Category Archives: Articles and reviews about excellent websites

Articles and reviews about excellent websites

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Buildings Of The Year – Top 10 Inspirational SitesStillTasty wikiHow Earthporn Animal Wellness FoundationHarvard Business ReviewSuTreeWhat’s Alan WatchingFunny Or DieAllMyFavesPat’s Papers

Websites | being professionally personable on Facebook

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When people talk about using social media to advance their careers, they’re usually talking about LinkedIn, Twitter, or maybe their blog. But the reality is that more people use Facebook than any other social network, which means you need a Facebook strategy for your career.

Websites - social media, being professionally personable on FacebookBeing Professionally Personable on Facebook

by Alexandra Samuel

Companies use Facebook pages to harness the power of its network to reach business goals, and individuals can do the same thing: particularly if you’re an author or other recognized expert, you can create a Facebook page for your professional identity, and promote that page just like any other brand presence.

But most of the time we’re on Facebook we are using our personal accounts, so especially if you’re open to friending your colleagues it’s crucial to think about how you’ll manage your personal account in relation to your professional identity. That’s because life on Facebook increasingly spans both the personal and professional.

We use Facebook to share our professional news: career accomplishments, job changes, requests for business advice, or posting links to industry-related content.

Websites - social media, being professionally personable on FacebookWe also use Facebook to share our personal news: stories about the kids, photos of the family, hysterical YouTube cat videos, and political rants.

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Architecture | “Building Of The Year” awards – showcasing inspiring innovation

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From a pool of over 3,000 buildings designed and created in the past year, the folks at Arch Daily reveal the stunning winners.

Building Of The Year awards-Sancaklar MosqueThere are 14 categories which range from houses and housing to educational and healthcare architecture. The competing designs hail from locales as diverse as Chile, Vietnam, Italy, China, Poland and Burundi, imagined by familiar firms like Shigeru Ban Architects, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Kengo Kuma & Associates and Grimshaw Architects. Whether it’s an iceberg-inspired apartment complex in Denmark or a region’s first library, the stunning creations represent the most boundary-pushing, awe-inspiring buildings popping up all over the world.

Sancaklar Mosque / Emre Arolat Architects :Sancaklar Mosque located in Buyukçekmece, a suburban neighborhood in the outskirts of Istanbul, aims to address the fundamental issues of designing a mosque by distancing itself from the current architectural discussions based on form and focusing solely on the essence of religious space. Continue reading »

Websites | top 10 inspirational websites

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From time to time we can find ourselves out of gas, in a rut or even knocked to the ground, and can use a little inspiration to get going again. These sites could lend a hand.

Top ten inspirational websites to help you improve mind, body, spirit and even business to new heights - waves at sunset T Top 10 Inspirational Websites

by Rhonda Hale Warren

Sometimes I get blown away with the awesomeness of the regular things in life. The other day I was in the shower (best place to meditate) and was thinking about the Internet. 

I rarely think about the Internet in deep ways, yet I use it more in a day that another other object besides my own body. It is SO vast, full of information, and such a great resource for connecting us to others across the globe. I’m thankful for the Internet and its infinite possibilities. 

And I’m thankful for the dynamic people whom fill the webisphere with their knowledge, creativity, and inspirational words to help us live a little better each day. I get asked all of the time what websites I go to for inspiration and so I’ve decided to roundup my top 10 fave sites for you (in no particular order).

Top-ten-inspirational-websites-to-help-you-improve-mind,-body,-spirit-and-even-business-to-new-heights---waves-at-sunset

photo © Gregory Mancuso Top-ten-inspirational-websites-to-help-you-improve-mind,-body,-spirit-and-even-business-to-new-heights—waves-at-sunset

Elephant Journal
The Journal’s tagline, “dedicated to a mindful life” is spot on. I am a huge fan of any info-hub that brings together multiple sectors of life. EJ is a brilliant resource for wellness, spiritual, and creative inspiration. They publish tons of articles everyday, so there is always new inspiration waiting for you. And the layout just makes me smile quite a bit.  Article continued here Continue reading »

Websites | StillTasty – ultimate food life and scrumptiousness guide

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Left pizza out overnight? Know how to defrost a whole fish? And what of the age-old question: are those eggs ok 2 weeks past the use-by date? Get the answers to a plethora of questions about how long foods last and the best way to store them for max tastiness at StillTasty.com.

Website StillTasty.com is the ultimate online guide and resource for food shelf life, food storage, handling, and best prep of cooked food - categories TThere I was, very late at night with a unwavering craving for an omelet. But the use-by date on my big Costco carton of eggs, which I can rarely finish off, said I was supposed to use those eggs a couple of weeks ago. Crap. I’m not going to a store this late, not calling Mom, don’t want to risk food poisoning, but damn it, I demand a western omelet! So I stumbled to the computer and stumbled upon StillTasty.com. And thus was egg enlightenment showered upon me. And the omelet craving deliciously vanquished.

StillTasty.com ultimate food life guide video

Eat the chicken before the egg?

Yep, a few minutes spent on StillTasty could rescue you during a “keep or toss?” moment in front of the refrigerator. The “ultimate shelf life guide,” created by a Canadian mother-daughter duo who both have experience in consumer affairs, includes a database of food storage times based on official recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, among other government agencies.

Website StillTasty.com is the ultimate online guide and resource for food shelf life, food storage, handling, and best prep of cooked food - expiration dates

StillTasty.com is the ultimate online guide and resource for food shelf life

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Websites | wikiHow – learn how to do anything easily

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wikiHow is a collaborative effort by knowledge philanthropists who have created the world’s most helpful how-to guides. A goldmine of easily understood articles and videos for free.

review of wikiHow website--a wiki of the world's most helpful how-to guides & useful tips, logoI stumbled onto this site because I had a craving for a baked potato but didn’t have the time to make it. I had always baked my baked potatoes but never used the quicker microwave method. I googled my dilemma and wikHow appeared.

A quick, concise article and five video clips showed me how to be an expert at nuking the spuds in a flash. And it tasted quite delicious–rubbing olive oil into the skin was a stupendous suggestion. While I ate, I went back to the site and marveled at the treasure trove of how-to guides contained there. I highly recommend checking out wikiHow and I’ll let the knowledge philanthropists tell ya all about the place…

review of wikiHow website--a wiki of the world's most helpful how-to guides & useful tips, 2

wikiHow website–a wiki of the world’s most helpful how-to guides & useful tips

Imagine a world where anyone can easily learn how to do anything. A world where access to comprehensive step-by-step instructions in multiple languages enables billions of people to improve their lives, in both ordinary and extraordinary ways. That’s the world we want to create.

At wikiHow, a community of knowledge philanthropists  are collaborating to create this world. We are driven by a shared passion to create a high-quality collection of how-to guides. We keep improving each article until we think it has become the single most helpful set of step-by-step instructions available on that topic anywhere.

While we recognize that this ambitious goal will take years to accomplish, we take pleasure in knowing that we already help millions of people every day. Continue reading »

Websites | Animal Wellness Foundation – health care & homes for dogs & cats who need them

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Since my wonderful vet started this foundation, I can personally vouch for it’s stupendousness. If you don’t have time to read about them, just click HERE and your Facebook “like” is magically transformed into a $1 donation by a supporter. Fast, easy, free–please do it!

los-angeles-animal-rescue-group-with-cat-at-adoption-centerThe Animal Wellness Foundation was started by my fantastic veterinarian, Dr. Annie Harvilicz, thus I can tell you from personal experience that there’s a lot of wonderful wellness going on there. Besides witnessing expert care given to the animals, I’ve also witnessed the abundance of warmth, heart and soul Dr. Annie and her staff can’t help but lavish on the critters.

Speaking of critters, here’s one speaking his endorsement…

Loosely translated, my dog Enzo said “Dr. Annie’s real nice, takes good care of me and smells good too. Gimme more jerky.”    Continue reading »

Websites | Harvard Business Review – informative, thought provoking essays that ain’t boring

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The Harvard Business Review site has an excellent blog stuffed with fine articles, breakthrough ideas and commentary from the leading thinkers in business, management and humanity.

Harvard-Business-Review-blog-network

Harvard-Business-Review-blog-network

After a friend sent me a link to an excellent article, The Best Strategy for Reducing Stress (below), I discovered the Harvard Business Review Blog Network. And I was surprised to discover I liked it. It isn’t just about the business of business–it incorporates the business of being human in a complex society.

Harvard Business Review is a research-based magazine that focuses primarily on management techniques and breakthrough idea and its primary customer segments are new managers, emerging leaders, and experienced leaders. It has been the frequent publishing home for scholars and management thinkers such as Clayton M. Christensen, Peter F. Drucker, Michael E. Porter, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, John Hagel III, Thomas H. Davenport, Gary Hamel, C.K. Prahalad, Vijay Govindarajan, Robert S. Kaplan, and others.

Management concepts and business terms such as “Balanced scorecard,” “Core competence,” “Strategic intent,” “Reengineering,” “Globalization,” “Marketing myopia,” and “Glass ceiling” were all first given prominence in HBR.

Harvard Business Review

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Websites | SuTree – a knowledge community and aggregator of how-to videos

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SuTree is a great place to increase your knowledge and expertise of almost anything you can think of in an easy way

Sutree-thumbYou can use SuTree to:
1. Watch thousands of free video lessons and tutorials from all over the web.
2. Join or create video-based courses and invite people to your course
3. Meet people who share your interests: Ask, answer and get smarter…

What does SuTree mean? The name SuTree comes from the combination of the words:
Sutra (from Sanskrit) – which literally means a rope or thread that holds things together, and more metaphorically refers to a collection of knowledge in the form of a manual, and Tree – symbolizing the growth of knowledge.

Sutree site screenshot with how-to videos

Sutree site screenshot with how-to videos

Feel free to use SuTree to learn (almost) anything you wish:    Continue reading »

Websites | What’s Alan Watching – best site for insightful TV commentary

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When I want to know what’s worth watching, I always go to “What’s Alan Watching”. And whenever I’m confused by something I’ve already seen, my TV pal can always be counted on to fine tune my mind’s screen.

Alan Sepinwall tv commentary siteAll through his childhood, Alan Sepinwall’s relatives told his parents, “All that boy does is watch television! How’s he going to make a living doing that?”

His career as a TV critic has been 15 years and counting of his attempt to answer their concerns. “What’s Alan Watching” is a blog whose title is self-explanatory: Alan watches TV shows, then writes about what he watched.    Continue reading »

Websites | Funny or Die – The Presidential Reunion is a video featuring Will Ferrell

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Barack Obama gets a surprise visit in the night from ex-Presidents Bush Sr., Bush Jr., Clinton, Ford, Reagan and Carter to get a few pointers about the Consumer Protection Agency.

funny or die Will Ferrell, Chevy Chase, Ron Howard, Jim CarreyThis amusing video features Will Ferrell, Chevy Chase, Ron Howard, Jim Carrey, Fred Armisen, Darrell Hammond, Dan Aykroyd, Maya Rudolph and Dana Carvey.

Websites | AllMyFaves – ultimate homepage & one-stop-shop for all your online needs

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AllMyFaves is indeed the ultimate home page, offering an innovative visual exploration of the Internet.

AllMyFaves online web directoryI’ve been using All My Faves for years and have found it a fine resource–a visual table of contents of the online world.

Whenever I’m stuck or looking for new places to explore, I head over to this directory that contains countless visual links (icons) to popular sites within dozens of categories. It’s also customizable.

Check out their features and info…

All My Faves online guide directory is one of the top 10 websites to help you online

All My Faves online guide directory is one of the top 10 websites to help you online

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Websites | Pat’s Papers – carefully edited news collection spanning international news to domestic politics

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Pat’s Papers is a carefully edited collection of US news headlines delivered each weekday morning.

Pat's Papers news headlinesPat cuts through the clutter of the news choices on the Web to deliver a summary of stories that span the entire news spectrum from international news to domestic politics to science to gossip. Pat’s Papers is hosted by Pat Kiernan, the anchor of the morning news program on NY1 News in New York City. PP was created as the cross-country equivalent of the NYC-focused “In the Papers” segment Pat prepares each morning for NY1.

Don’t want to wake up at the crack of dawn to read the day’s headlines? He gets up early in order to give you a carefully-edited selection of the day’s news. Though he concentrates on U.S. papers, when a big story extends beyond the border, Pat does too.    Continue reading »

Essay | Movie Reviews – if you wanna know to which movies you should go–throw out Rotten Tomatoes and grab my fresh choices

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I’ve reviewed the movie review sites and got the top two for you–Metacritic and MovieReviewIntelligence. Metacritic also serves up excellent TV, music & gaming guidance.

movie review websites - Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes

I’ve used Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes for years, and the newer kid on the block, MovieReviewIntelligence, since it came into being about two years ago. Now, movie review aggregators all perform the same basic trick–they scarf up big bunches of opinions, sift and distill who’s saying what, and spit out their magic rating. Ta-daah!

But how they go about the devilish details of which critics they deem worthy of listening to, and how to stack up those critics, can be significantly different and garner different results.

The most well known and popular review aggregator, RottenTomatoes.com, has over 9 million visitors a month cramming into their produce aisle. They have a cute Tomatometer ranking percentage score with a “fresh” tomato for good reviews and  “rotten” for not so good.

rotten tomatoesSqueezing the Tomatoe and looking at the details of how they do what they do, will point out why I find the site my least favorite and accurate, and why I don’t use it anymore. While the other two sites use the reviews from professional critics to come up with their scores, Rotten Tomatoes also includes a bunch of citizen-reviewers who write on obscure websites, like Georgia’s self-proclaimed “entertainment man” Jackie K. Cooper. Huh, who?!The best movie and TV review website is Metacritic

The best movie and TV review website is Metacritic

David Gross, a former market research and 20th Century Fox studio executive who created Movie Review Intelligence, points out that because Rotten Tomatoes gives equal weighting to Time magazine and tiny websites, it penalizes circulation. “What’s going on hurts critics, it hurts moviegoers and it hurts the industry,” Gross says. “What difference does it make if some fan boy says thumbs down’?”

MovieReviewIntelligence screenshot

MovieReviewIntelligence

Keep in mind how Rotten Tomatoes gives it coveted “fresh” rating” to movies that any number, and hypothetically all, of its counted reviewers don’t really love. It’s  scores are based on the ratio of favorable to unfavorable reviews. If a film snags 20 positive reviews and 20 negative reviews, it’s 50% fresh, and if the ratio is 15 good to five bad, it’s 75%. But if all 20 of those critics give the equivalent of a B-minus letter grade, it’s 100% fresh, because all of the reviews were positive, even if only barely so.

Rotten Tomatoes screenshot

Rotten Tomatoes

Metacritic and Movie Review Intelligence try to come up with an average score that reflects how much critics actually like a movie, rather than a ratio of raves to pans. If a movie on those two sites gets a 50% score, it means the consensus of all of the reviews it read was 50% positive. The average review, we could say, got two out of four stars.

All three sites give every review they read a numerical score and that can be a tricky trick to pull off since many reviewers don’t give letter grades or stars. So it gets to be a subjective appraisal and mulling over process to come up with the grading. The assigned grades are translated into numerical scores– a B-plus is an 83, a C-minus rates a 42, and so on. Rather than simply average those scores, Metacritic and MRI apply a weighting system based on a reviewer’s circulation.

Meteoritic, instead of translating a review into a letter grade, has its staff score notices on a 0-100 scale in 10-point steps. “It’s still often hard to distinguish between what’s an 80 and what’s a 90,” says Marc Doyle, one of the founders of Metacritic.

While MRI weights reviews for audience size, Metacritic takes into account the  prestige factor, a calculation it calls its “secret sauce” and one it won’t disclose. “Roger Ebert is weighted more than someone you’ve never heard of,” Doyle says. He also points out that when critics are consistently 75% favorable in their reviews of a movie, its Metacritic score is a 75. But that same movie could be 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. “That’s a fundamental difference,” he says.

If you want very detailed explanations for how each one goes about its calculations, dig in … MetacriticMovie Review IntelligenceRotten Tomatoes

Besides all the calculations and different methodologies being use by each, it’ll come down to your own subjective thumbs up and down for these sites.

But as I stated in the beginning, Metacritic is my own #1 fave and the one I use most often now. Where the rubber meets the road–reading their scores and then comparing them with the actual experience of watching the movie or DVD–it usually matches up well. Metacritic also seems to perform the trick best when I go to the trouble of reading reviews by my own favorite critics in some major publications, and comparing all the prognostications together.

I also prefer Metacritic for the clear and concise way it presents its scores at their site. It uses a simple color code so your eye can quickly scan the results–red, yellow, green. And even the simple “sort by name” and “sort by score” feature is something I think you’ll find quite useful.

As I also stated at the top, you might find my #2 choice, Movie Review Intelligence, to be your cup of tea if you’re in show biz and want more detailed details, especially when it comes to analyzing box office performance. You’ll see in the screen capture how they dig down to regional, press type and media value stuff.

So that’s my humble view of the reviewing sites and I hope I’ve helped to sort out the puzzle of whats what. I wish you well out there in all your movie adventures.

written by Los Angeles photographer & writer Gregory Mancuso