atimes.comAlmost immediately after the Asia Times added Western standards to Asian journalism back in 1996, it was pushed under by the debt it took on to launch, becoming one of the first bankruptcies of the region’s financial meltdown. Now it’s back, at least online, and although it’s still a mere shadow of what it once was, it at least provides alternative viewpoints to the region’s government-mouthpiece media outlets.

www.newsonkorea.comThe same people who scour the net for NewsOnJapan now make the rounds for South Korean tidbits. While it has a long way to go to catch up with Japan, the country’s brush with the financial meltdown 31/2 years ago has at least helped it leapfrog its East Asian rival in information technology. It continues to have change forced upon it, and with Japan stuck in neutral, South Korea just may emerge as the region’s pivotal economy. Keep a virtual eye on it.

www.nokia.co.jp/tokyoqWith some local publications increasingly filling their pages with drivel, you might want to look online for a hip alternative. Tokyo Q comes across with personality, and its level of writing doesn’t insult the reader. An English-language ‘zine for expats that actually has some thought behind it.

www.bibliofind.comThis is exactly how the Internet is supposed to work. Having failed over many years to locate copies of Anna Leonowens’ books detailing her life in Thailand as well as Sadaharu Oh’s “A Zen Way of Baseball,” the Spudster typed the authors’ names into Bibliofind’s search engine and was presented with long lists of available copies for each. Cool.

www.shopinprivate.comAnything anyone might be embarrassed to throw into his/her shopping cart or ask a pharmacist for can now be had through the privacy of the Internet. There’s an oxymoron in there somewhere.

www.thespicehouse.comThe Spice House is a not-so-little store in Milwaukee, Wisc., one of America’s true melting pots, that did everything right in going online. It not only offers its goods — herbs and spices from around the world — for sale, it gives histories, suggests complimentary foods, explains growing conditions and, finally, presents recipes. A gourmet site simple enough for the TV dinner set.

www.kingcocktail.comThen again, some of us would rather impress our friends with our bartending skills. The King of Cocktails has more than 500 recipes online as well as tips and advice. For the subject matter, it’s all a bit sobering.