Archive for the Internet Category

Internet: flash games

Posted in Internet, Wasting time on April 25, 2010 by Hepworth

We’ve already covered video games as a whole, but I think this deserves its own special post. Some of the best games are the simplest for a number of reasons. At the top of that list of reasons is the fact that it’s right there on your desktop. Right now. I mean, you might as well, right?

It always starts the same way. I’m reading a blog and they mention some stupid little flash game (yes, those are all separate links). Then everything goes black, and I eventually look at the clock only to notice that 4 days have passed. But I beat that game; you can be sure of that, and really, that’s all that matters isn’t it?

If it’s is a level-based game, you know it’s shorter than your standard video game, so you can convince yourself to try to play it through in one sitting. Guess what? It’s not that short. You’ll be sitting there for a while.

Anyway, this post is taking entirely too long to write, as I sift through my old favorite games and try to replay them. I’m even trying to replay the ones I hate. This does not bode well.

P.S. I’d like to thank Woot! for enabling my habit by keeping me informed of the most mindless games.

Just break down and do something.

Posted in Internet, Wasting time on April 3, 2010 by Hepworth

Oh no. It happened. I couldn’t stop it.
I did something.

And what’s worse — I’ve decided to continue doing something once every week. It will still be trivial, no doubt, but it will be something nonetheless, and for that I apologize. I’ve been putting this announcement off for too long, because… well, I like putting things off.

I’m sorry for the pain I’ve caused my friends, family, and supporters. I can only hope that you will, in time, come to understand my decision. I feel as though, by venting all my unhealthy urges toward intellectual mobility once a week, I might be able to better concentrate on my inactivity in the remaining time each week. I understand that I am somewhat of a role model to fat little lazy kids everywhere, and I want to stress that this slightly productive path is not the route for everyone. To the children I say, “Don’t give into temptation. Stay strong, stay true, and follow your dreams by sleeping in.

There are those who will see this stumble as an opportunity to impugn the entire sloth movement (or anti-movement, as it were). They will point their fingers at my example and claim that the sedentary lifestyle cannot work. They will laugh their smug, ambitious laugh and go back to running their corporations and snowboarding and whatnot. I remind them that I am only one man, and while I may have fallen, the weekwasters of the world are numerous.

In the meantime, check out Something a week. If nothing else, it’s another blog to add to your collection, and it can help push back that looming deadline by a few seconds.

I plan to continue this blog, but I need your help. I’ve clearly begun to run low on time-wasting tips, as evidenced by my fall from grace, and I don’t want the same to happen to the scores of people who depend on this blog for procrastination tips. So, send in your weekwasting techniques. I don’t care how trivial they are. What do you do, when you’re not doing anything?

Develop computer problems.

Posted in Internet, Wasting time on January 8, 2010 by Hepworth

We all know how important the computer is to the art of wasting time, but sometimes we need to make sacrifices for the greater good. Imagine how frustrated you’ll become when your ol’ pal stops working, and how much you’ll need to focus your resources on getting things back to normal. It’s bound to happen eventually, but why wait?

I’d recommend enabling auto-update features as a start. There’s nothing quite as awesome as waking up to find that your computer has been reconfigured and no longer recognizes your keyboard. Also, it’s pretty sweet to constantly get interrupted to “restart your computer” to activate the new updates. If you turn on the auto-update feature on enough software, you should get this message about once every 3 minutes.

Disable that virus software. Surf a bunch of really sketchy sites without protection. Click on any and all pop-up ads you see, and install anything they offer. Remember, the first person to download the entire internet, wins! Don’t worry it’s safe. Some sites may even tell you via pop-up that you may have a virus and helpfully offer a free virus scan. Free? Sounds good to me!

Get some new hardware or huge software. Normally the more invasive the installation, the better. You should try to ignore the compatibility requirements and instructions, and just mess around with it until you can get it running.

Every once in a while, unplug everything, then plug it in again, in a slightly different configuration. I like to plug my portable devices into the back of the computer and try weave the cords through the tangled nest of wires back there. Then, when I need to move something, I need a map and a loom to get to it, usually knocking a few things loose along the way.

Drink around your computer. Spilling liquids is a great path to catastrophic computer failure. Of course depending on what you choose to drink, you may be inclined to send some interesting emails to people you know, and developing relationship problems is another chapter altogether.

So follow this guide and you’ll be r2#49@#«ڣç <Error 507> <input sum= 32> // <post_ending.htm not found>
<free_virus_scan.exe has reformatted C:\>

How to shop

Posted in Internet, Wasting time on November 27, 2009 by Hepworth

So, Thanksgiving is over, and if you’re anything like most Americans, you’re gearing up for some serious shopping. A lot of people look down on the whole mess, but not me; I’m very pro-shopping. Buying stuff is great. Any money you spend now, will cut down on the amount of things you can afford to do in the future. Plus, if you do it right, shopping itself can be a an enormously useful time-waster. But, before you run out to bust down doors and trample people to death in the spirit of the season, check out some of these tips.

Wander the aisles. Look at everything. This is a good habit to get into for all kinds of shopping. Go ahead and walk down the dog food aisle, even if you don’t have a dog. You never know what kind of deals you might find down there.

Comparison shop for pennies. Here’s a scenario. You’re looking to buy some canned peaches. You can get a 15oz can for 97¢, or you can get the 28oz for $1.78. Which one is the better deal? If you said, “who cares?” you failed. Careful studying should have told you that if you buy the bigger version, you’re actually spending about one tenth of a cent less per ounce. That kind of obsession spread across a few dozen items can turn a 30 minute errand into a 3 hour ordeal.

The fact is, traditional stores are not that great for wasting a whole lot of time. No, what you need is a thrift shop. Right off the bat, you’ll notice that everything is everywhere. There’s no sense of order. You’ll actually have to pick up everything and turn it over to find the price.

Some things in a thrift shop are actually organized, but still take forever to rummage through. Take the clothes for instance–you can’t just go to a rack of similar shirts and pick out your size. You need to go to your size first, and thumb through every single shirt to see if there’s one you like. Then you need to carefully inspect it to find the reason it’s been donated to begin with.

Every once in a while, I notice something at a thrift shop that I like, but still feel is a little expensive. That’s when I employ my favorite of the slow shopping tactics. Second hand stores always have a half-price sticker day, so you just find out when that color tag goes on sale, and come back then. But, this maneuver usually necessitates coming back every single day in between, to make sure it’s still there. That makes me happy.

Waiting to buy things is a great practice, but imagine if there was a way to commit yourself to buying things days from now. I’m talking about online auctions. Auctions rock! I mean, shopping online already takes weeks for delivery, but by adding a week to the actual purchasing process, then a few days for the finalization of sketchy online payments and shippers who only ship every other week, you can actually spend a month or so buying one item! Now, that’s what I call inefficiency! Combine that with sometimes losing the auction at the last second and having to start over, and well, it brings a tear to my eye.

So have fun out there, and why don’t you pick up a little something for me? I can wait 6 to 8 weeks for delivery. I’m not doing anything.

Quick tips for better browsing

Posted in Internet, Wasting time on November 13, 2009 by Hepworth

browsersThis is just a short list of things you can do to make your internet browsing experience more unproductive. Feel free to mix this into your normal repertoire, and build on it.

Any time you spend not-goofing-off is time you’ll never get back,  so you should attack productivity early and often. An easy trick to quickly and repeatedly sabotage any motivation is setting your home page to something that makes you forget why you signed on. I like the free section of Craigslist, but you can use Facebook, or even some sort of blog aggregator. Then just go about your day. Eventually you’ll need to look something up, or check an account balance, and you’ll suddenly get distracted, entranced, and back off-track.

Have I mentioned subscribing to blogs? What I hate most about my favorite blogs is that I often forget to go there every day. By visiting manually, you run the risk of becoming one of those people who only looks around when they’re bored! You should be eating when you’re bored. What good is it to you, if you go there only when it’s convenient? By rounding them up, and hiding them behind one link, a blog aggregator makes it easier for you to remember every single blog in one click. You’ll have so many things coming in, you’ll be drowning in information. (Note to self: “Drowning” as possible blog post.)
Having your favorite blog posts delivered to you is nothing short of miraculous. Sure, technically, the technology exists to (shudder) save time, but with some careful hacking, it can become a powerful hour-squandering mechanism. All you have to do is overload it. Subscribe to every blog that you might visit (or are just curious about), and pay particular attention to the prolific ones. Keep an eye out. Sites you wouldn’t expect sometimes have a little RSS icon on them.

Speaking of bookmarks… here’s an easy tip. Don’t organize your bookmarks. Nope. Just stick ’em all in one folder. Then try to sift through them when you want to remember something. It’s a good idea to try to overuse the bookmark function, as well, to compound the damage.

When browsing, many people don’t use the tab function to its fullest. You should open everything that seems potentially amusing in a new tab. By using this simple step, you can up your down-time almost indefinitely. Here’s an example: When reading a news article about an artist in Oklahoma*, you notice a link to the artist’s website and another link to the OK Art Museum**. Go ahead and open both links in new tabs and finish reading the article. Now you may navigate to another article afterward or just close the tab, but either way the legwork is done. Eventually you’ll close the tab to find 2 more sites waiting for you! You just tripled your reading material, and with any luck, you’ll find a few links on the new sites to keep you going. This method is especially effective in Wikipedia.

Alright. See you next time.

*This example is fictional. There are no artists in Oklahoma. **Also doesn’t exist.

Building your references

Posted in Internet, Wasting time on November 6, 2009 by Hepworth

key catWe’ve all been there. A friend suddenly says something weird and unrelated that is clearly intended to be funny, looks at you expectantly, and… nothing. You want to say, “I don’t get it,” but you know that will make him think you’re a loser. So you half-laugh or fake smile and say, “yeah.”

Chances are, your friend was “making a reference.”  A reference is when someone pays homage to a particular piece of pop culture by reciting a (somewhat obscure) quotation from it. As a general rule, the frequency of use is directly proportional to the cleverness of your friend. For instance: if your pal interrupts you every 10 seconds to speak like Cartman and tell you his parrot is dead, you can be sure he knows what’s hip. References are a subset of a larger category called “memes.” Memes can usually be described as some annoying little thing that people find entertaining for no discernible reason, and yet they are necessary to your social survival.

Often times, the meme or reference appears on a t-shirt, and makes no sense without context. When you ask them for clarification, they brush you off with something like, “Oh, it’s just a thing on the internet.” People are generally reluctant to explain references, choosing instead to use them as a sort of coolness filter. If you know about it, then you’re cool.

So how can you be cool? The answer is research.

I spend a good 8-19 hours a day surfing aimlessly around the internet, looking for trends. It is because of this, that I am able to finish any quote, and am therefore incredibly cool. So that’s what I suggest you do, but that may not be enough.

Anytime you run across a quote you don’t know, you’ll need to look it up. You should start watching more TV and movies, and memorizing the lines. Spend hours clicking around on YouTube, just soaking everything in. The goal here is to become well-rounded in all aspects of pop-culture, but focus most of your effort on the internet, because that’s where memes are born.

Once you’re armed with your knowledge, you’ll naturally start spending your time forwarding emails, trolling message boards, belittling the uninformed, and generally being really awesome.

The Internet: Part 4 (arguing)

Posted in Internet, Wasting time on September 4, 2009 by Hepworth

argue_compyNothin’ to do today?

Head on over to your favorite Robocop 3 Fan Fiction Online Forum or the comments section on the Pictures of People Wearing Cat Sweaters blog and fire off a few controversial messages. Time for a good ol’ fashioned internet argument.

Try to pick topics that people are passionate about. Politics are always a no-brainer, but there’s no need to limit yourself. This isn’t debate club, it’s the internet. Try out some personal attacks. I suppose you could even pick a fight concerning the content of the actual post, if you need to.

Claim that any photograph has been photoshopped, unless of course the purpose of the original post was to claim the image was photoshopped poorly. Then, claim it wasn’t, and that it could easily happen in real life.

Check back frequently to see if anyone has challenged your assertions. Usually, I just stay on the site, and hit refresh once every 3 to 4 seconds.

Dump all of your resources into this fight. Make diagrams, cite your sources, research and link to others who can back you up. Or you can just write really long messages and lots of them. Just get concerned with winning and convince yourself it’s important. If you fail in this step, you’re not wasting time, you’re just a troll, which really takes no time whatsoever.

Try a point-by-point refutation. For those not familiar with this method, it’s infuriating and possibly the easiest way to escalate any argument rapidly out of control. All you need to do is copy the entire text of someone’s message and insert a comment after each sentence refuting the sentence. Then the replier has to refute your refutations, making the thread grow exponentially. It transforms any argument into multiple arguments, which each need to be addressed with the same effort as the first, basically pushing the time count towards infinity (or at least until both parties are typing obscenities in all caps).

Misunderstand, and overreact. This is the ultimate key to any good online tussle. Users can’t see each other, which both depersonalizes the opponent, and obscures attempts at sarcasm. It’s a very good combination for producing endless vitriolic chatter.

If all else fails, attack their grammar. If you can do this while using improper grammar yourself, you can be confident of an immediate reply.

Just remember, if you’re doing it right, no one will change their minds, and the only thing that’ll be accomplished is further arguing. And the best part is, even if you mess up and produce a convincing, poignant and thoughtful argument, it doesn’t matter, because nobody cares what some guy named BuffyLvr87 says in the thread about Tulsa’s biggest turnip.

The weekwasters of the world owe a lot to internet forums. Never has there been an environment that better promotes arguments while ensuring their pointlessness. You think otherwise? Prove it, jerk.