Useful Websites

In a recent column I promised that I would write about useful websites. Here I thought that one column would be enough, but I see from my notes that it will take more than just one week to cover them all. And, it all depends on what one considers “useful”. I am open to suggestions. Meanwhile, here is the start of my list.

Wikipedia ( This people-edited encyclopedia lets us look up a person, place, thing, concept, or whatever puzzles us—really quickly. We can find ourselves learning way more than we ever intended, and the biggest caveat is to be careful about accepting everything written here as gospel. Some people make mistakes. If you are knowledgable in a particular subject, you can add your bits of knowledge and edit errors while you are at it.

Internet Tourbus ( I have been a subscriber to Bob Rankin’s Tourbus /)e-newsletter for around ten years, and I almost always find something new to cram into my overloaded brain. From cell phones to operating systems, Rankin informs readers in an easy-to-understand way how to complete computer tasks, how to choose a portable dvr player, what software utilities are available free for the downloading, and so much more. If you feel insecure about your technological skills, Tourbus will have you feeling confident in no time.

Gas Buddy ( Just because gas prices have eased a little does not mean that we can slide back into former habits. Gas buddy’s spotters help us make informed decisions about where to get the best prices for filling our gas tank. Compare prices across town or across the country. If you are going on vacation and will be renting a car, you can check your destination’s gas prices well in advance and avoid unpleasant surprises.

The Paperboy ( If you are a news junkie, especially one who is fond of newsprint, you can marvel at the lineup of front pages of the world’s newspapers—and note what the editors of each publication deem most important for their lead news story. You have a global menu of papers to choose from, and you can instantly read the English version. Just about any U.S. Paper you can think of, including our Beacher, is listed also. Just follow the direct link, and voila! Happy reading.

Oodle & Craigslist ( and Here are two user-generated classifieds lists, full of local information you can use. Oodle is a Craiglist clone in many respects, and not as extensive as its big brother. Maybe because Oodle has not been around as long. A person has to use these sites with discretion, because scammers hide among the legitimate contributors. For example, I almost rented a vacation getaway through Craiglist until I had a friend check out the neighorhood’s reputation. It turned out to be questionable (shady), and I luckily got my deposit back. Since I use the Firefox browser with the safe sites add-in feature, I am warned ahead of time about which links are safe to follow and which are questionable. This feature is especially helpful when I am browsing Craigslist or Oodle.


~ by IndianaDunesPoet on February 13, 2009.

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