There are literally billions of sites on the web. Many of them are absolute garbage, some are mission critical for business, some are just plain fun and others are really useful. For the first in the Super Seven Series, we’re looking at seven sites that are super useful (click the images to go there). I could probably do a Super Seven: Useful Sites every hour for a month and not cover the top 5% of super useful sites on the web, so hit the comment section below to add your own.
I know, weird name, but Zamzar is truly one of the most useful sites out there. They literally offer the ability to convert just about every file format in the document, audio and video categories into any other format in those categories. You can upload files or point Zamzar to a URL for your source file. Once the file is converted, you get a download link in your email. This couldn’t be simpler and I’ve always been impressed with their results. Zamzar will do for free what would cost hundred of dollars using proprietary software.
If you’ve not heard of Khan Academy yet, you’ve got to check it out. There are hundreds of subjects that you can learn through their courses – all for free. It is staggering to me the volume of courses they offer and the fact that it is free is tremendous. It is largely geared towards standard “school stuff,” meaning most of the subjects you could pick up from elementary through high school, but they also have some unique classes (such as computer programming) and a pretty extensive offering through partner organizations such as the British Museum, American Museum of Natural History, NASA and a lot more. You can learn everything from kindergarten math to differential calculus or the ins and outs of macroeconomics and the art history of medieval Europe. It is an amazing site for homeschooling families or anyone who wants to learn something new or brush up on something old.
Worn On TV
Okay, I admit, I don’t use this site very much, but I think it is absolutely fascinating and – as the dad of a pre-teen girl – I can see how useful it can be. It did, however, help me track down the Haversack black shooting jacket worn by Dr. Watson in Sherlock (no longer available – dang!). This is a seriously good example to me of just how much information is available online. Heck, I thought it was cool when we could finally look up recipes from our favorite restaurant dishes – now we’re even able to find the very clothes our favorite TV characters wear. Pretty cool and definitely one of the top useful sites.
No one likes sorting through half a dozen menus on the phone trying to get to someone who can actually help you. Get Human gives you the best phone number to get through to someone – the right someone – as quickly as possible. You can also pay them ($1) to wait on hold for you and then call you when a representative connects! For $9, you can even just tell them your problem and they will do all the holding and talking for you! I’ve never used either of these, so I can tell you the ins and outs, but they sound pretty dang cool.
Ever sit there waiting for a site or service to load and wonder what the heck is going on? Down Detector will tell you what sites and services are down, give a graph of the past 24 hours of service history and even a live outage map. They cover every major ISP, lots of secondary ISPs, sites like Google, PayPal, Amazon and services such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Hulu and lots, lots more. Down Detector is comprehensive for major services and sites, but what about the blog from your high school best friend? Down Detector doesn’t care about them, but you do, so head over to Down For Everyone Or Just Me. You can plug in the web address of any site on the web and it will tell you if it’s up or down. No cool maps or graphs, but it will tell you whether your bestie’s blog is down or whether it’s just you.
Everyone needs a little help from time to time with their computer. Sometimes you just need that friend, relative or kid down the street to be able to see what you see on your screen to help you through your issue. While I’m personally a big fan of TeamViewer, join.me is lightweight, secure, and fast. It also gives the option for you to allow your remote person to have control of your computer (you can disconnect them at any time) so they’re not having to walk you through the 52 steps it takes to get you fixed. It’s powered on the backend by LogMeIn, one of the largest and most trusted names in remote support. It’s also great if you’re just looking to do a quick meeting with folks online.
DuoLingo is like Khan Academy for foreign language. It offers excellent online courses for sixteen different languages. It includes common languages like Spanish and French and languages a bit less common like Irish or Ukranian. DuoLingo is completely free. They use images to teach you new vocabulary words and walks you through pronunciation and grammar in clever, easy-to-understand lessons. Throughout the lessons, DuoLingo is also learning – it recognizes words you’re having the most trouble with and gives you the option to take extra lessons to help leap the hurdle. With apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, you can learn on the go from wherever you are – brilliant!
These are some of the coolest sites, but there are thousands of others, some of which I’ll cover in later Super Sevens, but I’d love to get your feedback on these sites or others in the comments below.