Tech talk

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Technology is growing by leaps and bounds, day by day. But many of us are so engrossed in our daily routine that we fail to notice most of what is happening around us. Its impossible to keep track of everything that is happening. Yet when we come across certain things, we wish that we could have known about this earlier. Tech Talk serves the purpose. No talk about gadgets here.

Originally the idea was to  post elaborate details on operating social media like whatsapp, as I came  across quite a few people, who did not understand it and were at the mercy of the kids at home. Thats reserved for future posts if I have any takers 🙂 .

For now I am concentrating on the useful websites that I came across, which I felt I could have known earlier. You too never knew them, did you?

Lets get started!!!

1) Search Engines

Immediately Google comes to mind for most of us, as it is the most widely used search engine, followed by Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing . Then there is Russia’s  Yandex, China’s Baidu & Newyork based AOL. 

In Ask.com  you can ask questions and possible answers are provided, with a large list of other related queries. It is popular for accomodating colloquial language.

Dogpile is a metasearch engine which fetches results from other search engines and presents them in a combined form to the user. Apart from these there are numerous other search engines operating all around the world, though some are country or region specific like the japanese goo .

The purpose of touching upon search engines is to introduce these 3 search engines which caught my attention

Know more

1) Wolfram alpha

This is an online search that provides direct answers to queries rather than putting forth a list of webpages that may possibly have the solution. It is the most informative sites online. It can provide comprehensive results based on computational facts, but cannot answer queries requiring a narrative response.

What Wolfram Alpha says

With deep knowledge about pop culture, personal finance, nutrition, health and countless other topics, Wolfram|Alpha can answer complex factual questions at home, at school or in the office. Look up Oscar winners, compute nutritional values for meals, keep tabs on your stock portfolio, check the weather or convert recipe measurements—Wolfram|Alpha’s powerful algorithms and massive knowledgebase can help with everyday tasks from cooking to homework to changing a tire. When work is over, turn to Wolfram|Alpha to answer questions about books, movies and television shows; analyze personal health and exercise; or just tell a joke.”

 

Wolfram alpha is much more than a search engine. There are so many  cool things you can do with it and listing everyone of them here is absolutely impossible. Just get down to the list of  options provided below the search bar, and start exploring. You can get info on practically anything under the sun.

 Try it out here. A few of them are listed below.

a) Nutrition

Enter any  name of food and it provides nutritional information. You can create nutrition labels as well as compare two foods by adding  vs in between.

 

b) Find out where you are

If you type ‘Where am I’ in the search box, it will track you down using your IP address. It will give you  your location as well the map. It can also provide you information on any IP number that you may enter.

c ) Solving Maths

It can solve elementary maths as well as find factors, plot a function, solve differential equation  and much more.

 

d) Geographical facts

You can find out a location using longitude and latitude, generate world map for a particular statistic, like population. Get researching on historical monuments or specific locations.

 

e) Finances

You can get details on stock markets like analysing and comparing stocks, convert currencies and find out tax deductions. You can also compute interest on loans and mortgages, calculate the necessary income for an equivalent standard of living when relocating to a new place. For instance if you enter ‘moving from Chennai to Doha at a salary of QR 10,000’, you get info on cost of living comparisons, population, climate comparison etc.

6) Generates password

Upon entering Alphanumeric password in the search bar, it generates a strong 8 character password and also gives a list of alternate passwords.

2) Duckduckgo

This is the search engine that does not track you. It does not store IP numbers and does not collect or share personal information. It offers users genuine privacy and options for customisations, though it does use cookies where deemed necessary.

But if you are used to getting  all your information from google, then you may not be convinced. Still if you value your privacy, this one may be for you. Get it here.

It is also available as an app in both android play store  and apple store.

3) Qwant

This is a French search engine, which also values your privacy. It does not use cookies, or collect browsing data. Within 4 years, it has grown to be used by 21 million people across 31 countries. It has 31 different search category like music, health, cars etc apart from the standard ones.

The company believes that Artificial intelligence can be up and working even without collecting user details. It has also gone a step further, by making its source code available to third party data protection agencies, for them to continually verify if there is data breach. It has been integrated with mozilla firefox.

What Qwant  says

Designed and developed in France, Qwant is the first European search engine with its own indexing technology, which protects the privacy of its users by refusing all tracking devices, including for advertising. Contrary to the main search engines on the market, Qwant does not install cookies on the user browser, does not want to know who the user is or what he/she does, and does not keep individual logs of user queries. Qwant’s friendly interface allows users to find answers efficiently from the Web and social networks. It respects neutrality. Qwant considers all indexed websites and services with no discrimination, without altering the ranking of results according to its own interests.”

That is a powerful statement, considering the present status on privacy being handled by search engines and social media. Europe takes its privacy very seriously! Qwant becomes the only Western search engine to be available in China from Jan 2018. Try it here.

It is  also available as Qwant mobile on google play as well as iOS, providing a secure browser. They also have a dedicated search engine, Qwant Junior for kids which filter out any inappropriate content.

Qwant has created a dedicated search engine for music with 20 to 30 million songs indexed so far. uses artificial intelligence and machine language to automate the discovery, filtering, and display on one single page of all the data related to a musician (discography, news, events, videos, photos…) as well as links to stream their music from Deezer, YouTube or Spotify.

Qwant Music also lets an artist customize their profile page, have access to their site analytics, add their own content and even directly sell their songs and tickets to events. (Courtesy-forbes.com)

Qwant also has a dedicated map search, Qwant maps which is in the beta stage. Qwant maps give details of restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacy, banks etc. available  at places selected on the map.

 

2) Manualslib

Ever lost the manual for an important gadget and you don’t know where to look up for it. Here’s Manualslib, the ultimate online manuals collection. The site says it has 2.5 million manuals, relating to 48000 brands uploaded, which are absolutely free to view or download. There is no need for registration. You can choose to either download the entire manual or specific pages that you need. Get it here.manualslib

You can also share the documents on social networks, compare specifications of two different products as well as look up troubleshooting.

3)Wayback machine

I came across this some time back and was pleasantly surprised. Two of the websites which I had been closely following are no longer hosted, and I was pretty upset that I lost track of so much valuable content. Come, Wayback machine!

It is a digital archive of the world wide web created by a non profit organisation called the Internet Archive. It is a huge digital library offering free universal access to books, movies, music  and billions of archived web pages.

Its software crawls the web and downloads all publicly accessible  webpages, creating archives. Data restricted by the publisher or stored in inaccessible databases are not available, but you can find pretty much everything else. 

You can use it to view dead websites or dated news reports. You can also  use it to view how a particular website looked few years back.

Go to the internet archive’s website, archive.org

In the search bar, type the keywords or the website URL. You can select the name of the site from the search results that appear. When you click on the website, a page appears with black bar graphs showing the years and below that a calender for 12 months.

Wayback machine screen shot

The black bars show the number of times the page was archived by the wayback machine. When you click on a particular year, the 12 month calender for that year appears.

Click on the colored date to access the website on that particular date. White dates cannot be accessed as it has not been archived on that day. Clicking on a date in August 2000, took me to the website.

geo cities website Screenshot

 

So using the wayback machine you can access long lost websites.

4)Unfurlr

Time and again, we come across short links in our mails, social media etc and we dare not to open it fearing a hack or a spam. Unfurlr comes to our rescue. You just need to paste the link in the ‘Check this url’ box and the details of that link are revealed.

Unfurler tool image

 

Unfurlr is a product of Mailchimp, which is a well known  email and marketing services platform. They have a disclaimer which states that this product is in the experimental stage, and that they rely on outside services to give their results.

You can go through their disclaimer for more info. Nevertheless you can use it to get an idea of what is behind the short link, that we come across often. Get unfurlr here. 

5)Temp.cool

This is a free secure and temporary messaging service, which does not require registration. On typing in your message, a url is generated. Any recipient receiving the link to this url can access the message. It gets destroyed automatically once it is read.

This service can come in handy when you need to share sensitive details like bank account details, passwords etc, to close friends or relatives. Get it here.  For more details, glance through their FAQ section.

temp.cool screenshot

 

6) Pdf drive

This is a vast resource of free e-books in pdf format. Books are sorted under various heads and can be downloaded as a pdf file. For instance browsing under Fiction and Literature, I came across quite a number of Classic books as well as recent ones. There is no limit on downloading, and the site does not contain any ads. Try it here.

Pdf drive

 

7) Radio garden

Radio garden is an online live radio service, featuring radios across the globe. Clicking on the play button on the site opens up a globe with lots of green dots, which indicate the radio stations. By using your mouse control/ fingers,  you can move to any part of the globe and listen to the radios available there.

There are another two options – jingles and history. You can listen to jingles by clicking on it, while history lets you listen to specific  programmes aired in the past. Get radio garden  here.

Radio garden

 

8) Cymath

Cymath provides step by step solution to all kinds of maths problems from algebra to calculus and integration. You have to just choose the topic and type in your problem using the key pad provided. Get it here. It is also available as an app in iOS and android.

cymath

 

9) Coolmath games 

This is a very cool site, with lots of brain training activities. They have a number  of options to choose from for every age group. You can try your hands at logic games, memory games, puzzles and more. Definitely a fun way to train and exercise our brains. Get it here.

coolmathgames

They also have quite a few other maths related sites for primary school kids, parents & teachers which also can be accessed through the above link.

Do check out their coolmath4kids, which teaches the very basic maths to small kids in interesting ways. Added to that are lots of quizzes and games on maths.

10) Math is fun

Still on Maths, this is a very good site for kids to understand the basic maths concepts. It covers all topics right from pre-kg to grade 12.

Everything from counting for kindergarden kids to calculus, probability, permutations for secondary grade kids are explained in an easily understandable way. This one definitely will make kids feel maths is fun. Try it out here.

 mathis fun

11) Science for kids

This one deals with Science, Maths and English in a very enjoyable way for elementary and primary kids. There are quite a few experiments and project ideas for kids participating in school exhibitions. Other than that, there are a lot of interesting options to get kids hooked on, like games and quizzes. Explore it here.

science for kids

12) Scribble maps

With scribble maps you can create your own maps. Using the tool bar provided you can mark pointers, draw or erase lines and do a lot of cool stuff. On the bottom right corner, you have options to view the map in google earth view, street view etc. Though the options are limited in the free version, its more than enough for normal usage. Get it here. You can look up online videos on how to operate it.

scribble maps

13) Supercook

Supercook is a recipe search site, which lists out recipes which you can prepare using the things that are available with you. There is huge list of options on the left.

As you select the ingredients that you have on hand, recipes that you can make out of it appear on the right. And you will come across so many new recipes that you haven’t even heard of.

They have a very huge database of recipes and suggested recipes are mostly from very popular sites like allrecipes, food network etc. You can filter your search based on courses, cuisines and diet types.

You can also focus more on some key ingredients. They have a very handy help option at the top right corner, which will guide you on how to go about. Overall it can become your meal planner. Get it here.

supercook

14) Eat this much

Welcome your automatic meal planner, eatthismuch. This is an awesome meal planner for any kind of diet. There are a host of options for customisation, once you select your diet. You can also calculate the calories you need for a day, based on the details that you type in.

For  this calorie value it suggests a meal plan. You can customise it to any number of meals in a day. If you are not happy with the suggestion, you can regenerate a new meal plan.

And the best part is it gives you the recipe too, with nutrition details. A must try for people looking for easy ways to manage their diet. Get it here

eatthismuch

 

15) Scratch

Scratch is a free block based visual programming language, with a huge online community  for children primarily in the age group 8-16.

It has been developed by MIT media lab. It teaches kids to program their own interactive stories, games and animations and share them online.

Apart from this, students can use the available programs to learn maths, history and even photography. It also helps teachers to create conceptual and visual lessons.

They even have ScratchJr, for kids in the age group 5-7. Scratch has been translated into more than 70 languages. You can check out their statistics page to get details on how many people are using scratch.

If you are new, get down to the ideas tab where you will find all the tutorials. The explore tab brings up a lot of options for you to get started. Now create your own projects through the create tab. Get scratch here. For more details look up their FAQ section. You can even look up online videos on how to get started.

scratch programming

 

16) Colourlovers

This is a creative community where people from around the world create and share colors, palettes, and patterns, discuss the latest trends and explore colorful articles. You have the option to browse, create colors, palettes, patterns or shapes apart from getting to know the trending patterns and colors.

The palettes give you tons of color combination options, with the hex code and rgb value. They also have useful tools like photocopa, which can extract the colors from a photo uploaded by you. There is also a community with forums, groups and a blog that talks about colors in real life. In short, this site is everything related to color. Look up colourlovers.com .

image of colourlovers website

17) USnews

Aspiring to study in the US? Then a glance at this site is a must. USnews provides up to date information on the best graduate schools in the US, with rankings. Clicking on a university name gives you more details of the university like admission details, academics concentration, cost and career.

They also have write ups on graduate school advice like applying to graduate school, paying for graduate school, information on GRE etc. There is also a section on featured advice dealing with things like ‘what a fellowship is and why it matters’ .

Apart from this, they also have details of top ranking universities around the globe as well as details about online colleges. Visit USnews for a thorough knowledge on graduate education.

Image of USnews website

 

18) Young ocean explorers

This is a website by a father-daughter duo from New Zealand. On their mission to inspire kids to love the ocean, they have created an amazing website with cute little high-quality videos that capture the kids’ imagination.

Steve and Riley passionately explore the ocean and give us lots of insights into marine life, strongly emphasizing environmental education. Most of the kids’ crazy questions like “Where do creatures poo in the ocean”? are answered.

Kids will definitely fall in love with the ocean. Have a look at it here.

young ocean explorers website image

 

19) Howcast

Do you have a lot of questions in life? Then this is the site for you. Howcast provides lots of short expert hosted videos on all our ‘hows’ under various heads from arts and crafts to parenting and love and relationships. Want to learn ‘how to knit’? or’ how to create a  gravity-defying cake? ‘ you have it all here. Get down to the ‘everything on Howcast’ tab in the footer where you can find the list of all videos available on this site. You can learn a lot on this site. Get it here.

screen shot of howcast website

20)Artsonia

Artsonia is the World’s largest student art museum. It’s a free, safe, educational program designed to connect parents and families with their child’s creative activities at school.

Artsonia which was launched in 2000 is now a place where over 8 million pieces of artwork are published every year. Students and teachers can easily create a digital portfolio with student artwork which can then be shared with family and friends.

Parents can also take photos of their child’s artwork and upload it to their child’s online art gallery on Artsonia.com. Once the artwork is published on Artsonia, child artists can enter contests, family members can leave comments for the artist and order keepsakes with their child’s artwork on it. Try it out here

Screenshot of artsonia webpage

It is also available as an app in Google play and app store.

21) Virtual Musical instruments

This is such a cool site enabling you to learn and play a host of musical instruments like the guitar, drums, piano, etc. No need to download any software. Just click on the musical instrument you want and follow the directions for the keys. Even if you are not trained, you can definitely enjoy playing and creating 🙂  . Get it here.

screenshot of virtual musical instruments webpage

…to be continued

Hema Magesh signature

6 Responses

  1. Magesh says:

    Excellent compilation with varied information on websites. Many of them are unheard of but interesting stuff. Good luck for your site to enter into popular sites in Supercook :-)😊

  2. Nuzhath Fatima says:

    Wonderful it’s indeed a useful information .

  3. Santhana says:

    Huge collection of information abt all… very useful ..thk u

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