Finding Cool Websites

I have a bit of a reputation for finding cool websites or finding sites that are interesting and that people have not come across before. People often IM/email me asking if I’ve got any cool sites they can visit or ask me to please put some cool links on my site.

This morning I was asked again by a friend if I would do that… so I’ve decided to do one better, I’ll tell you how I find all the weird sites I do.

The secret to finding cool and interesting websites is to find communities with similiar tastes in websites. By community website I mean it’s a place where people with similiar tastes and interests gather to swap information and knowledge, it could be a forum, a blog, or one of those sites where anyone can post anything and it’s sorted out through moderation (Like digg and slashdot).

I’m going to cover the “geekier” side of things.. but the same info applies no matter what it is you’re in search of. By geekier I’m talking about science and technology, computers the internet and similiar stuff. This is not everyone’s cup of tea but it’ll give you enough info about how to find the things you’re interested in.

Like I said above I enjoy finding my links through community websites.

My first stop is almost always Digg and I’ll normally go through the websites on the first page or three and see what is there to read. Digg does not only have stuff geeks will like and covers almost all topics although the stuff that appears on the front pages tends to be “geekier” because it’s the people who decide what appears there and in digg’s case most of the people doing the choosing are computer geeks.
Next stop slashdot I’ll once again go through the first one or two pages trying to see if there is anything that I might find interesting. Slashdot – News for nerds, stuff that matters. The site is run by and for geeks/nerds so you’re more likely to find geekier stuff here and less likely to find out how to get a good even tan… but it’s still good fun.
I’ll generally open lots of the links as seperate tabs/windows and then come back to read them once I’ve gone through all the pages on the source site. The next trick is any sites I open from the above pages I’ll see what links they have or what sites they mention.. I work on the simple rule that if I found the contents of the site interesting they may link to other sites who’s information I will find interesting, and I keep doing this until I’ve had enough or get tired… this continous following of links from one site to the next means that I’ll almost never run out of interesting sites to take a look at.

If I didn’t find anything particularly interesting or nothing really grabbed me I’ll go through my favorites and see if any of the sites I’ve bookmarked in the past have anything new or interesting. Here are a few of the sites that I also regularly visit from my vast quantity of bookmarks:

Makezine blog – A blog done by the guys who do the makezine… contains lots of interesting things you could make/build. [Even my mother might find something cool on this site… they often have links to craft like things to make to along with computer/electronic/mechanical things.]

Hackaday – a website that always has something cool… normally neat little hardware modifications or weird stuff you could build.

Bit-Tech – Hardware review and modding site… there forums are often filled with weird but useful stuff.. got some nice case modding hints and tips.

ArsTechnica – Hardware review and general computer discussion site. Also have links to other “techie” type stuff and got nice forums if you’re kinda bored.

I could quiet easily go on… the trick is find people/websites/blogs/forums with the same tastes and interests as you and then follow the bread crumbs and see where they might leave.

Have fun…