1. Computing

The Best Fifty Web Sites You Don't Know About

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There are millions and millions of Web sites out there. Unfortunately, there are many Web sites that go under many searcher's radar. Some of these sites might be familiar to you, others not so familiar, but all are worth taking a look.

Search and Reference

  • Wikibooks: A giant collection of textbooks that anyone can edit. Over 26K modules at the time of this writing.
  • HyperHistory: A visual timeline of history; click on a link and you're taken to a whole new panorama of information.
  • oSkope: A visual search engine that lets you search and organize items from different web servies.
  • Digital History: For anyone who wants more information on U.S. history, this site is the place to look. Essays, primary sources, and even a space where you can ask a question of a professional historian - pretty cool.
  • Retrievr: Truly experimental, Retrievr is a VERY visual search engine, in that you can actually draw a sketch of what image you're looking for.

Reading and Writing

  • Project Gutenberg: A huge database of free downloadable books - I get a lot of my books from this collection.
  • ManyBooks: Tons of free books for your iPod; anything from classics to science fiction.
  • Writeboard: Sharable, web-based text documents that allow you to write solo or get together with other people to collaborate.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL): A fantastic array of over 200 free resources for improving your writing. Includes an updated MLA style guide.
  • LibraryThing: Share what you're reading with other people and connect with others that read similar books.

Entertainment and Video

  • YOuConvertIt: Upload any media format and change it into another media format absolutely for free - and without installing any kind of software.
  • Internet Movie Poster Awards: Get the first look at the very latest movie posters here - archives go back to 1913.
  • Miro: Free, open source Internet TV and video player. Play any video file, download YouTube videos, and a whole lot more. Free dowload.
  • Animoto: Make your own video using your own images and music with professional looking effects.
  • Internet Movie Script Database: If you're looking for a movie script, this is the first place to look. A great way to get another point of view on your favorite film.

Web Applications and Tools

  • Mint: Free and automatic money management - a great way to be on top of your finances.
  • Popurls: One of my favorite sites; a compilation of the most popular social bookmarking sites with constant updates.
  • Jottit: Make a website just by entering in your text; you can customize it as much as you want.
  • Tripit: Organize your travel plans into one master online itinerary with everything you need - a fantastically useful service.
  • AmCharts: Free customizable Flash charts and graphics - really nice looking images here to use for your presentations or projects.

Health and Lifestyle

  • The Daily Plate: Track what you're eating and how much you're exercising; you can also get free recipes and weight loss tips here.
  • Fitday:You can start your own free diet journal here, and track your daily food, exercise, weight loss, and fitness goals.
  • SparkPeople: A completely free personalized diet and healthy lifestyle program, including free menu plans, calorie counters, and much more.
  • Gimme20: Find a workout that works for you.
  • SugarStats: An easy way for diabetics to track and manage their sugar intake.

Shopping and Travel

  • Woot: One of the best places to find deals on the web; mostly gadgets and technology-related deals here.
  • RetailMeNot: Find coupons from for online and "real" stores.
  • ThisNext: Save what you find around the web at ThisNext, a social shopping community.
  • VirtualTourist: This is a fantastic place to pick up real "been there, done that" tips from seasoned travellers around the world.
  • FlightAware: A free live flight tracker; you can view and track the activity of any private or commercial flight here, as well as get printable airport information.

Music and Multimedia

  • Last.fm: Free streaming radio stations of any music or artist you might be looking for.
  • HypeMachine: Listen to the music that people are talking about on the Web.
  • Gnoosic: Discover new music that you didn't even know you liked.
  • Miro: Free open source internet TV and video player.
  • Magnatune: All the music you want to listen to for free.

News and Information

  • Topix: One of the best search engines out there for news and information. (You can learn more about Topix in my article titled Find Breaking News with Topix).
  • Popurls: One of my favorite sites for getting quick information from a large variety of sources online.
  • BoingBoing: An exceedingly eclectic array of information gathered from all over the Web.
  • Techmeme: One of the best places on the Web to get breaking technology news.
  • Drudge Report: The Drudge Report is a great site to find news that is off the beaten track; he also tends to be the first one to break really big news items.

Productivity and New Media

  • Treedolist: A hierarchical organizer for your to-do list and tasks.
  • YouConvertIt: Convert any file format to any other file format without downloading any kind of software, completely for free.
  • Scriblink: an online whiteboard that you can use to collaborate in realtime with other people.
  • Twitter: A mini-blogging application that you can use to journal your thoughts and ideas.
  • Netvibes: A starting page for the Web; you can personalize your Netvibes to your unique preferences.

Fun and Games

  • Qbesq: Draw beautiful shapes and symbols in any colors that you want.
  • Orisinal: A beautifully designed gaming site; parents love this one.
  • PaperToys: Hundreds of free custom-designed paper models that you can print out and fold yourself.
  • Web Sudoku: Play Sudoku for free with literally thousands of different combinations.
  • Miniclip: Tons of cute animated games for kids and adults.

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