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WebWatch: Homepage Depot

For most Manhattanites, the right tool for home repairs is a phone to call the super. But if you're thinking of unclogging the toilet the old-fashioned way, there are plenty of instructions on the Internet for everyone from bumbling novices to Tim Allen wannabes.

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handymanwire.com
"Built, constructed and maintained by people that love doing things ourselves," this site is a no-frills center for home-repair advice. The archives of frequently asked questions can help soothe anxieties over patching drywall or hanging cabinets, and "Expert" forums direct your questions to real-life pros. If you're worried about asking a silly question, just sit back and read the ones the other newbies have submitted.

homestore.com/Home_Improvement If it's fixable, buildable, or installable, Homestore can help with instructions -- sometimes even animated ones. Online tools can calculate the materials you'll need to do anything from installing a ceiling fan to building a wall, and the abrasive-to-zip cord glossary offers background information, as well as advice on hiring a contractor for the jobs that go beyond your wildest DIY dreams.

digsmagazine.com This 'zine for hipsters building their first nests ("a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation") is mainly good for decorating tips, but it's also compiling an archive of such fix-it advice as how to "Get Handy: Build a Basic Bookcase," a step-by-step manual that will free you from the clutches of the city's cabinet-building chains. There's also an illustrated guide to basic tools, a good starting point if you don't know the difference between a socket wrench and an Allen wrench. Of course, if you don't know how to use any kind of wrench, you might just be better off calling the super.

doityourself.com So dedicated to DIY that it even nabbed the URL, this site has the skinny on everything from tiling the kitchen to remodeling the attic (oh, to have an attic), plus info on choosing paint, carpeting, and wallpaper. With comprehensive glossaries ("The Basic Chemical Cleaning Families") and simple instructions, this site can save you both cash and stress. Next time there's a crisis, you'll be grinning like Martha Stewart.

etc.

After a typically frustrating New York apartment hunt, April Taylor was inspired to launch aprilslist.com. Similar to San Francisco's popular Craig's List (where Silicon Valley types network for jobs and apartments), April's List aims to connect empty apartments with the New Yorkers who are searching for them. There's only a handful of new postings each week, but the ban on broker ads (Taylor removes any ads that ask a fee) and the extensive apartment-swap listings represent a relief from pay-for-play listing services. Anyone in Tahiti need a Manhattan studio?

Museums for Mondays

If Websites are exhibits on the screen, search engines can be thought of as catalogues -- even as museums. Nowhere is this more literally true than at the recently launched Museumspot.com, which might be best described as a virtual museum of virtual museums. Neatly organized by topic and searchable by location or artist, Museumspot.com connects users to every museum site in the world; if it has a virtual version, this site will take you there. Whether you want to know what's on display in Bilbao, search for information on the best planetariums in Australia, or just view the world's masterpieces from your desk, this site is a great entryway -- without a gift shop or a suggested donation.


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