Times Article 014
The Best World-Wide Web Sites
of my columns to date are based on either (1) things that bother me,
or (2) things that bother my readers who call me to complain. This
month, I haven't had either. I'm not sure if this reflects the superb
hardware and software we use, or if all of you are scrambling to keep
your systems up and running.
any case, this month I'm going to share with you some of the best
World-Wide Web sites that I've encountered and find the most useful.
At last count, there were approximately 112,750,000 people online as
of February 1998, according to a series of surveys run by Nua Internet
Surveys. And according to Bluesky Marketing, there were 18,116,139 Web
sites as of September 1997. So
your chance of finding anything particularly useful out there is not
real good unless you know some key sites to access.
start with the common problem of locating a particular file that you
know the full name for, but just can't find in those stacks of floppy
diskettes. Try browsing over to <http://ftpsearch.ntnu.no/>,
ignoring the brackets. This is an Archie site that connects you up to
hundreds of millions of filenames around the world. You will also get
filenames that may have more letters than what you asked for (ask for
"helv.ttf" and you may get "helv-lt.ttf" as well).
Check the dates and file sizes to ensure you get what you're looking
for, but this site has saved me hundreds of hours in the past year.
you have an obscure CD-ROM drive, and can't locate a driver for
Windows 95? Run, don't walk, to <http://www.drivershq.com> for
the latest and greatest. And when you can't find that elusive hardware
or software manufacturer anywhere else, <http://www.hscomp.com/vendors/>
probably has just the URL for you.
you like to carry on a conversation with your son or daughter living
on the Mainland, or over in Asia? Download a free copy of ICQ and an
ID from <http://www.mirabilis.com>, and you can chat to your
heart's content, once again at no extra cost. And if you happen to
have a Web-compatible video camera hooked to your computer, NetMeeting
<http://www.microsoft.com/netmeeting> is one of the nice free
things that Microsoft offers. I use it every weekend to see and hear
my granddaughter in Japan for a few hours. Cost for this capability?
of the few frustrating things about living in Hawaii is how quickly
the weather can change, and how to find out about it when you need to.
Head over to <http://www.weatherfast.com/tpxa.html>, where
you'll find just about anything you can imagine about not only Hawaii
weather, but most other places on the planet. As a former Air Force
pilot, I know how to read the weather charts, but even those of you
who don't know a millibar from a millipede will find lots of useful
to listen to music? Well, the Internet can provide that for you, too.
On <http://www.netradio.net>, you'll find more than 150 audio
channels playing just about any type of music, and all of it can be
played using the free RealPlayer plug-in for either Netscape or
Internet Explorer; download the player at <http://www.real.com>.
you a voyeur? Do you like to look around places you've never been? Go
wander around <http://www.dreamscape.com/frankvad/cams.html> and
peer through lenses of over 1,000 live cameras. Some of these sites
let you interact with devices from miniature gardens to model
railroads. I've been known to watch Cujo the African Grey parrot and
Whaldo the chameleon just as a break from normal reality.
you ever been lost in another city? Would you like to create your own
custom maps of any area in the U.S.? The people at <http://www.mapquest.com>
may be your answer. Once you log in and give them some basic
information, you can access the site to get mapping info in any format
you need. You can even generate driving instructions from, say, Los
Angeles to Fort Collins, Colorado, with driving times, nearby
attractions, and even hotels on your route.
you ever wondered whether Pu'u O'o on the Big Island is likely to
explode the way Mt. Rainier did a few years ago? Point your browser to
<http://despina.advanced.org/17457/english.html> for more
information on volcanoes than you ever wanted to know. They even have
educational comics for those of you who prefer the lighter side of
of us Web-crawlers have our favorite search-engines; mine is AltaVista
<http://www.altavista.digital.com>. But sometimes it helps to know
what advantages another search-engine may have, especially when you're
looking for something in particular, like information buried 'way down
in someone's Web-site. The folks at <http://searchenginewatch.internet.com/webmasters/features.html>
have compiled a detailed list of everything from how the top engines
rank sites to "crawling factors."
WWW is perfect for finding obscure data - IF you know where to look. Try
<http://www.usps.gov/ncsc/> for locating Zip+4 data. Federal
Express has its site <http://www.fedex.com/us/tracking/> set up so
you can locate your mother's gift anywhere on earth (as long as you have
the tracking number, of course). UPS has a similar site <http://www.ups.com/tracking/tracking.html>.
And if you know the name of a city, but AT&T has just changed the
area code so even the operator can't help,
<http://555‑1212.com/aclookup.html> is a great place to know
you stuck for two weeks in Laredo, Texas, and can't stand country music?
Rabbett Abbott has nothing but Hawaiian music at his H-4 Hawaii's Data
Superhighway station at <http://18.104.22.168/Default.html>. And
IRH Hawaiian Music <http://hotspots.hawaii.com/irhmusic2.html>
even offers stereo over a 28.8 modem! And if you're really hard-up for
Hawaiian info, you can find any Federal, State, or County employee at
you're looking for a company that makes underwater basket-weaving parts,
start at <http://www5.thomasregister.com/index.cgi>. To find your
old high school girlfriend, try <http://www.four11.com> or
<http://www.whowhere.com>; both of these directories give you
several ways to search for friends and acquaintances. And when you
absolutely positively have to find someone or something, <http://www.inil.com/users/dguss/gator11.htm>
will probably offer a solution.
cross-country through the southwest, and want to know where you'd better
not put the pedal to the metal quite so hard? A visit to the Speedtrap
may save you a few hundred dollars in speeding tickets. But if you do
happen to get caught going a bit over the speed limit, ask the judge to
let you contact <http://www.counsel.com/en/bin/login?Tag=/&URI=/lawlinks/>
to locate a lawyer nearly anywhere in the country.
file BOOKMARKS.HTM is well over a megabyte, so I could go on like this
for days. Once you've found these valuable sites, be SURE to back up
this file, "just in case." I hope you've found at least some
of these Web-sites to be useful. See you next month.