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Useful and Interesting Links

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Ham Radio | APRS | GPS | Other Radio | Computer & Internet | Digital Cameras | Space & NASA | Big Bands & Swing | Spam Control | Misc

Ham Radio

Ham Radio -APRS-Related

GPS-Related

Other (Not Ham) Radio Communications-Related Sites

Computer & Internet

  • Depicus Wake-On-LAN (WOL) page.  Many newer PCs are capable of being remotely turned on when the machine receives a special "magic packet" containing the Ethernet card's MAC code.  This interactive web page allows you to send such wakeup packets from the Internet.  NOTE: WOL was originally intended for use over a local area network.  Your router may require firmware upgrades and port forwarding configuration to do WOL from the Internet.
  • WOL Magic Packet Sender  A locally-installed FREEWARE program that sends, and additionally monitors for, the WOL Magic Packets referred to above.  A little application to send Wake On Lan Magic Packets to your computer. With a correctly configured computer, network card, and a little luck, you can turn on your computer across the internet!
  • TeraTerm  General-purpose serial and TCPIP/Telnet terminal program.   Good replacement for the HyperTerm applet included with previous versions of Windows. 
  • Com0Com  Freeware open-source null-modem emulator to connect two serial-port-using applications to each other via a pair of virtual COM ports. Various add-ons can split single serial port to multiple outputs or map serial to TCP/IP and back again. 
  • Revo Uninstaller  This FREEWARE replacement for the "Add/Remove Programs" applet in the Windows Control Panel is far more through and comprehensive in removing programs.  When launched, it scans the Windows registry and your system for installed programs. When you opt to un-install one, it first runs the program'[s own uninstaller just like the Control Panel. When the official uninstall finishes, Revo then runs a comprehensive registry and hard disk scan to locate and remove trash the official uninstall overlooked.  With some uninstallers, Revo will locate HUNDREDs of overlooked files and registry entries.  For example, uninstalling the Sun Java 2 Runtime (highly recommended before updating to the latest version because of Sun's sloppy inconsistency about the install location of Java) leaves behind over 1000 registry entries and files that Revo then located and removed.  The program also includes a general junk-file-scan utility, and an "evidence remover" browser-tracks cleaner that works on all popular browsers.
  • Do-It-Yourself WiFi Antennas  Huge collection of links to homebrew WiFi antenna construction projects.
  • Codec Guide  Home of the "K-Lite Mega Codec Pak", a bundled install of codecs for nearly ALL common media formats encountered on the Web including Real Media, Quicktime and many more obscure ones. It also includes the Media Player Classic. This media player, which looks like the classic Windows Media 6.4 player but is totally different under the skin, can replace ALL of your current players including Windows Media, Realplayer and the Apple Quicktime Player as well as dedicated MPG players such as Power DVD. It is totally free of the DRM, user tracking, profiling and forced advertising inflicted by the "name brand" players. 
  • File Hippo  Massive download site for a vast array of free software. You can constantly check dozens of sites for new versions of popular programs like FireFox, IrfanView, the Mega Codec Pack, WinAmp, Skype, Flashplayer, Spybot, etc.  Or check File Hippo once a day to catch ALL the latest upgrades in one place. By default, the site lists freeware, shareware and betas of both, but you can filter for just new production releases of freeware only.  The site also archives PREVIOUS versions of programs just in case the latest isn't the greatest (or you need to install on an older OS such as Win98 or Win2k that the latest version of a program won't install on).
  • HDtune   Freeware hard disk test and diagnostic tool.
  • 48-bit Logical Block Addressing (LBA) is a technology which extends the capacity of IDE ATA/ATAPI devices beyond a previous limit of 137.4 GB. This limit applies to IDE ATA/ATAPI devices only and not to SCSI interface devices. The original design specification for the ATA interface only provided 28-bits with which to address the devices. This meant that a hard disk could only have a maximum of 268,435,456 sectors of 512 bytes of data thus limiting the ATA interface to a maximum of 137.4 gigabytes. With 48-bit addressing the limit is 144 petabytes (144,000,000 gigabytes). This site provides a low-cost test utility that determines if your drive interface and motherboard BIOS supports 48-bit addressing
  • BK ReplaceEm is a sophisticated Windows string-replacing utility somewhat similar in concept to the Unix GREP command. At its core, BK ReplaceEm is essentially a text search-and-replace program. However, unlike the search-replace functionality of a standard text editor, BK ReplaceEm is designed to operate on multiple files at once. The program does not limit you to one search-replace operation per file, but you can setup a list of operations to perform in a single run. This seems to be an orphaned program but is too useful to die. Link leads to one of several freeware/shareware archives that still have this invaluable freeware utility.
  • Bulk Rename Utility  Bulk renaming utility for Windows. Allows you to mass-rename groups of files (such as digicam pictures, groups of MP3 files, etc) using common prefixes, common suffixes, find-and-replace strings, etc.  Finally mass file renaming capability in a Windows GUI that exceeds the capability of the classic DOS "RENAME" command with wildcards.
  • CCleaner  Excellent FREE small, fast Windows cleanup/garbage remover. Knows the behavior and hidden file locations for dozens of programs that routinely leave trash temp files behind, including the Firefox browser cache, AVG AntiVirus, etc.  It's one of the very few automated cleanup utilities that seem to be absolutely foolproof (i.e. doesn't remove things it shouldn't).
  • JK Defrag   Small, FAST disk defrag utility.  Much faster and easier to use than Window's own DEFRAG utility.  Just start it and walk away. It automatically processes all drives on the system and doesn't balk at drives with less than 15% free room like the MS Defrag. Runs from a GUI, from a command line, or can be set to run as a screen saver automatically when the computer is idle.
  • VU Player  Small, fast multiformat audio player for Windows.  This tiny utility not only plays common audio formats such as MP3, WAV and OGG, it directly plays lossless formats such as APE and FLAC.  If you have more than one sound card in your system, it features effortless selection of the desired one INSIDE the program without having to fiddle with the default sound system in the control panel. The final touch is an on-screen virtual pair of classic analog VU meters that absolutely faithfully duplicate the look and mechanical ballistics of actual Ernest Turner 702 VU meters!
  • IrfanView Graphics Utility  The indispensible FREEWARE Swiss Army Knife of image viewing tools. Displays virtually every graphics file format known to man, can convert from one file format to another, can resize, crop, convert color to gray scale, adjust contrast and brightness, do thumbnails of entire folders of pictures, create self-running slide shows, acquire images from TWAIN-compatible scanners, do automatic screencaps, play MP3s, MPGs,etc.  All in an absolutely FREE utility less than 1MB installed! Current version includes a basic paint utility, IrfanPaint, that allows you to draw lines, boxes, circles, etc on top of the loaded image; i.e. annotate photos. 
  • RyanVM Integrator for Windows  by Ryan VanderMeulen  .  This freeware utility allows you to merge current post-WinXP-SP2 updates and service packs  directly into the Windows install CD.  This then allows you to directly install XP or 2K with all current patches and updates already included, avoiding hours of downloading Windows Update installs after the initial setup.   
  • Windows-to-Ubuntu Transition Guide    Very useful step-by-step guide for newbies to Unbuntu Linux.
  • Speedguide Internet Speed and Optimization Guide    Internet download speed measurement and Windows "tweak" tools that may increase your Internet access speed. Look for the "SG Speed Test" in the left-hand column.
  • Numion   Another Internet speed-testing site that uses a completely different approach to measurement.
  • Soundcard Audio Gadgets  Soundcard-based software frequency-counter/instrument tuner, real-time spectrum analyzer, and a sinewave signal generator, all for use at frequencies up to 20kHz.
  • Snapstream Beyond TV   Third-party replacement for the dreadful clunky DVR (DVR Video Recorder) functions in Windows Media Center Edition. It DOES NOT save captured video into the proprietary DRM-protected Microsoft MS-DVR format.

    ****** Mozilla FireFox Add-Ons ******
    Once installed, these free add-ons will periodically update themselves automatically, and after any update of FireFox.
     
  • Adblock Plus  -  Very effective ad filter/blocker for FireFox browser. Removes nearly 100% of annoying banner ads, blinking images, etc. Unlike many such utilities, this one also removes Flash and Javascript banners that most blockers miss.
  • Flashblock plugin for FireFox   Blocks the irritating and slow-loading Flash intros and "mini-videos" clueless web developers feel compelled place on so many home pages, as well as Flash-based animated ad banners. If you DO want to see one of these, just click on on the "play" button in the blank placeholder that takes the place of the Flash applet.  HUGE bandwidth saver, when used with Adblock above, if you are browsing the web from a wireless or dial-up connection. (Advertising-related images and media-player "crapware" applets may occupy about 25% of the screen area of a typical commercial webpage but can account for up to 80% of the data downloaded when the page loads.)
  • "FireFTP" plugin for FireFox   Adds a fully-functional FTP client to the FireFox browser.
  • PDF Download plugin for FireFox  relieves the nuisance experienced when encountering PDF files on the Web. (You click on a link thinking it i leads to another web page, and instead a large PDF file takes forever to download, and tries to open your PDF reader inside your browser.) Whenever you click on a PDF file, PDF Download intercepts the link and lets you know before trying to open it.  It then offers you choices such as downloading, opening, or converting it straight to HTML.
  • NoScript Security Lockdown plugin for FireFox  Free, open source add-on allows JavaScript, Java, Flash and other plugins to be executed only by trusted web sites of your choice (e.g. your online bank), and provides the most powerful Anti-XSS (Cross-Site Scripting) protection available in a browser.
  • Ghostery  plugin for FireFox   "Watches the Web Sites that are Watching You."   Find out how web sites are watching you across every page on the web with Ghostery. Alerts you when you visit a web site that has web bugs on it. Web bugs are hidden scripts that track your behavior and are used by the sites you visit to understand their own audience.
  • Show IP Address plugin for FireFox   Shows the actual numeric IP address of sites you visit in the status bar at the bottom of the FireFox window.
     
  • Bart's Preinstalled Environment  ("BartPE")  Makes bootable install CDs for Windows 2000 and XP from already installed Windows setups. Boots to a menu-driven page with far more extensive diagnostic and troubleshooting utilities than the standard Windows setup CDs. Even allows you to access NTFS-formatted hard disk partitions on non-working Windows systems to recover files.
  • Apple ][ History Page   A bit of nostalgia for anyone who "grew up" computer-wise during the late 1970s-early 1980s.
  • Review of VIA EPIA TC-10000 micro-ITX board.  This 1-Ghz totally-integrated single board PC is a perfect building block for radio-related applications such as APRS digipeaters and EchoLink nodes since it runs directly on 12 VDC! 
  • Making USB Flashdrives Bootable  Invaluble for making newer Windows-XP floppy-less laptops bootable to DOS for running old utilities.
  • Total Recorder by High Criteria Software   This inexpensive shareware program contains a driver that creates a virtual sound card in series with your physical sound card. It allows you to intercept and record, in digital form, ANYTHING that passes through your PC sound system; even streaming media sites normally protected against local recording. It even has a Tivo-like capability to use a programmable timer to automatically capture steaming media sites unattended!  
  • MotherBoardMonitor Freeware utility to read out and display the sensors for temperature, fan speed and voltages that are incorporated in most modern PC motherboards.
  • AumHa Windows Support Center  Supporting, Windows Operating Systems & Leading Application Software
  • Dataprobe Web X-10   Ethernet-based X-10 Controller  Connect this firmware-based  dedicated-controller "website in a box" (no Windows PC!) to an always-on Internet connection like a cable modem or DSL. Access your X-10-based home automation system over the Internet from anywhere! 
  • Pasadena Networks  Source for WiFi Antennas, Jumper Cables, Connectors, Access Points and other related parts
  • Fleeman, Anderson & Bird (Fab-Corp) Wi-Fi parts and antennas
  • Hyperlink Technology  Wi-Fi antennas, cables and related Parts
  • WiFi Parts  Another source for 802.11 Wi-Fi long-range antennas, cables and related parts.
  • Spyware Warrior Message Boards  Multiple public message boards discussing spyware-related topics. 
  • Spyware Warrior Blog   Current news of the latest spyware/adware/crapware.
  • Threats Against Spyware Detectors, Removers, and Critics    Logs attempts to intimidate anti-spyware researchers and journalists. 
  • ACME Labs - Home of various freeware gizmos including the ACME License Plate Maker that makes GIF images of personalized license plates from any state with the text of your choice on them. 
  • AVG AntiVirus  Anti-Virus software developed in the Czech Republic.  Completely free for personal use! Note that this link bypasses the AVG home page, and deep-links into the site to avoid numerous prompts to purchase the paid-for version of the program.
  • Protecting Privacy & Security on a Home PC  Eric Howes' University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana pages on computer security. Lots of good stuff here including updated ad block lists for AtGuard and Norton Internet Security.
  • Gibson Research Home of the SpinRite hard disk utility,  the Shields Up! system security test, and important information on Internet security and privacy invasion.
  • Ad-Aware Excellent FREE utility detects and removes the ever-increasing amount of spyware, adware and other obnoxious parasites secretly being installed on systems by the setup utilities of other programs.  If you are experiencing mysterious system slowdowns, performance problems, strange Internet behavior or browser crashes and lockups (a lot of spyware  modifies your Internet communications components and steals your bandwidth to secretly upload and download unwanted crap), give this utility a try.
  • GPS Add-On for Microsoft MapPoint.   The real-time GPS handler Microsoft provides in MapPoint before 2006 is very crude and limited.   Unlike Street Atlas and Microsoft's own Streets & Trips,  MapPoint only creates a fat round icon at your current location with no arrow indicating direction of travel, and no trail showing where you have been.     This shareware add-in for MapPoint adds fully functional track and heading displays along with prompted navigation of a pre-defined trip.                  
  • World of Windows Networking Vast amounts of information on the setup and configuration of networking in all flavors of the Windows operating system.  One of those techie sites absolutely crammed with useful info found nowhere else, and presented in a clear and useful problem-solving manner.
  • The Sonic Spot Site totally devoted to audio recording and editing utilities, MIDI composition software and more. Freeware Wavetools utility on this site at http://www.sonicspot.com/wavetools/wavetools.htm is a very useful soundcard accessory that creates an audio generator, audio spectrum analyzer, dual-trace scope and peak/average-reading VU meter, all in software.
  • Bootdisk.Com   Downloadable self-extracting boot floppy disk images for various versions of MS-DOS, and other DOSes. Also links to a lot of other useful utilities and system info. 
  • Trillian Possibly the ultimate instant-messaging program. This single program connects to users on AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Pager and ICQ, all at the same time!
  • PC Guide Superb guide to hands-on PC hardware setup issues. Absolutely crammed with hard-to-find information about PC hardware conventions, connector pin outs, processor generations, etc.
  • Infoworld FindDups Download Hard-to-find Windows crashes are often caused by duplicate DLL files in different directories. This utility scans your disk and finds them.
  • Iolo Techology Home of the excellent system maintenance utility System Mechanic.
  • Zone Labs Home of the amazing FREE firewall & system security program ZoneAlarm.
  • XTree Fan Page Everything About the Legendary XTree File Manager. Here is THE page for XTree devotees. The HTML pages have been cleverly made to look like XTree screens.
  • ZTreeWin Web Site True native 32-bit work-alikes of XTree for Win 32 and OS/2.   XTree lives on!
  • DOS32 Home Page  Supposedly a DOS clone that can be booted from a floppy and can deal with long file names.  I haven't tried it yet.
  • Netmeeting Zone - ILS Listing page The independent guide to Microsoft Netmeeting listing Netmeeting servers
  • Netmeeting 101 Page   Everything you need to know to setup and use the freebie Netmeeting VoIP communications program included in all recent versions of Windows. 
  • Inner-Smile.com -- Home of INF-Tool  A utility for building extremely compact automatic installers for Windows programs.
  • Computer Stupidities  Hilarious accounts from tech support types about unbelievably dumb end-users.
  • interMute - Block web ads, animations, cookies, and more  An Internet ad blocking and cookie-blocking utility.
  • Tardis Time Setting Utility   Homepage of a shareware utility than can automatically precisely set your PC system clock from a variety of online and GPS sources.
  • WebTime   FREEWARE utility that precisely sets your system clock to the official US atomic clocks via the Internet.

Computer - USB (Universal Serial Bus) Info

  • Purple Computing -- Source for $25 USB-to-serial converter cable
  • USB Wholesale - Mail order source for everything USB including USB-to-serial converters and extra-long USB cables.
  • USB-Port.Com Another source for USB Converters, USB Hubs, USB Data and Extension Cables, USB Video Converters, USB Port Expansion Devices, USB Data Storage Devices and USB Computer Peripherals
  • Cypress Semiconductor Data sheets, application notes, and example code for the EZ-USB chip.
  • Dontronics SimmStick (an easy-to-apply general-purpose USB interface) info and boards
  • Jan Axelson's Lakeview Research USBSimm and other example code from my book USB Complete.
  • John Hyde's USB By Example USBSimm and other example code from John's book USB Design by Example. The code provided with the USBSimm is based on John's buttons and lights example.
  • FTDI USB Drivers and Info   From one of the main venders of serial-to-USB conversion chips. 

Digital Cameras

Space and NASA

  • J-Track Satellite Tracking Real-time map display of current location of various spacecraft done with a Java applet in your browser.
  • SpaceDaily.Com  Space news from around the world updated daily.
  • James Oberg  Analysis and commentary on space news from a former NASA operations manager and ABCnews.com columnist.
  • NASA Watch  Unofficial web site frequently critical of NASA.
  • Global Positioning System Overview  A good overview of the GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites.
  • SpaceWeather.COM Up-to-date information on solar and geomagnetic activity.
  • Dragon in Space  [Inactive Geocities site now preserved on the "Reocities.com" mirror site.] Un-official but obviously well-connected news of the Chinese space program.

Big Bands and Swing

  • Evergreen Colorado Jazz Festival   Fantastic event in a fantastic setting the last weekend of July every year.
  • Swing TimesSwing and Big Band Events in Los Angeles
  • Tuxedo Junction is devoted to jazz and big band music. Louis Armstrong, The Airmen of Note, Count Basie, Les Brown, Benny Carter, Tommy Dorsey, Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Ted Heath, Woody Herman, Billie Holiday, Harry James, Spike Jones, Stan Kenton, Gene Krupa, Syd Lawrence, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, George Shearing, Chick Webb, and many others are featured on these pages 
  • BILL ELLIOTT SWING ORCHESTRA Contemporary big band headquartered in Los Angeles.
  • George Gee Big Band  Home page of a Basie-style big band led by a Chinese (!) headquartered in NYC.
  • ATOMIC Online  By their own tagline "The Definitive Guide to Retro Culture".
  • Space Age Pop  Devoted to the "Easy Listening" popular music of the 1950s and 1960s.  In the words of the site's home page: "The web's most comprehensive guide to Space Age Pop, Exotica, Lounge, Cocktail, Incredibly Strange, Easy Listening, and other cool music -- and the people who created it."
  • Paul Roth's Music Liner Notes Lots of interesting bios and history from the golden age of jazz and American pop music approximately 1930-1965. Most of the text is taken verbatim from Wikipedia articles, but the bios contain numerous links to audio and video clips.

Spam Control

  • LinkScan Extensive list of addresses to complain about Spam, Frauds & Scams on the Internet
  • Spamhunter's Resource   Information about  "spam". What it is, how to deal with it, and how to get additional help.
  • UXN Spam Combat Comprehensive set of domain lookup tools for tracing spammers.
  • The Spamhaus Project  This database tracks known Spam Support Services and lists the ISPs who keep organized spamming alive by knowingly hosting spam services on their networks.
  • Clueless Mailers Tracks the dramatic increase in spam that is transmitted by mailers and/or "network marketers" using unconfirmed address lists supplied by themselves or their customers. -- includes the extraordinary "Spamdemic" map that reveal the complex linkages and mailing-list-swapping that goes on between marketers, big-time spammers, and major ISPs.
  • Spambot Beware!  How to foil the automated software "spambots" that scan web sites gathering email addresses.
  • SpamCop  Automated spam reporting/complaint site. The way to fight back and get spammers busted quickly. Paste a copy of a received spam into SpamCop's online form and it does the dirty work of tracing the addresses in the headers, eliminates the phony ones and generates a complaint to the correct addresses.

Misc

Directory Reference Sites

Internet Domain Databases

 

The Internet -- 30 Essential Bookmarks

By DAVID COLKER, LA Times Staff Writer
The list that follows was excerpted from an L.A. Times article published on Thursday 12 July 2001 about useful Internet links. All are free to anyone with Internet access.

Area Codes: Type in a city and state at http://www.555-1212.com/geo.jsp to get the area code.

Currency Converter: To change dollars into euros, lira, pounds, yen or any other of more than 180 currencies, go to the continually updated converter at http://www.xe.com/ucc.

Dictionary: Several are available online. At http://www.dictionary.com are definitions from the American Heritage Dictionary and Webster's Revised Unabridged. At http://www.m-w.com you'll find the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

Earthquakes: If a local earthquake hits and you still have electricity, you can check its intensity at pasadena http://pasadena.wr.usgs.gov/shake/ca/index.html.

Encyclopedia: The most complete compendium of general knowledge on the Web is the Encyclopaedia Britannica, at http://www.britannica.com, and it's all free. Microsoft's Encarta, at http://www.encarta.com, is not as comprehensive and parts of it are open only to paid MSN subscribers.

Federal Legislation: The Library of Congress site, at http://thomas.loc.gov , provides a searchable database of bills for the current congressional session. Text, sponsors, voting outcomes (if any) and status are provided.

Game Cheats: Tired of spending hours trying to make your way through a computer or video game? Make it easy on yourself. Cheat. Tips and walk-throughs for hundreds of games are available at http://www.gamefaqs.com.

IRS Forms: Not what you wanted to think about this summer, but in case you got an extension or need to make mid-year filings, you'll find forms to print out at http://www.irs.gov/forms_pubs/i ndex.html.

Literary Classics: Looking for some beach reading you can take with you a few pages at a time? Or do you need to quickly look up a Shakespeare passage? Project Gutenberg, begun in 1971, now contains more than 4,000 downloadable fiction and reference books, all in the public domain. The site is at http://www .gutenberg.net.

Maps: For driving directions or to pinpoint an address in the U.S., go to MapQuest, at http://www.mapquest.com, or Maps on Us, at http://www.mapsonus.com. At MapQuest, you can get an aerial picture of many locales.

Metric Converter: In this era of globalization, an instant converter to change, for example, feet into meters or Fahrenheit to Celsius is one of the handiest of all Web tools. Some of the easiest online converters to use are at http://www.worldwidemetric.com/metcal.htm and http://www .admiralmetals.com/metric_conv.htm.

Movies: Search for information on the Internet Movie Database, at http://www .imdb.com, by titles, actors, writers, directors, producers and crew members. Loads of links make this an invaluable research tool for cinemaholics. For current local show times, enter your ZIP Code under Find Showtimes at movies.yahoo.com.

Quotations: A 1919 edition of Bartlett's Quotations, the classic in the field, is available online at http://www.bartleby.com/100. For more contemporary quotes, Simpson's Contemporary Quotations, at http://www.bartleby.com/63, covers 1950-1988.

Restaurants: The popular Zagat guides to 45 locales, including the Los Angeles area, are now online. You can search by cuisine, quality, price, neighborhood and other factors at http://www.zagat.com.

Road Conditions: This is rarely a big deal in Southern California except for wintertime, when some mountain highways can be closed because of snow or require the use of tire chains. To check conditions, go to http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo and enter the state highway number.

Smog: To get current readings for areas in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, go to the clickable map at http://www.aqmd.gov/smog/areamap.html.

Sports Scores: For the latest, go to the ESPN site, at http://www.espn.com, and click on the sport of your choice in the left-most column. Alternatively, at cbs.sports line.com, you can find scores by clicking on a sport at the top.

State Legislature: To identify your state representatives, enter your address at http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/a csframeset9text.htm for the name of your Assembly member or at http://www.sen.ca.gov/~newsen /senators/yoursenator.htp for your senator. For more information on the Legislature, go to http://www.state.ca.us and click on Government.

Stock Quotes: At http://www.yahoo.com, click on Finance/Quotes (under Media) and enter the stock symbol. If you don't know the symbol for a company, you can get it by using the Symbol Lookup feature.

Sunrise/Sunset: The U.S. Naval Observatory provides sunrise and sunset times for any day from the years of 1700 to 2100 at http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs /RS_OneDay. The listings are for more than 22,000 cities and towns; if you're in a rural area or foreign country, you can get the times if you know your longitude and latitude.

Surf: For links to conditions, forecasts and beach Web cams in Southern California, go to http://www.surfrider.org/Cal5.htm, sponsored by the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation. A government site with a less detailed forecast is at http://www.nwsla.noaa.gov/LAXNSHLOX.

Telephone Directory: At http://www.switchboard.com you can enter whatever information you have about a person's name and address to look up a telephone number. If that doesn't work, try the similar service at people.yahoo.com.

Television: As if you didn't waste enough time on the Internet. You can check out customized TV listings at http://www.tvguide.com. Just type in your ZIP Code.

Thesaurus: Roget's famed reference book is at http://www.thesaurus.com.

Time: To look up the time in another part of the world, go to http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock. The correct time (give or take four-tenths of a second) anywhere in the U.S. is at http://www.time.gov.

Traffic: You can check out traffic maps of Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Inland Empire at http://traffic.tann.net/Frame05.html traffic.tann.net/Frame05.html. The maps show the general traffic speed on freeways and the location of "incidents" that are slowing it down. Moving your cursor over an "incident" gives you a brief explanation of what's going on there.

Transportation: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority sponsors a highly useful site at http://www.mta.net with a Trip Planner for bus trips, subway information and links to community bus systems throughout Southern California. The downtown L.A. DASH bus system is explained at http://www.ladottransit.com/dash. For Metrolink commuter train schedules, go to http://www.metrolinktrains.com. Finally, Amtrak schedules and reservation service are accessible at http://www.amtrak.com.

Weather: The home pages sponsored by regional offices of the National Weather Service are far from elegant, but they provide localized forecasts. For Los Angeles and Ventura counties, go to http://www.nwsla.noaa.gov/zones/LAXZFPLOX. Orange County and Inland Empire forecasts are at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/afos/LAX/ZFP/ LAXZFPSGX. For national weather, satellite pictures and radar images, try http://www.accuweather.com or http://www.intellicast.com.

World Facts: Few have access to CIA files, but everyone on the Internet can obtain the agency's highly useful basic research on countries around the world. The latest edition of the CIA World Factbook is at http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/f actbook.

ZIP Codes: The Postal Service ZIP Code finder is at http://www.usps.gov/ncsc/lookups. It's not the most user-friendly tool available on the Web--the directions are in governmentese--but it does the trick.


* * * L.A. Times staff writer David Colker covers personal technology.

 

 

Multi-Lingual Font Test Pages
Yahoo - Traditional (Big5) Chinese http://chinese.yahoo.com/
Yahoo - Simplified (GB) Chinese http://cn.yahoo.com/
Yahoo - Korean http://kr.yahoo.com/
Yahoo - Japanese http://www.coithienthai.com/

Unicode Test
Multiple Languages on One Page

http://www.anfyteam.com/