Thursday, August 25, 2005


Way way waaaay back in the day when the web was new and still covered in dew, there was a cute little site called "The Randomizer" (if I recall correctly), where you could click the one link it had and would be taken to a randomly chosen page on the web. It was a great way to discover stuff you wouldn't normally necessarily look for. But, that was when the web was relatively tiny, and geeks could actually make visual maps of the "shape" and extent of the web because of that fact. When the web mutated from a cute little puppy into an eternally swelling behemoth like that in Akira, sites like The Randomizer quietly went away.

Apparently, someone else missed The Randomizer as much as I and created a cool extension (translation of geek speak "extension": an addition to existing functionality, or "extending" functionality) that does what The Randomizer used to, but with some rather nifty upgrades. It's called StumbleUpon, and it requires an email address to activate it (the one obvious downside), but boy is it fun. Not only can you select categories of stuff you're interested in, but you can even vote on the sites, which affects their ranking in the randomizer, so - in theory - that which sucks will eventually flush out.

Two cool things I found right away are:

This pictorial of one family as they aged over the years. They took a photo of everyone on the same day from 1976 until now.

A timeline format used to display the current time. Those awash in ennui or passing through some minor crisis related to aging should give this one a pass for now. It really makes you feel the time passing away. Kind of a Kafkian "You Are Here".

I found this one via and not StumbleUpon, but it's still gnarly enough to point out: Flickr has a section that displays the most interesting photos of the last 24 hours (just in case you need some chrono-therapy after visiting the timeline above).

Besides making beautiful and striking pictures created by talented photographers available to us all, Flickr has also obviously turned out to be pressure valve for people who would normally be more dangerous if they had no means of distributing copious pictures of their cats.

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