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11 Reviews by Brian

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Kiva

Kiva

8/4/10

Kiva is a reputable organization that enables microloans to deserving people worldwide. They've had a positive and meaningful impact on many people ... and their gift certificates can be great gifts for kids and people who already have everything they need.

Ready.gov

Ready.gov

1/27/08

Prepare for Emergencies - This site was developed by the government and other groups to help people prepare in advance for emergencies.

The advice is not new or particularly insightful. But it's nice to have some basic checklists and related information in a convenient place -- and may help spur people to action to put together an emergency kit (e.g., bottled water, canned food and opener, flashlight, hand-crank radio, blankets, etc.) in advance.

I imagine that many people theoretically know it's a good idea to have an emergency kit ready in their home. But many of us simply don't do it - for whatever reason.

Nolo

Nolo

11/17/07

Legal Resource Books and Forms - For reliable, easy-to-read, do-it-yourself books about legal topics, I highly recommend Nolo Press. Their books are well written and typically intended for non-lawyer audiences.

Years ago, I practiced as a solo practitioner in corporate law; and when my clients asked me for recommendations on law books where they could learn more about a particular topic (e.g., copyright or trademark law), I often sent them to Nolo.com to find a particular book.

For example, if you're interested in learning how to incorporate your business on your own (without engaging a lawyer), you might read background in Nolo's "How to Form Your Own California Corporation" -- and then use some of their forms on CD.

Newsmeat.com

Newsmeat

11/1/07

Celebrities and Politics - I generally decry the influence of celebrities on politics. But I have to admit, this site is a hoot. It has a searchable database of past political donations of celebrities. For example, you can look up how much Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston or Kevin Bacon have donated to campaigns in the past, and which candidates they've supported. It's all public information, collected in a convenient place.

In addition, you can search under headings for Billionaires (see how much the Wal-Mart family has given), Sports Stars (Andre Agassi gave over $130,000 to Democrats), Media (Anderson Cooper, Ben Stein and Hugh Hefner), Business Executives (Jerry Yang's all over the place - I don't know where he stands), and Politicians themselves.

If you want a broader searchable database (e.g., to see what your neighbors, friends and bosses have donated in the past), this Fundrace site is great too:
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/

Events.stanford.edu

Events.stanford.edu

5/12/07

Events at Stanford - If you live in the Palo Alto / San Francisco Bay area -- or are planning to visit -- this web site has up-to-date listings of interesting activities on campus (e.g., free shows by the Stanford Shakespeare Society, political and academic speakers, community/cultural fairs, theatrical/musical performances on campus). Many events are free and open to the public.

Chowhound

Chowhound

5/12/07

Useful Forum for Foodies - Chowhound is very useful for finding advice from local foodies on specific restaurants. The restaurant search functionality is acceptable (e.g., you can enter a city name in the search box and find all references to that search term). However, the site would be even more user-friendly, and it would be easier and quicker to find restaurants, if the content was organized in more detail, or in a more logical fashion.

Here's an oblique analogy: I see Yahoo as a "Table of Contents," whereas Google is an "Index." Most often, I search using Google because I find it easier to search for specific words in an Index, rather than browsing through a Table of Contents. Chowhound's search functionality is index-based, which similar to Google, rather than Yahoo. Having said that, when I search for restaurants, I would prefer to look through a Table of Contents. For example, I would prefer to browse through a category of "Restaurants in San Jose - Average cost per meal under $15" (a la Table of Contents) rather than digging through a list of numerous results when I enter the search term "San Jose." Bottom Line: I wish that Chowhound's search was more like Yahoo, rather than Google -- given the nature of local restaurant search.

Gmail

Gmail

5/12/07

Gmail is a "vanilla" email system. But I trust the privacy and information integrity of Google. - I have a number of email accounts with various hosts. But I use Google/Gmail the most. It does not have superior functionality, storage space or user interface, as compared to other email providers (such as Yahoo. In fact, I think most of the large, free email providers are relatively the same and have comparable features and benefits. They're all quite "vanilla" in my mind. However, I choose to use Gmail because it's a well-intentioned, progressive company; and I trust the integrity of Google to protect my sensitive information -- at least as much as I can "trust" any large corporation. Contrastingly, Yahoo has made some very questionable political decisions in the past (e.g., disclosure of user names/profiles to foreign governments, despite privacy "rights" of such individuals); and I personally question Yahoo's institutional willingness to keep my information confidential and secure, and fight for rights of users' privacy. So I prefer not to use Yahoo.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

5/5/07

Free, reliable encyclopedia of absolutely everything - This site is the benchmark of online, wiki-style encyclopedias -- and one of the best (and I believe most widely used) reference sites on the web. The articles cover an enormous number of topics, are collaboratively written by volunteers all over the world, and are constantly being reviewed, evaluated, revised and updated.

The Onion

The Onion

5/5/07

Very funny fake news magazine - This site is consistently hilarious. I see The Onion as an edgier online version of Weekend Update on SNL. Headlines like: "Pizza Hut's New Pizza Lover's Pizza Topped With Smaller Pizzas"

Thewavemag.com

Thewavemag

5/5/07

San Francisco Bay Area Events - This web site is the online version of a print magazine focused on events in the SF Bay Area. The section on "50 Ways To Leave Your Sofa" each month has some good ideas of things to do on weekends. For example, we found a listing for a free, ranger-lead, nighttime hike in the hills. It was a fascinating experience at night, which we would not have otherwise found without this magazine listing. We also found a local apple festival in Garin a while back -- a tiny event that is not really publicized in the local newspapers. When we don't have any plans for a particular weekend, we look through this online magazine for fun things to do.

BzzAgent

BzzAgent

5/5/07

Free Samples for Creating Media "Buzz" - I heard about BzzAgent from a person I met at a party. He said he got a free SonicCare toothbrush from this site, simply by agreeing to tell people about it. I was interested. The point of the site is to create marketing "buzz" through word of mouth. Companies that want marketing buzz can provide samples to BzzAgent.com, which then gives its members free samples. The members then test and talk about the samples with their friends, and thus create the "buzz." It's actually a lot of work, if you follow their directions -- because you have to report back everything you say to people. But it is an interesting concept; and I recently got a lot of allergy medication samples that I've been using and telling people about. So I believe the site works. Another site, www.startsampling.com, has a similar concept, but on a different scale.

Brian Has Earned 58 Votes

Brian G.'s review of Kiva earned 5 Very Helpful votes
Brian G.'s review of Ready.gov earned 7 Very Helpful votes
Brian G.'s review of BzzAgent earned 10 Very Helpful votes
Brian G.'s review of Nolo earned 8 Very Helpful votes
Brian G.'s review of Wikipedia earned 3 Very Helpful votes
Brian G.'s review of The Onion earned 6 Very Helpful votes
Brian G.'s review of Events.stanford.edu earned 2 Very Helpful votes
Brian G.'s review of thewavemag.com earned 2 Very Helpful votes
Brian G.'s review of Chowhound earned 5 Very Helpful votes
Brian G.'s review of newsmeat.com earned 3 Very Helpful votes
Brian G.'s review of Gmail earned 3 Very Helpful votes
Brian G.'s review of Wikipedia earned a Well Said vote

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