FROM NAPSTER TO BACON — Places You Need to Visit on the Internet

First published many years ago … just a bit outdated now!

By Jason Barbacovi

It’s happened to all of us. You’re sitting at work, bored. Maybe not to tears, but as bored as you can possibly be without crying. You’ve got nothing to do, but you can’t go anywhere since your boss tends to look unkindly on you leaving before noon. You’ve already read every single page on Twice. What to do?

Never fear. Lucky for you, we have the answers. The Internet is full of fun places you can go to waste five minutes, ten minutes, sixty minutes, or any other amount of time you need to waste! If you don’t have Internet access from work, we’re sorry: not only is there nothing we can do for you, but you probably need a new job. And if you have Internet access but no job, then you are probably already so skilled at time-wasting that you don’t need our help.

But let’s get down to business. Here are a few Internet sites guaranteed to keep your interest and, if necessary, waste massive amounts of time.

Shockwave |
Ever get the itch to play Frogger instead of finishing that report? Then is the place for you. Go to the site, click Games and choose from a variety of classic, sports, and adventure games. From old favorites like Joust to new, original games like King of the Hill paintball, should keep you entertained for hours. (Warning: if you don’t have a fast Internet connection, don’t bother.)

The Oracle of Bacon |
That’s Bacon as in Kevin Bacon, star of such hits as Footloose, Wild Things, and Tremors. This site, brought to you by the good folks at the University of Virginia, is an automated version of the “Back to Bacon” game. Just type in an actor or actress, and the Oracle of Bacon will tell you the Bacon number for that person—that is, how many movies removed they are from a Bacon film. Like Elvis Presley, who has a Bacon Number of 2: Elvis was in Change of Habit with Ed Asner; Ed Asner was in JFK with … Kevin Bacon. See how big of a Bacon Number you can get. Anything over three and you probably watch too many movies.

F*ck*d Company | www.fu**
With the NASDAQ plunging, annoying dot-coms are failing faster than a set of Firestones. Get in on the fun with F—ed Company, the self-proclaimed “dot-com dead pool” and one of the hottest sites on the Net. Just register as a player, and then every Monday pick five dot-coms that you think are screwed. If you’re right, you get points based on the severity of the failure: a few points for a minor glitch in a Web server, a lot of points for picking a company that is going under. Needless to say, he or she with the most points wins. You can go to the site daily to read up on the latest failing companies or discuss future losers on the message board. Here’s a hint to get you started: pick as one of your companies. If ever a company is doomed, it’s them.

Slashdot |
Slashdot—or /. if you’re really hip—bills itself as “News for Nerds. Stuff that matters.” And that’s just what it is. It has quickly become the de facto Web site for anyone interested in computers or technology. The site posts links to the most important or intriguing science and technology stories of the day, and then allows people to talk or, more frequently, argue about them. It’s not unusual for stories to be posted hours, if not days, before they are featured as “breaking news” in papers and on TV. Which is nice, since you can look very smart by saying “Oh, I knew about that days ago” when you see it on TV.

Napster |
If you haven’t heard of Napster yet, you probably live under a rock in a cave on Mars. It’s everywhere these days, even on the national news. But what is it? Basically, it’s a program that allows you to share music over the Internet. After you download and install the free software, you simply search for the song or songs you want to hear. Napster will show you a list of everyone who has the song, and with the click of a button lets you copy the song from their computer to your computer. And voila! The song is yours. And you wonder why the record companies are worried …

These sites will definitely be enough to get you through the day, probably through the week, and possibly through the month. So what are you waiting for? Dial up and start clicking!