Sunday, 5 December 2004

Two of My Favourite Web Sites

I don't write about the web on this blog very often because there is already so much written about the web that is already on the web. I must admit, however, that I do spend a good deal of time on the web. And, of course, I do have my favourite web sites. Two of them are rather high profile.

The first is Amazon.Com. A large part of Amazon's appeal for me is that they carry books, DVDs, and so on that I wouldn't find at Sam Goodys or WalMart. I just bought the DVD of The Assassination Bureau (a fun period piece from the Sixties featuring Oliver Reed and Diana Rigg) and a copy of An Introduction to Old English Runes by R. I. Page. Neither of these would I be likely to find in Randolph County. But Amazon goes beyond being a simple bookstore where one can get books one might not find at Sam Goodys or Wally World. One of my favourite features is their Recommendations. This is a feature that is turned on when one logs into his or her Amazon account. Basically, Amazon recommends various books, DVDs, CDs, et. al. in which one might be interested based on a survey he or she takes and his or her previous purchases. Sometimes these recommdations are way off base (I loathe The Sound of Music). Other times they are right on target (the Recommendations is how I found they carried The Assassination Bureau).

Amazon also includes Customer Reviews (some more useful than others), which can give one an idea of what to expect from a particular book or DVD. For DVDs, they list the various features it has. For CDS, they have a track listing. For books, DVDs, and CDs they also include a list of works that customers also bought. (for instance, people who bought the wide screen version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone also bought the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings movies and Pirates of the Caribbean. Amazon also has "Market Place Partners," through whom one can buy used and new copies of DVDs, books, and CDS, often at a cheaper price.

Of course, the most important thing to me is that Amazon is reliable. I have always received whatever I have ordered within two weeks. And any item I have ordered, whether it is a book or a DVD, has been in good condition. I actually trust Amazon more than some shops.

Another one of my favourite web sites is the Internet Movie Data Base, better known as IMDB. As its name indicates, IMDB is a data base on the internet listing literally thousands of movies, TV shows, actors, directors, cinematographers, and virtually anyone else who has worked on a movie. With regards to movies, they have detailed information on each film listed, including its release dates, box office, cast, and so on. With regards to actors, directors, and others who have worked on films, it includes a complete filmography and usually a biography and trivia as well.

The fact is that I don't think I have seen any source of information on films and TV shows as IMDB. Even the most obscure films are listed. And I have learned numerous bits of trivia regarding various actors and directors from IMDB. It is one of the most useful, if not the single most useful web sites for any person interested in film or television.

The fact is that of web sites I visit, I probably visit Amazon and IMDB more often than most others. I would recommend them to anyone who loves books, films, or TV shows.

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