17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Making your life nettastic

Carrie can teach you to shop. Brandolyn will help you save the earth. And Jen, she'll even tell you how to start your own business. Me? I'm a bit of web geek. It's how I made my living in the pre-mommy days, and it's how I find most of my information and entertainment in my current phase of life. And some have asked for my secrets, how it is that I can so quickly find something online, no matter how random, how small, how obscure. Well, the time has come for me to share my wisdom with you all.

So this is what I know.

  • Google – many of you will see this one and say duh, but believe it or not there are people out there who don’t use Google. I know, I know, you say But marian, it’s so darn prevalent that new words have been added to the English language because of this site. and I will say yes my friend, I know, you’re preaching to the converted. But seriously, best searching out there by far, and if you haven’t played with the Google Maps yet, well then you haven’t properly wasted time online. (hint – hit the "Satellite" button in the upper right corner, it will blow your mind) Or go play with some of this stuff.

  • Search tips – This goes with the Google entry above, but it’s true for many many other sites as well. One of the keys to actually being able to find something in this vast and ever-expanding empire called the internet is to know how to search for it. And here are two little items that can make your life soooo much easier - " " and -. Huh? What the heck am I talking about? Here’s the lowdown.
    • Quotation marks – If words you are entering in the search box are an exact phrase (the name of a store, a lyric from a song, the title of a movie, book, someone’s name, etc.), putting quotes around your search terms will reduce the number of results you get to pages that only have those words in that exact order. Compare this search (39 million results) with this search (347,000 results).

    • Minus sign – This allows you to specify what you’re NOT looking for – helping you to narrow down your search if you are getting too many results that don’t apply to the specific thing you’re trying to find. Let’s say you’re looking for your good friend from high school whose name is John Adams. Type that into Google, and you’ll get about 50 million results, mostly about the president and the composer. But instead type in "John Adams" -president –composer and you’ll get about 2 million results. Still a lot of results, but a much better shot at finding what you’re actually looking for rather than wading through everything you’re definitely not looking for.

  • IMDB - ohhhhhhh how I love this site. Ohhhhhh oh oh oh oh. You know when you’re watching a movie or a TV show and you recognize an actor, but you can’t figure out what from? Bingo, this is your solution. My ultimate invention will be to one day integrate IMDB with my Tivo, so that I can pause what I’m watching and automatically lookup whatever I want straight from my TV. It’s a dream, but every girl’s got to have one - some dream of world peace, I dream of movie databases. Again, if you haven’t spent time playing on this site, then you haven’t properly wasted time online.

  • Snopes.com - You know all those emails that Aunt Lisa keeps sending you? The ones that tell you that Bill Gates will give you $1,000 if you send the email on, or that some kid in Florida will get a new liver if you just keep the chain alive? Or better yet, an email warning women about the latest techniques criminals are using to lure them to danger. Here’s where you can go to find out if it is true, and avoid sending things on that are not true. Lots of interesting reading as well.

  • Wikipedia - I threw this one in mostly for fun. You can pretty much look up anything on this site and find a listing for it. And if there isn’t one (and you feel there should be) you can actually add it. Or add to and edit existing listings. For that reason, I wouldn’t exactly use this to fact check your dissertation, but it’s a handy place to start looking for info on some pretty random things.

  • Kids-in-mind.com - Movie ratings site that actually helps you decide if you or someone else in your family should see a movie. Movies are rated on a 1-10 scale in 3 categories (Sex & Nudity, Violence & Gore, Profanity) and then each category also has a listing of all of the occurrences of these possible red-flag areas. So you can know if a movie is getting a 3 for violence because one mouse hits another over the head with a piece of cheese, or because a cat takes a bite out of a mouse’s behind. (hey, it might matter to your 2 year old) It can get kind of silly - they are very thorough – but at the same time, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting when that Netflix envelope arrives in the mail.

  • HTML tips - To finish up, for anyone interested, I have an old post here at Tales that gives some basic HTML tips for bloggers - how to spiff up your comments, add links, etc. Check it out and have some fun playing.

Anyone else have tricks they want to share?


  • Yay! Marian I love this post. I get called a web geek all the time. Favorite sites for stuff:

    If you want to make sure your blog looks good and your colors blend well:


    If you need a quick translation:


    If you want to know what happened on a specific date in time:


    If you want to be the next great pastry chef here's the place to get tools:


    SO many more but I'll give others a chance too! ;-)
    posted by Blogger chronicler at 2/07/2006 07:19:00 PM  

  • Marian, you are such a sneaky girl...
    I am excited to peruse all those google possibilities when I have some free computer time...thanks.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 2/07/2006 07:38:00 PM  

  • Wow! No tricks to share, sorry. I am netteribble. Thanks for the tips!
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 2/08/2006 07:11:00 AM  

  • Google now has video search:


    Good for wasting hours at a time.

    Also blog search:


    Music site I visit the most:


    To make blog reading easier:

    posted by Blogger Susan M at 2/08/2006 07:19:00 AM  

  • Wow...I never knew about the minus thing w. Google. That will help me a lot on searches.

    Thanks...this is all great info...html coding stuff still scares me...but I'm going to take a look.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 2/08/2006 07:34:00 AM  

  • If you like tools / gadgets / useful stuff: check out :
    it's on the short list of websites that I check on daily.
    posted by Blogger Bro. Brandon B. at 2/08/2006 12:18:00 PM  

  • Good tips. W3Schools is another great free resource for info on HTML and CSS programming. I don't know a lot about writing code and the site has helped me tweek some things on my site.
    posted by Blogger The Daring One at 2/08/2006 01:14:00 PM  

  • I have no tips to share because as Marian will tell you, I am "technologically challenged". This is why I need Marian as my friend...
    posted by Blogger chloe at 2/08/2006 06:02:00 PM  

  • Love the links on Wilkipedia. Very clever Marian.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 2/23/2006 02:18:00 PM  

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    posted by Blogger Isabella at 10/27/2009 02:03:00 AM  

  • Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.

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