There are a few familiar names, but Time.com's annual list of the best of the Web is packed with dynamic new sites to make your online life more efficient — or just more fun.
The old way of cooking at home was to figure out what you want to eat, look up the recipe in a cook book, buy the ingredients and whip it up. Here's the Super Cook way: Open the fridge and pantry, type your ingredients into supercook.com, and stand back. Supercook looks through its database of 300,000 plus of recipes and spits out the ones that match. The result? You start cooking right away, using food in your kitchen that would otherwise spoil. It's a painless alternative to traditional menu planning and a great way to find new recipes and economize at the same time.
The latest campus revolutionaries are the so-called edupunks — and their mission is to break up the ivory tower so that everyone can pile into the classroom. MIT was first to heed the edupunk call: It started posting syllabi, course notes, and videotaped lectures on ocw.mit.edu back in 2001. Harvard, Berkley, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford soon followed suit, with their own schemes for posting videos of their most popular courses. Now they're all aggregated by Academic Earth, where you can audit classes from the comfort of your own computer.
Now that everyone knows about eBay, the auction site is not the bargain-hunter's paradise that it used to be. On eBay you always find what you're looking for, but so does everyone else — and that drives prices up. The solution is to fish in a less crowded pool: One of the largest charities in the world, Goodwill Industries, has a little-known auction site (shopgoodwill.com) filled with treasures. Unlike ebay, the people selling stuff often don't know what they've got, so great deals abound.
Most serious travelers carry a folder with printouts of their flight, car, and restaurant reservations. Instead of printing them out, just forward the reservations to firstname.lastname@example.org and the Web site's "itinerator" does the rest. Everything is organized in one place, and the itinerator automatically fetches the weather forecasts and maps that you'll need to be totally prepared. Then the information can be printed, accessed on an iPhone and shared with friends. Even cooler, a social networking feature means that Tripit will alert you if you are about to cross paths with one of your buddies who is also signed up with the service. So if you and one of your old friends happen to have a layover in the same airport at the same time, you'll know beforehand and be able to meet up.
Ever wonder why there were 10 other girls in your class named Erin? NameVoyager uses data from the Social Security Administration to give you the answer. NameVoyager is aimed at new mommies and daddies eager to give Junior a name to remember. (Junior, by the way, is a name that spiked in popularity around 1920, crashed to earth, and is now slowly returning to fashionability.) But the real fun is entering the names of your friends to see what their name reveals about them — or, more accurately, their parents.