smarter people

5 Free Clever Web Things

People are making interesting things all the time.  Naturally, if they’re not made by a big company with lots of advertising dollars, you might never hear about them.  However, you’ve got a super nerdy friend to dig them up for you.  Here are five clever uses for the internet:

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Why should the internet only be the domain of the 15-year old videogaming boy or the 13-year old American Idol voter.  Parents can use it, too. is easy and free to sign up (just use one of the two social media giants, Facebook or Twitter, or a little company called Google), and then you’re on your way to cookery sharing. Sure, you can look up all sorts of recipes already but now there’s a place where they are personalized and organized.

There are 3 benefits I can see: 1. You can browse worldwide recipes from authentic family cooks. 2. You can post your own killer concoctions and access them even when you’re visiting friends on the other side of the country/world. 3. You and your fellow kitchen friends no longer have to exchange slips of paper.

There is also but that’s been monetized and looks like a cross between and a food magazine.  Not my, ehem, cup of tea.  Recipefy was obviously made with the modern web in mind.  It’s social-friendly, more personable, and the navigation is designed not only for the average cook but also with the portable web in mind.  It’s the Facebook of food.

World Sunlight Map

Going to pick up the phone to call your relatives across the ocean?  Not great with timezones?  Well, just go to the World Sunlight Map to get a current view of the day-night  situation across the globe (it is updated hourly).  You can view it as either a rectangle or get a hemispherical view if you want that astronaut feel.

It also shows cloud cover which they say is accurate (satellite data? sweet!) though I can’t verify this accuracy.  Actually, I think I could but I’m not gonna.  It’s cool enough as it is and I have no desire to be in meteorology.

AdviceToWriters and Grammar Girl

Okay, does this count as two things?  Wait-a-minute: my blog, my rules.  I figure it’s likely you already know about one of these two, ergo I have determined in my pomposity that this counts as one entry with a backup. is a lovely resource with an emphasis on daily reminders of writerly wisdom.  You can bookmark it or subscribe to the RSS feed but as a Twitter user I value founder Jon Winokur’s tweets.  Every day, I not only get a nugget of advice from a published author but I also get a reminder that I’m trying to be a bloody writer myself.  If, like so many of us, you’ve got a notion of putting pen to paper (wait, what’s the modern equivalent of that phrase: finger to keypad? Ick!) then you probably know by now that dedication to the craft is paramount.  So, that daily kick in the ass is invaluable to me, a professional slacker writer.

Grammar Girl is the Wordsmith Internet Queen.  You don’t have to be a grammar Nazi to prefer proper English.  You could be one of those humble folk who simply perfect their own language and choose to not point out the flaws in the words of others.  Or, you could be me.  Either way, if you’re uncertain of your grammar, Grammar Girl is the superhero you need (her seeekrit identity is Mignon Fogarty).  What makes her different from reaching for your Writer’s Guide or typing a question into Google?  She’s current, darned good, and discusses the often complex and conditional rules in a readily understandable way.  Stodgy technical guides are good (and you certainly should have those on hand, too) but Grammar Girl is better.  And cuter.

The Customer Service Happiness Manifesto

Not sure how to deal with your clients’ concerns?  Getting overwhelmed and feeling you’re not prioritizing properly?  Want to improve your customer service?  Well, here’s an article which is more than just a random blog post.

The Customer Service Happiness Manifesto by John O’Nolan is an amusing and accurate take on how to relate to the people who keep your business afloat.  It is technically NSFW (although you can get Greasemonkey for Firefox and use a Profanity Filter if you feel the need to sanitize the text) (of course I would view that as terrible an act as softening the language of The King’s Speech, thus removing rare use of appropriate profanity) and yet should be an essential guide for business-building.  You don’t need to spend money on a consultant.  Well, if you do, you’re in more trouble than you know.  You simply need to read this readily-available article and then put it to use.

Now, go!  Read.  And the next time a company blows it with you, send them the link.


I don’t have kids (and the world breaths a sigh of relief) but most of my peers are parents and the pick of who’ll go with me to see something like Sucker Punch grows thinner.

It’s not so much that parents know there may be things their kids may not be ready for, it’s what they don’t know will be in there.  Every child is raised differently and parents may have equipped their children to deal with profanity but not violence.  Or violence but not nudity.  Or nudity but not sexuality.

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera! offers parents comprehensive reviews which address all of the things which they can use to make an informed choice about what they will or won’t let their kids see.  As I am a walkin’, talkin’ pulpit for the need for responsible parenting, I recommend you bookmark this site if you’re a parent.

(Also, you can get the iPhone App.  It’s not free but I think $1.99 is worth it.)

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So, there you have it.  Five(-ish) things on teh interwebz which you might find useful or fun in between checking your credit card account, icanhazcheezburger/LOLcats, and stalking your ex’s Facebook.

☟ If you’ve got any interesting web applications or killer sites to share, there are a whole bunch of doohickeys at the bottom of this post, including a big empty box which says, “Put letters in me!” ☟


About Angelo Barovier

I was born. I'll be around for a while. Then I won't.


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