Websites that rule – Part 6

My how time flies.  I took a nap earlier (to the tune of 3 hours), so I’m trying to run off some spare energy, such that I might sleep tonight.

FunFact: My only inkling that I was engaged in such a nap is when I realized I was looking for “Rainbow” settings on my stereo.  And I don’t even have a stereo.

Ready?  Me too.  Here goes, no particular order.

Sites:   OR  
(the ? is theirs, not mine)
Why the site rules:  Google egregiously violated their famous and vague “don’t be evil” mantra, a long time ago and probably in a galaxy far, far away.  Attempting to extend their numerous tentacles into every aspect of your life and indeed being, they are morphing themselves into a sophisticated manifestation of George Orwell’s “1984” with a hip, organic face.  For those of you who are gradually growing as uneasy about this as I am (repeat after me: “fusion center”…now go look it up), there is hope after all.

Both websites are search engines that promise not to track you and amass your search data.  Duck-Duck Go (the first link above) is a simple interface (much like Google back when they weren’t evil, circa 1998) that promises not to “bubble” your search results (explanation available here, which is itself a fascinating and eye-opening read).  StartPage gives you the best of both worlds: search privacy, powered by the Google giant itself (but without the tracking, filtering, and shaping).

Why the site rules:  Susan Miller is essentially a younger and current version of Linda Goodman; both are two of the most accurate and talented astrologers to ever walk the planet.  In case you’re skeptical of (or downright hostile toward) astrology, don’t knock it till you try it!

On the first day of each month, Susan offers a long, detailed, useful summary of predictions for each sign, sprinkled with the occasional empathetic (and practical!) “here’s how to deal” should challenging juju be in store for you.  I’ve studied astrology for 20 years now, and during that time I’ve read a lot of textbooks, horoscopes, and viewpoints.  Susan’s by far one of the best and she is indeed the real deal.  Oh yeah, and she offers her monthly horoscopes online at no cost.

Why the site rules:  Ever catch yourself jonesin’ for a blast from the past and want to pull up an old website and see it as it existed before?  Well, now you no longer have to rely on Google’s unpredictable “cached” function and hope for the best.

This site, known as “The Wayback Machine”, has a simple interface in which you type any website you want to see.  If it has crawled that website and taken a snapshot of it, then it’ll show you the dates on which that was done, and you can view that website as it was when it was captured on that day.  Some websites have been captured multiple times, so you can see various revisions and facelifts as they happened.

Why the site rules:  OK, it may not rule for everyone.  If you have kids, love kids, or can’t for the life of you understand why someone might choose not to have kids, you may want to steer clear of this site; some mommy types may find this site a little hardcore…or so they say.  It’s simply a discussion/rant site for those who have chosen not to have children and are sick of ill-behaved children, attention-seeking behavior of their parents, and society’s preferential treatment of those who have kids over those who don’t (such as school taxes, child-care tax credits, public healthcare resources, and more).

Having combed through that site as a nightly leisure activity for almost a year now, I can say that although it’s uncensored, with R-rated language and political incorrectness, the opinions expressed therein are fairly moderate.  In fact, most of the people on that website do not hate kids, and they do not lump all parents into the crosshairs of their ire.  Definitely a good read.  Do not troll or attempt to preach; you’ll be dealt with swiftly and harshly, and rightfully so, since this is their one safe corner of the world.

Why the site rules:  Remember  (How could one forget??)  Well, Oatmeal is kind of a cousin, in a way.  It’s much bigger on the illustrations and graphics than Cracked, which strikes gold with its humorous, informative list-based articles.

But Oatmeal has some expressive graphics that nail the moment, right to the bone, making you nod and laugh.  Some are short and sweet, while others will keep you blissfully occupied for a while.  Crop-cream gems include “How To Suck At Your Religion“, “Ten Words You Need To Stop Misspelling“, and “How Different Age Groups Celebrate Christmas“.  Pure awesomeness.

Why the site rules:  Much like every US President has bellyached for the power of the line-item veto, every teacher and web publisher’s wet dream is a true-blue online plagiarism checker.  Pull up the website and voila!  Enter in a quote or sample of writing and in an instant, you can see if someone else has stolen that articulate, original explanation on your website or if that student has lifted that too-eloquent-to-be-true passage from somewhere else.  It’s fast and free.  They even include a little tutorial on how to use the website, with a version for Teachers and a version for Authors.  Website authors and bloggers, check back periodically to make sure no one has lifted your material.

Why the site rules:  You might not know that products you use every day are loaded with known and suspected carcinogens, irritants, and God(dess) knows what else.  These products include shampoos, conditioners, soaps, detergents, lotions, gels, creams, oils, makeup, hairsprays, mousse, deodorants, perfumes, and so many more.

Finally, here is a website that has indexed over 75,000 products.  Word to the easily-frustrated (like me) – don’t rely on the search box.  If you search for “Tom’s”, “Maine”, or even “Tom’s of Maine”, for example, they will tell you that no results matched your search.

I beg to differ; when you click on “Toothpaste” in the row of buttons across the top, and you begin to browse the 568 products listed, you’ll notice circa page 5-7 of those results that–whoa, wait a minute–Tom’s of Maine is in the database.  So, I think the search function is FUBAR and needs fixing.  Maybe I shouldn’t have closed out that “Donate Now” button after all.  /snark

Why the site rules:  OK, so my recent surgery has exerted its influence over multiple areas of my life, and indeed several blog posts, including this one.  The truth is, I’ve been at this project for well over a year.  I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids in summer 2011, and I’ve been weighing my options ever since.  This informative discussion-based site has been nothing short of a Godsend.


It has saved me immensely in time, money, tissue trauma, and more.


Gladly.  My original plan was to have a myomectomy only, and preserve my uterus if possible.  Only through educating myself did I realize that a myomectomy would be just as risky, invasive, traumatic, and expensive as a hysterectomy, with a great likelihood that fibroids would return or at least others would grow.

I realized that since I was likely to need a hysterectomy eventually anyway, I decided to cut to the chase and opt for the permanent solution now.  I have found that experience is the best teacher, but ranking close second (and often preferable) is experience you can avoid by listening to others who have gone before you.

This site is invaluable for those who are facing female reproductive dysfunction of some sort and considering their options.  This is a warm, loving, supportive group for ladies of all ages and all conditions whose only common thread is their situation and need for support.  Ask questions, weigh your options, take your time, and comb through.  You’re not alone.  You will not be pressured one way or the other; you will only be supported in every way imaginable.

Note: men can lurk too!  However, they cannot actively participate, as it’s a ladies-only forum.

That about does it; stay tuned for more later 🙂

To be complete:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


5 thoughts on “Websites that rule – Part 6

  1. I need to to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it.
    I have you book marked to look at new things you post…

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