There are so many cool sites on the Web, and we all have our favorites. Ever wonder if there are other sites out there that are similar to your favorite ones? SimilarSites.com will help you find them. All you do is type the name of a site in the search box, and SimilarSites.com will give you a list of sites that are similar. You’ll find dozens of sites in just about every category, and it’s a good bet some of them will be new to you. If you want to refine your search more, click on some keywords in the right column. This is a great way to expand your knowledge of the Web, and find some new sites to bookmark!
Okay, I know I just posted a link about Hurricane Sandy, but since I’m stuck at home and weather is the main thing on my mind today, here’s another link. UM-Weather: Home has been around since 1994, which is forever in Internet years, and it has a massive list of links to the best weather info on the Net. There are 150 links to North American weather sites, lots of radar and satellite sites, city-by-city forecasts, ski weather sites, weather cams, weather maps, and lots more. The University of Michigan is a premier educational institution, so you can trust the sites they link to. If you don’t bookmark any other weather site, you should bookmark this one.
Almost fifteen years ago, which is an eternity in Internet years, I started a newsletter called Really Useful Sites, in which I profiled Web sites that had free or low-cost information. I found hundreds of sites in those early years, put up by universities, foundations, organizations, and just plain, everyday folks who had found a way to offer something useful on their Websites. As time went on it became harder to find useful information that didn’t have a price tag attached to it. Big corporations got involved, and every site had a subscription fee slapped on before they’d let you access their information. I eventually stopped publishing the newsletter, but I still surf the Web looking for those diamonds in the rough, those sites where you can still find free or low-cost information. One such site is MillionShort, which is a search engine that eliminates the first ten thousand (or more) sites from every search. Why would you want to eliminate the top search results? Because most of them are trying to sell you something. When you get rid of the top ten thousand, or hundred thousand, or million sites, you get sites that are like the ones I used to find all those years ago. They are generally sites that are put up out of the sheer joy of sharing information, and they don’t charge a fee. Try it — you’ll be surprised at what you find.
The Library of Congress Portals To The World site is a must-visit for anyone who’s doing research on countries of the world. Just click on a country name and you’ll get tons of resources to information about that country. This is a great one-stop resource for information about hundreds of countries around the world.
The World Digital Library has collections of materials (print and images) from every continent except Antarctica. There are 1170 items in the library at present, with more to come. Topics include: history, religion, culture, art, literature, photography, geography, social sciences, and more. There are materials in seven different languages here. This site is great for historians, students, teachers, and anyone who is interested in world cultures.
When I developed swelling on one side of my face recently, and then I broke out in a rash, I did something I wouldn’t have done ten years before – I went online and tried to research what my symptoms meant.
It took me only a few minutes to decide that I had the virus known as Shingles, and that self-diagnosis was confirmed when I went to my family doctor the next day.
Five or ten years ago I probably would have waited a few more days till the symptoms got worse, then visited my doctor. The problem is, the severity of a Shingles attack can be lessened greatly if you get the proper anti-viral medication soon after the outbreak. If you wait too long the medicine is less effective, and you can have a more severe attack.
My case is minor, but imagine how many lives have been saved by people researching a serious medical condition online, and deciding to get treatment right away? The amount of solid, reliable medical information on the Internet is staggering, and it’s nothing short of miraculous, I believe. Ten years ago, before most of these sites were available, patients were completely in the dark about their medical conditions, and had to rely on doctors, who are notorious for not speaking in language that laypeople can understand.
Anyone who has even the simplest medical question should do some research on the Internet. Caution: Web site research should never take the place of a visit to a doctor, but it can certainly make you better prepared if and when you do visit a doctor for an evaluation.
But which are the best sites? There are literally hundreds of Health & Wellness sites, and you need to be sure you’re using a credible one, when it comes to such important issues as your health.
Here are my layman’s picks of five popular, reliable sites to start your research. They’re high-traffic sites that are staffed by medical experts.
- WebMD. My favorite feature here is the Symptom Checker, where you can click on parts of a male or female figure and get lists of symptoms, which you can research further. There are “health centers” for common medical ailments like back pain, articles about healthy living, medical headlines, message boards, an “Ask The Experts” feature, polls and surveys, slideshows, and much more.
- MayoClinic.com. Run by the world-famous Mayo Clinic, this site has “Find It Fast”, a quick way to look up a disease or medical condition. You can also click on a disease or condition on the home page and go to a portal with information about it. You can ask questions of a Mayo Clinic specialist, get tips on healthy living, read medical blogs, and watch videos about health.
- MedicineNet.com. At this site you can click on topics (“Diseases & Conditions”, “Symptoms & Signs”, etc.), read newsletters, browse discussions where patients talk about their conditions and treatment, test your Health IQ, check symptoms, and read true stories from patients and doctors.
- Everyday Health. This site is easy to use, and full of useful information about health topics. There are articles about diet and exercise, common health problems, recipes for healthy cooking, and more. There’s a Toolkit with items like a Weight Tracker, Calorie Calculator, and Meal Planner. There’s a video library, a discussion board, recipe database, and much more.
- Drugs.com. Calls itself “the most popular, comprehensive, and up-to-date source of drug information online”. There is an A to Z drug list, a way to look up drugs that are prescribed for various conditions, a pill identifier, FDA drug alerts, information about drug side effects, daily news about the pharmaceutical industry, a list of the top 100 drugs by sales, and much more.
These are some of the most popular and useful medical sites on the Web. As I said, you should always check with your doctor about any medical condition, but if you visit these sites you’ll be much better informed and able to take a more proactive approach to your medical care.
Tweepz.com is a search engine for Twitter. You can search by location, profession, name, and other parameters. You’ll get a list of people, with their profile information, and statistics on how many followers they have, how many people they’re following, etc. Looks like a useful tool for getting the most out of Twitter.