I'm sure you'll find some surprises.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Wild and wonderful Web sites

Oct. 4, 2009

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2009, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2009, The Post-Standard

   You know the feeling. You look up something like "American Idol" in Google and you get 19,900,000 hits.
   Whew. How about finding something DIFFERENT for a change? That was my approach to this week's column. Here are 10 Web sites that won't show up in a list of 19 zillion hits. You might know about some of them already, but I'm sure you'll find some surprises, too.
   www.verify-email.org. Need to see if an e-mail address is valid? Just plug it into this site.
   www.weather.com. This is The Weather Channel's site. I like it the best of all the weather sites. It's fast and accurate.
   www.woot.com. Each day this site offers an incredible deal on a different high-tech gadget. Even if you don't buy anything, it's fun to see what's out there.
   www.yesvideo.com. Want to put those VHS tapes onto DVDs? If you don't want to tackle the conversion yourself, this site is what you need. There are local drop-off points all around the country, including Central New York. (I found three in my home town of Baldwinsville.) It's not cheap -- the cost is $30 for two hours of tape -- but it might be the only way you'll get those priceless family tapes preserved.
   http://architosh.com. One complaint about the Mac is a perceived lack of support for architectural software such as CAD (computer aided design) programs. This site tells what's available and serves as a center for information on CAD for the Mac.
   www.zamzar.com. This is file-conversion heaven. This site takes a file (document, video, image, compressed archive or CAD file) by a simple upload and returns it to you as a download in another format -- for free. Maximum size is 100 MB for the free service.
   http://word.tips.net. Even experts turn to Allen Wyatt's site for help with Microsoft Word. There are hundreds of tips here, all free.
   www.imdb.com. This is the Internet Movie Database site, which you'll find essential if, like me, you tend to chat with old friends about the best movies you've seen but can't remember the supporting actors' names. This site has info on them all -- new, old, winners and losers.
   www.nytimes.com/pages/todayspaper. This is the New York Times on the Web -- a wonderfully organized site with a good selection of what's in the Times on the day you visit. After checking local news at our own site at www.syracuse.com, check the New York Times site. Both of those sites are free.
   www.howstuffworks.com. Tough homework assignment? This site can't be beat. And, to satisfy idle curiosity and make serendipitous discoveries, it's a great way to spend an hour.