Next time you're online, try out some of these great Web sites, compiled by Time magazine:
[light shade square] http://www.bloglines.comIf you haven't heard of blogs, step into the 21st century. Originally referred to as Web logs, blogs are online journals; some are by one person, others are collaborations. With tons of blogs out there, you're probably best off tapping into a blog aggregator such as bloglines.com or kinja.com. They'll track your favorites, sending you the most recent posts in one message. You'll be amazed at the offbeat commentary from these non-mainstream-news sources.
[light shade square] http://www.ehow.comLearn how to do practically anything at this site. You'll find clear step-by-step directions on such things as fixing a leaky refrigerator, making a peach pie, trimming a cat's nails, buying in-line skates, and much, much more.
[light shade square] http://www.metacritic.comTrying to decide whether to spend $8 to see a new movie or $20 on a new CD? Find out what a range of critics has to say. This site presents a consensus of many critics' opinions, so you get a great overview that will help you decide how to spend your hard-earned money.
[light shade square] http://www.mojam.comWant to know what shows will be in Miami during the weeks you'll be on assignment there? Tap into this site and search by city, artist, or venue so you can line up tickets early.
[light shade square] http://www.wordswithoutborders.orgFeeling literary? Enjoy this site's translations of works published in languages other than English, and get a taste of other cultures.
[light shade square] http://www.craigslist.orgAs you're moving around, do you sometimes wish you had an inexpensive bike to enjoy the trails around Phoenix? Or want to sell a bike you're tired of dragging around with you? Although eBay's always an option, this site lets you buy and sell locally and quickly. The free classifieds are organized by city, category, and subcategory, and they're easy and fun to navigate.
[light shade square] http://www.freecycle.orgAn alternative to the buying-and-selling option is this site for freebies. With over 800 regional groups in the United States, you'll probably find one close by. Just join the e-mail list and start trading.
[light shade square] http://www.meetup.comHere's an easy way to meet people with similar interests who live nearby. Browse their site by topic (examples include books, cultures, games, politics, and lots more) or by zip code, and join the chat about where the group will meet next. The gatherings are offline at coffee shops, free local outdoor musical shows, or wherever the group prefers. Meeting new people in groups helps avoid any worries about safety or threatening situations.
[light shade square] http://maps.yahoo.comPlug your current address into SmartView to see a local map with icons of places you want to check out-restaurants, hiking trails, or movie theaters, for example.
[light shade square] http://local.google.comNeed a hairdresser in a new town? Try this site for this and other services, plus directions to them.
[light shade square] http://photos.yahoo.comShare digital photos with those you've left behind. You'll have free, unlimited storage at this site, so you can save lots of pictures to record your travels, then pare them down when you have time.
Nine rivers in the United States are more than 1,000 miles long. How many can you name?
(For the answer, see the box at end of story.)
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