Archive for the ‘Useful Things’ Category

WORLDMAPPER: The world as you’ve never seen it before

Suffice it to say I love maps.  Current maps, antique maps, topographical maps, dymaxion maps, fantasy maps, non-spatial maps… yeah… I like maps… they almost rival my obsession with clockwork.

So I about died of happiness when I found this site:

They’ve got maps for almost EVERYTHING you could think of:

Transportation                     Food                                       Manufacturering
Resources                               Fuel                                        Income
Education                               Health                                    Disease
Disaster                                   Destruction                          Pollution
Communication                   Exploitation                        Cause of Death
Age of Death                          Religion                                 Language

… to list a few.

Here’s one I find interesting:

Secondary Education Spending

Kayak Insight

So… I seriously screwed up my internal clock by staying up til 3am yesterday.  By itself, it’s no big deal. But I woke up 16 hours later at 7pm. What. The. Hell.

Some of you might be wondering why on earth I was up so late.  What kept me, was simply this:

It’s a web-page that displays flights leaving an airport of your choice, the flights’ destinations, and their airfare.

Why this was so mesmerizing at ungodly hours of the morning, is beyond me right now.  It still sort of is.  But it’s an amusing (?) distraction.  Have fun, you guys.

The Mother of All Excuses Place

Yes it is.  And some of it is fantastic (or fantastically bad).  In the admin’s own words:

Hello friends, welcome to The Mother of All Excuses Place. Over the years, everyone where I work has always thought that we should be writing down all the excuses everyone there has given for not coming to work that day. We all  thought that it would make a very entertaining book to read. Well we never got around to writing that book, but with the popularity of the Internet and the ease of making a web site, I decided to publish all the calling in work excuses I, or people that submit them, have heard over the years.

Plus I have sections for missing school and homework excuses, police or accident excuses, kids excuses, getting out of family events and holiday functions, breaking dates, doctor excuses, doctors note, missing church, wedding, diet excuses, why I ate that, debt excuses, tax excuses, not paying the rent, getting out of home repair excuses, unwanted house guest excuses, jury duty, defense excuses, not voting, no sex, miscellaneous excuses, excuse related humor and funny things that people do stories. We have all used or heard excuses for missing just about everything. If you have a suggestion for a new excuse page or would like to submit an excuse, please go to the Submit Excuses page and send them to me!

Cheapy Lighter Laser Burner!

A Handful of useful Firefox Add-ons

FoxClocks It puts customizable world times a click away in Firefox’s status bar.

IE Tab a simple extension that lets you open a tab that emulates Internet Explorer, for sites that insist you use it.

Morning Coffee stores sets of bookmarks and opens them on specific days. For example, I can look at financial sites once a week, say Fridays only, my fav video sites on the weekend, and check sports scores on Sunday. Way cool.

Tab Mix Plus is an essential add-on, one that I use constantly. The current version doesn’t work with 3.51, but Ivan Taylor told me about the stable development version–and it works just perfectly.   It includes such features as duplicating tabs, controlling tab focus, tab clicking options, undo closed tabs and windows, plus much more. It also includes a full-featured session manager.

Update Notifier automatically tells you when there are updates for your extensions and themes.

I never bother with themes or overlays that change the look of a program. I always figure that whatever the program gives me is okay. Yet Qute 4 and Kempelton are better designed, with clearer, easier to spot icons.

Tweak Network gives you a way to fiddle with the number of simultaneous downloads from a site, and more important, speed up page loads using hidden network settings.

And here’s how you organize them all:

MR Tech Toolkit it’s the tool for installing and managing extensions, add-ons and themes.

Cool Search Engines That Are Not Google


Link to the original page.


A summary of some engines I found of particular interest:

Good Search donates a penny to the charity of your choice for each search you run.

Collecta scours the net for the most recent blog posts, news stories, tweets and comments and displays them in a continuous waterfall. It’s a torrent of information to keep track of, but if you are worried about your company’s online reputation or want the latest news on Iran, it’s indispensable.

Trackle. Think of it as a standing search engine that will notify you of news and events you want to know about. relies on services around the web — like Wikipedia and Flickr — to compile web pages stocked with useful and relevant information.

Voyij is a travel sale search engine that looks exclusively for deals departing from your home city. The site’s focus is more on people ready for an adventure than on business travelers looking for a cheap ticket. and are cooking search engines that cut through unfiltered recipe search results with handpicked sites delivered through a custom Google search engine. Both have good result if you are looking for a good gnocchi recipe or if you need a recipe to take care of all that basil and couscous in your house.

Panjiva tracks overseas factories and their U.S. customers by indexing publicly available customs data. It’s a great way to keep track of where your competition is getting their products made and by whom. But more importantly, it’s an amazing demo of what can be done with open government data, and one should expect to see more examples like it, now that the feds have committed to sharing raw data with the nation via

Wolfram|Alpha, the net’s algorithimic genius that the tech press is agog over. It that can tell you the relative humidity of the city you were born in on the day you were born, and it does calculus, too. But it’s not a search engine.

*emphasis added