Some useful stuff at your fingertips

There's more to the internet than Facebook and Google, and some of those other gazillion or so sites are actually pretty useful.

And no, I'm not talking about free porn or sites offering tips on the latest bondage techniques (although, I have heard that the reason men find women dressed in leather so exciting is because they have that "new car" smell).

My focus this week is all about a small but tasteful selection of slightly less-mainstream but useful tips and websites that you may never have heard of - because free and useful is really way better than free and porn. Truly.

Google is the king of useful and packed with hidden tricks. Most of us probably know about the results of typing "do a barrel roll", "tilt" or "askew" into Google search, but there are other, more practical, options that Google has to offer.

If you're in need of a calculator, just type your equation into the search box and Google's handy-dandy calculator will magically appear on your screen with the answer.

Ditto for conversions (for example, "convert 20 inches to cm" will give you the answer in a panel where you can conveniently chuck in other options for conversion).

Typing the word define before any word will give you a dictionary definition along with useful links, while typing translate immediately before a foreign word or phrase will result in an instant translation to English.

If you're wondering whether to break out the umbrella, or what to pack for that weekend away, type "weather in Invercargill" (or Paris, London, Gore, or whatever exotic location you are currently enjoying) to get a quick look at what dear old Mother Nature has planned.

And if the weather is looking pretty bad, why not just stay home and play a game on Google? Type "zerg rush" into the search box for a simple little game right there on your search page.

Believe it or not, there's even more to the interwebs than free porn, Facebook and Google. Are you getting the dreaded 404 error message when you try to access your favourite site?

If you're wondering if the site really is down or it's just your dodgy net connection, will give you an answer.

Have you ever been sent an important file in a format that you couldn't open? is a format conversion site that offers more than 1200 conversion options.

Select your desired file, upload your problem file, enter your email address, and you're good to go.

How about calendars. Have you had trouble finding one set out just the way you want it? has a range of calendars and, just like the name says, they work.

Are you counting down to some special event? A holiday, a wedding, a divorce? Day counter ( will give you the total number of days between two dates.

Do you need a throwaway email address?

One that you can use to sign up for trials of free porn sites and the like but, just like the "Mission Impossible" instructions, will self-destruct after a short time? will do the trick: you'll get an auto- generated email address that lives for just 10 minutes. Long enough to confirm your free membership.

If you want to disappear from the web, will walk you through the process of deleting your account or removing your public profile from most of the popular sites, such as Facebook and Gmail.

And if you have a pressing "what type of glue should I use" question, will save the day. Simply select what two types of item you wish to attach to one another and, voila, all will be revealed.