Looking for something? Look no further! We at the Ministry of Clever did the work for you. At least half of it. Look the smart way, using our list of Internet resources in order to find exactly what you need!
To quote Homer Simpson: “Duh!” In many respects, Wikipedia is the encyclopaedic resource out there. The great thing about Wikipedia is that everyone can edit it. Since there’s an expert willing to share his knowledge on just about any subject, you’ll get more comprehensive coverage than any classic encylopaedic service, and also much more up to date.
It’s not always accurate, but most of the time, Wikipedia does the trick. In fact, the many users on Wikipedia have a self censoring function – usually, when someone writes some crap, you can be sure someone else will discover and fix it very quickly. And always check several sources if it’s important, especially if something seems too far out there to be true! Oh, and a good tip could be to check the other sources as well, for instance on Wikipedia.
In any case, contrary to what your mother might have told you, not everything written in an encyclopaedia is true. In general, studies have shown that Wikipedia is just as accurate as their commercial competitors. While you might have to do further research and check other sources, Wikipedia is often the best place to start your research.
Let us guess, you’ve never actually heard of Wolfram|Alpha, have you? There’s no surprise there. We bet you didn’t hear of Google right after it was founded in 1998 either. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of chances to make Alpha’s acquaintance.
Alpha isn’t a search engine, it’s a computational knowledge engine. It sounds weird, but it’s nothing short of amazing. This service trawls through a bunch of databases answering free text queries you make. You may be able to find out Elvis’ date of birth on Wikipedia or via Google as well, but can you learn the weather on his birth date as well?
Sure, it’s not normally useful to know the weather on the day Elvis was born, but you might be interested to learn the weather on your own birthday, the very place you were born? This is just an example. When you need facts, Alpha is second to none. As you might expect from a “computational knowledge engine”, you may use Alpha as a glorified calculator as well. Helping your children solving their school homework has never been easier!
If you need to know a particular fact – from the nutritional value of Cola, the phase of the Moon right before the World ends (about a half Moon, so you won’t die in darkness) or how much wood a woodchuck would chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood – then Alpha is your premier service.
No self-respecting Internet resource list could be without Google. The behemoth grew to dwarf early comers like Lycos and AltaVista (say who – you say?). Today they have a virtual monopoly – much to the chagrin of Microsoft (who traditionally have been the premier monopolists).
It’s a great resource, even though it can tend to get crowded with commercials and may sometimes have trouble finding the relevant information. Most of the time, it’ll give you exactly what you need, within that crucial first page of search results. (Jay!)
And who doesn’t love their tongue-in-cheek Google-logo replacements?
No, not quite. With 500 million users, most with their full names, Facebook is the biggest public listing of people in the whole, wide world. Most of the time people don’t care to (or don’t know how to) hide their listing, so it’s publicly available – often complete with picture, and sometimes even including access to a plethora of personal information. If you’re looking to reconnect with old friends or spy on your ex girlfriend, Facebook is the place to go.
If you can’t find your
prey friend on Facebook, your national Yellow Pages and/or White Pages might be a good alternative reference. For business related needs you might be well off checking out LinkedIn as well.
Another page you might not know about, Last.fm could be your new best music friend. Their comprehensive database of artist biographies and discographies is worth a visit by itself, but where Last.fm really shine is the
Orwellian friendly tracking and monitoring of all the music you play.
Yeah, that’s right. Millions of people tell Last.fm about every song they listen to. The benefits for a music nerd are many: exploring what they’re listening to is only the beginning – they can connect to other people with similar music tastes or check their “musical compatability” with other members. Never has it been easier to weed out potential boy/girl-friends with poor music taste.
What really makes Last.fm shine is that it can compare your music profile with people listening to the same bands, finding bands you didn’t know existed, but will probably love. It really works. In essence, the site is all we could dream of (but rarely see) in a music store employee – it figures out what you like, and suggest other stuff you might like too! Great right?
To be fair, you don’t need a profile to do that – you can always check the “similar artists” on the profiles of the bands you love – but it’s even better if you get the personalized list. Trust us, it’s amazing!
IMDb is probably the worst named resource on this list. IMDb is an acronym for The Internet Movie Database which is an internet database of movies, tv-shows and the people who star in them (both behind and in front of the camera). The database has a listing for virtually every movie or tv series released commercially in the western world.
An invaluable resource for any movie fan, it even allow advanced searches. Remember seeing a movie in 1997 with Leonardo di Caprio but can’t recall the name? Using an advanced search will let you find it quickly!
If IMDb can’t do the trick, you may be able to find more specialized services, such as AniDB.net for Japanese anime. There are specialized databases for everything from Bollywood classics to sleazy adult movies (yeah – just to look for funny titles, we’re sure).
If you’re looking for a picture, you already know of Google’s image search or even the vast collections of illustrations available at services like Flickr or DeviantArt – but what if you have a picture and wonder where it’s from? Google isn’t very helpful – but TinEye knows what to do!
Maybe it sounds like a weird thing to do – but when you need a higher resolution picture for that presentation, you’re likely to change your mind. For people with an artistic inclination, a search like TinEye might help you uncover if anyone have been stealing your pictures (perhaps even claiming they’re their own).
TinEye might also just have the cutest logo of this batch.