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25 web sites to watch for > II June 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet.
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OpenDNS
One reason the Web sometimes feels poky, even when you use broadband, is the Internet’s Domain Name System. When you type a URL (such as http://www.pcworld.com) into your browser, DNS servers must translate that alphanumeric information into a numeric IP address (such as 70.42.185.10) that Web servers and your PC can understand. Typically your ISP’s DNS servers handle the translation work.

But OpenDNS speeds up the translation (called “name resolution”) by handling the process on its own high-speed DNS servers. The service includes other cool time-savers, as well, such as the ability to create keyboard shortcuts. For example, instead of typing http://www.pcworld.com each time, you might arrange to type in the letter p and jump immediately to your favorite online destination.

Real Estate, Bookmarks, and Blogs

With these services, you can find a house, browse the Web from a single location, and make sure that your online prose never gets lost.

Trulia
There are plenty of real-estate sites on the Web, but this one comes with a twist. By combining social networking with mapping and search technology, Trulia gives you a high-tech way to find the home of your dreams. Use the different sliders and checkboxes to focus your search (price, square footage, and the all-important number of bathrooms), and Trulia will display qualifying homes that are for sale in the specified area, overlaid on a map. The site includes useful, city-specific real estate guides containing additional data on average home sale prices, most popular neighborhoods, crime statistics, and the like.

The Trulia Voices section hooks you up with other people to discuss neighborhoods, housing issues, or real estate in general. Trulia is relatively new, so that section is as yet quite sparse. But if the site gains traction, Trulia Voices may prove to be the most useful tool of all.

Tip: To view some cool time-lapse maps showing how an area (such as Las Vegas) has developed over time, hop to Trulia Hindsight.

PopURLs
If you’re an information hound, you probably spend lots of time jumping from Digg to Del.icio.us to YouTube to Fark to Google News to anything-dot-com. With PopURLs, you no longer need to waste time hopping around the Internet. An aggregator of all things informative, PopURLs features massive lists of headlines, videos, blogs, and content from all of those sites, as well as plenty of others.

One nice bonus is that you can search some of the sites–Del.icio.us, Flickr, and Wikipedia, among others–straight from PopURLs. It’s also easy to tweak the way PopURLs looks and works, too, including customizing the layout of the feeds so you can put the ones you view most regularly on top. The scrapbook is a particularly useful feature; just click the ‘Add to Scrapbook’ button next to any headline, and PopURLs will save it (and up to 19 other favorite items).

Goowy
For several years, observers have speculated that the Internet will become, in essence, a vast operating system, with applications built on top of it. To a great extent, that’s the premise underlying Goowy. Create an account, and you can start building your own desktop, with applications for e-mail, contacts, instant messaging, file management, and more. You can also add prebuilt widgets, called “minis,” to your desktop, for news, stocks, weather, and other tidbits of information.

Don’t expect the site to replace your desktop at this point: Goowy lacks full-blown applications and doesn’t access your hard drive. Still, it’s a glimpse into what may be the future of the Internet.BlogBackupOnline
If you have a blog and you aren’t sure that your blog provider will always have a backup in case of a crash, head over to BlogBackupOnline pronto. The site is straightforward: Log in, enter information about your blog, and the site diligently backs it up every day (provided that you use one of the 11 supported blogging services–Blogger, Friendster, LiveJournal, Movable Type, Multiply, Serendipity, Terapad, TypePad, Vox, Windows Live Space, or WordPress). The site is also a great tool if you ever decide to move your blog from one platform to another. After you’ve backed up your blog, BlogBackupOnline can bring all of your old entries into the new service.

Ma.gnolia
If you’re a fan of the social bookmarking site Del.i.cio.us but wish that it were a little more social–and a little less geeky–check out Ma.gnolia. As with Del.icio.us, you can save and share bookmarks and tags. But Ma.gnolia presents a far more appealing design, and it has a few nice extra talents, such as the ability to let you save snapshots of your favorite pages. Ma.gnolia excels on the social networking front. You can join groups, share bookmarks, and browse groups and discussions for more bookmarks on topics that fascinate you. If you’re strictly interested in bookmarking and tagging, Del.i.cio.us remains the best place to go. But if you want to share your findings with others, Ma.gnolia is worth a taste.

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