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Free Resources to Visit

Internet Explorer_256With the Internet apparently here to stay, accessing information has never been easier.  Naturally, a home computer cannot replace the serenity of a library, but it can deliver a wealth of data to our homes with just a few clicks.

What are some useful sites?  Let’s look at a few.

  • Mapquest.com—Mapquest is great for people who need directions.  Users type in a starting and ending location, and detailed instructions appear (assuming the info inputted is accurate).  Is Mapquest perfect?  No.  But more often than not, it can get you where you want to go.
  • Virtualtourist.com—This place is helpful if you want to check out vacation spots in almost any location.  The site provides facts about popular tourist areas as well as out-of-the-way gems.  You can also get tips on local customs, restaurants, nightlife, tourist traps, etc.
  • Hotwire.com—Hotwire has received impressive ratings from sources like J.D. Powers & Associates and is useful for people seeking out vacation discounts.  Hotels and even car rentals can be booked, often at a reasonable price.  A caveat, however.  Although you can fine-tune a desired area (e.g., mid-town Manhattan, JFK), you will not know the name of the hotel or the car rental company until later.
  • Rottentomatoes.com—Rotten Tomatoes is a great movie site, particularly if you are not certain you want to spend the next two hours potentially wasting your time.  It provides user reviews from a medley of authentic critics, most of whom are members of writing guilds or critic associations.  Sixty percent seems to be the magic number; any rating 60% or above is considered watchable.  Below 60%?  Well, it’s, rotten!
  • Hometips.com—This site is wonderful if you are looking for around-the-home tips.  It offers a buying guide section (e.g., dryers, lighting, doors), installation instructions (e.g., faucets, air conditioners, sinks), repair suggestions (wallpaper, drywall, handles), and so much more.
  • Mortgagecalculator.org—Want to calculate theoretical mortgage payments with different factors?  All you need to do is plug in the numbers.  Mortgage Calculator provides monthly payment scenarios on 15 year loans, 30 year loans, biweekly payment amounts, and the total cost of the loan with interest (assuming the note is not paid off before schedule).

The Internet truly has changed certain facets of our lives.  It would be difficult for some of us to go back to a time when we did not have this type of data at our fingertips.

Naturally, everything in moderation: there are many other wonderful things to do besides perusing the information superhighway.  Still, in its proper place, the Internet offers some pretty amazing stuff.