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

  1. Bookstores

  2. Music

  3. Law in the USA

  4. News, Time, & Weather links

  5. Computer Hardware and Software

  6. Comic Strips
    1. Calvin & Hobbes
    2. Bullwinkle

1.   Bookstores

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

Kiepert 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.

Hardenbergstr. 4-5
D-10623 Berlin

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.

2.   Music

Beginning in 1992 I used Finale software on an Apple computer to control a 16-channel Proteus/2 synthesizer. I used this equipment to hear my arrangements of baroque or classical keyboard music — and some classical orchestral music — for small wind/string ensembles. I abandoned this hobby in 2013, because my deteriorating hearing made music sound very distorted and unlike what I remembered. Therefore, I no longer revise my following webpages on music.

I have posted my collection of links to sources of sheet music for baroque and classical composers.

I have posted my collection of links to websites about each of my favorite composers (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 marches and national anthems.

I have posted my collection of links to sources of recordings 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 since 2001.

A list of my webpages on music copyright law.

3. Legal Links

I have posted my collection of links 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 German law.

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 technology law, 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.

I posted my list of radio stations, mostly in the northeastern USA.

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.

PC Hardware

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! During 1986 to 2011, I used KeyTronic KB101+ and MacProPlus keyboards that had keys that actuated with a force of only 28 grams. KeyTronic has discontinued manufacturing those keyboards, so when my old keyboards wore out, I began using "Tactile Pro" keyboards made by Matias.

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 Kensington 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.

PC Software

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 webpage 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 used the WS_FTP program for Windows, and now use Fetch for Apple computers, to do file transfer between my computers and my websites.

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 PKWARE. 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, version 2.04g. 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 website.   In May 2002, I abandoned the Windows operating systems, to obtain more immunity from malicious programs.   I have posted my collection of links to websites with information on current attacks.


I normally purchase computer hardware, software, and supplies by online order, partly because:
Since 1992, PC/Mac Connection 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 USA Today, 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.

Ernie is a very funny cartoon, drawn by Bud Grace, with a cast of various characters, including:
Dilbert 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 characters, I have a somewhat different view:
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: toontracker   toonzone
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 4 April 2022

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