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Cool Pick Hotel's

Weird and Wonderful places to visit on the Web

Cool Pick Hotel Written by Wesley Tatters

The Readers Digest has a page for funny quotes and anecdotes told by people who never seem concerned that the rest of the world might categorize them as weird, or at least a little bit strange. Now, with increased availability of access to web publishing tools, it seems this same group of people may have decided to move enmasse onto the World Wide Web.

While the exact motivation that drives a person to publish the contents of their sock drawer on the Internet, or the temperature of their HotTub for that matter, may be a thesis subject phsycology students dream about. The fact still remains that while many of these sites are completely useless, the level of ingenuity shown by some of sites makes them deserving of a room in the Cool Pick Hotel.

So without further addo, Cool Pick Hotel presents the best of the weirdest places on the World Wide Web.


America's Funniest Home Hypermedia - http://www.primus.com/staff/paulp/useless.html

Give some people a video camera for 5 minutes and they will probably do something regrettable. Give that same person a Web site and well . . . you get the idea. In keeping with the Funniest Home Video theme, the America's Funniest Home Hypermedia acts as a guide to some of the most Useless Web pages currently available.

While this site in itself could not be consider Weird, a large percentage of the sites in the directories it maintains certainly are. "But why bother?" I here you ask. "If these sites are that useless who cares?" Surprisingly, it seems that there are many people out there for whom such sites hold a certain attraction. In fact, the America's Funniest Home Hypermedia site has become so popular that it recently passed the 1 million hits milestone, with 70,000 additional hits being recorded each week.

While this site is consider by many to be the home of Uselessness on the World Wide Web, it is not without its pretender to the throne. When you've visited all of the 500 plus sites on the Useless home pages, you might like to check out Mirsky's Worst of the Web - http://mirsky.turnpike.net/wow/Worst.html and the small but definitely weird, What's Weird on the Web - http://www.dsmllp.com/weird.htm.

And for those of you game enough to play with a beta version of Netscape 2.0. The Enhanced for Netscape Hall of Shame at http://www.meat.com/netscape_hos.html comes complete with Frames, Backgrounds, and all those other fancy Netscape only tricks that make a normal browser look like a reject from the 60's.

10 of the Best or Worst ?

Machines on the Web - http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/bsy/www/iam.html

No collection of weird and wonderful web sites could ever be complete without at least a passing mention of the many different machines that people have managed to connect to the Internet. Many are the rumors of Soda machines, Hottubs, Video cameras and the occasional Refrigerator, which people in their wisdom have decided to place online. In fact, it would be very easy to spend an entire article exploring just these sites.

However, since the staff have already done such a wonderful job cataloging all the many and varied machine/Internet connections currently available, I will leave your further explorations in their capable hands.

Abandoned Site - http://www.xtc.net/~nil/

If you have a few hours to kill and enjoy the challenge of exploring a maze, then place the Abandoned Site at the top of your list of Useless places to visit. Basically there is nothing of interest at this site, except for over a thousand interlinked pages that promise little more than being a waste of time.

But what an enjoyable waste of time it is. There are lots of colored screens, buttons to click, radio buttons to select and menus to read all decked out in Netscape 1.1 enhanced finery. As an added bonus, try visiting the alternate entrance to the Abandoned Site at http://matrix.infomatch.com/~nil/, which features one of the only hotlinks on the Internet that selects itself. (Just load the page and wait - you'll see what I mean)

The WWW Virtual Keyboard - http://www.xmission.com/~mgm/misc/keyboard.html

When it comes to senseless pages this one really takes some beating. Take a $2000 dollar computer, a modem, an Internet connection and a WWW server. Add a web page with a set of piano keys and click. Now wait for a fews seconds and tada, the note you clicked on is played by your computer. Oh yes, and you'll need a sound card as well. Now maybe with a T1 connection you could play "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Fishtime - http://redwood.northcoast.com/cgi-bin/fishtime

There are some sites on the Internet that not only look good, but in fact do something really useful as well. Depending on you point view, Fishtime could be just such a site.

Basically, Fishtime can tell you the current time in any part of the world. Now on its own this sort of feature would not usually rank a mention, but its the way that this site tells the time that sets it apart. For example, use this URL to find out the time in Brisbane Australia - http://redwood.northcoast.com/cgi-bin/fishtime?-10

Telephone Dialer - http://pluto.ulcc.ac.uk/Sound/dial.html

And now for another site that provide you with a 5 cent service, using thousands of dollars worth of resources. Enter a phone number into the field provided and the Telephone Dialer will play the tones needed to dial the number for you. Mind you, by the time you log onto the Internet, locate this page and thne wait for the tones to be played, you could have dialed the number by hand, had your conversation, hung up the phone again and made a cup of coffee.

The Big Red Button http://www.wam.umd.edu/~twoflowr/button.htm

Introducing the Big Red Button. When you click on it nothing happens, in fact, the text that accompanies the button tells you as much.

What is amazing, however, is that literally thousands upon thousands of people have clicked on it, just to check. Why ? No one really knows, maybe its some sort of science experiment gone horribly wrong or maybe it just goes to prove that old adage about signs that say "Do Not Push this Button."

If your still find the need to click on things after the Big Red Button, then take a look at http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~pitharat/buttons.html. I have it on good authority that at least one of the buttons on this page actually does something.

The Amazing Magic 8 Bob - http://inp.cie.rpi.edu/cgi-bin/bob

Back when I started programming, there was a piece of software doing the rounds called Doctor Eliza. When you asked Doctor Eliza a question the program would respond with a sometimes meaningful reply. Now it seems the good Doctor has made it onto the Web in the form of the Amazing Magic 8 Bob.

Ask Bob a question and wait for the reply. The only catch is, make sure the questions can be answered using yes or no.

FishCAM - http://www.mcom.com/fishcam/fishcam.html

I know we have already looked a the subject of machines connected to the Internet, but FishCAM is such a fun little toy that it deserves a mention of its own. This page is devoted to all those people who don't own a fish tank themselves, but long for the feelings of peace and inner harmony that only staring at fish can bring.

Whenever you visit this page, a snapshot is taken - via a video camera - of fish swimming in a fish tank. Then, within seconds (all right minutes at 2400 bps) the image is displayed on you screen.

BOBAWORLD - http://miso.wwa.com/~boba/bobaworld2.html

BobaWorld makes it onto this list courtesy of the "America's Funniest Home Hypermedia" page. What makes BOBAWORLD weird in the fact that it has received so many awards, special mentions and various other forms of recommendations. The site has no real redeeming features apart from the fact that its developer appears to be very good at self promotion. Sure there is an extensive list of links and a collection of pointers to some interesting sites, but that's about it.

In fact, the Useless pages directory goes so far as to point people to a commentary on BobaWorld published by SpinnWebe at http://www.thoughtport.com/spinnwebe/peeve/boba.html.

Walls'96 - http://www.morsepr.com/MMdocs/Bill.html

And Finally, if you haven't heard yet, Bill Gates is currently constructing the mansions to end all mansions. Honestly, its just a small little place built on the side of a hill, near the water. To keep up with all the latest construction site gossip, and view snapshots of the place, take a look at Walls '96.

Next Up . . .

Cool Pick Hotel is looking for you input. While we spend many hours each week combing the World Wide Web looking for cool sites, with thousands on new pages begin added each day, there may be sites that you have encountered which deserve our attention.

If you have located such a site, or maybe have an idea for a Cool Pick Hotel feature topic, why not drop me a line at wtatters@world.net. To make sure that you message catches my attention, place the worlds COOL PICK HOTEL in the subject.

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