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Sree Tips
A free monthly newsletter of Web tips and tricks
Feb. 2003:

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

Subscribe: (just one message a month)

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, Mervin Block, Tara Calishain, Jon Dube, Charles Pappas, Bob Romano, 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

NEW MEDIA TRAINING WORKSHOP: Learn how to make Web pages in an intensive hands-on weekend class at the Columbia Journalism School. Leave with an online resume, life-long skills and a Columbia certificate. March 8 & March 9, 2003 (Sat & Sun). Deadline: Monday, Feb. 17, 2003. Only a few seats left for this discounted workshop:

{Cheers, Sree}

(sites I find useful in some way) - online note taker
Despite seeing so many new Web sites a week, I rarely find anything to rave about. But when I first started playing with OnlineHomeBase, I knew this was something truly useful. In just a few days, it has changed my life, making me better organized and helping me complete my tasks. So what does it do? It gives you a place on the Internet to quickly take notes, track projects and set reminders (wife's birthday, for example). These reminders can come to you via e-mail, or even be sent to your cellphone. The best part is the ability to collaborate with others instantly. My Columbia class has been using it to track its projects and my wife and I are keeping grocery lists and bigger projects on it. Best of all, the price is right: free. If you spend even an hour a day on the Web, it is truly worth a try. Still not convinced to give it a try? Read my in-depth thoughts on it here:

Better Googling - things you didn't know Google does
Sure, you use to do all your searching. But how well do you really know this terrific site? Learn about several new and ususual features of Google all in one place. They are guaranteed to improve your Googling. And for fun, check out elgoog - Google backwards.

Comparing Countries - get data on various nations
UN CyberSchoolBus InfoNation:
Here are two sites that help you compare different countries on a variety of items. Your-Nation allows you to compare countries across 75 categories and also provides rankings. The United Nations students site shows you an overview and other major categories for two countries at a time. Also check out the rest of the UN CyberSchoolBus: - info on U.S. airline seats
Since I have written in past issues about and - and because there's a movie out there now called "The Guru" - I thought I'd alert you to It's tells you about the seating charts and the seats themselves on several major U.S. airlines. Before you fly, check out the color-coded seats to learn why seats are rated "very good seat," "be aware" and "bad seat."

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) - guides to movie locations
If you are a movie buff, you will enjoy this site. Just as the name says, thousands of famous locations from around the world - with photos and explanations about how they were used. You can vist by title - "The Sound of Music" for instance; or by director - "Alfred Hitchcock; or city - "New York."

World RPS Society - All about that childhood "game," Rock Paper Scissors

Hilarious satire or are they out of their minds? Here's what the site says about itself: "The World RPS Society is dedicated to the promotion of Rock Paper Scissors as a fun and safe way to resolve disputes. We feel that conserving the roots of RPS is essential for the growth and development of the game and the players." 'Nuff said.

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. 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 $9.95 a month, or $59.95 a year). Read about a FREE offer for journalists:

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 on Thursday mornings at 6:45 and Saturdays at 7:45 (yes, that's the a.m.). This is a link to archived Web versions of my segments -- including 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. You can see a video version of the workshop at

"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.

Poynter 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 (hosted by the American Press Institute) 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/syndication 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 2003

Feedback: > newsletters > Feb. 2003

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