5 useful websites for grad students

January 27, 2008

ra-ra-ra.jpgAs a graduate student, I am assuming you live cheap, work a lot, and travel. If so, these sites may be of some use.

Flightstats — If you have a day of travel ahead, know someone who does (and who’ll you’ll be picking up at the airport), or are booking a ticket and want to know which flights/airlines/airports are always delayed, this is your website. So, by default, this is your website. Extraordinarily useful for the traveling scientist.

Seatguru — So you are online booking a flight. You get to pick a seat. But beyond aisle vs window, how do you know which seats are drafty and cold, which roar with engine noise, and which are next to colicky children? Good news. Seatguru has the plans, and the advice, for seat selection for every type of plane for every major airline. OK, the colicky kid thing is a crapshoot.

39Dollar Glasses — One of the last great scams is the eyeglasses biz. Optometrists often run a 90% markup. Even chain outlets like Pearl Vision make you pay through the nose. And for what? To buy lenses from someone else and insert them into a frame. Now there are a number of outlets for online eyeglasses, and 39Dollar glasses is the one I use. To give you some perspective, I got my prescription reupped at Pearl Vision and had them order the new lenses for my frames (which, needless to say are tres chic). Then I ordered some spiffy prescription sunglasses online. Sunglasses arrived in 2 weeks: cost $139. Pearl’s phoned me 4 weeks later, had botched the order, and charged $179.

What does 200 calories look like? — This one could be filed under “visual explanations”. If you are trying to eat healthy (and, honestly, that diet of Mountain Dew Red and Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwhiches has got to stop, bubby, people are beginning to, well…talk) this site gives you a quick look at what you’re getting. The surprise for me: 1 bagel = 1 big wad of french fries.

Online Ukulele tuner — If your stuck in an airport, destined to sit in the middle seat across from the restroom if your flight ever arrives, bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, and hepped up on Mountain Dew Red and Wendy’s Spicy Chicken, what better way to lift your spirit and that of your fellow passengers than to whip out the ole Uke and rip off a plucky version of “Stairway to Heaven?”.

Your welcome.

OK, any other websites that make life just a bit more bearable?