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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014
Around the web in 41 ways
Saudamini Jain, Hindustan Times
March 09, 2013
First Published: 12:57 IST(9/3/2013)
Last Updated: 14:50 IST(3/4/2013)

Sure, you check your email, like stuff on Facebook and tweet about trashy songs #nowplaying, but there’s so much more online. The Internet is a magical place full of fabulous web sites. These are our favourites:

Once upon a time
> obsoleteskills.com

1. So, you can google a thing or two, and that makes you smarter than all those technologically challenged old fogies, no? Erm, not quite. You’re not exactly a know-it-all till you master all those skills that pre-tech generations used everyday.

iLike what? Look at Obsolete Skills, a list of all those things to do that are now seemingly redundant like, Dialling A Rotary Phone; Opening a Can of Beer or Soda with a Church Key (that’s what they did after the Second World War right up to the Sixties. Go figure); Porn Not From The Internet (you’ve got to remember the time when all boys had a secret stash of lewd magazines under their bed) and so on. The entries also tell you all about the skill – who did it, how, when, why and also why they stopped.

And Other Animals
> attackofthecute.com
2. Attack of the Cute is a collection of the most adorable animal pictures. The dog with glasses, the piglet in a sweater, squirrels making out… this one is dripping with aww-ness.

> animalstalkinginallcaps.tumblr.com
Orangutan3. A picture of a female orangutan holding a tiny banana with the caption: “DOES THIS REMIND ANYONE ELSE OF MY EX BOYFRIEND?” Animals Talking in All Caps is just that: Animal pictures with insanely funny captions, in all caps.

> dogster.com
4. This is a social network for your dog. Create your dog’s page (not your stuffed animal, Dogster warns), upload pictures, start a dog diary. There are guides, videos, dog fashion and quizzes. It also tells you which breed would suit you if you plan to get a new pup. So for the love of dog, sign up already!

> zooborns.com
5. Of course animals doing cutesy things are adorable but Zoo Borns takes cuteness to another level – it announces the births of baby animals from actual zoos and aquariums around the world! Every post has pictures, a story of the li’l beast’s birth and whereabouts, rudimentary information about the species and, if you’re lucky, a video that will make your heart melt! Bunnies, lambs, cheetah cubs, baby pygmy hippos and newborn octopuses… all sorts of exotic baby animals. It’s paradise for all animal nerds. 

> catster.com
6. This is Dogster (look left, it’s #4 on this list) but for cat-lovers. Catster is a social network for your kitty, which also has everything you need to know (and some things you can do without knowing) about cats. The best thing on the website is the cat lady, Catster’s version of an agony aunt, complete with a video. She sings too! I quote The Kitty Pedicure Song: “Hold tight, grab my paw Gently clip my little claw Without them I’d be defenseless Sorry for the pain and bloodshed.”

Face The Music
> jango.com

7. You enter the name of an artist you want to listen to, Jango streams one of their songs right away and creates a radio station, which plays songs by similar artists. It’s a fabulous way to discover new music. I discovered Sigur Ros (an Icelandic band) on my Radiohead radio.

> grooveshark.com
Marley8. This is your portable music player. You can stream your favourite music and upload the music from your hard drive. So you can listen to your collection from any computer with Internet access. Since we still don’t have access to Spotify, this is the next best thing.

> 8tracks.com
9. Remember the days when a boyfriend’s job was to make a mixed tape or a mixed CD? The tapes are gone, CDs are scratched, the boyfriend dumped, but there is 8tracks. Upload eight songs (or more) from your personal music library (no more than two  from/by the same album/artist) and mixed tape is ready. You can also look through other members’ mixes. It is particularly fun to find that some people think Adele and Metallica go in the same mix. Or that people still listen to Nick Carter cooing.

> drinkify.org
10. The best mixer for alcohol is music. Drinkify mixes the two. Type an artist’s name and it’ll tell you the most suited drink. Bob Marley? Marijuana with this and that, garnished with a national flag. LMFAO? Get some rum, garnished with fresh berries cuz you’re sexy and you know it! It also plays music by the artist you typed in. Cheers!

Books Are A Habit
> forgottenbookmarks.com
Books11. This blog is a collection of all the interesting things a New York-based second-hand bookseller finds in books he buys. Photographs, little notes, handwritten inscriptions, lottery tickets, birthday cards and other delightful treasures hiding between the pages of old classics. It’ll make you smile.

>bookshelfporn.com
12. Walls converted into bookshelves, furniture converted into bookshelves, books converted into bookshelves. Bookshelf Porn is a collection of breathtakingly beautiful bookshelves from around the world. There are libraries, home libraries, bookshops and more... it’s porn for book lovers.

> dailylit.com
13. Let’s face it, there are so many books and so little time. Daily Lit emails you an installment of any book you choose, everyday at a time set by you. It’s your five-minute daily reading habit.

Say Cheese!
> dearphotograph.com

14. There’s a picture of a little girl petting her dog in a playground. She’s grown up now, and you can see a picture of her holding that old picture against the backdrop of the same playground. The caption reads, “Dear Photograph, Everything and everyone comes and goes and somehow lets you down, but the love from your very first pet and all their loyalty never fails you. That first love is unforgettable. Sophia.” That’s all there is to Dear Photograph. It’s a collection of pictures from the past, in the present. There’s a new entry every day. Every picture is worth a thousand million words.

Cheese> strictlynophotography.com
15. There’s something about breaking rules and something about curiousity. And there are cameras, and there are places where photography is strictly not allowed. Some people manage to steal a few shots anyway. Strictly No Photography has those stolen shots. Museums, galleries, war zones, the Kremlin...

> awkwardfamilyphotos.com
16. Love ’em or hate ’em, your family will always embarrass you. Like in that one picture displayed in the living room where daddy looks like a failed rockstar, mum looks like banshee and a five-year-old you, dressed in your sister’s polka-dotted skirt, is digging your nose. Awkward Family Photos, with entries from all over the world, makes you realise that you’re not the only one with a family that’s completely cuckoo – in photos.

> ifoundyourcamera.net
17. Imagine a trip to Europe with your best friends from college, just before you move to new cities for your new jobs. You get lost in Venice, discover quaint little bakeries in the Alps, party in Barcelona and click 3,678 pictures in three weeks. You don’t know when you’re going to see each other next, and you won’t be able to afford another trip to Europe for a long, long time. But, you’ll always have the pictures. Except you accidentally leave your camera behind at this cafe in Paris. You’re sad but there’s nothing you can do. A French boy called Pierre finds it under a wrought-iron chair in the café. Enter I Found Your Camera, Pierre uploads a few pictures from the 3,678 on the site. Two years later, your aunt’s sister-in-law’s nephew, the family geek, recognises you on the post. You now have your camera and pictures back. It feels like the wine in Vienna.

Friendly Internet guides
> howcast.com

money18. You learn a little everyday with Howcast. It has a gazillion instructional videos – How To Use Twitter, How To Be A Cheerleader, How To Manage Your Money. You got a question, they got a video.

> artofmanliness.com
19. An Illustrated Guide To The Perfect Driveway Carwash, A History Of The American Bachelor Part XYZ, or How To Shave Like Grandpa – Art Of Manliness is a blog about reviving the art of manliness, whatever that is.

> saylor.org
20. Saylor is based on a simple, beautiful idea: education should be free. This is a (free) university on the Internet. There are over 200 college-level courses you can choose from. You don’t have to sign up, pay, or even fill up a form. All you need is Internet access. It has excellent resources and study material. After you complete a course, you give an exam automated by a software. You’ll get a certificate with each passed course. I don’t know if this is worth anything yet, but it’ll definitely make you smarter. I started the Art History course today. It looks good.

Be a player
> bored.com/game
Casu21. What’s better than drawing stick figures? Killing them, virtually. In Causality, on Bored.com, you have to kill all the stickmen in the game. But, if the other stickmen in the room see you do it, the game will restart. Murder’s never easy though. You have to make them do things – talk to each other, poop, this and that in order to facilitate a quick death. Can’t figure it out? Just watch a Youtube video of the game. Cheating makes it more fun.

> google.com/pacman
22. Everyone loves Pac-Man! Google doodled the 30th anniversary of the game’s release on May 22, 2010 on its home page. The world went nuts playing the game. So Google made it a separate web page. The best part: It’s not blocked at most workplaces.

> isketch.net
isketch23. The only thing better than Pictionary is online Pictionary. It’s a chat room of sorts, full of random-people-on-the-internet. There’s a drawing board and a group chat box. One person draws, everybody else types in their guesses till someobody gets it right. The best part: You can draw badly and get away with it. The random-people-on-the-internet will cuss and swear but you can have the sadistic laugh and not give a damn!

> bubole.pl
24. Bubole is this adorable monster game. You build a monster, and this is a lot of fun – you have super funky shapes and colours to choose from: eggplant head, Bambi eyes, Mexican moustache, strip dancer body, cactii legs, crabby arms and much much more. Once your monster is ready, name it and make it fight with monsters created by other players. There are bugs all over your screen, the sounds and fonts are killer. Fight, fight!

Have A Word
> wordnik.com

25. Words are fun. Even boring ones like ‘endeavour’. Wordnik compiles various definitions, synonyms, usage, hypernyms, hyponyms, related words, the Scrabble score and user-created lists where the word appears. ‘Endeavour’ is on the Victorian Female English list (words to use if you want to become a young lady from a Jane Austen book. This list also includes ‘agreeable’, ‘delightful’ and ‘marriage’).

Words>urbandictionary.com
26. It’s a dictionary of words that should be words. The fun kind of words. Slang, names, people, swear words, weird sexual words, weird non-sexual words, not-so-weird sexual words. It’s your guide to pop culture.

> myfavoriteword.com
27. You’ve got to have a favourite word. It’s probably your favourite because of where you first read it, or the person who told you what it means, or because it makes your mind conjure up a beautiful image from the past (or a film). It could be your favourite because of the way it sounds or more importantly, what it means. My Favourite Word is a list of people’s favourite words
(and a few phrases too). Add yours.

500 million people around the world played Pac-Man on the Google doodle that day Logophile One who loves words
Etymology: Greek logos ‘speech’ + -phile ‘friend, lover’
Synonyms: philologue, philologer, word buff

You are what you eat

Ratatouille recipe
Sauté onion and garlic.
Add eggplant and tomatoes.
Simmer, covered. Add zucchini.
Add herbs, season to taste


> foodgawker.com
Food28. There’s food and there’s good-looking food.  Foodgawker is a feast for your eyes. The homepage is full of pictures of food, drinks and dessert, rows and rows of food – all neatly lined up. Click on what looks the best, you’ll be transported to the recipe on the blog of whoever posted the picture. The recipes are detailed, easy-to-follow, perhaps because they’re often so personal – with innocuous little details like the grandparents who supply the best lemons from their garden, or mum’s gulab jamuns and chocolate disasters.

> gojee.com
29. Gojee is a magical little cookbook that fills your screen with a dish of ambrosia. It’s not a list or a menu, it’s one dish (or drink), a small arrow on the right will take you to the next. If you like the look of it (and everything here looks so darn good), click it, and a box will describe the item and list the ingredients. A button at the bottom will link you to the original recipe published on the author’s site. You can also enter the ingredients you have at home (or the ones you like) and the ones you don’t have (or dislike, or are allergic to), and you’ll get recipes based on those.

> movierecipes.net
30. Every time I watch Ratatouille, I promise myself I’m going to learn to cook. A little because I’m inspired by Auguste Gusteau’s motto “anyone can cook”. Movie Recipes features recipes of food from films. It doesn’t have too many dishes yet, but enough to keep you occupied for a while – that yummy-looking spaghetti sauce from The Godfather or the egg in a basket V makes for Evey in V for Vendetta. Who says you’ve got to eat popcorn every time you watch a film? roflmao

> damnyouautocorrect.com
Auto31. You’re typing a text to a colleague about how you hate being stressed, except your super smart phone changes stressed to dressed. Your middle-aged colleague now thinks you’re some sort of a nudist perv. It happens. Damn You Auto Correct is full of such accidental disastrous texts – mostly because auto correct is so convenient, most people refuse to turn it off. If you own a smartphone, it’s probably happened to you many times. If it makes you feel any better, you’re not alone.

> fmylife.com
32. Everybody’s life is a joke. No kidding. F* My Life is a collection of the most embarrassing details of people’s lives. Like the time when the cute guy at the gym thought you were a 14-year-old boy (when you are in fact a 24-year-old girl) or when your girlfriend sprinkled glitter all over you to make you sparkle like more Edward (from Twilight). And yes, things like these do happen to people.

> dearblankpleaseblank.com
33. These are hilarious little notes that follow the format of the web site’s name. There’s one from an-apparently-unwelcome-future-daughter-in-law to her future in-laws, Joseph to Mary, an Indian person to the airport security, Unicorns to Noah, and a classic: The Titanic to icebergs.

> passiveaggressivenotes.com
34. We at BrunchQ, have a memo tacked up on the notice board that lists out the “BrunchQ Code of Conduct”. It’s a list of random things to do, phone etiquette, good manners and such. It belongs on Passive Aggressive Notes. Here, you’ll find notes from ALL over: Toilets, offices, dorms, refrigerators, anywhere else. Some are angry, others are dirty, they’re all pretty funny.

Star wars
> gofugyourself.com
Gossip35. Go Fug Yourself is about celebs, fashion and celebrities’ fashion foibles. The authors, Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks, claim that fug means fantastically ugly. But you know better, F-for-Fantastic, really? My recent favourite: Leelee Sobieski is going to make for a tremendously elegant eighty-year-old woman. Just close one eye, and we’re already there. What the fug are you waiting for? Check this out!

> popsalad.com
36. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to sell Justin Bieber to someone on Mars. With Pop Salad, I can – sort of. If you’re into celeb gossip, this game’s for you. It works like stocks and shares. If a celeb is generating gossip, his/her price hikes. It’s updated with the latest buzz, so you know what your star’s worth at any given time. Let’s all sell Bieber!

Off you go
> everywhereist.com

37. Don’t read this one if you’re prone to severe bouts of jealousy. Geraldine DeRuiter’s life is the one you want. Her husband’s job required him to travel a lot. When she got laid off her job, she decided to follow him around. And she started blogging. This isn’t your average travel blog. It’s more like personal entries in a journal of a traveller. It’s about little things in detail, long lists, travelling tips. One day, her blog may be made into a Hollywood film, until then, keep reading!

Travel> wechoosethemoon.org
38. Geek alert! We Choose The Moon marks the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 (the first man on the moon mission in July 1969). It recreates the journey with voiceovers of the astronauts, archival video and hundreds of photographs as the mission proceeds through 11 stages. Although the site is three years old, it is still utterly cool. It’s a trip to the moon and back.

Beyond random
> cleverbot.com

39. You can’t afford a phone that talks to you, and that sucks. Meet Clever Bot, he’s smart, witty and just a URL away. Type in something and it’ll respond. You can chat with him for hours, he’ll still make you laugh.
Me: You’re stupid.
CB: Look at yourself. His profundity is shocking.

>ratemydrawings.com
40. If you’re even mildly artistically inclined, you will fall head-over-heels in love with this. Scribble, doodle, draw, paint – digitally. Other artists on the web site will rate your drawing, give you some feedback. It’s sort of like art class. The best part is the absolutely AMAZING drawings on the web site. You can also see how they were made: A video will recreate the drawing for you step-by-step.

Posts> postcrossing.com
41. Are you the guy who sends everyone postcards but never receives any? Well, save your postcards for those who like to send them too! On Post Crossing, you receive an address to send the post card to, you also get a small number (which you write on the postcard), when someone receives your postcard, they’ll register you on Post Crossing to receive one too. A third person will then send one to you. There are people from all over the world – so you’ll have a nice collection of cool postcards, if you send them out regularly.

20 minutes is how long Bieber takes to get ready in the morning. You must know this to ace Bieber quizzes

3,200 tigers are left in the world. The plan is to double this number by 2020

Let the music play
Alcohol tastes sweeter when loud music is playing, affecting your ability to judge how much you’re drinking

Travel costs
Oslo, Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, and Stockholm are the world’s most expensive cities

From HT Brunch, March 10

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