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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Hawai'i Tech
50 ways to waste time on the Web

By Vicki Viotti
Advertiser Staff Writer

You know you've hit on a world-class Internet time-waster when you're fiddling around with the Web site, your office mates crowd around and then repair to their own cubicles to waste time on it themselves.

Thus, we award our Golden Twiddler trophy to Fearthis.com, a haven for the truly mindless (and you know we all have our days). At this Net neighborhood, you get to choose images, or even submit your own, to be warped. A program runs on the site which warps the picture infinitely when you click and drag on it here and there. The results of our fun with the erstwhile presidential candidates can be seen on this page, but we know you can do even better.

This might lead off our 50 Ways to Waste Time on the Web list, which runs on a roughly quarterly schedule, or whenever we stop playing long enough to write them down. But it doesn't mean everything is so overtly silly. You can look at pictures of our planet shot from any satellite you choose, right online (www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/satellite.html). It's almost scientific.

Enough of science lab. Recess beckons again, summoning us to Fling the Cow (www.flingthecow.com). If you've got the free Micromedia Flash software in your Web browser, you can play the game of clicking on the cow and catapulting it to the bull's-eye target. Turn off the sound so all the mooing won't catch the attention of your cubicle mates.

Worse, you might infuriate the boss, who might then delete all games from your PC or Mac. Get around that obstacle at solitairecentral.com to find games for downloading or playing online.

Or check out how cruel ordinary people can be to hopeful hunks and babes at Am I Hot or Not? (www.hotornot.com).

Add to this list, please. Where do you waste time? Submissions for the next list can be scribbled off to vviotti@honoluluadvertiser.com, faxed to 525-8055 or mailed (yes, that still exists) to: Timewasters, c/o Vicki Viotti, The Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802.

Here's the next installment of The Advertiser's 50 Ways To Waste Your Time on the Web (thanks to reader Mark Stitham for several of these):

1. For a really warped view of just about anybody, try the neat Web face-morphing routine at Fearthis.com.

2. You can go around the world in a lot fewer than 80 days, via satellite photo of our planet, courtesy of Earth Viewer (www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/satellite.html).

3. A different form of mad cow disease resides at Fling the Cow (www.flingthecow.com), a somewhat Monty Python-esque experience.

4. No matter what kind of computer you use, there's solo entertainment available at solitairecentral.com.

5. Hot or not, it's fun to rate the would-be hunks and babes at Am I Hot or Not? (www.hotornot.com).

6. A Hawai'i Pacific University student/artist calling himself Techno has assembled some cool ("kewl") Web animations at www.surfpunks.com. It's best if you (a) understand his rabid appreciation of women and (b) have a fast Net connection.

7. Find out how to do just about anything at www.ehow.com.

8. Another one of those ask-an-expert/be-an-expert site is AskMe (www.askme.com).

9. Check out a ton of comedy clips or sundry sound effects at SoundAmerica (www.soundamerica.com), where you'll also find a ton of ads.

10. You know those funny malaprops the Japanese make when translating things into English? Bet you haven't seen a millionth of the ones posted at www.engrish.com.

11. Crossword fans: Washington Post Online has your game (washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/style/crosswords/).

12. Big Dog gamers will be happy campers at the Happy Puppy (www.happypuppy.com).

13. We did say we're wasting time, right? Right. Those with a sound card can try www.farts.com ('nuff said).

14. Wordsmiths, and those who'd like to be one, can explore etymology with The Word Detective (www.word-detective.com).

15. Forget your TV and Alex Trebek. "Play Jeopardy!" with people around the world, at TheStation (www.station.sony.com/jeopardy/). Stitham claims to have a 95 percent win rate here.

16. Bored yet? Poke around at Pokey (www.pokey.org/bored.htm).

17. It's not scratch paper, it's art! It could be, at least, after a visit to the Joseph Wu's Origami page (www.origami.vancouver.bc.ca/).

18. A bunch of shareware/freeware logic games reside at Everett Kaser's emporium (www.kaser.com). "Sherlock" comes highly recommended.

19. The computer living at 20q.net plays Twenty Questions with you and "learns" with each game.

20. Sometimes the best part of the Chinese meal is the fortune cookie. Or not (www.badcookie.com).

21. Fantasize lately about improving your work situation? Assess your boss at ImproveNow.com (www.improvenow.com/assessments/iyboss/index.cfm).

22. Along similar (if less constructive) lines, there's My Boss Sucks (www.mybosssucks.com/), brimming with horror stories.

23. Hopeless cases can head for Toxic Boss (www.toxicboss.com/), where you can share employment nightmares with others.

24. Or if bossing yourself around seems the best route out, check out the advice at Be Your Own Boss (www.beyourownboss.org/index.html).

25. Hey, what's up with this career-advancement nonsense? Back to wasting time with the Mullet Gods (www.mulletgods.com/index.html), a full-blown tribute to a hairstyle.

26. Welcome back, O.J.! The Web ensures that no cultural phenomenon get away that easily. Visit him (www.askoj.com/)!

27. All you ever wanted/needed to know about those bracelets is at Handcuffs.org.

28. Who Would Buy That? It's a question, it's a site that explores the weird things on sale at cyberauction houses (www.whowouldbuythat.com/).

29. So you don't have a life, so you head for the Pat Sajak Official Web site (www.patsajak.com), watching candid video clips of Pat hanging out with his wife.

30. So, you have a life but want to make it nicer? Try the Online Feng Shui Bible (www.merriol.freeserve.co.uk/feng/feng1.htm).

31. Something for everyone on the Web, even a Gumball Machine Museum (www.bobbutler.com/GumballMachineMuseum/GumballMachineMuseum.htm).

32. Nobody said wasting time had to be a poor-quality enterprise. Nobody who'd ever visited The Onion (theonion.com) would suggest it.

33. Allexperts.com bills itself as "the oldest and largest free Q&A service on the Internet," but the answers take a while, according to one reader.

34. Cinemaphiles wouldn't call it wasting time, but they certainly spend it at the International Movie Database (www.imdb.com).

35. And then they hop over to Atomfilms (www.atomfilms.com) for award-winning short films.

36. For downloading die-hards, there's no better source than ZDNet (www.zdnet.com) for freeware and shareware.

37. Mustn't lose track of all the Homer and Bart memorabilia! Thanks to Collecting Simpsons (members.aol.com/bartfan/index.html), you won't.

38. But for D.L.G. Dyer (whoever that is), collecting coffee mugs (members.tripod.com/~dlgdyer/mugsweb/index_nomus.html) is the thing.

39. You definitely need the Shockwave free Web program to appreciate the interactivity of Ze Frank (www.zefrank.com).

40. Is John D. Freyer really selling off all his junk (www.allmylifeforsale.com)? Who cares?

41. Hungover.net may be just what the doctor ordered.

42. Survivor: Monster Island (www.destroy-all-monsters.com/kaijusurvivorweek4.shtml) brings you all the drama of that "other" show, plus Godzilla types.

43. Listen to the noise of the Big Apple at www.noiseways.org — now that's fun!

44. There are reviews of every chip and crunchable under the sun at Taquitos.net

45. Nobody's perfect, not even the people who make sidewalks in San Francisco. For a compilation of sidewalk typos, turn to: home.att.net/~bubble-brain/.

46. Wonder what they'd call you if you joined The Mafia? Try Da Mob Name Generator (www.bookrags.com/mobname.html).

47. What do people dream about? Make a withdrawal from the Dreambank (psych.ucsc.edu/dreams/Search/).

48. Celebrate the humble pixel, that basic unit of all cyber-animation, at PixelJam (www.pixeljam.com).

49. Watch animated vegetables teach you Sunday-school-type values at VeggieTales (www.veggietales.com).

50. There's tons more of this silliness at www.grrl.com for grrls and guys.