This installment of way cool websites compiled for Interface, the monthly newsletter of MacNexus, the Sacramento Macintosh User Group. This list covers December 2008 through April 2009.
For those of you who are wondering about putting information on a Facebook page, this blog is a great resource. If you aren’t sure the best way to make information private, be sure to read the clear and informative February 2, 2009 entry on privacy settings.
Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports magazine and website) purchased this blog on January 1, 2009 saying it is “a perfect fit for advancing our mission of creating a fair, safe, and just marketplace.” You’ll find lots of helpful information about a wide variety of consumer problems.
• Lee Hinde’s Right Here, Right Now
For those of you who miss the witticisms of former MacNexus President, Lee Hinde, you can get your fill at his blog. One tip you might find useful is the one Lee passed on from another blog, BackupBrain – drag (“b/w”) to your browser tool bar to view web pages written in white text on black to black on white.
• World War I: American Soldier’s Letters Home
The son and granddaughter of Lt. Paul Hills have gone through his scrapbooks and transcribed these wonderful letters beginning in April 1917 when Hills wrote home from college to ask his mother’s permission to join the ambulance service in France. Each one has been added to the blog on the date they were written, ninety years ago!
When you are looking for a good book to read, you can look at many online sources for suggestions. Goodreads is a recent favorite of mine because it has a social networking friends element similar to the friends movie reviews used by Netflix. FYI, I am currently reading The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded American is Tearing Us Apart.
At this website, you support charities by donating or creating fundraising badges. If you wish, you can contribute to the favorite causes of others (including celebrities you admire) or set up a badge of your own chosen charity. The title came from the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game i.e. any one person is connected to any other person through six or fewer relationships, because it’s a small world. Be sure to watch Kevin’s welcome video.
Better Business Bureau
You probably know that consumers can file a complaint about a business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but are you using the database to check out the reliability of a business or charity before you buy something or donate money? You can search by name, type of business or charity or even just with a phone number, URL or email.
This site combines the power of Flickr and Google Maps to bring you a full map of the world with geotagged photos that appear in a strip on the top of the map. If you click on a photo to see it larger, a description from the photographer also appears. You can zoom in on the map to get more specific choices or search for photos at specific addresses.
• Learn CPR
This website is a free public service supported by the University of Washington School of Medicine. You can study diagrams or watch videos that clearly show you the basics of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
• Mayo Clinic
I have mentioned the Mayo Clinic site before, but wanted to make sure you know it features lots of tips. If you have wondered whether or not to take an aspirin a day to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, check out this featured page.
Designed for adults and kids to learn about healthy eating, this fun online community includes games and animations for all ages. Each offering is conceptualized, designed and field-tested with the guidance and assistance of medical researchers at The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston and Baylor College of Medicine’s Children’s Nutrition Research Center.
This website provides information on holidays celebrated around the world. You can search for holidays by date, country or religion. Another nice feature is the listing of lunar phases, eclipses, seasonal changes and daylight savings time.
Looks Too Good To Be True.com
This website is maintained by a joint federal law enforcement and industry task force. Its purpose is to educate consumers, and help prevent Internet fraud schemes.
Down For Everyone
If you have ever wondered if there is really something wrong with a website, or if it’s just a problem with your computer, check out this useful site. All you need to do is type in the website address (e.g. macnexus.org) and you either get a message that the website is having a problem or “It’s just you.”
U.S. Supreme Court
Here is the official source for everything you always wanted to know about the U.S. Supreme Court. Besides a search feature to help you locate specific court files, you will find a wealth of information including biographies of the justices and the current docket.
• Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFDB)
The Zapato Productions Intradimensional website contains “wide selection of amazing discoveries, important theories, life-enriching tools, and other more frivolous diversions, an index of which appears below.” My favorite, the AFDB, provides detailed instructions–with wonderful diagrams–of how to make one of these beanies. I thank long time MacNexus member, Bob Seigel, now living in Graettinger, IA for introducing me to this wonderful site.
• Bad Gift Emporium
This site was one of the nominees for a 2008 Webby award in the weird category. It is a showcase for giftrocities real people received. Some are available to be regifted and you can even upload a photo and details about yours.
• Birthday Songs
If you have ever wondered what the number one song was on the day you were born, this site is for you. Provided by Josh Hosler of Seattle, WA, whose hobbies include listening to top pop hits from Billboard’s official Pop 100 current and past charts. You just click on the month, date and year you were born. Mine turned out to be It’s Been a Long, Long Time by Harry James. If there’s a link, you can even get to it on iTunes in one click!
• Confusing Words
Do you find yourself confused when using certain words such as affect and effect? Early Mac user, Richard and Anne Wanderman began their collection of these words in 1990 as a HyperCard stack. I thank MacNexus member, Mary Mieth, for introducing me to the current website.
• Kevin Kelly: My Other Stuff
This link takes you to presentations page compiled by Kevin Kelly, who describes himself as “the Senior Maverick at Wired magazine.” For those of you who really go way back with the Mac, you must click on Hypercard and see Bill Atkinson describe Apple’s breakthrough software in 1987. You can go directly to the Computer Chronicles archive at http://www.archive.org/details/CC501_hypercard
• The Sacramento Press
An eye-catching brochure about this new online local effort in citizen journalism was left on my doormat. Since both the brochure and the site were so lovely to look at, I couldn’t resist sending an email to Geoff Samek, the Editor in Chief, to find out if they used Macs. He told me that all employees and interns (11 in all) are using Macs! Do check out the site; it is informative, builds community and easy to search–don’t miss the tag cloud and storyline features.
This wonderful free service makes it fast and easy to share information you find out the Internet with friends and family. The demos will show you how to put ShareThis in your browser toolbar, store email addresses in an easy-to-access place and store items you have shared for future reference.
Forgetting the Pill
If you are overwhelmed trying to keep all your vitamins and prescriptions organized, check out this amazing array of pill organizers, crushers, and timers. Once you identify an item you might never find hidden away in a local store, you can search online to see if your local Walgreen’s or Target carries it. My new shopping slogan is let your mouse do the walking!
Billed as “a library of TV theme music and songs from yesterday and today” has an archive of over 9,000 songs. A fun feature you might enjoy is the Name that Theme Song game for 1 or 2 players.
• TV Worth Watching
For recommendations on “each day’s very best television offerings - whether they’re weekly series, documentary specials, movies, children’s offerings, or bizarre but worthwhile cult items,” check out this online magazine from NPR’s Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli. If you find his picks in sync with your interests, be sure to check out his blog too.
If you are interested in what is being done to move us towards a smarter and more sustainable future, check out this site. You will find information about “the future of design, innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design.”
Year in Review Lists
• Google’s 2008 Year-End Zeitgeist
At the end of each year, Google looks at big events, memorable moments and emerging trends that captivated searchers. The compilation provides “a glimpse into the zeitgeist — the spirit of the times.” You can look at the global aggregate, or choose only the U.S. or another country of interest.
• Refdesk.com’s 2008: Year in Review
This wonderful website has been around since 1995. Its year in review feature includes an alphabetical array of top/best lists that include top stories from the Associated Press to most notable quotes from the Yale Book of Quotations.
• Time’s Top 10 Everything of 2008
This compilation from Time.com includes topics that range in alphabetical order from albums (Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne) to worst business deals (Yahoo rejecting Microsoft’s offer). Their pick for the top FREE iPhone app was Pandora Internet Radio.