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!
What do you love? is a new site from Google that looks pretty cool. You just type in a keyword and Google will produce a page of links to everything it can find on the topic, divided by categories like: blogs, videos, translations, discussion groups, 3D art, and lots more. It’s a quick and easy way to find information, and although some of what it finds will not be what you’re looking for, there’s bound to be something useful that will turn up. I like it!
Search engines come in all shapes and sizes, and some are more fun to use than others. Spezify is a lot of fun because when you type in your search term it bombards you with a screen full of pictures, text, and videos about your term, and it just keeps adding more to the picture all the time. It’s a kaleidoscope of a search list, much more entertaining than a numbered, linear list like you get on Google or Yahoo. You can move around this list quite easily, and if you see something you like you just click on it to get an enlarged version of the picture or text. Videos will play right in the screen, so it’s easy to see if the video is relevant to your search. If you want to visit the site of a particular item on the search list, just click on its URL, and you’ll be there in seconds. I don’t think Spezify is going to replace Google anytime soon, but it’s worth a visit if you want an overview of a search topic.
There are lots of sites on the Internet where you can download maps, but the grandaddy of them all is the Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. This was one of the first sites I found when I started writing a newsletter about useful sites back in 1997. It’s a no-frills site that is well-organized and has a huge number of maps for you to look at. There are political maps, topographical maps, relief maps, historical maps, and more. Some of my favorites are the thematic maps, which show things like: ocean currents and sea ice; mean annual precipitation; oil and gas pipelines; population and tribal groups; and natural vegetation for various countries and regions of the world. If you like maps, you’ll love this site.
Want to know where the Beach Volleyball Grand Slam is taking place this year? Or, maybe you want to take part in the Great Gorilla Run, and you want to know where and when to sign up (after you rent your gorilla costume, of course). You can find out the details for these and many more events at WhatsOnWhen, which is a searchable database of worldwide events. You just type in a location, a keyword, a category, and a date range, and you’ll get a list of upcoming events taking place in that city. This is a great tool for travel planning. WhatsOnWhen also has city and country guides you can browse to see more interesting things to do on your next trip. By the way, the Great Gorilla Run is in London, England, on September 26, so start making your plans now!
One summer in college I had a job pumping gas, and I still remember how angry some of the customers were when prices went up — from 31 cents to 32 cents a gallon! That was many moons ago, as they say, and things certainly have changed. With the price of gas these days you can save a lot if you look for stations that are charging a few cents less a gallon. To do that, go to fueleconomy.gov, a site that will connect you to U.S. sites where you can see a comparison of gas prices in your area. When I checked my town, I found gas stations that were charging ten or even twenty cents a gallon less than others, which can add up for a full tank. I wonder if those days of 32 cent gas will ever come back?
If you take blurry, out-of-focus pictures like I do, you’ll want to use more professional looking photos on your Web page or blog. How do you that? Go to a search engine like everystockphoto, where you can search a database of thousands of free images. The images are free, but you have to click on the license icon next to the picture to find out the conditions of the license. Membership in everystockphoto is free, without advertising, and allows you to rate, tag, collect and comment on photos.