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Portal to portal. Internet portal sites hope to draw you back
again
and again by offering convenient jumping-off places for Web exploration
and
searches. Some are easier to use and more useful than others. href=http://www.geoportals.com>Geoportals offer a surprising number
and variety of links that are well-organized and include the leading
sites for
most subjects (including e-commerce sites). href=http://www.geocollege.com>Geocollege, for instance, has links
to
college guides, test preparation, college search, financial aid
resources,
college life, online universities and study resources.

Geotunes Internet music directory
lets
you find MP3 selections, shop for CDs, download MP3-capable software
players, find sheet music, Web radio stations, song lyrics, music news
and
updates, music genres and more.

There are more than 30 Geoportals, including href=http://www.geotravels.com>Geotravels, href=http://www.geowheels.com>Geowheels, href=http://www.geomapping.com>Geomapping href=http://www.geotraffic.com>Geotraffic and href=http://www.geophones.com>Geophones.

There’s a big downside to these useful sites, though, for those who
have
their browser set to ask whether or not to accept cookies at a site.
This is
the most persistently annoying site I’ve seen in a long time when you
click
“no.” I spent most of my time at each site clicking “no” over and over
and
over again to avoid having the banner ad company attach any cookies.

Construct a creature, watch him go. It seems so simple — what
looks
like a praying mantis built with an Erector set is prancing back and
forth
across your screen at Sodaplay. And
you’re
invited to create and control your own model “out of masses and
springs.”
That sounded sorta intimidating to me, since I’m completely
non-mechanical.
But it turned out to be like trying to eat just one peanut — you can’t
stop.
Using clear directions, you make your figure (or you can also use one of
the
site’s models), then you make it bounce, walk or roll. All I can say is,
don’t try this at work –
you’re guaranteed to get nothing done all day and you’ll be getting all
your co-workers hooked on it, too.
Lots of fun here for
older kids as well as adults.

Finding baseball facts fast. Want to know how many times Sammy
Sosa
walked during the 1999 season? Who won the World Series in 1905? Just
ask
your Major League Baseball question and get an answer at href=http://sportssearch.foxsports.com/factcity/factcity>Sports Geniuses

Sports Search. By fall, the site hopes to include all major sports,
not
just baseball.

Speaking the Net’s language. When you’re relatively new to
exploring
the Web, it takes awhile to understand everything that’s going on, and
often
this process is slowed down because of hundreds of terms you’ve never
heard
before. Or maybe you’ve heard about MP3, for instance, but aren’t really

sure what it is. If you don’t have a convenient kid to ask, href=http://www.netlingo.com>NetLingo is a good second-best. It’s an

online dictionary that defines thousands of Net-related words such as
A/S/L
access, FIDO, Quicktime, flame and Xmodem. Unless you connect to the
Internet
through Web TV or AOL, you can also keep a copy of NetLingo on your
screen as you surf.

And baby makes three. The goal of href=http://www.bouncingbaby.com>Bouncing Baby is to help new
parents
and parents-to-be find the top websites for anything baby-related –
baby
names, showers (gifts, games, traditions), support groups and help
guides
for dads as well as moms, parenting tips and experiences, safety recalls
(is
that used playpen safe?) and more. Bouncing Baby ranks the top five
sites in
each category by stars, then gives additional related sites.

It’s spring! And that means Mother Nature really puts on a
spectacular flower show. To get ideas for your own yard, take a virtual
visit to the Dallas
Arboretum
. And to learn more about trees, shrubs, vines, perennial
plants — more than 750 species of plants in all — Salisbury State
University’s
online
arboretum
is especially helpful for those in the mid-Atlantic
region. It
lists plants by common and botanic name, provides photos of them and
lets
you click to see the plant’s flowers, fruits, buds, bark and silhouette.
A
great resource for anyone doing any landscaping.

Learning about finances. Financial literacy sounds so dull.
It’s more
fun to invest in the latest Internet stock IPO and watch your money grow
and
grow. Well, that’s what lots of folks thought until the last couple of
weeks
when they discovered that what goes up and come down — quickly.
Although it’s called the GE
Center for
Financial Learning
, this site devoted to promoting financial
literacy is
objective and run by an independent advisory board. It’s a good place to

learn about the ins and outs of retirement or estate planning, saving
for
education, managing your taxes, dealing with the IRS (ouch!), how a DUI
affects your insurance rates and lots more. The site offers a free
online
personal finance course that’s self-paced.

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