Since I write for my own blog as well as MakeUseOf.com, I end up coming across a lot of webpages on a daily basis. Most are what I term “one-hit wonders” in that I glance at them briefly before losing interest and moving onto the next site. Basically pretty much like a Stumbler. I might consider bookmarking the site in del.icio.us but on the whole, approximately 90% of the sites I visit on a daily basis are ones I will only look at once.
But there ARE sites that I constantly go back to for my everyday needs, sites that I often find I can’t live without. Here are five permanent websites in my Firefox browser favourites, plus why I like them and how they help me. This has kind of been written in the vein of my previous article where I showed what first-time computer users should install on their PC. Now here’s what they should put in their browser (note : send this article to my mother).
1. Internet Movie Database – before the days of the IMDB, I would go to see a movie and then emerge 2 hours later, completely shocked that it was so bad and that I had spent my hard-earned money on the ticket. But since I discovered the IMDB, I now read the user reviews of the movie I want to go see BEFORE I go and see it. This helps me to avoid the stunningly awful movies and spend my money going to see the good ones. Saying that, I still went to see Eragon.
2. Lifehacker – by nature, I am a bit fanatical about organising my life and making routine tasks simpler. I also like to achieve these goals using a PC wherever possible. So I guess it’s only natural that I have found a natural home in Lifehacker. Lifehacker gives you tips on productivity, organisation, how to optimise your PC and new websites / web tools. Most of the time though, the best information comes from the comments left by a very enthusiastic user community.
3. Google – as well as regular search queries, I also use the search engine to define words (thereby removing the need to own a dictionary), find the titles of songs by entering a few words of the lyrics into the search box (which keeps my iPod organised), find the answers to questions on TV quiz shows (so I know in advance if the annoying contestant with the cackling laugh is going to get kicked off), translate phrases into foreign languages (to impress the French girl at the end of the street) and of course, where would I be without Google’s online playground (which removes the need for me to have a sandpit in the apartment).
4. Wikipedia – people may claim the entries are wildly inaccurate but you can’t fault the principle and if you see something that is wrong, then make a user account and correct it! I have found a lot of good information on Wikipedia and I like being part of the community. It always ticked me off how Enyclopedia Brittanica used to make a lot of money hawking their huge expensive book collection to customers. I have always strongly felt that knowledge and education should be free, and Wikipedia goes a long way to making that a reality.
Plus with the news being indexed on a daily basis, we are setting up a legacy for future generations.
5. Break The Chain – as soon as you get an email account set up, people are going to start sending you all kinds of stuff including “cool pics!”, 101 uses for coca-cola (apart from drinking it) and pictures of the Loch Ness Monster. Break The Chain tells you if the forward you have received is real or an urban legend (I’m still convinced Nessie is real though!). A bit like Snopes. Thanks to Break The Chain, I have deleted countless emails claiming that Bill Gates will give me money by forwarding Hotmail emails on his behalf.
What websites have a permanent home in YOUR browser favourites?