March 31 -- Welcome to the latest issue of the "Sree Tips" newsletter.
As always, I look forward to YOUR tips, feedback and suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
month's tipsters include: Benjamin Arnoldy, Warren Bass, Jonathan Dube,
Ravi Kumar, Betty Medsger, Robin Phillips, Bob Romano, Karen Shugart,
James Taranto, Al Tompkins, Hans Wind.
started as 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 organization, civic group, school or
hamlet (I do most of them pro bono), please visit http://www.sree.net/web
Your friends can add themselves to this once-a-month list by e-mailing
Two events en route:
COMPUTERS 101: On Sunday, April 14, at 11 a.m., I will be hosting a half-hour
"Tech Guru" special on WABC-TV in the New York area. Among the
topics we'll cover: upgrading your PC, buying a new computer, smarter
Web surfing, keeping your kids safe online, telling your RAM from your
ROM & your megahertz from your megabytes, getting rid of pop-up ads
and things I hate about technology. With cameo appearances by Halle Barry,
Regis & Kelly and Susan Lucci. No heavy tech stuff, we promise. Just
30 minutes of useful, friendly, fun information. There will be an accompanying
in-depth Web site with all the info at
Please let your friends in the area know.
2. NEW MEDIA
TRAINING: On April 20-21, the Columbia Journalism School is offering a
subsidized weekend new media workshop print and broadcast journalists
who want to learn how to build Web sites. No Web skills required. We still
have a couple of seats left: http://www.sree.net/teaching/newmedia
USEFUL SITES (sites
I find useful in some way)
Terrorism: With so much information -- and misinformation -- coming at
you about terrorism these days, here are two sites to help you sort through
it all -- with an American perspective.
-- from the Council on Foreign Relations http://www.terrorismanswers.com/home "Terrorism: Questions & Answers" is run by the Council
on Foreign Relations in New York, publishers of Foreign Affairs magazine.
Here's what the site says: "If youíre bewildered by anthrax, Afghanistan,
and a lot else thatís happened since September 11, join the crowd. Our
aim is to help sort it all out for you -- in a question-and-answer format
thatís authoritative, easily understandable, and nonpartisan. Weíll tell
you what we know and what we donít know." Think of it as an online
encyclopedia about terrorism. It's a work in progress that is a good starting
point to learn more about the subject.
on Terrorism: Defining the Line
-- from the Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/terrorism This site from the Christian Science Monitor deals with the thorny
issue of defining the word "terrorism." A multimedia site that
uses text, photos and audio, it is a special project that draws on the
extensive reportage of the Monitor and the expertise of Brian Jenkins,
author of "International Terrorism: A New Mode of Conflict."
Using five case studies, readers can try to define each situation and
decide whether they think it is terrorism or not. Powerful, thought-provoking
-- resources for digital photography http://www.dcviews.com Got a digital camera or planning to get one soon? You can turn to
this site for reviews, news, tips, and tutorials. It's based in the Netherlands
(I am always pleased when I can highlight a non-U.S.-based site). More
digital camera resources at http://www.sree.net/tips/cameras.html
Kids Safe Online -- tips for computer safety http://www.sree.net/tips/kidsonline.html
I recently gave a talk about computer use for parents in the Roslyn, Long
Island, school district and this is the tip sheet from the presentation.
It offers some thoughts on keeping children safe as well as links to online
safety guides, filtering software and kids browsers.
(proof "fun" is a subjective word)
Flags' Letter Grades -- rating the flags of various nations http://philrsss.anu.edu.au/~josh/flags
Josh Parsons, a student of philosophy at Scotland's University of St.
Andrews, has rated the national flags of the world on the basis of his
(very subjective) design standards and given them letter grades, from
A+ to F. The highest rating goes to Gambia ("great design and colour
choice") and the lowest to the Northern Mariana Islands ("truly
awful"). His rules include: "Do not write on your flag,"
"Do not put a map of your country on your flag," "Do not
put a picture of anything on your flag." His ratings are sure to
upset all kinds of partisans (I disagreed with his B- for India, which
he says is "too busy") but are fun nevertheless.
-- connect actors with each other
You know a site called the "Oracle of Bacon" (Kevin Bacon, that
is) is going to have some unusual material. Based on the "six degrees
of Kevin Bacon" game (trying to link a Hollywood actor to Bacon in
the shortest number of movies), the Star Links game allows you to connect
any two actors or actresses to each other. For example, I tried to connect
Clint Eastwood (one of my favorite Hollywood action hero) with Amitabh
Bachchan (Indian cinema's biggest star). They were connected in two steps:
Bachchan was in Lagaan (2001) with David Gant. Gant was in Firefox (1982)
with Eastwood. The game uses the Internet Movie DataBase and its information
on 500,000 movie folks: http://www.imdb.com
DEFAULT SUCH & SUCH...
(my starting points for various things; may change monthly)
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 http://ptech.wsj.com/
-- 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: http://toolbar.google.com/
(no Mac version right now)
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). I also use, to a lesser extent, Encarta.com
from Microsoft (many free articles, pay for others).
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 http://plasma.nationalgeographic.com/mapmachine/
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.
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
No need to hit the store to buy software. Almost everything you need is
online and has free trials.
Jim Romenesko's Media News http://www.medianews.org/
Hosted by Poynter.org, this is news-junkie heaven. I read it more often
and more closely than any other site.
- - - -
Must-Sree TV http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/technology/
My "Tech Guru" segments on WABC-7 in the New York City area run every
Thursday morning 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. Coming Sunday, April 14, 11 am: Half-hour
special on understanding technology.
Surfing" Workshops http://www.sree.net/web
Smarter surfing for people of all skill levels. Interested in scheduling
a class for you and your colleagues? Learn more.
is Still King: Lessons from the Online Journalism Awards http://www.sree.net/talks/c&w.html
A keynote speech I gave at the "Computers &
Writing" conference in May 2001 at Ball State University.