What Web sites do you whip through before your morning coffee has left its last lukewarm inch in your mug? News sites? Bank sites? Google? YouTube? You need no reminder of these habit forming sites. But you may have a few "useful" sites you rotate into your day and share with your colleagues like secret currency.


I'm hoping one of these "five faves" will snag a place in your coveted web browser Favorites list. They're not flashy enough to say "cool!" but I'll bet their business utility will catch your interest. And…they're free.




1. PDF Online (pdfonline.com/convert_pdf.asp). Why kick out the dollars for pdf conversion software when this handy site will upload an assortment of file types and poof! - email the finished pdf to your inbox? The site doesn't put a pesky advertisement into your finished pdf either. Only drawback: 2MB limit per pdf. If you need to edit pdf's then you'll need to pony up for at least Adobe Acrobat Standard (bonus fave: see cheapsoftware.com).



2. Yahoo! Alerts. Go to Yahoo! and this brilliant feature is buried (I can't even give you a direct link). Go to "More Yahoo! Services" and sign up for a Yahoo! account - but then use an alternate email address for where you want the alerts actually sent (you don't have to use the Yahoo! email account). The service elegantly aggregates all news for particular targeted key words (e.g. "Golden Retriever") and sends it to you in a single daily email message. It's a great way to track your industry, competition, or other strange obsessions in real time.


3. Timetemperature.com (timetemperature.com). This plain web site makes sense of time zones (especially fringe time zones) so you don't embarrass yourself for phone calls, meetings, or personal/business travel scheduling. If you use Microsoft Outlook, you feel my pain. Is Lewiston, Idaho on Pacific or Mountain Time? How about Ontario, Oregon? Don't let Bill Gates get the last laugh.


4. Seatguru (seatguru.com). Avoid bruised kneecaps and other discomforts. For personal or business air travel, this site can help you better plan for what kind of seat you pick on the plane. Did you know seat 9A on an Alaska Air flight (737-400) has a misaligned window and slightly less shoulder room at the window side due to a protrusion from the wall?


5. Bartlett's Quotes online (bartleby.com/100/). Whether you are a in a wedding party or trying to liven up a mind-numbing meeting, type a subject into the search box and get a list of suitable quotations. Lets' see…why not use an eloquent quote to liven things up? I type in "laughter" into the engine hoping to find a satisfactory set of words and end up choosing:


"Laughter is wine for the soul—laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness…. the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living." - Sean O'Casey




I'd love to hear some other faves from CRBJ readers…if you're willing to share!




Jeremy Klages is currently a northwest regional vice-president for a healthcare software company. His expertise includes previous executive marketing positions with several software companies and consulting experience from engaging Fortune 500, Nasdaq 100, and high-tech start-up companies through his own consultancy. He is a graduate of West Point and holds an MBA in Marketing from Arizona State University. He can be reached at klages@gmail.com.


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