Friday, February 29, 2008

Bonus Day? Time to Kill? Fun Websites To Visit

Tech Expert Segment for 20080229

Happy Leap Year! What to do with this bonus day that comes but once every four years? Spend it online... check out these fun websites:

Meebo / -- You know the problem… you’ve got a few friends on one instant messaging client, some on others – brings them all together into a single website. Handy for those that might have trouble with the traditional IM clients downloaded to your computer, perhaps banned by your company or school’s network settings – makes it easy. Networks supported: MSN, AOL/ICQ, Yahoo, and GTalk/Jabber. Bonus points for registering: Ability to save chat logs, single sign-in, and customization.

Buzzillions / – Before you buy anything online, it’s good to get the good, bad and the ugly from those who have ventured through the checkout path before. Are the shoes true to size? Does that product really do what it’s designed to do? Did you have any problems? Consumer reviews are a powerful force. A leader in product ratings online is Power Reviews and their consumer site brings this data to potential buyers. The same folks that power sites from big players such as REI, Toys-R-Us and Brookstone – present the shopping site Features to look for: Narrow search results by various criteria, compare brands, upload customer images. Unique: Buzzillions users have, for the most part, actually bought the product they’re reviewing.

Pandora / – Pandora creates a radio station tailored to your tastes. By selecting songs and artists you like, the online service selects other music based on hundreds of criteria in the Music Genome Project. The service is free and doesn’t require you to load a player – it works right in your browser. The more songs you review the better it predicts what else you might like. Limitations: It’s not a music-on-demand service, so you can’t play a particular song or request only songs from one artist, given rights issues – only US customers can play, a bummer if you travel. Favorite feature: Thumbs-up, Thumbs-down ratings are super-simple.

Yelp / – Looking to check out that new neighborhood restaurant? Want to try a new night club? Want to share your review with friends and get their feedback? Social Networking meets local community reviews with Yelps slick interface, intuitive navigation and the ability to add darn near everything in your ‘hood. Seattle’s a focus city, so you may not find the same level of detail if you’re visiting, say Peoria.

Woot! / – Looking for a bargain? Don’t really care what the bargain is? Look to woot! Woot offers exactly one product (most days) and each customer can buy up to three of this item each day. When the item is gone, it’s gone… some products can sell out in hours or even minutes and are generally electronics or related gizmos. Sign up for various woot! notification services to have new products sent to you daily. Caveat: Return policy restrictive, shipping can be somewhat slow.

Etsy / – The “ebay for handmade products” allows anyone to sell homemade products to others online. Unlike Ebay, which sells anything to anyone, Etsy focuses only on handmade products. One real benefit to this site, as opposed to buying from some of the larger mass-merchants, is that you can focus your search on those items made right in your area – perhaps you’re limiting your carbon footprint or just want to support local artists. Another neat feature – search by color. How clever is this? The site offers the ability to pick a color and it will find products that match that color. Wouldn’t you have loved to have this feature the last time you were decorating a room or in search of the “something blue” at a wedding

Chegg / – Why buy when you can rent? Textbooks are an expensive part of any education. Now various online sites are providing an alternative to the full-price of retail stores. One site, allows students to rent a textbook for a semester or quarter. That econ text that costs over 150 bucks? Just one-third of that for a quarter – $60 if you need it for the semester. When you’re done? Print a pre-paid shipping label and send it back. Eco-friendly bonus: plants a tree for every book rented!

Prosper / – Need some cash? Got some to lend? matches lenders and borrowers. Giving borrowers the opportunity to bid on the loan, value, and rate you want to receive – lenders select the max. interest rate they’re willing to pay. Prospective lenders have insight into the credit rating (through an obfuscated grade) for a better idea of the risk involved. Sign up at:

Grand Central / -- One number. Doesn’t that sound great? Sign up for a Grand Central account and you are assigned a number. This number, when called, will ring all your phones, give callers the ability to leave you a voicemail that you can listen to online and the ability to switch calls mid-conversation. Personalize voicemail greetings – (tell the boss you’re working when you’re really out goofing off). Big Brother Add-on: Record calls during a conversation.

Of course, if you've got others... pass them along or post in the comments for all to enjoy! Happy Leap Day Portland!


Ahmed H said...

We are so happy you stumbled upon Chegg. We are ready for the 2008-2009 school year and are serving 2,100 plus schools this year.
Order soon as August 19th is the biggest textbook ordering day. As always, we would love to know your feedback once you have tried the service.

Chegg Support Team Member

Anonymous said...

I ordered books from chegg over a week ago and everything was fine, except the way they send the books. They sent them in separate packages via ups, but used two or three tracking numbers to cover 11 packages. when one package of that tracking number was delivered, the rest under that number were considered delivered. I paid fifty bucks for a book I haven't received yet and I really need it for class. I got the rest of my books and WOULD be nice, if they didn't rip you off. I also contacted their customer service via two emails ( and and have received NO reply to my four emails to each of those addresses and their phone service is unreliable. If its busy, it just hangs up on you telling you to "call back later" or that it is "after hours" at ten in the morning. Thanks for screwing me over, chegg.