Wednesday, December 17, 2008
100 top sites for the year ahead
So here are our 100 revised best sites to see you through the next couple of years. They're organised roughly along those lines.
Now as easy as falling off a log.
for reading web feeds. Smart and clean.
free, and most importantly spam-free, blogging.
A newly revived category, thanks to Chrome and Safari.
newly out of beta, though Windows-only.
infinitely malleable, with fewer security holes.
with an emphasis on linking to social networks.
growing in importance for mobiles.
Apple's contender; a leader in mobile web access.
Everyone needs some relaxation.
amid the financial crisis, Alex the banker remains reliably self-interested.
the cartoon you'll also find in that printed newspaper thing.
The Joy of Tech
well-drawn, witty near-daily takes on Apple and computing life.
"Stick-figure strip featuring humour about technology, science, mathematics and relationships."
The main change from last time: whatever you want to do, wherever you are.
build timelines and add text, pictures and videos.
everything in one place, from documents to presentations.
online task/to-do management.
your to-do lists, news, weather and photos on one page.
create presentations online. Very slick.
convert files from one format to another.
A field where handheld, bedroom and Flash games are becoming mainstream
reportage, with breadth, if not always depth.
The Independent GamingSource
a great place to pick up on tomorrow's breakthrough hits.
still by far the best site on handheld gaming.
industry touchstone and useful one-stop buying guide.
Jay is Games
passionate, well-designed and knowledgeable.
where programmers gather.
The Daily WTF
daily despatches from the coding warzone.
Joel On Software
essays by a former Microsoftie.
hyperlocal information including planning alerts, crime and public safety, traffic, local news and postings to
winner of the Show Us A Better Way competition.
British and Irish Legal Information Institute
a database of laws. Only survives hand-to-mouth on voluntary donations; where's yours?
What Do They Know?
makes filing a Freedom Of Information request as easy as sending an email. Too easy, some in power think.
all the detail on your area you could ever want.
Services like these blossom with a mobile phone that can access the internet
"share your future travel plans with friends and colleagues", then find out if others will be there too.
localised search for pubs, restaurants, etc; also a bit of a social network.
"transforms your mobile phone into a social compass".
a "location-based social network".
The flip side of location-based services: seeing where you are.
a rights-free map created by people like you. Remarkably detailed and precise.
walking directions for all sorts of routes.
Google Maps Street View
soon to have the UK as well.
Noise pollution map
how noisy is it in the area around your house?
Where's The Path?
Let down by OS's absurd OpenSpace restrictions.
Money/finance/ consumer fightback
We all need someone on our side.
Money Saving Expert
does what it says on the tin.
review businesses before you use them.
Say No to 0870
direct-dial numbers, not expensive national-rate ones.
government site for consumers.
a human-centred way to loan money to people in the developing world.
British-made, CBS-owned, music recommendation station.
now has its own MP3 store in the UK as well as the US.
music downloads in MP3 format - so not tied to iPods.
classical music MP3 downloads, slowly building momentum.
find out where your favourite bands are playing next, based on your music library.
be your own DJ and create a social network from your choices and recommendations.
still the reigning champion.
slightly upmarket from Digg; slightly below...
technology news chosen by computer, though it's now adding human editors.
aggregating the aggregators: the web in a window.
still attracts a big, and often knowledgable, audience.
still the satirical newspaper of record.
beyond classification; its forum has spawned many memes... and trolls.
captioned cats and other animals.
notes of secrets sent by people who want them posted. So they are.
would it be too much trouble for you to have a look?
the granddaddy of photo-sharing sites.
photo editing in your browser.
Google's photo organisation and editing tool. Windows only.
Physical from virtual
Moo business cards have become a calling card in themselves.
coffee-table book publishing of your books.
book, photobook, calendars and other sorts of publishing.
badges, T-shirts etc. US-only at present.
design your own T-shirt or sweatshirt and get it printed.
all the data you need on pretty much anywhere.
still a first port of call on most topics.
check the film you plan to see here.
Internet Archive/Wayback Machine
the web in aspic.
anonymous source of leaked documents.
Google still dominates.
results in clouds.
image-based searching - a new way to use the web.
Chances are high you're a member of at least one, and perhaps all, of these sites.
virtually everyone's your friend here.
hangout for all the teenagers. And Kirk Douglas.
mainly for business.
the original social network.
Twitter, and associated
Twitter has proved itself over and over this year as a vector for news.
the ur-site, where you can create an identity (or several).
watch keywords on Twitter. A brand, your name, a meme? No login required at present.
post to multiple Twitter accounts. Requires your password; only give if you trust the site.
posts blog contents to Twitter. Requires password; only give if you're sure that you trust the site. We do.
find how you rank on Twitter.
already taking up 10% of UK network traffic.
dominant provider of video content online.
better rights control than YouTube and a cleaner interface.
set up your own global TV channel.
video-sharing from your mobile.
internet TV via a browser plugin.
a sort of social network of informational video.
short video conversation: another social network.
amazingly successful MMORPG.
set in a distant future on the untamed planet of Calypso.
minigame-tastic virtual world for kids.
"educational" virtual world for kids.
create online databases and analyse them.
Google Visualisation tools
dozens of tools for making data more comprehensible.
IBM's visualisation tools, similar to Google's.
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