By Richard Heller
Last week we took a look at a couple of the hack sites. This week, lets take a look at some of the sites that are of more use to the average computer user.
If you are running a Windows-based computer, you should visit www.microsoft.com/msdownload to find program updates and other useful files and utilities. Another good source of program updates and driver files are www.winfiles.com and www.driverguide.com. It is a good idea to use the latest version of the drivers for your particular equipment; they will help eliminate program lock-ups and compatibility problems. These sites make available drivers for equipment that may no longer be manufactured, or the company is out of business, and you no longer have the install disk that came with the device.
If you are trying to find something on the Internet; you can use one of the search engines such as www.askjeeves.com. A more useful site is www.allonesearch.com, which has hundreds of search engines available for your use, including phone numbers and genealogy databases. The search engines are divided into many categories, and some have more than one search available to help you find exactly what you are looking for.
If you are looking to have some fun, be sure to check out amused.com, where youll find such things as Alien Song, a music video with a surprise ending. There are online games as well as other distractions to keep you occupied for hours. Another source for games is www.happypuppy.com. If you are looking for programs, but you dont want to spend a lot of money, try the shareware and freeware programs available at www.shareware.com and www.download.com. The programs available from these sites are either free or allow you to try them before you buy them. Many of the programs sell for a fraction of the price that you pay for the name brand item.
Back in the early days of computing, programs were sold on cassette tapes displayed in a plastic bag. A man by the name of Scott Adams created a company named Adventure International that published text-based adventure games. Scott has a web site, www.msadams.com, where you can download all his adventures for free. You can set your computing experience back 20 years by playing these games where you type in one- and two-word commands in order to solve the puzzles. There are no graphics, and the puzzles range from easy to quite difficult, but online help is available.
Many people are interested in reading the news online. One site that offers links to various newspapers, wire services and columnists can be found at www.drudgereport.com started by Internet reporter and gossip Matt Drudge. Most newspapers do not run all the columns written by such people as Cal Thomas. If they dont like what he has written that week, they just dont run the column, but by going to the Drudge site and clicking on the link, you can read all the columns.