Bob and Joy Schwabach

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These are sites we thought were interesting or unusual in some way, and might prove useful and amusing to our readers.

June 2008, Week 2

  •  is a Microsoft site that is offering cash back amounts of two to seven percent on products purchased through the site. Not all products are eligible for this. When you go to the site’s main page, click on the box that says “Cash Back” to get the special deals. We checked a few of them and the prices were comparable to Amazon or slightly better, even before the cash back kicker.
  •  is a collection of more than 12,000 opinion surveys the site maintains for continuous updates by visitors. Some are on odd subjects. One of the choices in the poll for Thai restaurant names, for example, is “Bow Thai.” (Oddly enough, Bob once ate at a restaurant called “Beau Thai,” in Chicago.) You can suggest a new opinion poll for their site or make one up, using their simple form for doing so, to email to people or post to your own web site or blog.
  •  is a job hunting site that keeps the job hunter anonymous. Someone looking for a job provides their email address, but that information is kept confidential until an employer likes the lookRealMatch of the candidate’s description. At that point, the potential employer pays a fee to get the candidate’s name and contact info. The site is quick and easy to use because you can cite your skills by checking them off from a list for each job category.




May 2008, Week 4

  •  is a good place to get nutritional information and calorie counts on restaurant meals. Many restaurants today are part of a Wellspherechain and serve standardized meals from a semi-permanent menu. The web site provides suggestions for alternative meals at these restaurants. You can look up this information on the web or get it by phone. That can be help you decide what to order while you’re sitting in the restaurant.
  • offers home improvement calculators which provide you with cost estimates for various remodeling jobs. These vary by location,Home and Garden TV of course. HGTV, by the way, stands for Home and Garden TV, and is a regular cable channel. Search on “calculator.”
  • lets you create a customized Google search page. Instead of the screen being headed "Google," for example, it Shiny Search
  • can look show your name or text like “My Search Engine” or “The Kids’ Homework Tool.” Trivial, but amusing.

April 2008, Week 5


  •  has a free program that shows you pictures instead of text descriptions when you search on any topic. Normally, a browser SpaceTimesearch comes up with brief descriptions of sites that match your key words but with this add-on you get views of the home pages for those sites. As you use your scroll wheel, the pages appear to fly into view from a stack in the background.
  • is for users of the Firefox web browser, which is the browser we use most of the time. There are many add-ons here, including the helpful “ErrorZilla,” which suggests other places to look for similar information when you go to a web site address and get a “site not found” message.

April 2008, Week 3 

-  contains collages of hundreds of magazines, books, album covers, video cover art, YouTube videos, musical instruments, and on into the night. What you see is a screen that looks like a mess of stuff dropped on a floor. When you hover your mouse pointer over any of the tiny pictures, that picture expands. If you click on it you get more information and sometimes a link to where to buy it. We had fun with the collage of Sci-Fi magazine and MAD Magazine covers. This is a fa scinating site. 

--  is another fascinating site. Click on the “Museum of Online Museums” for a look at some really odd museums. We bet you haven’t seen theNurse Novel gallery Museum of Old Soviet Radios, the Virtual Absinthe Museum, the Museum of Fred, the Big Things of Canada, the Gallery of Nurse Novels, or the Museum of Japanese Vending Machines. Of course you might have visited the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University, but in case you missed it, you can take a look here.  

April 2008, Week 1  has pictures of weird houses and structures made with recycled materials. For example: a safety tunnel made out of a shipping SuperUse container, a house made from recycled cardboard, a chandelier made of bananas, and so on.  is a nice place to go when you feel like listening to the radio on your computer. You can tune by subject heading, like talk shows for conservatives or progressives, or your choice of classical, jazz, world music and many others. You can even browse by country. There are hundreds of choices on places and subjects, from stations all over the world. It also has a free trial on software that lets you time-shift broadcasts, so you can pause or turn to something else and then come back to the program. is the place to go for old time radio: Baby Snooks, Jack Benny, Tarzan, Sam Spade, The Mel Blanc Show and hundreds of others.  lists what's going on in any American town if you just type in the ZIP code. You get not only events but also a summary of local issues.

March 2008, Week 3

  •  is a free web service for downloading legal documents. You can read detailed lawyer and law-firm profiles, including their area of primary practice, education, awards and memberships, court filings, decisions and more. According to web research firm, more than 44 million people use the Internet to research legal cases and look for legal services. Many use and, which charge hefty fees.
  •  was pointed out to us as a low-cost source for large photographic prints. A 20 x 30 inch color costs $23; 48 x 96 inches (that’sMy Photo Pipe four by eight feet!) is $200. Comments from professional photographers have been good.

March 2008, Week 2  is a resource site for inventors. It has downloads of audio and video interviews with inventors, photo galleries, virtual trade shows, TV shows from National Public Television, services for inventors, and all that stuff. (They should have had a topic heading for "better mouse traps.") Cost is $99 a year, but there's a free trial.  lists local and international art shows. We went to the special exhibit of Edward Hopper paintings at the Chicago Art Institute, but didn't find Edward Hopperout until we visited this site a couple of days later that there was an interesting exhibit of ceramics at an art gallery nearby. The site culls information from 10,000 art galleries and museums and has 150,000 articles from magazines. The links to exhibits, galleries, art fairs and auctions are worldwide.

March 2008, Week 1

  •     publishes six-word summaries by people explaining their lives or key moments therein. Some examples: "Saved by women's magazines. How Bazaar." "My ex had a better lawyer." "Sixties hippy chick finally grows up." "Shook family tree; nuts fell out." "Down for maintenance; be back soon." You, of course, can log on and submit your own. The company has published a book of what it thinks are the 832 best summaries, but you don't have to buy it. Our own six-word summary: "Stop us before we write again."

  •  stands for "Wish You Were Here," and what it does is mail postcards with the photos you just took on your vacation (or just hangingWYWH around home, if you prefer). You send in a photo straight from your cell phone and the address it should go to, and WYWH turns the photo into a postcard and mails it. Cost is $1.99 per card; cheaper in bulk.

February 2008, Week 3

  •  is for anyone who likes to build, buy or invest in robot technology. The current article on robot wheelchairs was interesting. The site also covers industrial and defense robotics and includes a career center for those interested in working in the field.

  •  is a tool for finding bargains hidden behind a typo (typographical error). Sellers on eBay and craigslist, for example, frequently misspell keywords in their listings, making their items difficult or even impossible to find. Using this Web site, you can locate the near misses that everyone else misses. We tried looking for "stationery" and got 65 misspelled listings from eBay.

February 2008, Week 2  wants to be the place where you bury your old gadgets and computer gear. For qualified products it provides a pre-paid shipping label thatMy Boneyard you can download and print from the site. It accepts old laptops, desktop computers, cell phones and monitors.  provides a place to register your wishes for presents for any occasion. You can do this at several other Web sites, but this one claims a difference because you can request presents from particular stores.  offers discount deals on software. The "DOD" part of the name stands for "Deal of the Day," so the deeply discounted price applies to one product for one day. The product changes every day. Discounts range from just 10 percent to more than 90 percent on some software.

January 2008, Week 4

  • A podcast is a kind of Internet broadcast that you can hear and watch on your computer, an iPod, MP3 player or a number of similar devices. There must be more than a million podcasts and  lists many of them, plus its 10 most popular of 2007. Leading the list is a podcast on soccer. If that doesn't grab you, other top choices include CNN News, 60 Minutes, Geek News, NOVA and the BBC's "Best of Today."

  • College  looks to connect fans of college sports teams. It has photos, videos and lots of opinions on teams. Go! Rah!

January 2008, Week 1  is the site for a fast-paced geography game. It gives you a city and you try and pinpoint it on a world map. If you miss, it shows you how far away you were. When you're way off, a message says: "This is Earth, you know that, right?" When you're close, it tells you "You rock." (By theTraveler IQ way: In many tests done over the past several years, approximately one-fifth of U.S. high school students could not identify the United States on a world map.), an Internet search engine that responds to plain language questions, has an "Eraser" button you can click to automatically erase any information about search queries and remove any cookies that were collected. It is available in the U.S. and U.K. right now and will be expanded to other countries shortly.  is a new U.S. real estate site from Home and Garden TV. It combines sales lists from major Realtors and has 1.2 million listings. It also has some good advice about how to back out of a deal: Make a note of some flaw in the property and cite it later if you change your mind about buying.

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