LINKS YOU CAN PROBABLY LIVE WITHOUT, BUT WHY RISK IT

SNOPES


Added 2/22/05

Snopes: the site that disproves (or occasionally proves) internet hoaxes.

If you've gotten an e-mail from a friend saying that they have heard that Bill Gates is going to send money to anyone who forwards this e-mail to ten people so please please please please please forward it so that they can get their money and retire at age 25, you can either:

block all incoming e-mail from this idiot, like I would do...

or, if you want to be civil about it, like I wouldn't do, you can go to snopes.com, search for 'bill gates scam', and send him the link explaining how, DUH, this is an internet hoax and isn't true and is just designed to make people like you look really stupid.

And once in a while snopes lets you know that hey, some of this stuff actually does turn out to be true once in a while. Or at least partially true.

Kind of an ugly little page design, and not immediately easy to navigate, but probably all you need to verify or disprove a potential hoax is the search bar at the top anyway.


EPINIONS


Added 1/13/05

If you've ever been screwed by a retailer, and hey, who hasn't, right? right? am I right? huh? huh? ...you'll love Epinions. It's like Consumer Reports for the internet, without the bother of a pesky subscription! If I'm gonna make a big purchase, I usually come here to see what people are saying about whatever I'm interested in. F'rexample, I recently bought my girlfriend a learning remote online, because Epinions said it was great. We got it, opened it up, and lo and behold, it was great. And we saw that it was great, and it was great, and we held it up on high, saying, "This is pretty great."

See, I knew it would be great, and why it would be great, before I bought it. The sucky thing about buying stuff online or in stores is that you get your information about the stuff from the manufacturer or the salesguy. Now this is fine if you can find a completely unbiased manufacturer or a knowledgeable salesperson--if you personally have no trouble finding those, then you can just go on to the next link. You're still here; so I take it you've been to Best Buy and dealt with those idiots?

But with Epinions, you type in what you're looking for and read reviews that regular guys like me and you write; telling their experiences, how much they paid, what they liked about the product, and especially what they hated about the product. In short, they tell you what the catch is. So now you can go, "Ohhhhh...this TV is cheap, but you have to buy a special power cord separately, and it's backordered till April, and costs more than the TV does," without having to have bought the TV. See, that's useful.

The only negatives I have about the site are that it's verrry heavy on advertisements--advertisements at the top, in the corner, on the sides, scattered amongst your search results...but hey, they gotta make their money somehow I spose. And, finding products and sifting through your search results is not the smoothest easiest thing in the world (partially because of the ads). But still, this site has saved me lots of money...so it's okay with me.