Jan 9

Let’s face it, we all like to get the best deal when we’re buying online – no-one likes to be ripped off and find out later you could have purchased that book, DVD or digital camera for less if you’d spent a little time shopping around. But often we haven’t got time and just go to our old favourite sites.

Well I’ve scoured my bookmarks, scouted around online, and come up with a roundup of some price comparison sites, mostly in the USA and UK, which might help you get the best price for that DVD, book or hard disk.

Digital music downloads



DownloadShopper.com – Compares prices of MP3 digital music downloads from Amazon, iTunes and Walmart. Using the search tool you can find songs by artist name or song name. You can search whole album prices by selecting “album” and entering the artist or album name.


CompareDownload.com – Compares prices of MP3 digital music downloads from Amazon UK, Tesco, iTunes, 7Digital, we7, Play, HMV, etc.

Book prices



BookLookr – Compares book prices from Amazon, eBay, Half.com, Chegg and Better World.

TextBook Price Comparison – Searches dozens of online US retailers for new or used textbook prices. Search for books by ISBN, title, author and keywords.

DirectTextbook – Compares textbook prices at 200 US online bookstores.

WeCompareBooks – Although this is primarily a textbook price comparison engine designed for college students, it can still help you find the cheapest price for most books in any category.  It will show prices for used and new books, and also the shipping costs from multiple book stores.

CheapRiver – searches Amazon stores in USA and Europe to find the best offer on English books. By selecting your country it automatically includes the shipping costs to get the book delivered to you. As CheapRiver uses the current exchange rates, it lets you take advantage of changing exchange rates.


Ciao from Bing – You can search for the ISBN or book title, and it will search across numerous UK online stores for the cheapest price. It will show you if the shipping is free or not, or refer you to the website.


Best Book Price – Compares book prices at a wide range of UK online suppliers. I’ve personally used this service a number of times and found it really useful.

I tried comparing the price of The Mote in God’s Eye by Jerry Pournelle. Ciao gave me a poor choice of just eBay or Play.com with Play offering £5.49 (free postage). Best Book Price gave a much better choice with £5.00 (free postage) on BookDepository and Price Ministry offering a great deal of £2.24 (free postage) for new customers.

eBook prices


eBookPrice – Compares eBook prices from Amazon, eBooks.com, Diesel, eReadable and Powell’s.

DVD prices


DVD PriceSearch


find-DVD – Compares DVD prices from a wide range of UK suppliers. They also have a DVD Price Watch service and you can use this facility to be emailed when a DVD drops below a price that you specify.




Ciao from Bing

I tried the UK services to track the best deal on Medium Season 3 (I’m just catching up on this great TV series). find-DVD offered £13.35 (from SelectCheaper; free postage), BestDVDPrice and Ciao from Bing both found £9.99 (£1.24 postage; £10.23 total) from Amazon Marketplace; PriceGrabber offered £11.98 (from Amazon; free postage). find-DVD listed but didn’t return prices from Amazon and Play. So my small and probably unrepresentative test shows BestDVDPrice and Ciao to be good on this occasion.

Tech prices

Difficult to choose from the wide variety of price comparison services here. I found an article at SmartMoney which compared comparison shopping sites (in Oct 2008) and PriceGrabber came out on top. Yahoo! Shopping also did well. I also see that PriceGrabber have just announced a free iPhone price comparison app.







My Shopping.com.au

Just listened to the Windows Weekly podcast 136 and in his Tip of the Week, Paul Thurrott mentioned Invisible Hand for Firefox and Chrome. This add-on checks for lower prices and automatically shows a discreet notification when you’re browsing a product which is cheaper at another retailer. Currently supports more than 100 US, UK and German retailers. However, I found it didn’t add any information at all to either of the searches I tried but may be useful in future price comparisons.

Well, I’ve only just scratched the surface here and really only for USA and UK tech and book price comparisons. It’s over to you now. If you’ve a found good price comparison site for your tech and book purchases in your part of the world, drop a comment and I’ll add it to the list. With your help let’s try and make this a really useful go-to resource for price comparisons around the world. I’ll try and keep it updated from the comments – and don’t worry if your commenting months down the line. It’ll be nice to keep the list up to date.

Aug 18
Some Linux resources for beginners
icon1 techandlife | icon2 Linux | icon4 August 18, 2009| icon3No Comments »

I’ve already done a post on Ubuntu and Linux blogs for beginners so I thought I’d round up some great resources for those starting out with Linux. I’ll do a follow-up post on Ubuntu Resources for Beginners a little later. I haven’t included many blogs here where posts are put up regularly, only if they’ve mentioned a good resource in a blog post. Mostly these are just Linux reference/resource sites with tutorials, guides, howtos, forums, etc.

General Linux resources

Maximum PC: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Linux

Linux frequently asked questions for newbies

Get to know Linux: Terminology

Linux Migration Guide: Finding Linux Equivalents to Your Favorite Windows Programs

Best resources for Linux

Best Web Resources for Linux

Helpful Linux URLs


Layman Linux


Linux Home Networking

17 Essential Linux Resources That You Shouldn’t Miss

10 of the Best Online Resources for Linux Beginners

tuXfiles – the Linux newbie help files, tutorials and tips

Tuxfreaks: Tips for Linux Beginners (1st part in an ongoing series)

Linux for Beginners

Linux User Groups

Top 10 Linux Support Questions & Answers

Hardware for Linux: look up and report hardware compatibility and incompatibility with Linux distros

How to be Your Own Linux Tech Support

Linux cheat sheets

All the best Linux cheat sheets

10 Essential UNIX/Linux Command Cheat Sheets

Linux-Unix Cheat Sheets –  The Ultimate Collection

Linux command line

I know, this is a post for beginners so why’s he mentioning the command line? Don’t be afraid of the command line. You can get a lot of useful things done there quite quickly once you get the hang of it.

Linux command line directory

Introduction to Linux Commands


20 Useful Linux Commands

The 10 most useful Linux commands

Common Linux Commands

Highly Useful Linux Commands and Configurations

FLOSS Manuals

Linux ebooks

A Newbie’s Getting Started Guide to Linux

Top Nine Free Linux EBooks for Newbie

10 Free Linux Ebooks for Beginners

5 Excellent Downloadable eBooks to Teach Yourself Linux

The Linux Cookbook

Introduction to Linux – A Hands On Guide

Linux Forums


Linux Forums

Linux Home Networking

Linux howtos and tutorials

The Ultimate Linux Newbie Guide


5 Best Places to Learn Linux – Linux Tutorial Sites

5 Great Linux Tutorials

Linux Knowledge Base and Tutorial

Linux for Beginners Free Online Guides and Tutorials


Linux software




Reference Guide to Finding, Installing and Running Linux Applications

Linux podcasts

Unfortunately, there isn’t much choice for beginners and intermediate users. Many Linux podcasts are quite geeky and just not aimed at beginners. These are probably the best around at the moment

Going Linux

Linux User Podcast

Linux magazines

LINUX Format This is the best I’ve seen for anyone just starting out with Linux through to more advanced users.


Twitter accounts about Linux and free software

I’m sure I’ve missed many important Linux sites here. Just drop a comment below with any you’ve come across and I’ll add them.

Jun 1
Manage all your pdfs
icon1 techandlife | icon2 How to, Software, Tech tips | icon4 June 1, 2009| icon31 Comment »

I’m sure many of you have pdfs galore scattered throughout your PC hard drive. Just like your photos. But you can organize your photos into albums with programs like Picasa or Faststone Image Viewer so what about your pdfs? Well here’s your chance to organize them under a neat interface. Adobe Digital Editions is a free program for Windows OS for organizing all your eBooks (EPUB format) and pdfs onto digital bookshelves. I’m indebted to instant fundas for bringing this free app to my attention. It’s a bit like Adobe Photoshop Elements but for pdfs not photos, and with just the managing and viewing function. I don’t have an eBook reader yet so will concentrate on the pdf management features here as I really wanted a way to organize my pdfs just like my photos.

I already had most of my pdfs in folders in a separate directory but thought it would be neat to be able to view them all in one place as thumbnails, place them on bookshelves and read them all from within one app. Well with Adobe Digital Editions you can do just that.

Adobe Digital Editions

However, before you plunge in and import all your pdfs, there’s a couple of things to note. Unfortunately, the thumbnails aren’t displayed with the file name below them, but with title and author metadata held within the pdf. So, for example, if the title metadata had been filled out incorrectly, the thumbnails won’t display in the order you want. So how do you check and edit the pdf metadata? Well, I’m grateful to gHacks for pointing out one free utility for doing this – BeCyPDFMetaEdit. With this app, you can load up your pdf, edit and save all the metadata just the way you want them without affecting the text and layout in the pdf itself.


Now that you have your title metadata correct, when you load the pdfs into Adobe Digital Editions, they will all initially go into the All Items shelf. You then have to drag them to the bookshelf of your choice or make a new one. You can’t put them directly onto the bookshelf you want.

You can of course click on and view your pdfs within the program. Single or double page layouts are supported. You can search within a document, and bookmark pages. Unfortunately, you can’t view all bookmarks on a bookshelf at the same time which would have been nice. The bookmarks for each document only show when that document is being read. You can highlight text and save it as text notes. Like other aspects of this program, I didn’t really find it intuitive enough but eventually worked out that you click and drag to highlight text, then press Ctrl-B to save it as a bookmark. Not ideal, but well it’s a free program and doubtless all these shortcomings will be ironed out in updates if people shout loudly enough. At the moment, I’m enjoying reading the free Full Circle (Ubuntu) Magazine in this interface.

So if your pdfs are languishing all round your hard drive, here’s a neat way to organize them on digital bookshelves and view them all in one spot … just like your photos.

` `