For Foodies

There are hundreds of excellent websites for people who enjoy cooking and eating. Sometimes choice comes down to recommendations from others. This list came from students in my last Mastering Web Searching course.

asparagus is a favourite – available also in French at Allrecipes is likely the “world’s largest food website”, and provides many ways for exploring recipes, searching by ingredients, and creating menus. Kate wrote, “great selection and categorization of recipes, search functions well, videos are fun to watch, and flexibility of printing/saving recipes”.

SmittenKitchen blog is done by Deb Perelman who does her cooking in 42 square feet. She cooks for husband and child – which may explain the long list of cookies and all things chocolate. Amy recommended the Pear and Hazelnut muffins.

Bread lovers will like Tony’s recommendation –  The Fresh Loaf, “a community for artisan bakers and bread enthusiasts”.

Eat Your Books  is a make-your-own library of  books, magazines, blogs, and other recipes. Liz described it as AMAZING. “They have indexed the most popular cookbooks, cooking magazines, and cooking blogs for a one-stop shop search.”   Good way for staying up-to-date with new books and magazines.

For searching for recipes I’ve liked Foodly. It searches across recipe sites as a metasearcher, showing lots of pictures, and with good filters. Members can add recipes to to their accounts.

One of my most used sites is the recipe search at  LCBO Food and Drink – an excellent magazine from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. It’s easier to use the website than flip through the print magazine. And another excellent food specialty site is from PCC Natural Markets, an organic grocery store chain in Seattle Wa.

Slideshare for staying up to date

Slideshare is an excellent source of presentations for getting a quick overview. Acquired by LinkedIn in May 2012, it has content on business, travel, technology, career planning, and likely any topic you might search for.  Users upload  presentations, infographics, documents, videos, PDFs, and webinars. Viewers may easily follow favourite contributors and people in their LinkedIn network, and get updates on featured presentations.


For web searchers two to follow are:

Mary Ellen Bates – Super Searcher Tips from a session at Computers in Libraries. She mentions as method for digging more deeply into Google’s index; also searching Twitter and some other social media searches; and some bits on Google Scholar

Karen Blakeman – How we really search: the end of Google’s supremacy – presentation at Southampton University, UK.  She covered social media, main web search engines, some specialty engines, images – much more.


Origins of the Internet

Excerpt from image of Mundaneum, the International documentation centre in Brussels.

Excerpt from image of Mundaneum, the International documentation centre in Brussels.

Get your iPad out. Google added Origins of the Internet in Europe to the Cultural Institute  to the Cultural Institute. It’s  about “collecting, indexing and sharing knowledge” from 1894 to 2012.  This would be much more enjoyable on a tablet where you could page through, enlarge, look at images, and watch the two or three videos.

“Historians typically trace the origins of the World Wide Web” through a lineage of Anglo-American inventors like Vannevar Bush, Doug Engelbart and Ted Nelson. But more than half a century before Tim Berners-Lee released the first Web browser in 1991, Otlet described a networked world where “anyone in his armchair would be able to contemplate the whole of creation.” Alex Wright (New-York Times, 2008)

Text and images are from Alex Wright’s article in the New York Times —  Mundaneum “The Web time forgot” (June 2008.)

Crowdsourcing Maps at Google

View through Google Maps of area in North Korea

View through Google Maps of area in North Korea

Crowdsourcing with Google Maps is receiving a great deal of attention in the news because of  North Korea.

Taking a peek at North Korea’s ‘Nuclear Test Facility’ on Google Maps (Globe and Mail, February 13), points to a Google Maps’ satellite view of  the  Nuclear Test Rd and Facility in North Korea. “Google’s information comes from “citizen cartographers””   Zoom into the map here to see facility.

Google’s use of crowdsourcing for developing maps is the subject of this video interview at Bloomberg Business Week – How Google is Able to Map North Korea.  Mike Dobson, founder and president of Telemapics, describes how Google is able to put together a map of North Korea through satellite views and contributions from people  using Google Map Maker who have knowledge of North Korea.  [Duration 3.52 minutes – after the advertisement]

Crowdsourcing and the value of this “collective intelligence” for creating knowledge is examined in this article – Google’s Map of North Korea stirs social media passion and tensions (The Conversation, January 30, 2013).

Anyone interested can join in. There is an abundance of information about crowdsourcing maps. This wiki at Map Makerpedia on Collaborative Mapping and Crowdsourcing by Rob Lemmens would be a good starting place.

On a smaller scale, you can also use Google Maps to create personal views.
Make Use Of has published Create Google Maps of Your Own To Share & Collaborate With Friends (Feb 12) – with information on creating custom maps and inviting friends to contribute to the map.

Checking Web Server Status

check-markCan’t access GMail? Not getting Tweets? Wonder about Facebook? Google not responding? They all go down from time to time. Use these services to find out if the domain is really down and learn more about its uptime performance. – choose from the list or enter the domain. Shows performance over time. Has troubleshooting advice if the domain is up but you can’t access.

Downrightnow – combines user reports from itself and Twitter and official announcements to let you know a service has trouble. Also shows status history. You can also report issues.

Evernote vs OneNote

Such wealth – we have two excellent tools for taking notes, saving links, saving web clips and images, adding videos – whatever we think or want to note down – and do so with any internet-connected device we are have at hand.  It’s the battle between Evernote and Microsoft’s OneNote. Both let you keep your notes “in the cloud”. Both help you format and organize your notes. They also both support sharing.You’ll probably want both.


Evernote says “remember everything”. The main site has good orientation guides and videos where you can see its many uses and benefits.

You might already have Microsoft’s OneNote as part of your Office application. See how to deploy it and make best use of it at the Microsoft OneNote site.

This comparison by function may help —  Evernote vs. OneNote: Note-Taking Apps Showdown (TechHive, Jan 30, 2012)  FYI, they both won –

Going category by category, Evenote wins five to four, but since note-taking and information organization are such personal tasks, any one of those categories may sway you toward one or the other. has several reviews of both tools:

10 Awesome OneNote Tips You Should Be Using All The Time [Windows]
(Aug 21, 2012) Saikat Basu loves both:

The showdown will continue, so for the sake of productivity and peace, let’s say that both are great note-taking apps with their pros and cons. I use both, as and when the purpose dictates it. And I have come to love both because they have made me more organized with my note-taking.

Get Creative With Evernote: 10 Unique Uses You Haven’t Thought Of
by Nancy Messieh (Jan 12, 2013)

Do You Need More Evernote Use Ideas? Here Are 3 Ways I Use It by Jessica Cam Wong (June 5, 2012)

There are also very good videos on both at YouTube to help you choose.

Online Tech Tutorials

Learning a new software application requires more time than we are usually willing to give it.  A few “how to” searches might provide an answer to a single problem but won’t provide a big picture of the breadth of function in the application.  For that it is better to turn to online tutorials. There are several sites than can help us with that.

For any of Microsoft’s Office products, start with Office Training. It has free video screencasts showing how to do things.  Titan Tech Training also has several YouTube videos on Office 2010 products and Adobe Creative Suite. These have been done by California State University Fullerton.

Alison specializes in providing free interactive, self-paced courses in workplace skills. It has a wide range of subjects and many publishers. IT Training is one of its strengths. There are instructions in everything from Google Docs to HTML5 to Skype.

Lynda is all about learning software, creative and business skills. It delivers e-learning through high quality videos. Browse by subject or by software to find what you need. There is a free trial period, after which subscription is $25 / month.

If you plan a sustained training program for yourself, consider the points in this article at LifeHacker – How to Decide Whether to Invest in an Online Training Program  (Dec 24, 2012). Above all – set your goal, find the time, and apply what you learn.

Postscript (Jan 4, 2013):, and arm of the Goodwill Community Foundation, also has some step-by-step illustrated tutorials on using computers, the internet, MS Office products, and searching with Google. The tutorial on Google search was quite good (although they’ll have to update the screen shots for Google’s latest redesign).

I liked the description – “® creates and provides quality, innovative online learning opportunities to anyone who wants to improve the technology, literacy and math skills needed to be successful in both work and life. ”

Postsript (Mar 22, 2013): Courses online and certificate – some in computer science, textbooks, ebooks, movies, k-12 resources – and all free – at Open Culture

LinkedIn as a Research Tool

Linked In iconLinkedIn has attracted 175 million professionals and hope-to-be professionals. It’s not only as a place to show your achievements and connect with colleagues from the past. Use it as a way of staying up-to-date with the news on LinkedIn Today and with changes in your professional field through Groups. Research companies and people to see their profiles and associations.  Here are a few articles.

10 LinkedIn Tips to Boost Your Job Search, itWorldCanada (Nov 2011) – slideshow on finding people, companies, friends, jobs and more.

6 Steps to a More Marketable LinkedIn Profile by Jeff Haden, Inc (Dec 7, 2011) – ” best social media platform for entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals.  ”

Five ways to use social media or other emerging technologies in your job search, SLA Future Ready 365 (May 2011) – calls Linkedin “your online “business card/elevator speech/resume on steroids””.

Three Ways To Use LinkedIn If You’re NOT Looking For A Job, Dave Copeland, ReadWriteWeb (Feb 9, 2012) – especially note the ability to curate news.

INFOGRAPHIC: Here’s How To REALLY Use LinkedIn, Business Insider (Nov 21, 2011) – how to use Linkedin for your business and personal marketing needs.

How to Use LinkedIn as a Research Engine, QuestionPro Blog (Nov 2010) – used creatively it can help with competitive intelligence, industry research, and markets.