More This & That

I have a hidden script on my Blog which tracks my most popular pages. Turns out that my miscellaneous, “this-and-that” columns are the most read. And here I thought I was doing you a favor by giving you information in categories—a change I made in January. I will continue to write topic-centered columns over the year, but now I will toss in an occasional “this and that” column, too

Fraud alert . Everyone should take the time to read the information on this website because it offers a helpful public service. Okay, so the website creator does hawk his book, but it’s not a screamer-type advertisement. All of us may think we are too smart to fall for the scams offering to make us rich overnight, but you just never know when you might get hoodwinked. This website is focused more on fraudulent sweepstakes-type claims, and not on Internet-security type scams. Just wanted to make that clear. A message board lets you read tragic tales from people who fell for some underhanded tricks. The site’s author goes into much detail about scams, resultant court cases, and much more.

Whowhere. When I need a street address and/or a phone number, I use this free service. I emphasize free, because there are links on the site that take you to other services that charge you—and you may be tempted to use those services if or when the name you’ve typed in does not show any results. I’ve used Whowhere for my Christmas card mailings and when I have misplaced a phone number. I usually get good results. I have used it, too, to trace a phone number to a name—using their reverse directory. If you don’t have any luck at whowhere, then log on to langenberg.com and try your search there. Langenberg has, in addition to whowhere, links to search professional associations (eg. Dentists and lawyers) and it links to a famous-people grave finder.

Convert Anything . What if you are planning a trip to Paris to shop for the latest fashions? But you have no idea who to translate sizes. This website will give you that information. And it will help with at least a dozen other kinds of conversions, from length and distance, temperatures, speed, volume, weights and measures, power, angles, and more.

Nationmaster. Here is a wonderful reference tool for all kinds of statistics. The online database lets you compare data between nations and besides, it’s interesting and enlightening reading. Students can find this website helpful when they are working on a term paper or thesis; speechwriters would love it; debaters probably already know about it. Anyone can read the factoids here, but for more in-depth information, you have to commit to a short-term ($10 month) or longer ($30-six month) subscription. There are 4500 charts, graphs, and other comparisons among American states alone.

Some Software I Take for Granted. Downloading free software has its pros and cons. A newbie could get carried away and download every program out there that can be had for no cost. Soon the computer is so bogged down with stuff that its performance slows way down. It helps to be discriminating. Look for freeware from open-source developers; look for freeware from sources that despise spam and spyware. Now that I’m done lecturing, here are some freebie programs that I am very happy with: Pix Resizer . This little application helps me scale down my digital photos, making them a snap to send via email, or to use in other ways. I hate when someone emails me a huge image that takes forever to download (yes, some of us are still using dialup). I like Mozilla’s Firefox browser more than I like Internet Explorer. I use Spoofstick to deal with a Firefox vulnerability—spoofstick tells me what website I am on so that I know I have not been “phished.” Spoofstick sits in my toolbar and tells me if the site I am on is legitimate.
And, I’m out of room. I’ll tell you about more of my favorite free downloads in upcoming issues.

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~ by IndianaDunesPoet on April 5, 2005.

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