Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Geek to Me

I'm learning to embrace my inner geek.

Some readers may have sensed The Geek's presence long ago when I begged for an Atari because the boys in the neighborhood all had them. And my former coworkers got tired of hearing about how every good idea is in search of its own web page. And I did give up cable television in favor of spending our family's entertainment dollars on high-speed internet service. But I always thought of myself as more of a geek-appreciator.

Don't get me wrong, I have not suddenly become fluent in twelve programming languages. However, I've recently found the time(!) and the bandwidth to do a bunch of exploration into the further reaches of the Web. I guess you could call me an amateur geek. And I've found a bunch of groovy stuff I am dying to share.

If you're geekier than I am (hard to imagine, I know), you already know about this stuff, so just surf on past. If not, here are some of my favorite sites and services that you might not have had the time to learn about yet. They're all free of charge, useful to geeks and non-geeks alike, and pretty easy to use.

Keep on clickin! (Yeah, that's the Inner Geek's motto. Humor her.)

If you ever use more than one computer - work and home, for example - this one's for you. It saves all your bookmarks and allows you to easily tag and categorize newly-discovered sites. So, when you are using the computer in your NYC hotel's business center and can't remember the url for your favorite Big Apple restaurant review site, just log on to your del.icio.us. For those of us who can't even remember our own phone numbers (who? me?), let alone some long url, it's the best thing since speed dial. Also, it has cool sharing capabilities, so you can check out the most popular sites tagged by users, or share your tagged sites with your buddies.

When I'm sick of my iTunes shuffle feature (I love those Ricky Gervais podcasts but they really break my rhythm when following a good New Order tune), I head to Pandora. It asks you for your favorite music, then plays a bunch of songs for you that it deems similar. What a great way to get turned on to some new music! And, no downloading or uploading or extra software required.

So I've already told you about Flickr, and there's a big link to my Flickr photos on the sidebar. But it's such a great way to share photos in an interactive way - comments! notes! - and to spend (waste?) time enjoying others' photos. Click on the "most interesting" link to see the pix that users deemed most, well, interesting.

My Pyramid
I eat popcorn as a meal at least twice a week. With butter. My eating habits aren't always the best, and I find myself sitting on the couch with my vanilla Coke wondering why I'm both hungry and bloated at the same time. My Pyramid tracker helps me pay attention to whether or not I am getting a vaguely balanced diet, and how it's stacking up to my physical activity. The site is a little clunky, but I like it because it's not a "diet" site, it just helps me pay closer attention to what I eat.

Another travel site to add to your favorites. The special thing about this one is that it searches a bunch of other travel sites and finds the best deals. It's the first one I've found that doesn't drive me crazy by popping up too many extra windows or sending me through a maze just to find the fare it allegedly located.

Duh. Even if you don't want to write long boring stories about taking your driver's test, a blog can be a good way to keep in touch with friends and family, market your business, or, if you're a writer, keep your resolution to write every day.

I'm always on the lookout for cool new stuff on the web, so if you find a good site you like, send it along (or - better yet - post a comment below). Thanks for supporting your local geek-in-training.

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