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5 Web Sites You Didn’t Know You Needed

By Tracey Dowdy

Every once in a while I come across a web site I didn’t know existed but after using it once or twice I wonder how I ever functioned without it.

The following 5 web sites include price watching sites like camelcamelcamel and sites that will stimulate your brain and challenge you like TED Talks. You’re welcome in advance for the sites you’re about to thank me for!


Camelcamelcamel is a free Amazon price tracker. There are other sites that offer a similar service, but Camelcamelcamel stands out as Amazon itself supplies them with the data. Customers can be notified via social media or email when prices on particular items drop to a certain point. If you don’t need that item right away, it’s a simple way to save significant amounts of money.

TED Talks

TED Talks is definitely one of those “Where have you been all my life?” sites. Started in 1984 as a conference where leaders in Technology, Entertainment and Design came together, TED conferences now cover topics from business and medicine to green initiatives with global impact. Most talks are 18 minutes or less and the speakers are all leaders in their respective fields. Their mission statement is simple but brilliant, just like the talks: “Our agenda is to make great ideas accessible and spark conversation.”


Librivox is a collection of public domain audiobooks read by volunteers, available for free on your computer, iPod or to burn onto a CD. Classics like Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice and the 39 Steps are read aloud. Some have several versions read by different people, so if you’re unhappy with the first version, you can go back and choose another.

A Good Movie to Watch

If you’re like me, scrolling through Netflix to find a movie can take longer than the run time of whatever film you decide to watch. A Good Movie to Watch can help you narrow down the choices. You can search by genre, year of release or even the movie’s tagline, or you can roll the dice on “Staff Picks,” “See All Our Suggestions,” or “Give Me a Suggestion.” When I chose “Give Me a Suggestion,” the first movie recommended was “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” which made me wonder if my 14 year old nephew was running the site. I chose again and this time they recommended “The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza),” winner of Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars. There are a lot of miles between those two choices, so that should indicate the scope of your options. It’s a great way to be introduced to movies you may not have considered before.


Startcooking.com is the answer to the question “What if I just watched Top Chef and want to make Hamachi and Tuna with Green Apple Wasabi, Celery, and Maui-Meyer Lemon (that’s a real recipe by the way)  but can’t make Top Ramen without starting a grease fire?” Started by a retired Home Economics teacher Kathi Meister, Startcooking.com teaches you the basics like how to wash lettuce – there are 5 steps in case you’re wondering – and helps you translate those new skills into delicious and easy meals.

There are plenty of photos and Meister’s background as a teacher means she knows how to break down the information. There are demonstration videos, a recipe index, plus the option of searching by ingredients, which is very handy this time of year when farmers’ markets are bursting with seasonal produce you may not know what to do with.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, Ontario. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology.

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