Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Three brilliant websites to make your life easier

A warm welcome, PB Lovelies, on this pleasant first day of summer in Australia! I’m so delighted so many of you enjoyed my weekend rambles (here, here and here). I thought today I’d share with you some brilliant websites I rely on to make life on Planet Baby run a little smoother. They cover my passions for reading, organisation and blogging (or just net surfing generally). I guarantee they’ll make you do a happy skip!

Hands up those who buy books over the internet? Okay – there are a few of you out there. This website will simplify the way you order your books. No, revolutionise it. Booko describes its mission as ‘find[ing] the cheapest place to buy books & DVDs in Australia’ (I’m sorry for PB’s international friends – I’m not sure if it would work for you with the currency conversion L). It’s not an online shop. It is a brilliant search engine. I’ll show you how it works.

Say I’d like to find the best price for the book ‘Paper + Craft’ I found on a website. This is what I’m looking for.

So, I go to Booko and type ‘Paper + Craft’ in the search box at the top. Often just the title is sufficient but sometimes you may need to try the author and/or the ISBN. I’ll click ‘search’ and see if I find my book with my first attempt. Here goes:

Paydirt! Now I click on the book’s cover. That takes me to this page (I need two images as I couldn’t fit it all in one).

How about that! In about a second, Booko has scoured the websites of these book sellers all over the world, found whether they stock the book and ranked them in order of price. Magic! There's also a button you can click to update the prices to ensure they are the most current.

Now all that’s left for me to do is click on the hyperlink for the top (and cheapest) price at $AUD15.14 – in this case, Book Depository US. Notice the free shipping! Oh, and it’s cheaper than the price I started with of $AUD19.95 (oh, and nearly three times cheaper than the most expensive). I’m then directed to the relevant page at Book Depository US.

Look! It is for sale for $AUD15.14! Booko’s price must be current. Then I can proceed to purchase the book through Book Depository US. And it will cost half the price of purchasing it down the road at Dymock’s, even though it will fly half way around the world to Planet Baby. I can vouch for this, having just received by my first ever purchase from Book Depository US using this method (I’ll post about that book soon). So, are you doing your happy skip yet?!

Okay, now hands up those who love to-do lists? Or wish they could get organised enough to write one, let alone use it? Hmm, usually I’m in the former category but lately, I’ve been in the latter. Now I’ve found the brilliant (and free) TeuxDeux website through the fabulous Swiss Miss blog, I have a fabulous to-do list saved on my toolbar for easy access and use. Here are its main features:

So, are you tempted yet? Let me show you how it works. Click on TeuxDeux (it’s a bad faux French pun for ‘to do’!) and sign up for an account. Easy peasy.

Once you’re logged in, click on the video link here on the bottom left-hand side of the page.
It talks you through how to use TeuxDeux with very clear (and humorous!) instructions. Here’s an example of what some of my entries look like at the moment.

The great thing is that the items I don’t complete today get automatically rolled over into tomorrow’s list. It’s a beautifully clean, simple and effective organisational tool. I highly recommend it. Oh, and save it onto your favourites toolbar so you are automatically directed to your list without having to log in every time. Save your changes and click out of the site. You don’t even have to log out. So, how’s that happy skip going?!

Okay, my skippers! Now here’s a brilliant tool to use when blogging or web surfing generally. Once you’ve used it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Now, how many of you love clicking on all the hyperlinks in your favourite blogs which take you to their favourite blogs and then their favourite blogs? You know how it goes. And in the middle of all that blog hopping, you find a blog or a post which you love. Only you forget to bookmark it or print it out. And now you want to find it. But you can’t. Isn’t that the worst feeling?

Well, in strides Google Web History, your knight in shining armour to rescue you. Here are its main features.

So, are you excited?! Let me show you how it works.

I imagine most of you have a Google account. If not, create one – it’s free and easy to join. Sign into your account. You’ll be taken to your Google profile page. Down the bottom under the heading ‘My products’, you can see ‘Web History’. Click on that link. I’ll do that now and show you what I can see. Here’s a list of the links I searched for with Google a few hours ago.

The eagle-eyed will notice that I’ve been interested in Christmas craft this evening! Oh, and Melissa and Deb will notice their blogs as well ☺.

Oh, and if you install the Google toolbar for your browser (I am using Internet Explorer 8 as my browser so I don’t know how other browsers work), it will look like this.

See the little clock symbol next to the blue camera? If you click on that icon, it takes you straight to your web history. Just brilliant.

As far as I can tell, there is no time limit on the storage of your records. Of course, there are privacy issues involved so if there are multiple users of your computer, you may wish to log in and out every time you use the computer to protect the integrity of your information. Oh, and if you have any questions, go to the Google Web History help page.

So, I hope this post proves useful for you, my dear PB friends. Let me know if you’ve tried them out, whether anything’s unclear and also whether you like using them or whether you’ve found a better alternative. Do share – let’s help each other out!

Footnote on 29 December 2010:

I've just worked out how to use Booko even better. Once you're logged in, you can create a list of all the books you've found using Booko which you'd like to buy. No more scribbling them down on a piece of paper! 

Just click on 'Manage lists' in the top left-hand corner and name your list. Once your list is named, whenever you are logged in (important) and find a book you'd like to buy, just click on the drop down menu to select the correct list (I have 'Jane's books' and 'children's books' for example) and then click on 'Add'. Hey presto - a list of books waiting for you to buy when you have the time and money!


  1. Three good spots! LOL tho - if that rollover the unfinished task was on my computer, my to-do lists would be miles long! xo Cathy

  2. thank you for sharing these fabulous web sites! i'll certainly have to check them out. i'm an excited new follower:)

  3. Brilliant!
    And more Brilliant!

    Thank you for sharing these sites Jane, books and a more organised life = two great gifts!

    xxx Felicity

  4. Excellent Post again Jane! I just heard about Booko last night at bookclub and there you were this morning with more information. Perfect.
    I like the idea of the lists but, I also like to handwrite them or tick or cross them off. I might try the lists at work. It may save many many trees! I use google history too. I just click on the back arrow and hold it down and the history comes up. I really like it because I often see things, think I will remember where I saw them and then forget.
    Have a great and well organised day. PS if you make a heart thingy I would love to see some pics.

  5. Fantastic Jane! You are a super star! Thanks so much for your wonderful recommendations and even the little tutorial you are so good and I love your 'hands up if you...' I nearly put my hand in the air then realised there was no one to see it :)
    Have a great day my dear,

  6. Oh Jane! You come up with some treasures. Booko looks like it will revolutionise my could the online to do list. If I think of anything wonderful I use (currently drawing a blank) I will happily share.
    x Briohny.

  7. Thank you for the link to Booko, it will come in handy!

  8. Booko is brillo - just used it to find Dad's Christmas present - thank you - I'd never heard of it! The webjet of books.... A x

  9. They're great!! I'll have to check them out. Love Posie

  10. I think Booko will come in very handy here Jane. What a generous girl you are to share your secrets with so much helpful detail. Thanks!

  11. Oh wow, thanks for sharing! You are just a little hub of useful & lovely information, always something inspiring to find...

  12. Well, thanks, ladies! I'm so pleased to let you in on those secrets - they're too good not to share. Even Mr PB asked me to do a demo for him with Booko ☺. He's most impressed! I may have just done myself a favour here...J x

  13. Booko sounds fantastic. I'm always looking for some obscure book or other..Rachaelxx

  14. are amazing! full of so much knowledge. x

  15. Definitely doing a happy skip here! Booko looks like it's going to be such a great site. I usually find Amazon a good way to buy books and have some Christmas ones on the way. Even with postage I saved around $20 just on one book. This could save (?) me even more. Thank you.

  16. Thanks for the Booko tip Jane - a really useful site to check out.

  17. You find the best stuff, Jane. Booko and I are going to be firm friends. Not sure about the To Do list, the last thing I need when I'm procrasinating on the net is a reminder of what I'm avoiding!!! x

  18. My pleasure to be of service, ladies. I'm sure you'll become firm friends ☺. J x

  19. Thank you so much for sharing these Jane!! Wish I knew about the wonderful Book sooner. Can't wait to spend some time playing around with these sites...

  20. You'll have a ball, Amanda. I have been flabbergasted to see the shop down the street selling an Australian book for 3x the price of an overseas one. Eye-opening. J x

  21. Oh wow! I'd only just learnt of the Book Depository about a month ago. Thanks for sharing Booko!

  22. Oh my, booko is going to change my life!!! How do you discover all these things? x

  23. So glad you like Booko, ladies. I think a friend mentioned it on Facebook, Emma. Isn't it the best?! J x

  24. Thank you so much for writing such a clear and detailed tutorial on how to use Booko!!

  25. Oh, my pleasure, Riina! And thanks to you for mentioning this post to so many people - so pleased to spread the word ☺. J x

  26. Hi Jane! Teux Deux is just so fabulous and I can't believe it's free either. I'm so glad I stumbled upon it. I wish Booko worked in the US. It sounds great, perfect for the book lover like me.

  27. Hi Lauren So lovely to see you over at mine - I enjoy yours so much ☺. I bet you stick with TeuxDeux! Surely there must be an equivalent for Booko in the US...J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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