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Sree Tips
A free monthly newsletter of Web tips and tricks
Dec. 2002:

From Sreenath Sreenivasan
Columbia University journalism professor
Tech Guru" on Thursday mornings in NYC area
[Tech Guru archives at ]

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Season's greetings - and welcome to the latest issue of the SreeTips newsletter. As always, I look forward to YOUR tips, feedback and suggestions: This month's tipsters: Akash Alam, Pat Arnow, Mervin Block, Jon Dube, Charles Pappas, Josef Schrabal, Jane Tabachnick, Al Tompkins. This newsletter is an offshoot of the "Smarter Surfing: Better Use of Your Web Time" workshops I teach around the U.S. and abroad. If you are interested in having me do a session for your office, organization, school or hamlet, please visit

Why wait a month for the next newsletter? Visit the constantly updated "Smarter Surfing" links at
Also see new "Web Tips" published every Tuesday & Friday on (co-written by Jon Dube of

Reminder: Your friends can add themselves to this once-a-month list by e-mailing

{Cheers, Sree}

(sites I find useful in some way)

Yahoo! Year in Review 2002 - unique look back
Tired of all the "year in review" magazine issues? This Yahoo site looks back in a way only it can, with a compelling combination of serious and fun elements. You will find lists of the top news stories, photos, sporting events, movies, etc, and even get a chance to compare the major financial markets.
While you're at it, check out the Google Zeitgeist Timeline 2002 - - a list of search trends.

BBC Country Profiles - guides to various countries
This Beeb site is filled with basic information about dozens of countries and has audio and video links to the BBC archives (though I wish there were even more such multimedia items). Here's how it works: go to the site and select the country you want to learn about from the regional groupings (Europe, Africa, etc). The resulting page will have enough information and links to get you started. Take India, for instance. You'll find an overview, historical timelines and links to the media. You can hear an excerpt of the 1948 announcement by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. - making bibliographies
This free site set up last year by Illinois high school students is very useful for anyone who needs to make a bibliography or source list (scholars, students, writers, etc). Here's how it works: Go to the site, enter the source you wish to cite, where you found it (e.g., online or print), the author and other details. You then get an instant bibliography entry that you can reuse as you need. It works with the two major citation styles, the MLA (Modern Language Association) and the APA (American Psychological Association). If you do a lot of such citations, you should sign up for the professional version, which costs just $5 a year.

ENCORE: Last issue's New-ish USEFUL SITES

(some recent stories)'s Tech Message Board -- a place to post your questions about the Internet, gadgets, etc., and have them answered by others (and me).

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(proof "fun" is a subjective word)

Cooking with Google
- who needs recipe books?

The other day, my wife and I were in a cooking mood, but didn't feel like hunting through our recipe books. Instead, we scouted the fridge (where we found tomatoes, onion, spinach and eggs) and did some "Google cooking." We went to this site and typed in the ingredients we had on hand and got back a list of recipes which had those items. We selected something called an "omelette pakaki curry" and it came out pretty well. The site allows you to pick from general, vegetarian and international recipes. It's not 100 percent reliable, but is more fun than trying to track down the esoteric ingredients that books often call for.

PUN SITES - punny stuff here
Bad -
Puns Galore -
These sites will make you laugh - and groan. You'll find thousands of puns, divided by topic or just displayed in random order. Great way to pass the time. It's with great difficulty that I am stopping at one bad pun in this review.

ENCORE: Last issue's New-ish FUN SITES

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(my starting points for various things; may change monthly)

Search Engine:
The best search engine out there. 'Nuff said. But here's Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal on Google: "...simply the best search site I've ever used." If you know Walt's work -- and you should be following it religiously at -- you know that he doesn't hand out such praise often. Be sure to download the free Google toolbar; it will change the way you search: (no Mac version right now)

Reference Site:
Excellent reference site. Don't just take my word for it. The New York Times quoted U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell saying this is his favorite Web site. Run by Bob Drudge, Matt's dad (though Refdesk doesn't run rumors).

The Encyclopedia Britannica on the Web -- basic info free of charge (the full-access version, which used to be free, now costs $7.95 a month, or $50 a year).

In offices, dictionaries grow legs and walk. Hence an online dictionary is a must. This one addresses a major problem I have had with traditional dictionaries: You need to know how to spell a word before you look it up. Not here. Just punch in an approximation, and it will give you a suggested list. And nice etymology. Also see the new button for your browser; once you download it, you don't need to go to the site itself in order to lookup a word. You can do it right from whatever site you are in.

National Geographic's Map Machine
Leave it to National Geographic to make the best online atlas with these dynamic maps that will take you to any spot you choose and allow you to change what kind of map you see, on the fly. I had no idea there are three towns named Santa Claus in the U.S. or that my grandfather's village in India is an easy find.

Driving Directions:
For U.S. driving directions, MapQuest remains the best site. But I also like the new "straight-line" maps from MapBlast <>

World Time:

The best set of world clocks and calendars. I like the personal world clock, which allows you to set and track time in up to 16 cities at one glance.

Software Downloads:
No need to hit the store to buy software. Almost everything you need is online and has free trials.

Media Goings-on:
Jim Romenesko's Media News
Hosted by, this is news-junkie heaven. I read it more often and more closely than any other site.

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Must-Sree TV
My "Tech Guru" segments on WABC-7 in the New York City area run Thursday mornings on channel 7 at 6:45 (yes, that's the a.m.). This is a link to archived Web versions of my segments -- now includes Real Video versions for the newer segments.

"Smarter Surfing" Workshops
Smarter surfing for people of all skill levels. Interested in scheduling a class for you and your colleagues? Learn more.

"Smarter Surfing" Links: Better Use of Your Web Time
Links for various categories of sites, annotated for your surfing pleasure.

SreeTips -- the new site
Links to my tips and thoughts on various items, including laptops, digital cameras, freelance writing, Web production and more. Web Tips

Every Tuesday, I write a short Web tip for; MSNBC technology editor Jonathan Dube writes one every Friday.
If you're in the news biz, you may want to subscribe to Jon's terrific monthly newsletter - "tips & talk for the wired world." Drop an e-mail to

Sree Talks
List of forthcoming talks and presentations in various cities.

Info Overload & Moi
An essay for on handling information overload (yes, I am a major info polluter).

[Reprint requests:]

That's it for now.

Remember, you can track my "Smarter Surfing" links at

See you (your inbox, actually) next month.

Cheers, Sree

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Sree Tips List
Copyright 2002

Feedback: > newsletters > Dec. 2002

See text archives of my Tech Guru appearances on Channel 7 -- Thursday mornings at 6:45 in NYC area