Monday, March 06, 2006

Tips & Advice from an Internet Addict

I’ve discovered some remarkable websites during my tour, and I want to share some of the best with you.

One of my all-time favorites is Epicurious. We all have to cook, right? Especially those of you with family members who aren’t quite old enough to dial for pizza. Epicurious is more than just an online collection of recipes (principally from Bon Appetite and Gourmet magazines). It also contains reader/chef reviews and a place for you to store your favorites and even your own creations. Try it. You’ll like it.

DearReader is another favorite. At this site you can read excerpts of books, exchange emails or chat with authors, and submit your reviews and comments for a chance to win prizes. In just two short weeks I've already won a set of Penguin classics. But be forewarned: this site is addictive!

Wikipedia is an online, fully editable encyclopedia made by people like you and me. It has truly restored some of my faith in humanity. How is the quality controlled, you ask? By people zooming around the website wearing little red capes with the word geek on the back. These administrators look for vandalism and misinformation and work to settle disputes among contributors. Just last week the English version of the encyclopedia topped one million articles. Check it out, you can be sure your students already are.

This whole blogging business is pretty fun isn’t it? If you’d like to start one of your own, I recommend Blogger. It free and fast and easy to get started. Plus its run by our favorite Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, the guys at Google. It even has helpful articles like “How Not to Get Fired for Blogging” and “How to Make Sure Your Mom Never Reads Your Blog.”

Hey, and while you’re at, go ahead and check out Frappr. It’s a mapping tool people can use to keep up with their worldly friends. The best way to learn about it is by experiencing it. Come see the Absent Minded Professor’s Frappr Group.

Maybe you’re ready to start your own website but don’t know where to begin. You need Webmonkey. This site includes everything you need to create and run your website. Not only does it have easy to follow instructions for beginners (like an invaluable HTML cheat-sheet), but it also has a regular flow of articles on the latest web tools, including this excellent one, described below.

If you haven’t already discovered Flickr, it's a site people use to post and share photos. Several creative and industrious people have written some pretty cool applications that access these photos. It's impossible to pick a favorite, but one really fun one is this screen saver that displays a digital clock where each number is a photo from Flickr. I love it!

Too much information about technology and the internet? I’ve got the perfect antidote. His name is Tony Long, aka The Luddite, and he's a columnist for Wired Magazine. It’s an absolute joy to read his rantings about car alarms, cell phones ringers, microwave oven timers and more. You’ll always get a chuckle from his articles and perhaps even a new word or too.

To energize that vocabulary of yours try’s Word of the Day feature. You can have them email it to you, along with its meaning, pronunciation and several clever sentences using the word, OR you can set it to display on your computer’s homepage. It really works. Just the other day Annie told me that her kibble with gravy is a poor simulacrum of her toothsome doggie treats. Oh, and if you’re looking for a cool yet unobtrusive homepage, try the easily customizable one offered by google.

Finally, you are definitely not getting enough out of the internet if you are not reading these GREAT blogs. Crazy Aunt Purl is written by a hilarious, recently divorced, displaced southern knitter with four cats. WaiterRant is a chronicle of nightly adventures in the New York city restaurant world published by an extremely gifted writer. El Guapo in DC is a Guatemalan with a riotous sense of humor living in our nation's capital. This is my new favorite. Please don't miss it!

Always pair housework with wine (or beer or hard liquor.) It makes the time go by so much faster, and it works wonders at adjusting your standards of cleanliness.

Please share your favorite sites - leave a comment.

1 comment:

jen said...

So it's Wednesday and I have an art one midterm to give tomorrow that is still largely unwritten, and what am I doing instead? Reading as much of WaiterRant as I can before my next class comes in. You've created a monster. Between this one, the aforementioned and Witty Women there's no hope that I will ever have another productive moment in my lifetime.