Looking for "useful" sites such as Instructables, Lifehacker, CoolTools
February 22, 2013 9:40 AM   Subscribe

I am preparing a blog post for my library's in which I am going to review several websites that I consider "useful" for our patrons in improving the quality of their lives or help them keep a little more money in their pocketbooks.

I am going to give fairly in-depth descriptions of perhaps a half a dozen useful websites - mostly sites that I use such as Lifehacker, Instructables, CoolTools, YouTube (for instructional videos), and - of course - AskMetaFilter. (I will likely link to several interesting questions from askmefi - including this one.)

Are there any other sites that you can recommend that are in a similar vein to those listed above? I attempted a preliminary search of askmefi before posting this question, and could not find a similar question posted within the past year or so.

I just need one or two more good sites - no need to write-up a description! Any suggestions will be welcome.
posted by cinemafiend to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 149 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a big fan of One Good Thing. She posts great ideas for home-made versions of laundry soap, moisturizers, recipes that save people money. Her posts are very easy to read with lots of bright photos so you can follow instructions step by step.
posted by HeyAllie at 9:47 AM on February 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

If profanity is not an issue, Unf*** Your Habitat is a great site for getting on top of things and staying that way.
posted by ambrosia at 9:47 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

If profanity is an issue, try FlyLady.net

You should include a personal finance site. I used to recommend TheSimpleDollar or GetRichSlowly, but I'm not sure how they've aged. They both definitely have some good classic posts, and serendipitously today's post of Get Rich Slowly is "what's your favorite personal finance blog?" so you might find something there.
posted by CathyG at 10:22 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

How about wikipedia's list of tool lending libraries?
posted by annsunny at 10:24 AM on February 22, 2013

Best answer: This site has a bunch of free patterns for making furniture: Ana White

This is an old link, but has a nice list of tutorial sites.

A list of household products you can make yourself, mostly food.
posted by annsunny at 10:38 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: http://www.stretcher.com/ - Frugal Living Site
http://www.howtocleanstuff.net - DIY Cleaning
http://www.petdiys.com - DIY Pet Stuff
http://www.slickdeals.net and/or http://www.fatwallet.com - Finding good deals
http://www.ikeahackers.net - Repurposing IKEA furniture

Also, with ask.metafilter, don't forget to include instructions for using the google site: search operator :)
posted by Th!nk at 11:06 AM on February 22, 2013

Does your library provide free patron access to Consumer Reports? Ours does, and it's saved me money on large and small purchases by finding the least problem-ridden choices.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 12:19 PM on February 22, 2013

I don't follow food, but a website on how to prepare tasty, cheap, and healthy food would be handy.
posted by aniola at 1:34 PM on February 22, 2013

Based on your inclusion of CoolTools I assume you're also looking for sites with useful reviews and ratings:

http://www.ConsumerLab.com has in-depth reports with full lab analysis for almost every type and brand of supplement out there. It's not free though, they charge $33/year. But that means they're independent. It's quite shocking how much garbage there is out there in this area. Invaluable resource if you want to buy supplements that actually contain what it says on the tin.

http://www.Cornucopia.org is a great independent resource for people who like to buy certain organic products and are interested in how the farm animals are treated at the source. So far they have scorecards for cereal, eggs, dairy and soy products. The reports on the sources of the rated products seem pretty in-depth and detailed. I don't do egg and dairy shopping without their scorecard on my phone.

More specialized stuff:

http://www.WhiskyFun.com is a great resource for anybody interested in whisky. The site has reviews for the vast majority of available and once available whiskies. It states on the front page that there are 8,614 tasting notes but related site http://www.MaltManiacs.net offers up even more in a slightly less accessible way (50,000 ratings for ~15,000 whiskies. Combine this with sister site http:://www.MaltMadness.com for distillery and bottler data and descriptions and you've got almost everything you'll ever need to navigate the world of whisky.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 1:36 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I really love thewirecutter.com for eliminating/reducing decision fatigue. It is relatively new and they keep adding categories of items that they review/recommend.
posted by lvanshima at 2:12 PM on February 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

If your patrons buy things online, RetailMeNot to check for voucher or coupon codes.
posted by quercus23 at 3:09 PM on February 22, 2013

Best answer: thewirecutter.com is a great site offering reviews of tech products in multiple categories. The reviews distill opinion from thinkologists and gadget gurus across the interwebs. The interface is a little scary, but I've found the info pure gold.
posted by Breav at 3:19 PM on February 22, 2013

Forgot to add these to my earlier comment: I use the TomsHardware/AnandTech/HardwareSecrets combo for researching and evaluating computer hardware and peripherals.

For wine, whisky and other booze I use Wine-Searcher. They have a free interface but the "pro" one is much better and more comprehensive but it's only worth it if you buy a lot (like I do for our local whisky society). I think it's $39 per year. Excellent resource for finding bottles in stores around the world, not just in the US.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:06 PM on February 22, 2013

Best answer: Open Culture collects free audio books, free online courses, free movies, free language lessons, free ebooks and other enriching content
posted by maggieb at 6:51 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I love Coursera and No Excuse List.

For saving little bit of money, there's always Prepaid Cellphone Plan Comparison
posted by Carius at 11:24 PM on February 22, 2013

Crunchy Betty - great blog with recipes for home & care products using kitchen ingredients
posted by mirileh at 4:03 AM on February 23, 2013

Priceonomics is a nice introduction to online price guides. After that comes specialist sites like Camel Camel Camel, a pricewatcher for Amazon.

For great lists of Windows freeware, http://www.techsupportalerts.com

Checkbook.org represents another consumer non-profit that focuses on large local markets, and has specific magazines for specific cities.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:49 AM on February 27, 2013

How about ebates.com or fatwallet.com where they can get a few cents back on many online purchases?
posted by RoadScholar at 8:04 AM on March 14, 2013

The Khan Academy
posted by leotrotsky at 2:02 PM on March 20, 2013

The Write Well mini-lecture series from Macalester College.
posted by maggieb at 10:05 PM on July 5, 2013

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