Free Stuff. When you’re looking for something for nothing, the
place to find thousands of free offers is on the Web. Whether you’d like
a sample of the latest breakfast cereal, an over-the-counter medication,
compact discs, CD-ROMS, mouse pads, catalogs, magazines, posters,
recipes, free computer games, graphics and software or even freebies you
never imagined existed, you’ll find that someone, somewhere, probably
wants to send it to you. Find out about all the things you can get free
at the Freesite, Wormdahl’s Freebies and Free Stuff to Clutter Your
House With
. Cool
lets you print out discount coupons for stores such as Kmart, T.J. Maxx
and Radio Shack, as well as online merchants and restaurants. And if
you’d like even more freebies, here’s a big collection of links to other sites
that specialize in stuff that’s offered free to folks on the Net.

Don’t Know Much About Geography. If you saw a map of the
United States without any lettering on it, could you pick out all the
states and then name their capitals? Well, you can find out at the interactive quizzes
of E Pluribus
, an American studies site for Dutch students. See how much
attention you paid in fourth grade by identifying American cities, states and
. Although some of the questions are multiple-choice, they
aren’t always as easy as you might imagine. My favorite is the
four-level All-America Quiz
where you identify pictures of famous people (easy), buildings (easy),
state flags (not so simple) and dates certain events happened. (I’ll
confess that as one of the only three people in America who didn’t see
the movie “Titanic,” and who totally ignored all the hype about it, I
missed the date the ship sank. But I got pretty good on state flags.)
The questions change regularly, so you can visit more than once. Handy
for teachers and homeschoolers is the USA Quiz, which can be downloaded.

Get Paid To Surf The Web. That’s the promise of If you sign up
and download a 1-inch-high “view bar” of ads, the company says it will
pay you 50 cents an hour for using the Internet just as you always do,
but with the ads displayed (they can also be minimized, but you don’t
get any moolah when they are). The limit’s 40 hours, or $20 worth per
month. While not a huge sum, it would, in many cases, just about take
care of your ISP bill. The company also plans to pay you 5 to 10 cents
extra for others who sign up because you referred them to the site. Will
it work? So far, they’ve gotten more than 250,000 people to do it. The
“pyramid scheme” part makes me a little leery, but for now, it seems to
be working. And they promise to keep your information confidential.

Live Everest Expedition. Beginning tomorrow, April 27, Lost on Everest: The Search
for Mallory and Irvine
will debut. It follows a team of
high-altitude mountain climbers (and a NOVA TV crew) who are searching
the north side of Mount Everest for the remains of two British climbers,
who, it’s thought, may have reached the summit of the mountain in 1924.
That would have been 29 years in advance of Sir Edmund Hillary and
Tenzing Norgay. How will they prove it? One of the mountaineers carried
a camera that they hope to locate. Being able to follow such high-tech
archaeology as it happens is one of the things that makes the Net the
fascinating place it is.

It’s Puzzling. At Puzzability, you
can find all kinds of mental stimulation — from a hangman-style game
called Common
, which is new five days a week, to a quotation
to crosswords, word search and visual puzzles.

What’s The Score? The Service
Corps of Retired Executives
helps small-business owners on the Web
as well as in person at the non-profit’s offices around the country. Get
counseling by e-mail by accessing a list of 585 SCORE counselors and
selecting one with just the expertise you need. The site itself is
filled with articles and quizzes on all aspects of running a small
business, and you can also sign up for a free e-mail newsletter to stay
up-to-date on the latest trends and tips for small businesses. New is a
Business Owners Toolkit with info on legal issues, taxes and accounting.

Click on the 35th anniversary icon near the bottom right of the home
page to access a list of what SCORE considers the 35 hottest Web sites
for small-business owners.

Oink. That’s how we say a pig’s squeal sounds in English. But
what about other languages? What does a pig “say” in Danish or Afrikaans
or Ukrainian? At Sounds
of the World’s Animals
, you can see and hear the sounds of 36
animals — ranging from bee to zebra — in 33 languages. Whereas an
American or British cow may moo, a
Dutch cow says boeh and a Thai bovine goes maw maw.

Chernobyl Virus. With the CIH
popping up again on the heels of Melissa, this should be a
wake-up call to every Web surfer and computer owner who swaps disks with
others (or takes disks back and forth between home and office machines).
If you don’t have anti-virus software, buy some right away. If you do,
update it at least once a month at the software company’s Web site. McAfee Virus Scan and Norton’s AntiVirus are the
most-recommended anti-virus software. The past few days, both sites have
been overloaded with computer users trying to download a fix for the
Chernobyl, or CIH, virus, but you can get a free fix at Network Associates.

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