If you can read this, you might want to skip straight to the content. Also, kindly take a moment to read my rant about Web design—especially if you’re wondering why this site looks a bit…dull.


by Ben Goren

Everybody who’s surfed for more than a few minutes has sites that they tend to frequent. Most people bookmark them, but I had a habit for too long of changing computers, browsers, or whatever, to ever rely on any browser’s bookmark facility. I used to simply remember those places that were most important; now, I tend to rely on Google to find what I’m looking for.

Still, for a long time now I’ve had a collection of links that I give to my Mesa Community College students as examples of useful places on the Web. I’ve been meaning to expand it and turn it into a full-fledged database-driven directory…and I just might do so. ’Til then, here’s the most recent (unedited—beware link rot) list.

Web Design References

When it comes to HTML and friends, there’s no more definitive source than the World Wide Web Consortium. Of particular interest are the specifications for XHTML 1.0, HTML 4.01, and Cascading Style Sheets, Level 2. The W3C is also home to some useful tools, such as the HTML Validation Service and the CSS Validation Service.

Many people find the materials at Webmonkey to be useful and practical.

Also of interest is A List Apart, which has (among other things) a guide to CSS.

When you’re looking for the perfect color and you’re having a hard time manipulating hexadecimal codes, you’ll find Netscape’s Javascript Color Picker to be quite useful.

There are many other resources; don’t be afraid to use your favorite search engine to find them. If you happen to find one that you really love, let me know and I might add it here.

Searching The Web

Search Engine Watch is a Web site devoted to review and analasys of the Internet search engine industry. It’s full of great, up-to-date information.

Yahoo! is the original 800-pound gorilla of the search engines. Their directory is starting to suffer from link rot, however, as they focus their attention on being a destination portal.

Personally, I now use Google almost exclusively. Don’t overlook Google’s USENET search and the Google Directory.

Speaking of the directories, it’s also well worth mentioning the Open Directory Project.

Useful Software

First, as y’all should know by now, I don’t do Windows. There might well be better Windows programs than the ones below. In fact, there probably are. If you find something better, let me know.

Cheap and free and Free Windows Software

Over the years, there have been many repositories of shareware, freeware, and the like. Today, it would seem that the best one for Windows software is TUCOWS.

File Transfer

To upload and download files to and from your space on monk.trumpetpower.com, you will need to use SCP. If you don’t have an SCP client you already like, you can use a not-bad one, WinSCP. Should the trans-continental link to the Czech Republic fail to work for you, you can download a copy from my server.

Operating Systems

On the first day of class, I talked about some operating systems:

I also mentioned the Free Software Foundation.

The following are reference sources on the Internet, in no particular order:

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is fully searchable and contains pronounciations, etymologies, and a thesarus. Personally, I prefer the American Heritage Dictionary.

Roget’s Thesaurus is just what you’d expect.

Paul Brians has compiled an excellent guide to Common Errors in English.

If the document you’re trying to read isn’t in English, Babelfish can translate it for you.

Project Gutenberg is one of the original efforts to compile a coprehensive collection of public-domain texts in electronic format.

The Internet Public Library is a non-profit effort to create a meaningful online library. Their catalog includes many complete texts online. They make extensive use of Project Gutenberg texts.

Project Bartleby contains many excellent reference works and much classic literature, including Bartlett’s Quotations and The Elements of Style by William Strunk.

Shakespeare is still a favorite on the Internet. One of the best online repositories of his work is at the MIT Shakespeare Page.

There are many sites that offer various ways to search the Bible. One is Bible Browser from the Brown University Scholarly Technology Group.

The Library of Congress provides a search of legislative information on the Internet through its Thomas site.

Similarly, the House of Representatives has a fully searchable Internet Law Library with the entire United States Code.

In addition to the House of Representatives’ home page and the Senate home page, there are many resources for finding information about your elected representatives. One of them is CapWeb.

It’s not just the legislative branch that has an online presence; the Supreme Court and the White House also have Web sites.

The United States Postal System providea a Zip code Lookup and Address Information.

If you need help on how to write a politician, geting chewing gum out of your hair, how to shop for car insurance, or any of a number of other things, Learn2 might well have what you’re looking for.

Many sites offer various kinds of searches that essentially look up information in the phone book. Qwest Dex is the online version of the printed white and yellow pages. Yahoo! People Search allows you to look up telephone and e-mail information nationwide. AnyWho is a similar service. There are others.

Many sites also offer street maps and driving directions. Most are generated by MapQuest. Those that aren’t are probably generated by MapBlast.

If you want to know what the weather is like where you’re going, try The Weather Channel. For more detailed weather information, try Intellicast.

Don’t worry if you’re not near a computer when you want to use the Internet to check the weather. Just give Jupiter a call at 1-888-573-TALK (1-888-573-8255) and let MIT’s computer check it for you.

If you don’t like the weather where you now live, try Apartments For Rent or one of their competitors.

If you know where you want to live, and that’s in orbit, you can check J-Track to see if anybody else is already there, and whom your neighbors will be.

If you’re still unsure as to what a satellite is, or how old the Universe is, or anything else related to space, you might want to Ask a NASA Scientist.

Before you send that e-mail about the end of the world to all your friends, take a moment to check to see if it’s really an urban legend.

Similarly, check to see if that new computer virus is really a myth, too.

Don’t believe all the stories you read about foreign countries, either; check to see what the Central Intelligence Agency Publications have to say about them.

And if it’s a physical constant you’re unsure of, look them up at the National Institue of Standards and Technology.

Those of you taking chemistry rather than physics will perhaps spend more time referring to Chemicool, an online Periodic Table of the Elements.

If you need help working with the math involved in physics, chemistry, economics, or any of a vast number of other fields, you can find a calculator that will do the job for you at the Calculators On-Line Center.

Scientology would be silly if it didn’t involve brainwashing, barratry, and other sorts of unpleasantness. For more information, see Operation Clambake and Professor Touretzky’s home page.