pretty neat and tidy and easy to use, although (being Google) you still have to use your brain a bit when you sift through the information it gives you – it’s quantity rather than quality with Google, remember!

So what does it give you? Type in the title of a book and you’ll get a page with a synopsis, book cover (just to check you’ve got the right one I guess), a list of online reviews and references from web pages… plus the option to buy online (using Amazon or Fishpond) or check to see if it’s at your local library*.

If you have a Google account you can even create a library of items so you can keep track of what you like and what you’ve read.

This is all extremely useful if you’re doing an extensive book review – it saves you a lot of trawling and cuts to the chase.

* This is done via worldcat. Worldcat is a catalogue of every possible book/CD etc you could imagine which links to libraries around the world – you just have to type “New Zealand” in the location information field and then select “Wellington City Library” and you’ll end up directly in the WCL catalogue page for that particular book. Cool.

A Street with a View

Google Maps now has ‘Street View‘ for New Zealand, which means that as well being able to look at your house (or anyone’s house, for that matter) from above, you can also view the building from the street, as if you’re driving past. This is exceptionally interesting and useful for

a. People who dislike going outside
b. People trying to find a destination
c. Lazy flat-seekers
d. Everyone else

(The Street View of Karori Library is quite funny.)

Rapunga Google

Did you know you can google in Te Reo? Google.co.nz is offered in Māori as well as English, so next time you feel like extending your Māori vocab select the Māori option and rapu.

Internet Public Library

The Internet Public Library logoThe Internet Public Library is “the first public library of and for the Internet community”, linking to many sites on nearly any subject you can think of. They have an excellent Teenspace, with articles, links, and pages specifically for teens. They have a FAQ of embarrassing questions and a rather cool Poetry Wiki. Take a gander! They don’t charge overdue fees.

Enzed Live lives

Enzed Live is a very new social networking site (like Bebo or Facebook) for New Zealanders. It was created by a 17-year-old kiwi from Auckland, Anjileen Daji, who says, “I wanted a place where New Zealanders could hang out online and have a good time. There are other social networks out there but none that really cater to the needs of us kiwis. I’ve been interested in web design since a pretty young age, and thought this would be an awesome opportunity to do something I love while giving back to the community at the same time.”

Enzed Live is free to use to anyone over the age of 13.


Zon is “an unique interactive massively multiplayer online role playing game for learning Mandarin Chinese.” It’s browser-based, so you don’t need to download anything (maybe Flash). You can design your avatar (mine is the height of style), become a citizen of Zon and eventually begin your own business and add content to the world. Which is very cool, especially as you learn about Chinese language and culture while playing!


Wikipedia is an amazing resource, and although anyone can edit it, many of the entries are fairly reliable (though probably shouldn’t be used as the final word on a topic). I enjoy reading articles on Wikipedia that introduce new and interesting things to me; peoples, places, and events that I hadn’t heard of before.

Everyone like a good mystery, and here are some of the weirder & spookier articles/lists:

  • List of Cryptids – Cryptids are creatures whose existence is a mystery, either because they’re recently exinct, or fictitious, or just unknown. The Caspian Tiger, the yeti, and creepy Mothman are examples.
  • The Bloop – in 1997, underwater monitors detected an immense ‘bloop’ sound that originated near South America. The sound was similar to the sound a living creature would make … a HUGE living creature.
  • Uncontacted People – Incredibly there are still groups of people in the world who have very little or even no contact with the rest of the planet. Most are in the South American rainforests, but there are also some off the coast of India.
  • List of Mysterious People – They are people. They are mysterious.
  • List of Ghost Towns – Sometimes towns and cities are abandoned (usually when something bad happens), leaving what’s left to deteriorate and be spooky. Disappointingly, there aren’t any listed in New Zealand.
  • Hatepe Eruption – One of the largest volcanic eruptions in recent times (well, 1900 years ago) was in New Zealand, when Lake Taupo erupted. The sky turned red in Rome! Chillingly, Lake Taupo is dormant and not extinct. The mystery is when it will erupt next. Hopefully not when I’m visiting, I tell you what.

Many questions

We have put together a very quick survey for you all to do. The reward for completing it is a sense of achievement! How great is that.

The survey can be found here.


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