Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Hugh Grant-backed website that helps with everything from cancer to dementia Read more:



When actor Hugh Grant's mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer ten years ago, although she received 'excellent' care, he felt there was nowhere to go to for the unvarnished truth about the disease that was to kill her within 18 months.

Inevitably, Hugh, 49, did what most people do in this situation.

Together with his older brother, New York banker Jamie, he went on the internet.

And while his mother listened to stories from friends and family, 'hearing things anecdotally and probably not always therefore entirely accurately', the Grant brothers found the information online was potentially biased and possibly unreliable.

'The stuff we were finding there would have come from sponsored medical sites - the kind with drug advertising all over them,' he says.

Hugh now knows exactly what they needed - indeed he's now helping to fund it, in the shape of

This website features real people telling their stories - the idea that this will help others, perhaps in making their decisions about treatment, or just simply in coping with a problem.

The site was the brainchild of Oxford GP Dr Ann McPherson. She had the eureka moment while recovering from breast cancer and chatting to another doctor about to have a knee transplant.

'We were well-informed doctors, but were desperate to know how ordinary people felt, how they chose treatments, what it was like for their relatives. We didn't just want to read about people who were glamorous or who had walked up Kilimanjaro after their illness. But we realised there was no way to access such information.'

Convinced the internet could open up healthcare, Dr McPherson set up the site, which now has 50 sections, and includes 2,000 video interviews with patients and, where appropriate, their carers.

So far, it covers most major diseases, including cancer, heart disease, dementia and diabetes as well as things likely to have health consequences, such as pregnancy, screening and child immunisation, death and dying. 


Each section is put together by one of a team of academics based at the Department of Primary Care in Oxford, recruiting and interviewing up to 40 people of different ages, ethnicity, social class and, most of all, with a range of coping strategies.

Beginning with the simple request: 'Tell us what happened,' each interview is edited down to provide other patients with advice gained from hard experience.

'The wider the range of stories, the more valuable the site,' says Dr McPherson. Thus, some carers of people with dementia talk about not being able to cope and even wanting their demented relative dead.

A few cancer sufferers talk about their treatment failing and how they are facing death.

And while most parents contributing to the child immunisation section say they were reassured about the MMR vaccine, those who remained concerned are also given the chance to explain how they reached that decision.

'The amount of time my husband and I have sat down to discuss this; should we, shouldn't we,' says one mother, explaining why she refused to give her two youngest the jab after her second child was diagnosed with autism. 

Health talk: The website aims to share the experiences of real people

Health talk: The website aims to share the experiences of real people

'In the end, though, I realised I'd need a cast-iron guarantee written in stone before I'd venture down that path again - and even then I think I'd probably laugh and think: "Oh, I don't think so." '

Such stories do not appear on websites that are wholly NHS funded, where the patient's story tends to be used to make a point rather than reflect real experiences, says Dr McPherson.

'We were told there was no question of Department of Health funding if we let these parents tell their stories, so we had to look elsewhere; we can't pretend these people don't exist,' she says.

'We didn't want to be told whom we could interview.'

The latest section, on bereavement due to traumatic death, launched last week -and in this case funded by the Department of Health - aims to provide 'comfort and support', to those who've had a relative killed.

One interviewee is Richard Taylor, father of Damilola, the ten-year-old fatally stabbed near his home in Peckham, South East London in November, 2000.

The success of the site is undoubtedly down to Dr McPherson's extraordinary energy, and it now receives around 90,000 visitors every month.

The 62-year-old, who co-authored the global best-selling Teenage Health Freak books, makes maximum use of celebrity contacts to promote her site, usually at the Oxbridge end of the spectrum, including Jon Snow and Philip Pullman as well as Hugh Grant.

But funding remains difficult, with several charities and government departments, including the Department of Health, on the hit list, as well as private donations.

Dr McPherson wrote to Grant when she heard his mother had died

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of pancreatic cancer to seek his support in raising funds for a new section on this disease.

'I'd given up hope when I got a call six months later saying his correspondence was in chaos, but he'd be delighted to do whatever he could.'

In the end, he contributed the full £100,000 to fund a new section on pancreatic cancer which will go online next year.

'Hugh will be talking in this section - and I'll be interviewed as well,' she adds.

Four years ago, McPherson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and after chemotherapy had two years of good health.

'But it has come back and that's not good news,' she says. It's perhaps with this in mind that work seems to be speeding up, with similar sites due to be launched in several countries, and a second site,, aimed at 16 to 25-year-olds.

Hugh Grant says: 'I know if someone had said we could go online and listen to other people who had suffered from the same disease, or to their families, we would have leapt at it.'

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Saturday, September 26, 2009



Welcome to YourVersion!

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YourVersion is a revolutionary real-time discovery engine that lets you easily discover, share, and bookmark new, relevant web content tailored to your interests.

  • Discover news, blogs, webpages, Tweets, videos, and products
  • Easily share pages via email, Twitter and Facebook
  • Bookmark and auto-organize pages by interest

I have just started using this app and all I can say is WOW it does everything it says and more.

Letter to Lily Allen


A  guy on the Internet, Dan Bull, wrote a nifty letter to Lily Allen in the wake of her quitting the music business over illegal filesharing. SEE UPDATE BELOW

The song is just genius. He sings the song to the tune of her own song, “22″. Check it out,

I MUST point out though that although his song is good I do not agree with him. For me Lily Allen can do nothing wrong and her Music is FANTASTIC. That she writes a lot of the songs herself,shows just how good she is. AND she deserves the money that she makes.

UPDATE For ALL those broken hearted fans out there Lily IS NOT quitting music or so I am led to undrstand.

Good girl Lily KEEP SINGING

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Viral video aims to help combat breast cancer

Viral video aims to help combat breast cancer


A moving campaign urging women to check their breasts for signs of cancer has been launched today.


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he video, sponsored by Samsung, features inspiring British women from different ethnic backgrounds aged between 17 and 67.

The women, who have all been affected by breast cancer, appear topless in the advertisement with their arms crossed over their chests. Statistics about the deadly disease appear in frames between shots.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


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Google's new 411 service is free, fast and easy to use. Give it a try now and see how simple it is to find and connect with local businesses for free. (*)

Learn more - FAQ

Liked the video? Want to comment or guess who the voice of GOOG-411 is? Post your opinion on our YouTube page.

You don't need a computer, an Internet connection, or even the keypad on your phone or mobile device. GOOG-411 is voice-activated, so you can access it from any phone (mobile or land line), in any location, at any time. For free. (*)

Dial (1-800) GOOG-411. Say where. Say what you're looking for. GOOG-411 will connect you with the business you choose.

If you are calling from a mobile device, GOOG-411 can even send you a text message with more details and a map. Simply say "Text message" or "Map it."

Monday, August 10, 2009

the UK's first price comparison website for legal music downloads launched the other day, providing the latest marker in the music industry's migration into online markets.

allows users to search through a database of more than 10m tracks from nearly all the major online music retailers, including iTunes, Amazon UK and

Around 1,000 new tracks are added each day, and the company aims to expand so that its database covers the entirety of the download industry.

It is currently the only site of its kind for UK users, its founders having spotted an unexplored gap in the online music market.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ships Fantastic Free Google Earth Game:



In this ship simulation program you get to be the helmsman of your own fleet of ships. Although it is a case study, you will find "Ships" entertaining as it will take you past the worlds incredible scenery at a leisurely pace. All you need to play ships is a small Google Earth plugin

Saturday, June 06, 2009


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Microsoft's brand new search engine,Bing

I was happy to discover that it's not just a warmed over version of Windows Live. It really is new and different. And better.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Webware 100 Winners!

Webware 100 Winners!

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Welcome to the 2009 Webware 100! Below you'll find 100 Web apps in 10 categories voted to be the best of the best by Webware readers and users of the apps themselves.

Be sure to also see the new 11th category, Editors Choice, for a list of 12 products that we feel merit inclusion in this year's awards program, even if they weren't big enough to win the popular vote.

Congratulations to the winners of the Webware 100!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Atlantis is an innovative,
no-nonsense word processor carefully designed with the end-user in mind. Compact, fast-loading, but still powerful and efficient, Atlantis will be the perfect companion for a wide range of your word processing tasks, – from simple to most complex.

It does not matter if you are a novice or a power user, Atlantis has the tools you will ever need to compose highly professional documents. Using a most original and practical Control Board, you will create and manage all components of complex documents with unparalleled ease: sections, fields, headers & footers, newspaper columns, bulleted & numbered lists, styles, bookmarks, footnotes & endnotes, etc, all are a breeze with Atlantis.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


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A world of music

Instant, simple and free

What is Spotify?

Spotify is a new way to enjoy music. Simply download and install, before you know it you’ll be singing along to the genre, artist or song of your choice. With Spotify you are never far away from the song you want.

There are no restrictions in terms of what you can listen to or when. Forget about the hassle of waiting for files to download and fill up your hard drive before you get round to organising them. Spotify is instant, fun and simple.

Because music is social, Spotify allows you to share songs and playlists with friends, and even work together on collaborative playlists, Friday afternoon in the office might never be the same again! We’re music lovers like everyone else.

We want to connect millions of people with their favorite songs by creating a product that people love to use. We respect creativity and believe in fairly compensating artists for their work. We’ve cleared the rights to use the music you’ll listen to in Spotify.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Now Google lets you store voicemail phone messages and search them like e-mail



Google Voice


Search engine giant Google stole a march on its internet technology rivals today when it launched a new system that integrates email and phone messages.

Google Voice gives you a single number streamlining your work, home and mobile phones and lets you store transcripts of voicemail phone messages in your email inbox.

Using speech-recognition technology, it will even let you search those messages for a snippet of information just as if you were trawling a sea of emails.

It will also let you make free local and cheap international calls, as well as consult Goog411, the company's free U.S. directory enquiries service.

Google Voice is based on technology originally launched by Grand Central Communications, a company bought up by Google nearly two years ago.

The acquisition had taken so long to bear fruit that observers were starting to suspect it had come to nothing.

Like the original Grand Central product, Google Voice offers consumers a single phone number that can route incoming calls to home, office and mobile phones

Google Voice

Google Voice is available to existing Grand Central users from today and to the general public in the weeks to come.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

birdsong radio

birdsong radio

listen to bird song radio online

following the popular success of birdsong radio on dab. we have launched birdsong as an online service! listen to the peaceful sounds of dawn chorus via your computer at home or whilst at work. using the player on site

Monday, January 26, 2009

Simple Secrets to Healthy Aging

There is such a thing as growing old gracefully. Following these tips will help.

By Rebecca Ruiz,
© Comstock
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Despite whatever fears you might harbor about wrinkles or weak muscles or a less-than-quick mind, there are ways to age gracefully.

All that's required is following a set of ground rules that stress physical activity, intellectual engagement and preventative health care. While such recommendations aren't very difficult to follow, particularly for the healthy, it's even easier for people to run afoul of them.

Granted, some of the obstacles can be hard to avoid: a chronic disease, poorly coordinated health care, a lifetime spent hunched over a desk. But Colin Milner, chief executive of the International Council on Active Aging, a network of 7,500 organizations that cater to aging adults, says that it's never too late to adopt a proactive approach.

"You have to start somewhere," he says. "Really, what we're talking about is being able to live your life into your 80s and 90s, and then you'll drop dead," he says, contrasting a sudden death late in life with one that happens after a prolonged period of deterioration. Of the former, he says, "That's the way you want to go, having maximized your life."

In Pictures: Simple Secrets to Healthy Aging

Sound mind and body

While it's true that exercise benefits the body at any age, research also shows that physical activity can be particularly important for older adults' mental health. In a study published in October in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, two neuroscientists found that adults age 60 to 75 improved not only their physical fitness but also their mental acuity after walking briskly for 45 minutes a day, three days a week.

Throughout the six-month study, participants improved their ability to complete tasks that required scheduling, multitasking, planning and other executive functions, compared with a control group that engaged in nonaerobic activities like stretching and toning. The authors also did a critical review of similar research and found that moderate physical activity may slow or prevent cognitive decline or Alzheimer's disease by increasing the volume of brain tissue and improving brain function.

Physical exercise may have a two-fold benefit, but stimulating the brain shouldn't stop at the end of a workout. Dr. Gary Small, director of UCLA's Memory and Aging Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, and author of many books on the subject, says aging adults can employ a number of strategies to fend off the "middle-age pause." Crosswords and other mentally challenging tasks like Internet surfing can be effective, says Dr. Small, but there's no scientific proof linking such mental "jumping jacks" to the prevention of Alzheimer's or other cognitive conditions.

Still, Small recommends these and other techniques to improve memory, including staying socially active, which has been shown to maintain cognitive skills. Staying upbeat is also important.

"The best thing is a positive attitude," he says, noting that stress can muddle the mind. "If you worry about it, your memory will be worse."

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