Internet answering machine. If you have only one phone line
and you’re connected to the Internet a lot, you’re probably missing some
phone calls. Now you can surf to your heart’s content without having to
sign up for a second phone line. A free download called the Internet answering machine answers your
calls when you’re online and lets callers leave a brief message, which
you can hear through your computer speakers.
Rate your boss. If you ever wanted the boss to know what you
thought of his/her management style — but didn’t want to get fired for
your opinions — head to ImproveNow. There you can fill out an
anonymous multiple-choice assessment on your company and boss, offering
constructive criticism. Then the manager is e-mailed and invited to look
at the results (in the form of a report card) and is given a list of
ImproveNow’s recommended resources for improving areas that need it.
Want to save some money? Find the best rates for checking
accounts, automobile loans, mortgages and credit cards from Bankrate.com. The site
surveys 4,000 financial institutions in numerous cities nationwide to
help you locate the lowest charges.
What’s a dollar worth? Not much, you say. But what’s fun is to
find out how much a dollar’s worth of goods or services in 1913, 1940,
or whenever would cost today. Or you can compare prices in one year to
any other year, thanks to the CPI
calculator from the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank.
Kids from about 8 to 11 can learn economic lessons by running a virtual lemonade
stand at Cool Math for
Kids, while older students may enjoy a pretend stock market game
called Buy Lo/Sell Hi from Fleet
Cyberspace lost and found. Whether you’ve lost that pearl ring
given to you by your favorite Aunt Jill or your 8-year-old German
shepherd has wandered away from home, who are you going to call to see
if they’ve been found? Surprisingly, many people are turning to the
Internet. Specifically to the Lost &
Found Directory. It has developed links to animal shelters, radio
stations, airports, newspapers and law enforcement agencies in 140
countries to help you find what you’ve lost — or to aid you in locating
the owner of whatever you’ve found.
Her car. Women who would like to know more about their cars
have an ally in HerAuto.com. It
contains lots of articles on everything from negotiating a fair
insurance settlement when your car’s been totaled to buying a car on the
Web. You can test your auto IQ and take part in polls, such as the 10
Sweet 16. It’s an exciting time for teens, but much dreaded by
parents — the months leading up to getting that first driver’s license.
Drive Home Safe can help. It
features a free teen driver-training manual for parents that contains 40
practical lessons and a free parent’s survival kit, as well as advice to
heed from teens to parents.
Getting away from it all. Planning a vacation? Concierge.com can help. It provides
insiders’ guides to several large cities around the world (Barcelona,
London, L.A. and Sydney among them), plenty of travel info from Conde
Nast Traveler magazine, excellent sections on a number of travel topics
(the one on taking kids on trips is especially good) and the opportunity
to e-mail questions to travel experts.
Know thyself. What makes you tick? Answer some questions and
find out, promises Rate
Crafty fun. Elementary-school kids will enjoying making a model of the
1903 Wright Flyer from a couple of Styrofoam meat trays.
Old Yeller. Did Henry Ford really utter that line about
customers being able to have a new Ford in any color they wanted as long
as it was black? Well, he soon learned that people did want a choice of
colors. And someone with an affection for automobiles painted yellow has
put up a site in their honor, The Yellow Car Page.
It’s mostly a gallery of old (and some new) cars that are the color of
sunshine — including a 1939 Dodge, a 1955 Corvette and a 1982 hearse.
Sing along. What do “Home on the Range,” “The Happy Wanderer”
and “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” have in common? If you ever went to
summer camp, you probably sang them all. Find the words at Campfire Song Book,
which offers lyrics in several categories — religious, traditional,
short classics, pop classics and audience participation.
Seeing orange. ‘Tis the season for Jack-o’-lanterns. Learn to
carve a creative gourd at Pumpkin
Carving 101. Or follow some of the choices on ByRoads magazine’s
five pages of Jack-o’-lantern