My Favorite Sources
Copyright 1997-2005, 2007 by Ronald B. Standler
In the early 1990s, it was common for websites to have a document containing links to
their favorite websites, as a way of sharing good resources. With the arrival of search
engines like Google in the late 1990s that reliably put the most popular websites at the top
of the results for a query, it is now less useful to maintain documents linking to
favorite websites. Accordingly, in Dec 2007, I revised this document to include only
a few topics.
I believe that professionals should not publicly endorse products and
services, and should use only generic names in public. Nonetheless, in the
spirit of sharing, here are some of my favorite sources.
I hope that you enjoy them.
Table of Contents
- Law in the USA
- News, Time, & Weather links
- Computer Hardware and Software
- Comic Strips
- Calvin & Hobbes
Amazon bookstore in Seattle
has an on-line catalogue and secure on-line ordering.
I have ordered most of my books from Amazon since December 1996,
because of their good service.
Schoenhof's Foreign Books, Inc.
is an excellent bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts that has a large
stock of books in the French language, and a smaller selection of books
in German or Russian languages.
It is unusual for a bookstore in the USA to have foreign language books,
so Schoenhof's is a nice resource.
They have been very helpful to me in ordering books about German law.
Technical Bookstores in USA
Engineer's Atlanta, Georgia
OpAmp Los Angeles, Calif.
Quantum Cambridge, Mass.
Reiters Washington, DC
Stacey's in San Francisco, Calif. closed in March 2009
Bookstores in England
Grant & Cutler foreign language books in London
Waterstone's (ate Dillons)
Bookstores in Germany
is a large bookstore in Berlin, across the street from the Technical
University of Berlin. In addition to books in science, engineering,
and law, they also have dictionaries, maps, and children's books.
Books are heavy: one can save some money on delivery from German-speaking
countries by specifying "Versandart: SAL-Post", which travels
by land in Europe, but by air across the Atlantic Ocean. Seepost is cheaper,
but can take two months, while SAL-Post typically takes two or three weeks.
I have posted my collection of links to sources of
for baroque and classical composers.
I have posted my collection of links to websites about each of my favorite
(i.e., J.S. Bach, G.F. Händel, F.J. Haydn, W.A. Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert).
While my principal interest in music is baroque and classical instrumental music,
I do enjoy some
and national anthems.
I have posted my collection of links to sources of
of baroque and classical music.
My old essay about my favorite works of each of the above composers,
and notes about my favorite conductors and pianists, written in 1988 and not revised
A list of my webpages on music copyright law.
3. Legal Links
I have posted my collection of
to resources for law in the U.S.A.
I have posted my small collection of links to resources for legal history,
international law, and
My own suggestions for
how to find an attorney
in the USA.
Since 1998, I am an attorney in Massachusetts who specializes in
(1) academic issues in
higher-education law and
and (2) copyright law.
I also consult with litigators on
especially electric power problems, fires caused by defective surge suppressors,
and injuries/damage caused by lightning. These three webpages link to
scholarly essays that I have written on these topics.
I have also written
essays on other topics in law,
including privacy law.
4. News, Accurate Time, & Weather
I posted my collection of links
to major newspapers and other news sources
in the USA, German-speaking countries, UK, and Canada. This collection
of links also includes links to accurate time in the USA, Canada, UK, and Germany.
U.S. Naval Observatory give the current time by telephone
at 1 202 762 1401.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology provides the time of day
by telephone at 1 303 499 7111, this number allows you to listen
to their WWV radio broadcast without a shortwave radio.
local weather data
I posted my collection of weather links
in a separate webpage. That webpage has the
current weather data, forecast, surface pressure map,
radar image, satellite image, etc. for the USA and Europe.
5. Computer Hardware and Software
All of my comments about hardware and software
for Apple OS9 and Apple OSX
are in separate documents.
I use an Apple computer for websurfing, e-mail, most of my wordprocessing,
and arranging music.
Because of the importance of a computer to my career,
I would rather spend a little more money on hardware at the beginning
and get a system that I hope will run for
at least 20,000 hours without any failure of hardware.
But the pressure of competing in a marketplace driven mostly by cost alone
pushes vendors to use low-cost modules in their computers, which
means that manufacturers will tend to choose the least expensive
components they can find. There is nothing inherently wrong with low-cost
components, but sometimes quality and reliability will be sacrificed in the
name of cost. On the other hand, just because something is more expensive
does not mean that it is better (i.e., longer lifetime, more reliable,
higher performance). One can get a genuine Intel motherboard and a
hard disk drive from a well-known manufacturer in an inexpensive clone PC.
What seems to be often sacrificed by vendors of cheap clones is the
case and power supply. A badly designed case can make it difficult
to add disk drives, replace the battery, etc.
One thing that I hate about modern personal computers is their cheap keyboards!
Instead of a cheap keyboard with sticky keys, I use a
keyboard that has long-life keys that actuate with a force of 28 grams.
Their standard keyboards have keys that actuate with a force of about
55 grams, but they sell softer rubber domes that fit under each key cap,
which take the user less than one hour to install.
I hate the reliance of both the Windows and Macintosh operating systems
on a mouse to point to commands. The mouse is
just an invitation to repetitive motion injuries! Of all of the pointing
devices that I have tried, I prefer the
trackball, which they call an "Expert Mouse".
The ball has a diameter of 6 cm and can be rolled with the palm of one's
hand, without putting additional stress on one's fingers.
I have upgraded the cheap power supplies that come with inexpensive PCs
to a higher reliability power supply from
PC Power and Cooling, Inc.
I think it makes sense to use a power supply with a maximum power rating
that is appreciably greater than the actual power consumed, for example,
use a 300 W supply in a mini-tower case, instead of a 160 or 200 W
supply that vendors typically provide.
I have used KEDIT as my text editor
since I began using PCs in 1986. It emulates
the commands of XEDIT, a text editor for IBM mainframe computers,
which I used many years ago. It is easy to customize KEDIT so that
it works the way you want it to work. The version of KEDIT for Windows
allows one to color code matching parentheses, which is neat when programming
with lines containing nested parentheses.
My favorite wordprocessor is
WordPerfect. I principally
use both WordPerfect 5.1+ for DOS, which never crashes(!), and
WordPerfect 3.5 for the Macintosh.
There is a
about how to run WordPerfect for DOS on modern computers.
My hints about HTML contains some
suggestions about HTML, particularly the use of color for text and
background and different ways to indent text.
I use the
to do file transfer between my PC and my website.
I normally avoid compression of my files on my hard drive or backup media.
However, when making an archival copy of applications programs or data
to a removable disk (e.g., Zip disk or Bernoulli 230 Mbyte cartridge),
I often use the PKZip file compression utility from
I use PKZip for DOS on my old computer and the Command Line version
of PKZip for Windows 98 on my new computer.
My WordPerfect 5.1+ document files are typically about
35% of their original size after maximum compression by PKZip for DOS,
File compression is also useful before transmitting a large file
via e-mail or via ftp on the Internet.
I used Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 briefly in Nov 1998 and Windows 98
from Feb 1999 to April 2002. I recommend David A. Karp's book,
Windows 98 Annoyances.
The front cover of this book — appropriately —
shows a picture of a toad. There is also a companion
In May 2002, I abandoned the Windows operating systems, to obtain more
from malicious programs.
I have posted my collection of links to websites with information on
I normally purchase computer hardware, software, and supplies
by online order, partly because:
- I live in a small town without a local store that has a good selection.
- A large mail order store with a national, or even international,
customer base can have a larger inventory and lower prices.
- It is faster to place an order online than to travel to a store.
- I do not need advice, instruction, installation, and repair service
that are traditionally provided by local stores.
is my favorite store for both PC and Mac products: they are
very friendly and cooperative, although the level of service seemed
to decline in the years 2001-02.
I have ordered from
Computer Discount Warehouse
(CDW) several times since Dec 1994;
sometimes they have items that PC/Mac Connection does not stock.
6. Comic Strips
I think one of the best features of newspapers in the USA is the comic strips.
(That is one reason why, since 1989, I have read
The Economist instead of
American newspapers. <grin> )
The Onion posts really funny
parodies of the style and content of articles in American newspapers.
(People who have never read an American newspaper might want to
look at the mind-numbing
to understand the parodies in The Onion.)
This Modern World
is a weekly parody of politics and society in the USA.
The cartoon is drawn by Dan Perkins, who posts under the
pseudonym "Tom Tomorrow". (Anyone with the perspicuity,
honesty, and integrity of Perkins needs a pseudonym. <grin>)
His cartoon Archive goes back to 1990.
On 16 Jan 2002, he began a daily commentary
(known as a Blog, a contraction of "web log")
on his homepage about what is happening in the USA.
is a very funny cartoon, drawn by Bud Grace, with a cast of various characters, including:
- "Sid Fernwilter" a slimeball whose every act is fraudulent,
treasurer of the Piranha Club, owner of a pet piranha,
and who sells real estate, investments, and bail bonds.
- "Effie", who makes octopus souffle for freeloading Sid
- "Dr. Enos Pork", an incompetent physician
- "Slick Willie O'Haberman, attorney at law"
is a cartoon about an engineer and his colleagues who work in cubicles and
who are beleaguered by a clueless manager, who uses buzz-words about
technology and business trends without understanding what he says.
Unfortunately, managers with M.B.A. degrees, who evaluate technical
projects only by the colors used in pie charts, are prevalent in the USA.
Doonesbury, drawn by Garry B. Trudeau,
is mostly concerned with political and social themes in the USA.
xkcd, is a very funny cartoon drawn/written by an almost
anonymous person — Randall Munroe — who is a physicist turned cartoonist.
The website was created in Sep 2005. I particularly like the way he
incorporates ideas from physics, mathematics, computer programming, or technology into his cartoons.
Calvin & Hobbes
Calvin & Hobbes
was a comic strip from 18 Nov 1985 to 1 Jan 1996,
which was drawn by Bill Watterson.
This comic strip was immensely popular: it was printed in more than
2400 newspapers in 1995. The strips were reprinted in 14 books, and
each book sold more than 106 copies.
While the author has explained his
I have a somewhat different view:
- Calvin was an adventurous and imaginative six-year-old boy,
who is also frequently selfish.
- Hobbes was a stuffed toy tiger when an adult person appeared in the
same cartoon panel. But when there was no adult person, Hobbes became
a live tiger who functioned like the chorus in a classical Greek drama.
- Calvin's parents have no names (the same as the mother in
Thomas Hardy's famous novel The Return of the Native),
but are only referred to by relationship to Calvin (e.g., "mom" and "dad").
- Calvin's school teacher ("Miss Wormwood") and
school principal ("Mr. Spittle") are thoroughly conventional
authority figures, who haven't the slightest appreciation for
Calvin's imagination or creativity.
Most readers apparently see Calvin as a terrible menace who is
destructive, disobedient, and dangerous. In contrast,
I see Calvin as a metaphor for an unconventional and highly
creative individual who is at odds with the conventional world around him.
Finally, Calvin and Hobbes has been translated into many languages.
In the early 1990s, I purchased several of the
Calvin and Hobbes books in the German language
(published by Krüger-Verlag), partly for enjoyment and
partly to learn the contemporary colloquial German language.
Bullwinkle & Rocky
The half-hour animated cartoon show that featured Bullwinkle J. Moose
and Rocky (a flying squirrel) was intended for adults
and shown during primetime on the ABC television network during 1959-60.
But adults in the USA could not understand it, so the program was
marketed to children, who apparently enjoyed the stories,
but also without understanding the parodies and political satire.
The programs originally appeared on television networks in the USA
from Sep 1959 to 1964.
A book by A.J. Jacobs gives the scripts for 25 Fractured Fairy Tales
that were originally shown during part of the Bullwinkle program.
episode synopsis from Video Review Nov 1984:
Frostbite Falls by Charles Ulrich
Fractured Fairy Tales script of 12 episodes
toonzone "Hokey Smoke!"
This document is posted at
created 15 Feb 1997, revised 12 Jan 2008, minor revision 13 Jan 2013
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