tips > newsletter april 2001
Columbia University journalism professor
http://www.sree.net * firstname.lastname@example.org
monthly newsletter of tips and tricks about useful and/or fun Web sites.
and welcome to the latest issue of the "Sree Tips" newsletter. As you
may know, the newsletter was started as an offshoot of the "Smarter Surfing:
Better Use of Your Web Time" workshops I teach around the U.S. and abroad:
the links and tips below. As always, I look forward to YOUR tips, feedback
and suggestions: email@example.com
a month for the next newsletter? Visit the constantly updated "Smarter
Surfing" links at http://www.sree.net/tips/web.html
if you are near a computer on Monday, April 9, at 6 pm EST (10 pm GMT),
you may (or may not) want to stop by an online chat I am doing about online
journalism and more at Wordsmith.org (home of A.Word.A.Day). For more
details, and to join the chat, visit http://www.wordsmith.org/chat
(to me) USEFUL SITES...
(sites I find useful in some way)
Systems' Public Records Database Collection
Links to more than 4,200 public records databases around the world. Focuses
mainly on the United States (everything from licensed lawyers in New York
to unclaimed property in Washington, D.C., to lost dogs nationwide), but
you can access some databases in other countries as well (examples: art
stolen in Italy; the New Delhi phone book; and aircraft registered in
Search Tools Chart
A two-page guide to various search engines and search tools. Summarizes
the features of each engine and tells you how best to use it. Produced
by the Internet For People Project, a federally-funded grant to improve
Internet resources in California libraries. Print out the guide and put
it next to your PC and you will have it handy for tough searches. It's
next to mine.
What you need when researching a topic on the Web are useful leads and
this site is a way to get some fast. Put in your query once and you can
run multiple searches in news sites, search engines, and discussion groups,
and hunt for photos and video. You can save your queries, making your
research tasks faster. The site is run by Robert Poulsen, who also created
NewsDirectory.com, one of the first guides to news Web sites.
A new resource for online writers, reporters and editors run by Jonathan
Dube, technology editor of MSNBC.com. Lots to read and learn about, even
if you don't work for an online site right now. The writing tips and examples
of outstanding cyberjournalism are especially worth stopping by for.
Last month's New-ish Useful Sites
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(to me) FUN sites...
(proof "fun" is a subjective word)
I am fascinated by what are called mondegreens -- misheard song lyrics
-- and this site, the "Home of Misheard Song Lyrics and Song Parodies,"
has more than 10,000 pop music examples. Some are hilarious, others not
as funny. The performers with the most mondegreens? The Beatles and Elton
John. Here's an example from "Get Back" by the Beatles: "Jojo
was a man, he thought he was a woman." The correct lyrics: "Jojo
was a man who thought he was a loner."
You know what is the most common search term on the Web (hint: it
starts with an S, ends with an X and is three letters long). Here's your
chance to learn more substantial facts about search trends. This site
-- compiled from the Lycos search engine's 12 million queries a day --
is a fun look at what's getting the biggest buzz online. Once a week,
it publishes a "top 50" list of the people, places and things
that are being looked up most on Lycos. Popular in recent weeks: "Napster,"
"IRS" and "Jennifer Lopez."
of the Year
One place to find examples of great photojournalism is the site of the
annual Pictures of the Year contest sponsored by the Missouri School of
Journalism and the National Press Photographers Association. It's the
58th anniversary of the contest and the winning shots (chosen from 32,000
submissions) tell compelling stories of the previous year.
If you'd like to actually interact with a Web site, instead of just reading
text and looking at pictures, you are ready for sodaplay, a site based
in London. It allows you to play on your browser with wire frame "toys"
created by other users. You can even create your own, if you are really
adventurous. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine called it the "best time
waster" of 2000. You have been warned.
Last month's New-ish Fun Sites
-- free reminder service for the Internet age
-- Palm-based guide to 20 cities
-- satellite images
Update: This site no longer gives you free address searching; you can
still see satellite images of major cities, but have to pay to look
up, say, your own home directly. Just a sign of the times: paying for
content is here to stay.
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SUCH & SUCH...
(my starting points for various things; may change monthly)
The best search engine out there. 'Nuff said. But here's Walt Mossberg
of The Wall Street Journal on Google: "...simply the best search site
I've ever used." If you know Walt's work -- and you should be following
it religiously at http://ptech.wsj.com
-- you know that he doesn't hand out such praise often. Be sure to download
the free Google toolbar; it will change the way you search: http://toolbar.google.com
Excellent reference site. Don't just take my word for it. U.S. Secretary
of State Colin Powell told The New York Times this is his favorite Web
site. Run by Bob Drudge, Matt's dad (though no rumors on Refdesk).
Yep, the Encyclopedia Britannica on the Web (as well as selected articles
from 70 major magazines), free of charge. For now.
National Geographic's Map Machine
Leave it to National Geographic to make the best online atlas with these
dynamic maps that will take you any spot you choose, and allow you to
change what kind of map you see, on the fly. Did you know there are three
towns named Santa Claus in the U.S. or that my grandfather's village in
India is an easy find?
In offices, dictionaries grow legs and walk. Hence an online dictionary
is a must. This one addresses a major problem I have had with traditional
dictionaries: You need to know how to spell a word before you look it
up. Not here. Just punch in an approximation, and it will give you a suggested
list. Plus, nice etymology.
Jim Romenesko's Media News
Hosted by Poynter.org, this is news-junkie heaven. I read it more often
and more closely than any other site. Period.
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My "Tech Guru" segments on WABC-7 in the New York City area run every
Thursday morning on Channel 7 at 6:45 (yes, that's the a.m.). This is
a link to Web versions of my segments, and includes various "sites of
-- the Web page
Links to my tips and thoughts on various items, including digital cameras,
Web production and more.
List of forthcoming talks and presentations in various cities.
An essay for USAToday.com on dealing with information overload (yes, I
am a major info polluter).
Smarter surfing for people of all skill levels. Interested in scheduling
a class for you and your colleagues? Details, costs and more.
That's it for now.
you can track my "Smarter Surfing" links at http://www.sree.net/tips/web.html
(your inbox, actually) next month.
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Copyright 2001 Sree.net
> newsletter april 2001