The Ultimate Timewaster's Guide to the Internet

Published: Friday, Feb 08, 2008
We know you’re busy. But even doctors find themselves with a little time to kill every now and then. When this happens, we suppose you could do something like read a book or talk with a friend or family member, but who wants to do that? The Internet was invented so people wouldn’t have to do that anymore, right? What you want to do is go online and poke around a bit, but not just visit the same old boring sites. No, you need a destination, something new and interesting.

The way we see it, the Internet’s like New York City: it’s filled with all sorts of interesting and unusual diversions, there’s more going on “underground” than you realize, it’s got more than its fair share of junk and garbage, and it’s rife with bad manners and profanity. Plus, it can be kind of hard to find stuff if you don’t know where to look. What we’re saying is, you need a guide to show you around.


National Geographic Traveler online

Anyone who dreams about traveling to exotic places should visit the online home of National Geographic Traveler, “the world’s most widely read travel magazine.” Here, you will find a treasure trove of travel tips and suggestions, photographs, and interesting articles, guaranteed to infect you with the travel bug. Browse the “Features” section, where you will fi nd the editors’ choices for the 2006 and 2007 top 50 tours of a lifetime, with direct links to learn more about each tour; “Sudden Journeys,” which includes 25 stories written by experienced travelers about spontaneous travel plans that led to some amazing memories; and “48 Hours Destination Guides,” which can help tourists make the most out of their time in any of 15 profiled cities. The “Photos” section features galleries of breathtaking photography from some of the most beautiful locales on the planet. Additional features include a travel blog, podcasts, and a newsletter that provides travel tips and deals.

BEST FEATURE: Jaw-dropping photos and photography content (including useful photo tips and advice and links to the some of the Internet’s best photo sites), and the “Little Book of Travel Wisdom”

WORST FEATURE: May cause acute envy, wanderlust, and the sudden urge to update your passport



A community weblog where anybody can sign up and contribute a comment or a link to something they found online that struck them as interesting, odd, important, poignant, whatever. You never know what you’ll find here.

BEST FEATURE: MeFi Projects, a service “dedicated to helping MetaFilter members announce their new Web projects to the world”



Find the answers to all your movie- and TV-related questions at IMDB (stands for “Internet Movie Database”). A quick search will provide links to trailers; cast and crew information; trivia and goofs; plot summaries; and much more. You can also search by individual names to find information and links to every movie/television series your favorite actor, director, or key grip has ever been involved with—in chronological order, no less. Great for settling bets (What’s the name of that actor who played the jerky bad guy in The Karate Kid, Back to School, and Just One of the Guys? What was Tom Hanks’ first film?).

BEST FEATURE: The easy-to-use navigation bar helps to quickly fi nd everything from trailers to reviews to summaries.

TIPS AND TRICKS: Check out the “Memorable Quotes” section for your favorite movies, if for no other reason than to spare your colleagues from hearing another butchered rendition of Bill Murray’s Caddyshack monologue (“So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet…”).



Music lovers, this convenient online tool allows you to type in the name of a favorite artist and, in a matter of seconds, stream music on your computer by that artist and other similar artists. This fun tool can help you discover new music you might not otherwise get the chance to hear. Take it a step further and download the Last.fm application to your desktop for free, enabling you to tap into its social network and communicate with other users who share similar tastes in music.

BEST FEATURE: “Scrobbling” (Last.fm keeps track of the songs you listen to most, enabling you to construct a musical profi le)

WORST FEATURE: Potential for impressionable young ears to be polluted, possibly terminally, by music from The Eagles.



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