I hope you'll enjoy these sites as much as I do!
Google Docs Google's online office suite includes a presentation maker, spreadsheets, and, of course, a word processor. Use it to create and collaborate with anyone that has a Google account, and keep all the documents online where you can always get to them. It even helps you create Web forms for easily collecting info online.
MeeboWhy install instant-messaging software? Meebo is a browser-based IM aggregator, providing one master buddy list for all your IM accounts—AIM, Google, Yahoo, MSN, even Facebook or the old ICQ.
PicnikAn online Photoshop? Maybe it's not quite that powerful, but Picnik is amazingly robust for a Web-based image editor. That it has tight integration with lots of great photo sharing sites like Flickr, MySpace, and Facebook is a bonus.
TwitterDoes the site that's synonymous with micro-blogging need an introduction? Here's one anyway: Think of Twitter as a place where you can constantly keep people up to date on your life status, and where you and friends can publicly make with the witty banter all day (and night) long.
Funby Whitney Reynolds
1Up.comIn a crowded field of gaming Web sites, 1Up.com stands out for its expert game reviews, news, and videos, and its active community. Read up on the gaming world while you're resting your thumbs.
BoingBoingThis "Directory of Wonderful Things" keeps getting wonderfuller, with spin-offs like BoingBoing Gadgets, BoingBoingTV, and BoingBoing Offworld. Each of them use the same quirky BoingBoing sensibility to dig up treasures around the Web.
FacebookThe preeminent social network is fast becoming the hub of all social interactions on the Web, and as more people join, our list of Facebook friends more and more resembles our real-world "social graph." If you're still holding out, knock it off and join already. Your friends and family will thank you.
Flickr.comFacebook is great for sharing your camera phone pics with friends, but more serious photographers will want a more serious photo-sharing platform. Flickr makes the chore of uploading and tagging photos as simple as possible, and offers plenty of great features for photo enthusiasts, pros, and people who just like to look at pretty pictures.
HuluHulu's advertising campaign calls the site an evil plot to destroy the world; with the amount of time you can lose watching the free shows and movies offered, it might just be true. Who needs a TV when you have Hulu?
IMDbIMDb is the Web's best source for finding out who that guy was that was in that thing with that other guy. Beyond solving bar bets, the site offers movie and TV news, clips, trailers, and even full-length video.
io9Hey, nerds! How about a nerd blog for your nerd interests? io9 covers everything science fiction and otherwise less-than-hip. Comic book superheroes, television time-travelers, and real-life robot-controlled rat brains; io9's got them all.
MLB.comAmerica's favorite pastime has the site it deserves in MLB.com, which has a ton of cutting-edge features and is adding more all the time. The site excels at what every sports site should be working toward: Making it easy to keep track of games and scores from your desk at work.
Nick.comNick's Web site has information on your kid's favorite shows (or your favorite shows—admit it, you like Avatar: The Last Airbender), full-length episodes, and browser-based games. Why waste time with Solitaire when you could play cards with SpongeBob?
The OnionThis venerable source of satire has moved beyond snappy headlines into the realm of Web video and audio. Tech fans will appreciate pieces like this not-quite-safe-for-work bit of hard-hitting reporting.
PandoraBored with shuffling through your iTunes music? Pandora throws a bit of the unknown and unexplored into the mix. Enter a song or artist, and Pandora creates an Internet radio station with similar songs. Try putting in Weird Al's "Fat." It'll be fun—trust us!
Rotten TomatoesWhy rely solely on Roger Ebert's opinion when you could be drawing from the aggregate knowledge of the teeming masses? Rotten Tomatoes collects movie reviews from credible publications and draws a percentage from those scores, ranking them as either "Fresh" or "Rotten."
SomeecardsSomeecards has a wry e-card for every occasion, from birthday wishes ("Happy birthday to someone I feel incredible close to when I'm intoxicated") to cries for help ("I can't handle the pressure of making my own salad.") You can even create your own cards, if you think you're clever enough.
Ustream.TVViewing and creating online video is easier than ever; Ustream.TV lets anyone with a webcam start a live broadcast. Those who'd rather just watch can find a world of sporting events, talk shows, and kittens—so many, many kittens.
YouTubeYouTube is synonymous with online video at this point. The site is expanding its offerings beyond homemade videos of people doing Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" dance, however; now you can watch full-length TV shows and movies, like American Gladiators and She Gods of Shark Reef.
Infoby Brian Heater
Google MapsGoogle's mapping service keeps getting better and better, adding new features all the time. It's almost good enough to forgive them for the time the Street View camera took a picture of us coming out of a gentlemen's club in the middle of the day.
Google SearchApparently Google also does search. It'll never take off.
KayakTraveling would be a lot more fun were it not for all of the, you know, traveling. But just because every other part of the process is a nightmare doesn't mean booking your trip has to be. Kayak crawls hundreds of travel sites and tracks current promotions to help you get the best fare for your flight.
MintIt's a scary time to be thinking about money, so you may as well get a little bit of help from our Editors' Choice for online financial services. Mint can track your income and spending, and help you build a budget you'll be able to stick to.
PetfinderWhy get your pet from a store when you can adopt a loving animal from a shelter? Petfinder lists dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and other animals in need from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Simply HiredIn the current economic climate, it's probably best to cast your net as wide as possible. Simply Hired aggregates results from thousands of job and company sites, making job hunting as easy as its name implies.
SnopesSnopes is the go-to source for debunking urban legends. Please consult it before forwarding that chain e-mail, especially if it has anything to do with Barack Obama, Walt Disney, or a dying child who can only afford treatment if you forward the e-mail.
TreeHuggerThis Discovery Channel-owned blog is the ultimate up-to-the-minute resource for green news, culture, eco-friendly design, and more.
WebMDBefore you go checking this site, let us assure you that you don't have the bubonic plague. Heck, it's probably just a simple case of the Swine Flu.
WikipediaCollege professors and newspaper publishers hate this online encyclopedia. The rest of you have probably already spent half your day going further down the Wikipedia rabbit hole.
YelpWant some Persian food in New York with a side-order of snark? Looking for a review of a Thai restaurant in San Francisco, prepared in iambic pentameter? Anyone who thinks business reviews can't be fun needs to Yelp more.
Newsby Eric Griffith
BBCFor the news of the world—in 32 languages, no less—the British Broadcasting Company is second to none. It doesn't hurt to read it in an English accent either, for extra gravitas.
DiggThe ultimate user-submitted content site. Actually, it has no content, just links, all of which are voted upon—dugg—by visitors to the site, or any site that puts a Digg badge on its pages. Still one of the hottest places to visit to see what's...hot.
EW.comEntertainment Weekly's online home remains one of the best all-around entertainment sites, with some real reporting on some fluffy bits of news, not to mention fun columns (its Lost analysis can't be beat), reviews, and even video. Thankfully, it's fluff we all enjoy.
The New York TimesSome think the Old Grey Lady ain't what she used to be—and well, if you're thinking about that 17-pound mass of paper delivered on Sundays, maybe that's true. The Times Web site, however, is where the real breaking news of the day is found, along with all the great extras you'd expect in Arts, Style, Travel, and other sections.
Science DailyThomas Dolby got it right when he cried: "SCIENCE!" We like science that much too, and that's why Science Daily is a perennial favorite on this list. The site aggregates the very best coverage in that very broad topic, from fossils to space exploration, from diseases to climate change, and every nano-particle in between.
SlateThe Washington Post's online current affairs magazine—which was founded by Microsoft—continues to deliver on much more than politics (entertainment and tech coverage is especially good), and with far more wit and clarity than is typical online.
Shoppingby Kyle Monson
Amazon.comThe online shopping behemoth just keeps getting bigger. From dead-tree books, CDs, and DVDs to their digital equivalents (e-books, MP3s, and movie streaming), Amazon has it all.
The ConsumeristStand up for your consumer rights, and if those dastardly companies don't heed your complaint, take it to The Consumerist. The consumer-rights blog, recently bought from Gawker by Consumer Reports, offers catharsis by taking big companies to task for all kinds of shady behavior.
craigslistThis Craig fellow sure is swell! His list lets you hunt for a new house or apartment, buy and sell used stuff, and even find your long-lost love!
EtsyThis excellent online store lets you both buy and sell handmade items, and has tons of one-of-a-kind treasures available at good prices. It's the Internet equivalent of a cottage industry, and we absolutely love it.
TruliaAn afternoon of browsing Trulia's real estate listings will either make your day or destroy your week, depending on whether you're shopping for a home or considering selling. Housing booms and busts will come and go, but through it all, Trulia is our favorite real estate site.
Techby Kyle Monson
Ars TechnicaThe standard practice for news sites these days is to be a mile wide and an inch deep-write as many short posts as possible. Ars has always gone in the opposite direction, with refreshingly insightful reporting and commentary on the tech industry.
CNETCNET's recent acquisition by CBS hasn't dampened its moxie. It still has great tech news and reviews, and this gargantuan technology network is also breaking new ground in Web video, live broadcasting, and audience interaction.
EngadgetIn many ways, Engadget is setting the standard not just for the blogosphere, but for the whole tech media world. The site covers the world of tech gadgets with a level of skill and enthusiasm that is hard to match.
InstructablesBuild things of limited usefulness out of household objects! That's the idea behind this fun, geeky DIY site. Browse for project ideas or just enjoy the weird obsessions of the DIY community.
LifehackerI can't remember what life was like before Lifehacker, but I'm pretty sure it involved lots of wasted time, wasted money, and wasted closet space, and not nearly enough keyboard shortcuts. Optimize your entire online and offline life with this site's incredibly useful tips and how-tos.
PCMag.comWe have to pat ourselves on the back here—our expert tests and reviews of tech hardware and software are still the best in the business. And stay tuned for some big changes to the site in the coming months.
Phone ScoopI don't know of another site that covers developments in the mobile/wireless world with as much depth as Phone Scoop. And if you're in the market for a new handset, check out the site's cool Phone Finder.
SourceForge.netLooking for that one free PC utility that will save your life? Building a utility that will save others' lives? Whether you're a giver or a taker, SourceForge has you covered by offering a huge library of free, open-source software, and the opportunity to upload your own projects.
TechCrunchThough the dollars aren't swirling around Silicon Valley like they were a couple years ago, there are still leaks and rumors to report, mergers to scrutinize, and startups to evaluate. TechCrunch is on top of it, with an unparalleled network of loose-lipped informants that ensures that Michael Arrington gets the story first.
Appsby Eric Griffith
Aviary This site is giving Picnik a run for its money, offering online, Flash-based image editing, color editing, vector editing, image hosting, and even image capture of Web sites (using a Firefox add-on) which you can instantly open in the image editor.
Gizapage Privacy might be the biggest problem with modern social networks. That and the fact that there are too damn many of them. Gizapage wants to fix both problems by giving you a single dashboard from which to control your social network profiles across sites like Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and your WordPress blog.
PagetweetPageTweet's interface creates a shortened URL (ala TinyURL) for you to share on Twitter, Facebook, et al. But there's a twist to this URL shortener: When your friends click on that URL, they'll see the Web page you want to share, plus whatever clever caption you assign to it.
TinyChatYou need to have a quick conversation with multiple co-workers. Except some of them are working from home, the lucky bastards. Rather than try to get all your various IM services to cooperate in creating a multi-person chatroom that probably won't work anyway, jump on TinyChat and make an instant chat room that even supports audio and video.
TweetBackupYou spend all day crafting cleverness in 140 characters or less and have the admiration of tens, if not hundreds of readers! But what happens if Twitter were to go away tomorrow? You'd lose all that pithy genius. TweetBackup to the rescue: It does what it says, backing-up thousands of posts (well, 3,200 of them at least) and your friends list for free.
SeesmicJust like Meebo brings the power of IM aggregation to your browser, so Seesmic does for Twitter. The Web-based Twitter client sports a multi-column view that's similar to the Seesmic or TweetDeck desktop apps, and makes it easy to keep up with your Twitter feed.
Funby Whitney Reynolds and Kyle Monson
1000 Awesome ThingsYou know what's awesome? Thinking it's Thursday when it's really Friday. Or the light turning green just as you get to the intersection. Or placing the last piece of the puzzle. This happy blog doesn't have 997 more awesome things just yet, but it counts down another bite of awesomeness every weekday. And that's awesome!
Apology CenterIf you've wronged someone, you should probably clear the air with them ASAP, or at least with your preferred form of clergy. If that isn't enough, though, you can appeal to the anonymous masses of the Internet. Post on Apology Center about the hearts you've broken or the couches you've stained, and if you're sincere enough, you might be forgiven.
Awkward Family PhotosOh, what horrors the Sears Photo Studio has wrought! If you've ever starred in a photo where everyone in your family is wearing the same stupid T-shirt, you could have your few minutes of Internet fame on this blog.
b@ TVThis crazy site is a collection of multi-angle videos of DJs spinning at popular clubs around the world, with an annotated progress bar so you can comment or tag different songs in the set. b@ TV won't appeal to everyone, but we're including it in our list for two reasons: 1) If you're into house music, it'll be your new favorite site; 2) We desperately want a site like this for live rock shows.
BookArmyThis social network site for readers features a recommendation engine and user reviews geared toward finding you a good book to read next.
Broken Picture TelephoneRemember that old grade-school game, Telephone? Broken Picture Telephone is a Web-based version of it, and lets players alternate between writing words and drawing clever pictures to transmit the original clue.
GroovesharkThere are a lot of sites, like Songza and Skreemr, that let you stream whatever song you want; Grooveshark is probably the best, though. It's got a slick UI, has a multi-faceted search function, and lets you make playlists of just about any song you can think of.
InterfaceLIFTIt might seem like a throwback, but we still love browsing through sites of beautiful, free desktop wallpaper art. And InterfaceLIFT is one of our faves. Pick your wallpaper for any screen size, including mobile devices and dual- or triple-monitor setups.
Item Not As DescribedPeople put some weird stuff up for sale on Craigslist. Just think, you might never know that a papier-mâché boot with a map of Middle Earth even existed if you never visited Item Not As Described.
ShorpyShorpy is not a photo site for the LOLcats crowd. This blog features retro photographs taken between 1850 and 1950. Get a glimpse of what the world was like before camera phones—or any phones!
Texts from Last Night Come the cruel light of morning, you may look at your phone and wonder why your friend sent you a message like "I wish everyone could be as happy as the people in the laxative commercials." Submit that bit of SMS poetry to the oft-hilarious and frequently filthy Texts from Last Night, where it can live anonymously with others of its kind.
That Guy with the GlassesReading the different personalities on this movie/culture review site is akin to hanging out in your nerdy friend's basement-and we mean that in the best way. These guys have their own language of inside jokes, a cast of regular commenters, and they know all the same movie and gaming trivia you do.
Ugliest TattoosAll it takes is one buzz of the needle to lead to a lifetime of regret. And all it takes is one snap of the camera to let that regret be splashed across the Internet. Ugliest Tattoos does exactly what its name indicates, showing off a gallery of poor life choices.
WorldWide TelescopeThe Web client version of the WorldWide Telescope project puts the entire known universe right into your browser window. The site lets you travel around Earth, space, and other planets, sight-seeing via photos from ground- and space-based telescopes.
Youshouldhaveseenthis.comDon't take this site too seriously, though it could be quite useful. Youshouldhaveseenthis.com is a primer of the 100 Web memes you should definitely, absolutely have already seen by now. E-mail the URL to your parents, or to that one guy in the office who always forwards two-year-old links.
Infoby Brian Heater
Academic EarthScholars and professors from top U.S. universities such as Harvard, Standford, Yale, and more offer up free video lectures on a large spectrum of subjects on Academic Earth.
BikelyWhy drive when you can ride? This social network for bicycle enthusiasts offers up biking routes in more than 40 countries.
DestinationRXDestinationRX aims to simplify the world of health insurance and prescription drugs with a number of handy online tools, like a pricing calculator for figuring out what your medications should cost.
Hotel Video ReviewsWhen it comes to choosing a hotel on the other side of the world, pictures and words often aren't much help. Hotel Video Review offers exactly what it suggests in a number of cities. The content is a bit lacking at the moment, but hopefully it'll fill out before we take our next trip.
JoobiliIf you're feeling indecisive about that next big trip, Joobili can help. You give the site a window for your trip, and it'll tell you what events are going on in that country. We like the idea-and design-a lot, but we wish they'd fill out their database a bit more.
LegistalkerTrack your government representatives the way you track your favorite celebrities (it's probably more important). Legistalker provides a way to keep tabs on politicians in the media and on YouTube and Twitter.
MeeHiveLet's face it, The New York Times just doesn't get you, does it? MeeHive lets users build customized online newspapers based on their personal interests.
namechkWorried that someone else will grab the journeyfan5757 username on your favorite social networking site? NameChk cross checks usernames across 122 sites, from the obvious (Facebook, MySpace, YouTube) to the more obscure (Fanpop, BallHype, ThisNext).
Petrucci Music LibraryThese days it seems like online musical transcription is limited to homemade guitar tabs. Petrucci Music Library, thankfully, turns that concept on its ear, offering up tens of thousands of public-domain sheet-music downloads.
Smart HistorySmart History is like an interactive, multi-media art history book, covering artistic movements from ancient cultures through today.
Smashing MagazineHey, what do you know, it's a Web design site that's actually nice to look at! Smashing offers tips and tricks for a wide variety of languages and platforms, while thriving on feedback from its informed readership.
Still TastyNow here's a resource site we can all get behind: Still Tasty lets you know whether to keep or toss that food on your shelf. Rot or not?
TributesTributes offers an extensive listing of deceased persons, including both celebrities and regular folks. Pay tribute to a friend, loved one, or someone you never met with an online tribute, and rest easy with the knowledge that you won't pass on without at least an Internet presence.
Wise BreadGot money to burn? Didn't think so. Wise Bread is a blog that helps readers "live large on a small budget."
World Digital LibraryCheck out a treasure trove of some of the world's most important artifacts from 8,000 B.C. to 2009 A.D. World Digital Library features high-res images and a plethora of information on a number of priceless treasures, maps, and documents.
Shoppingby Whitney Reynolds
The AwesomerIf you're a guy, and you like stuff, you'll probably like The Awesomer, a repository of awesome products attuned to the masculine set. The Awesomer's offerings tend toward the techie and geeky, but among the video games, gadgets, and tool kits, you'll even find some fashion to keep you looking awesome.
CarComplaints.comIf your 1979 Pontiac Trans Am is making strange noises like it's haunted by angry ghosts, you could take it to a mechanic, or you could go to CarComplaints.com to see if it's a common ailment and how much it might cost to fix. The site has a database of complaints searchable by make, model, and year, and even has special sections for the worst and most amusing complaints.
Cool SpottersWe know. You might just die if you can't get the exact same sneakers you saw Shia LeBoeuf wearing in those paparazzi photos. Fret no more, because Cool Spotters ID's the products the bright and beautiful are wearing and using. Even if you're not famous, you can wear sunglasses like you are.
Giveaway of the DayEverything is better if you get it for free. Giveaway of the Day is a site that—surprise, surprise!—gives away free licensed software every day. Not a trial version or a limited release, just full versions of software, free, every day. And if you're a gamer, you can check out Game Giveaway of the Day for the same deal—but with games!
GoodGuideIf you're looking for a site to help you buy disposable Styrofoam beer cozies and as many products containing high-fructose corn syrup as possible, GoodGuide is not what you're looking for. What it is good for, though, is finding ratings and deals on a variety of safe, healthy, and green products.
HotPads.comDespite its name, HotPads.com is not your resource for natural relief of back pain, it's a real-estate resource! Just enter in your ZIP code and you'll find a handy map full of listings for rentals, sales, foreclosures, and even vacation rentals and hotels.
VoyijSometimes the price of a getaway is more important than the destination. Just tell Voyij what airport you want to leave from and it'll provide you with a list of the cheapest flights going anywhere. For the absolute best deals, leave your travel dates flexible, too.
Techby Kyle Monson
148AppsWith the Apple AppStore exploding with new apps every day, a site like 148Apps is critical for finding the good stuff to put on your iPhone. The site rates and reviews iPhone apps, so you'll know you're getting your 99 cents' worth when you download a new app. If you use your iPhone for business, check out its sister site, 148Apps.biz.
AlternativeToWho has money to spend on software nowadays? Skip the pricey software packages with AlternativeTo, which lets you search for free software alternatives. The site makes it easy to find free replacements for Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Nero, Microsoft Office, and just about any other Windows, Mac, Linux, or online application.
Federal IT DashboardThe new Federal IT Dashboard tracks how federal money is being spent on U.S. infrastructure updates and government IT projects. You can track spending by department (Health and Human Services, for instance, or Department of Defense) and see how good each department is at staying within project deadlines and budgets.
gdgtEngadget founders/alums Peter Rojas and Ryan Block just launched a new site that-surprise!-encourages you to indulge your gadget obsessions. Search for your gadget of interest, and then join the online discussion about it, or start your own. You can also enter your gadget inventory, and rate your favorite (or least favorite) devices.
Modders-Inc.comDrool over pictures of the coolest PC mods at Modders-Inc. You'll be amazed at all the weird designs, and, should you be so inspired, the site offers tips and tools for doing your own case mods.
TechViTechVi provides quick analysis of the day's hot tech news via Skype interviews with leading technology journalists. It's a quick, easy way to keep tabs on what's going on in the technology industry from day to day.
What They PlayThough you might want to keep track of what video games your kids are playing, it can feel impossible to actually do so. What They Play makes it easy, by reviewing games from a parents' perspective, and giving you the gory/steamy details about the violent/sexual content in a particular game.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I hope you'll enjoy these sites as much as I do!