Check out our bi-weekly Net perspective. Our goal is to make these columns useful for our readers whether they be novice or pro, while still offering a fun to read column. Feel free to let us know what Internet resources you find useful in your personal, educational, or business life - it might just end up in one of our columns!
So you just came home from the office and you've had "one of those days". Or maybe you've been home all day with the kids. Or you just took a killer exam. We've all been there. When you need to unwind you can find lots of stress relievers on the net, believe it or not!
We could probably write a whole article on any of these topics, but here are just a few ideas that we found on the Internet. Some sites are just plain fun and will make you forget your stress. Others will give you ideas for activities that are sure to be stress reducers. And we're sure that if you search the Web you'll find hundreds more! So fire up that PC and modem and jump on the information highway for some simple stress reducers.
One of our first stops is the Rodale Press (www.rodalepress.com) site. This site houses links to many magazines and books in the areas of sports, health, cooking, woodworking, gardening, quilting and sewing - all of which, might we add are definite stress reducers. In fact, check out the online "Mood Ring" feature at Prevention Magazine (www.prev.com/features/moodring) to see how stressed you really are.
Many experts tell us that exercise is a great way to relieve tension. You don't have to go out and run a marathon, just get up and do something. We won't nag you with all the health benefits of exercise - though if you check Men's Health Daily (www.menshealth.com) you'll find some of those - but it is a great way to forget about daily stress. So get up and walk around the block: Or if you're more ambitious run - check out Runners World Online (www.runnersworld.com) and do the whole neighborhood. Perhaps you can even get in shape for the September 21st 5K WNY InfoRun (bfn.org/~lrc/5krace.htm) which benefits the Buffalo Free-Net and the WNY Library Resources Council or the September 29th Linda Yalem Run (wings.buffalo.edu/student-life/vp/affairs/events/lyr).
Another way to get out of that bad mood is to do something you enjoy, perhaps a hobby or favorite craft. Yahoo (www.yahoo.com/Recreation/Hobbies_and_Crafts) has an entire index of over a thousand sites devoted to different pastimes. We find it a lot of fun to see what strange things people do for hobbies. One of our favorites - to check out, not do - is fire walking (heartfire.com/firewalk/homefire.html). Yes, you too can learn to fire walk for fun at this site!
How about sharing your problems with a friend? With the Internet it's possible to look up those long lost friends of yours. Take a look at www.search.com/Seeking/Someone/ for some tips at trying to track down that long-lost love. Chances are if they're connected at all you'll find them on Four11 (www.four11.com). If you're still no closer to that missing person check out another rapidly growing email directory, WhoWhere (www.whowhere.com). Enter first and last names and just about anything else you know about your lost friend--right down to a street address if you have it--and you're on the way. IF you're looking for someone in WNY try the WNYWeb search site (wnyweb.com) and be sure to add your own information!
Music is usually a good method for changing your mood. Whether you're interested in Country, Rock, Opera or any other genre, there are sure to be sites devoted to your taste. Nearly all the major search engines have indexes for musical artists and genres. For example, using Webcrawler (www.webcrawler.com) check the "Arts & Entertainment" category. Here you'll find indexes for Music News & Events as well as Musical Genres.
Once you find a favorite artist you may be surprised at how much cool stuff there is on the net about that particular person or group. Some, like The Tragically Hip (www.thehip.com) have produced their own web site which includes information about the group, album artwork, and even audio clips from recent works. For a local listing of bands, check out WNYMusic Online (wnymusic.com). Here you'll find an online calendar and a listing with links to many Buffalo music sites including groups and radio stations. Don't forget to add your band to their club & concert listings. Want to play a game? The Internet is a virtual playground for those seeking to forget about their problems by challenging their minds. Again, take a look at your favorite search engine - like Cnet's (www.search.com) - for a listing of different games - and there are hundreds! A great place to look for gaming information is Happy Puppy Games (happypuppy.com). You can browse their downloads, reviews, hints, and cheats or search for something you're looking for. One online game which we found timely is the President '96 Campaign Simulation (www.pres96.com). game. If you're feeling left out of this year's political process this is your chance to get involved (well, virtually, anyway).
Laughing may be the best therapy of all for stress. And on the Internet you've got plenty of choices for sites to tickle your fancy. Yahoo's index of humor (www.yahoo.com/Entertainment/Humor_Jokes_and_Fun) includes listings of topical sites like computers, cars or workplace humor. Some of our favorites include David Letterman's Top Ten (www.cbs.com/lateshow/ttlist.html) which is updated daily and has archives from past shows. Or check out the Comedy Central's site (www.comcentral.com) for information on their humorous offerings.
Then again, maybe a vacation is the best advice for relieving stress. Try the Internet Travel Network (www.itn.net) for airline tickets, travel reservations and booking with real time flight availability. What's that, you can't get a way for a trip. How about a virtual vacation? On the Internet, you can go anywhere - virtually. Go to the Louvre (www.louvre.fr) or the Smithsonian Institute (www.si.edu). Or how about Tahiti (www.tahiti.com). Check out some more far-flung places with the Travel Channel (www.travelchannel.com). How about some exotic pictures and places? Try the National Geographic site (www.nationalgeographic.com).
We hope we've given you a few ideas for relieving the stress in your life. If you have more ideas for this or future columns please share them with us. We enjoy reading the email and faxes we get from you, so don't stop sending them in. Let us know what's going on in the WNY computing community. You can email us, firstname.lastname@example.org , or fax us, (716) 853-1350 and tell us what you think.