Every once in a while I write about the Web sites that I use most often. For the most part I am a creature of habit, but for my computer repair business, I tend to visit some obscure sites to get drivers, patches and other pieces of software. Not counting those, here is where I head most often:
MajorGeek (www.majorgeek.com). This is a one-stop-shop for all things nerd. I head here first to get the sometimes-obscure tools that I need to fix spyware-infested machines or to get the latest tools and utilities. This is not the site to get the coolest games but rather the site to get the coolest geek tools to fix your computer. Of my favorite tools on this site, by the way, are Spybot Search and Destroy, AdAware and Microsoft's Anti Spyware Beta.
Blogger (www.blogger.com). This is a simple tool that lets you build a Web log or blog. I use mine (www.cyberdads.com/blog.html) to store my old columns, but thousands of people are using it all over the world to write about everything from the best teas to the incredibly mundane details of their lives. (Did I mention mundane?) You can host the blog on the Blogger site for free or on your site, as I have.
My Yahoo (my.yahoo.com) This takes some configuration (you need to pick what you want to see on the page), but once you have done that you get a great page with a selection of headlines, photos, movie times, TV times, stock quotes, etc. It's just about anything you want. It's very slick. I have been using it for years. It is getting cluttered with ads now, and I will dump it soon if it gets any more, but I am hanging in there for now.
Family Search (www.familysearch.org). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a practice of researching family records for documentation. (Its reasons for doing so are somewhat controversial and out of the scope of this column.) However, we gain the fruits of this labor by being able to remotely research our family tree information. Serious genealogists never trust only online sources, but this is a good place to find information.
Ellis Island (www.ellisisland.org). Similarly, this site offers a glimpse into the rich history of Ellis Island and how our ancestors may have arrived on this burg. There are 25 million records available here for online search.
One (www.one.org). Can you imagine what one person can do? Can one person change the world?
Teoma (www.teoma.com). When I get tired of Google or get too many ads, I run over to Teoma.
Business2.0 (www.business2.com). This is the business magazine for the new generation, the so-called e-business generation. Some of the content here is for subscribers, but the free stuff is very good, too. The 101 Dumbest Moments in Business is worth it.
RootsWeb (www.rootsweb.com). More family tree stuff, but a great free site.
Overstock Auctions (auctions.overstock.com). Tired of the eBay hassle? Yeah, lots of other people are, too. This is one place to try.
WEEKLY WEB WONDER: Speedstacking is unbelievable. What kids can do with some cups and some eye-hand coordination is amazing. Check out www.speedstacks.com.
James Derk is co-owner of CyberDads, a computer repair company, and a computer columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. His e-mail address is email@example.com.