The new, thoroughly clueless, ICT Minister seems to believe we’re all using the internet for cyber sex and she’s determined to censor the entire worldwide web for our virtuous benefit. Actually, there’s so much more to the net than games, Facebook, YouTube and ‘showing your lower half on Skype’. Originally the internet was developed as a shared reference of information, and there is hardly a public fact, or figures, you can’t find; if you know where to look. This month we go back to the basics. Aside from the obvious sites like Wikipedia (not always to be believed btw), Dictionary.com or the Weather Channel, there are some thoroughly useful sites. For starters, by adding the prefix ‘define:’ to any word in a Google search you will get a list of sites with definitions. Up-to-date facts and figures for countries are best found on www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook If you’re constantly perplexed by a cabinet full of pills with names that give no clue to their usage, try
www.online-medical-dictionary.org. Be sure to look closely for the international names, since most drugs in Thailand are dispensed under a generic name. With foreign currencies going up and down like they do, the best daily rates site is probably www.xe.com. Then there’s www.yellowbook.com which is the best worldwide yellow pages I’ve found so far. And if you can’t remember post codes, most country’s are available at www.eventme.com/pc/PostalCodeHelp.aspx. One of my favourites is www.biography.com with over 25,000 listed people. The internet makes research so much easier and students should really make use of one of the homework helpers online, the most practical one I’ve found is www.refdesk.com/homework.html. And finally, with the March smog upon us once more, keep your eyes on www.pcd.go.th/AirQuality/Regional/Default.cfm which shows daily air quality here. Next month we’ll look at some fun and handy sites, until then, happy surfing!