CeePrompt! Computer Connection

Originally published Monday, December 15, 1997 

In search of the cream of
the World Wide Web crop

With the millions of websites that abound on the Internet today, it's almost impossible to sample all of them. Just when you think you've fine-tuned your bookmark list to include your favorite places, you stumble on another new site that outshines all others.

Almost daily, I happen upon new and exciting Web sites either by chance or, most often, by word of mouth.

While my list of bookmarks is constantly evolving, I have a handful of Internet addresses that enjoy "most favored Web site" status and have graduated to their own buttons on my Netscape personal toolbar.

Search.com (www.search.com) claims the premier position of my Opening Home Page. You have to start somewhere when you log onto the web, and Search.com offers as good a starting point as any others that I've tried. The page loads quickly and provides categorical search options as well as specific searches utilizing eight of the Web's most popular search engines.

From Search.com's opening page you can also dig for phone numbers, street addresses,
e-mail addresses, maps and stock quotes. The interface is clean and there's a minimum of advertising and clutter. To set or modify your own starting home page, edit your preferences in your browser application.

ZD Net's Webopedia (www.zdwebopedia.com) is an excellent way to keep on top of the ever-changing terminology in the Information Age. This site offers a detailed glossary of computer terms and "New Terms" are added daily so you're not caught off-guard when someone asks, "So how 'bout that new 'Merced' chip?"

In the same vein, C/Net's Computers.com (www.computers.com) is a comprehensive site for those who are in the market for new computer hardware and want to do some comparison-shopping for the latest products.

This is a great starting point for gathering information and establishing a budget for that new PC. Product reviews and evaluations are included as well at this location.

For researching more general, academic-type topics, Encyclopedia Britannica Online (www.eb.com) is a premier, first-class Web site.

This is a subscription Web site, but it's well worth the $8.50 per monthly fee for researching school projects. This site includes photos, graphics, maps, flags, and special topics such as the Britannica guide to Nobel prizes.

The "Week in Review" feature spotlights weekly news events, then provides the related background and historical links for a better understanding of current events. This month-to-month subscription would make a great Christmas gift for families with school-age children.

You'll probably be surprised to learn that the CIA (http://www.odci.gov/cia/) provides an excellent site for researching world facts. Yep, the Central Intelligence Agency has a great Web site that features the World Factbook as one if its most extensive publications online. Every imaginable bit of trivia about countries around the world is archived at this site.

And speaking of your tax dollars at work, you'll find the U.S. State Department (www.state.gov/) also has a very extensive website covering current events, for instance, Secretary of State Madeline Albright's travels and also updated historical information such as New Independent States of the former USSR.

The State Department also maintains a comprehensive Web site relating to world travel (http://travel.state.gov/). Here you'll find travel warnings, travel publications, passport information and details regarding unique topics such as international adoptions and International Parental Child Abductions.

As long as we're talking travel, you'll enjoy both Travelocity (www.travelocity.com/) and American Airlines (www.americanair.com) for researching everything from airline flights, to hotels and even find gate locations and arrival times for specific flights. These are both all-inclusive Web sites that allow you to actually make travel reservations online.

The most recent addition to my bookmarks is the AT&T Messaging Center (www.mobile.att.net). From this Web site you can send a text message to an AT&T digital phone, anywhere in the world, utilizing the Internet network. It's pretty amazing, but it works and it's a free service to all AT&T digital customers.

To set up or edit your own bookmarks in Netscape, click Bookmarks from the Netscape menu bar or toolbar. In Microsoft Explorer click "Add to Favorites" to create your own list of favorite places.

To share your bookmarks or favorite places with a friend, save the list to a floppy disk using the Save As command in Netscape or the Send to Floppy command from Explorer. The bookmarks can then be easily transferred to another computer or sent as an e-mail attachment to friends far away.

Catalog those great sites when you find them and share the wealth with others. There's an abundance of excellent information to be discovered on the Net.

Cathi Schuler owns a computer literacy training/consulting company, Cee Prompt! She is a co-author of computer textbooks and can be reached by e-mail at cschuler@uop.edu or cschuler@ceeprompt.com or by mail c/o The Record, P.O. Box 900, Stockton, CA 95201. She is on the Internet at: http://www.ceeprompt.com. Click here for past archived columns.
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