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October 21st, 2010

Five Unique Web DestinationsThe World Wide Web is, and always will be, a work in progress. It is evolving, just like the people whose sites and surfing habits make it what it is from moment to moment. Here we offer up a number of unique, diverse destinations that offer both serious help and ways to spur your creativity. Without further ado, here are five very different sites offering you both personal and professional value.

Wolfram|Alpha is “a work in progress,” like the Web itself. It is evolving. Designed by math wizard Stephen Wolfram, the site will keep learning its job, and doing it better as time goes on. The technology undergirding the site is designed to develop, over time, an “understanding” of your questions to provide the best answers. If you’re impatient, though, stick with Google.

Metafilter has a spirit of togetherness something like a small-town college or high-tech startup. There are other “review and comment” sites like StumbleUpon and Digg, but Metafilter, the recognized “cream of the crop,” isn’t free like those. Dubbed “MeFi” by its fans, the site has kept out the bulk of the Web’s roving roughnecks by requiring a $5 fee. The quality of the answers available from AskMeFi is such high quality that, for many people, it alone justifies the cost.

Internet Archive (IA) is where you go to see what looked like on day one, or see what the celebrity gossip sites were obsessing about in 1999. IA truly is a Web “time machine” that has embarked on an historic task to “back up everything that has ever been, or ever will be, on the Internet,” and as of mid-2010 had cataloged nearly 100 billion Web pages.

Popurls is considered by many to be the perfect home page for data diving info fanatics. It’s based on neither bookmarks nor RSS feeds, but simply pulls current headlines from major blogs, news sites, opinion pages and vlogs (video blogs) into a one wide-open Web “space.” On Popurls, you don’t have to check any boxes, assemble any links or install any “apps.” You can scan, gaze, graze or dive deep into many levels of links, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are not trying to accomplish anything, no problem – it’s fun, too.

Etsy is the site that has become the “Earth Mother” version of eBay, as the computers and cameras give way to handmade clothes, crafts, furniture, artisan pieces and housewares. Some features will remind you of the famous, oversized auction sites, but the look of the photos and the layout – in addition to the way bids, purchases and seller ratings are done – keeps it feeling comfy and homey. There is a real intimacy to Etsy, since it truly is concerned with objects made with both great skill, and great care.

At CRE, we approach our jobs with great skill and great care, too. Whether you need convention rentals for a big conference, or a dozen potent Mac Pro rentals to finish a post-production job for TV, CRE Account Executives have the know-how to get you set up right. Call or e-mail, or fill out the handy online Quick Rental Quote form, and let us help you overcome whatever obstacles stand between you and a successful, finished project.

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