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Sree Tips
A free monthly newsletter of Web tips and tricks
March 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, Anne Beier, Tara Calishain, Larry Chase, Jon Dube, Kushal Dutt, Ken Leebow, Sarah Milstein, Julie Moos, Bob Romano, Jane Tabachnick, Al Tompkins, Deborah Wassertzug. 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 (written with 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)

Sree's Top Three - weekly technology suggestions
Each Saturday at 7:45 a.m. on WABC in the NYC area, I do a segment about my top three picks in a particular category. At this site for my accompanying Web column, you can see my choices for movie, music, homework and tax sites, among others. Suggestions welcome.

Today's Front Pages - see front pages from around the world
This site, from, collects front pages from 213 newspapers in 30 countries and displays them as webpages and PDF files. I use this to compare how stories get covered in our hyper-newsy times. Even when I don't know the language, I find it useful to compare display, photographs, etc.

Keeping Track of the War - some good resources Coverage Gallery:
Continuously updated collection of stories
Poynter Covering the War:
Screengrabs from around the world, video clips, story ideas and more

GuruNet - beyond searching, to research
This was first recommended by my tech writing guru, Walt Mossberg of The
Wall Street Journal. It's a piece of downloadable software that works as an excellent reference guide. Once it's on your PC, you can hold down the ALT key and left-click on any word in any program and it will bring up GuruNet and its vast array of reference materials. After a free two-week trial, it costs $34.99. I would strongly recommend downloading it and trying it out. No Macintosh version yet (Mac users should be using the new Apple Safari browser). From the folks who brought you Atomica, a software product that had a lot of fans. See my Poynter column on GuruNet:

Better Googling - things you didn't know Google does
Sure, you use Google to do your searches. But there's more to Google than just basic searching. Learn about the latest features - some useful, some just plain fun.

Froogle - getting better online prices made easier
This play on the word "frugal" is by Google and is a great new way to enhance your online shopping experience. Just type in the name or the model of a product and you'll get direct links to thousands of online stores selling what you seek.

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)

GE's Imagination Marker - hi-tech drawing fun
Think of this as a hi-tech magic marker. Just grab it and draw on the screen using your mouse. You can choose your pen size, color, sheet color and more. The two best parts: hit "preview" to see the your handiwork come to life; and hit "send" to e-mail it to a friend. - fun with Google
Type in a word and see what results you get from this site, which "mines" the Google database. Not always 100 percent accurate, but fun nevertheless.

ENCORE: Last issue's New-ish FUN SITES

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(send in yours to!) - all about children's literature
Anne Beier writes: "A good website for children's book writers and teachers/educators is . Great links to many author/illustrator web sites. This site also offers book reviews and conferences."

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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).
See my piece on
Better Googling - things you didn't know Google does

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
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. For a listing of stories by topic, go to and

"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 > March 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