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The Organization Man

Hot on the Web

This column originally ran in ComputorEdge on December 14, 2001
(Issue 1950, Getting Organized)

With this week's theme, it seemed the perfect time to start going through my e-mail in-box:


Recently, I wrote of how had gone to a subscription basis for accessing its links – and so recommended using Yahoo to track down newspapers in different cities.

Reader David Torkelson e-mailed in response, writing "I'm a news junkie and like to go and see what the world press is talking about" – and gave a link for, an Australian site with a sharp little search engine to help you find all the papers in any given city.

In addition, has a breaking news headline section with links to the stories on the different papers' web sites – the morning we visited there were headlines linking back to the Los Angeles Times, CNN, Nando, Washington Post and New York Times (due to the time of day we visited, it was on an American news cycle, thus the U.S. slant). has taken an interesting – even innovative – approach to the slowing of the Internet boom: The site has decided to go non-profit.

Which, if you're not making any profits and you're founded for political/social reasons, makes some sense.

Touting itself as "The place where you can make a difference," is set up as sort of an online soapbox. Each side in some of the most bitter social disputes is given space – go to the abortion page, and there are an equal number of links to pro-life and pro-choice groups. (However, the "animal rights" page has far more links to groups that want to ban medical research and/or hamburgers than it does links to folks with a touch of sanity.)

You can take a poll and join the online debate from any of these pages. They claim to have links to send letters directly to your elected representatives, but I sure couldn't find them.

You can also set up an online petition – the abortion page had one to keep abortion legal and one to ban it. How much good any of this does is problematic, but at least if you want to get something off your chest, you can.

Drawbacks? Well, the folks running this site seem to have a pretty strong bias in favor of Democrats and the various trendy causes of the supposed American Left (is my cynicism showing?). And the registration process is fairly invasive – asking what your political party is. And why do they need a mailing address? Their privacy policy says they do not sell or share any user info with outside organizations – so it's a bit confusing why they need all this info.

Bodega Chocolates

I did a column some time back about finding really good, world-class chocolates online. Lost the e-mail telling me about Bodega Chocolates, but saved the sticky note I made with the URL – so I don't know who to thank for the tip.

Anyway, Bodega Chocolates is out of Dana Point, Calif. I've not ordered anything from here, so I can't vouch for how good it is, but the fudge truffle log looks to be pretty damned delicious.

There is online ordering, a fairly impressive catalog, and FAQ pages so you can learn more about them.