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Back Alley Internet

  1. The Most Useful Service for a New Computer

    Back Alley Internet is a recurring column in which we explore some of the weirder corners of the Internet and see what we can dredge up for your amusement and education. This week: James gets fed up with post-operating system installation duty, and turns to a free service that makes life so much simpler.

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  2. fUSION Anomaly: The Secret, Ancient, Bizarro World Wikipedia

    Back Alley Internet is a recurring column in which we explore some of the weirder corners of the Internet and see what we can dredge up for your amusement and education. This week: Eric explores an especially perplexing Internet artifact that trades in a bewildering amount of bizarre non-knowledge. It's a trip.

    Every so often, you find something on the Internet that feels like it's from a different era, sometimes a different world, or even a different universe. We're not talking net.art here. We're not talking about a self-aware exploration or weirdness. Sometimes, you'll stumble upon an artifact so earnest in its utterly dated absurdity that you'll find yourself struggling to fathom a world in which it can exist. fUSION Anomaly is one such discovery, and trust me, it's going to mess with your head.

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  3. .beat: Swatch’s Insane Attempt To Reinvent Time for the Internet

    Back Alley Internet is a recurring column in which we explore some of the weirder corners of the Internet and see what we can drudge up for your amusement and education. This week: Eric travels back to 1999 to explore Swatch's attempt to restructure time itself with its insane "Swatch .beat" time.

    It's 1999. Popular search engines include Yahoo! Lycos, and AOL. Cable and DSL are peeking their heads out into a world of dial-up. Netscape Navigator is on the decline, and Internet Explorer 5 is the new hotness. People are using terms like "World Wide Web" and "Information Superhighway." And meanwhile, in the background, Swatch is undergoing a wildly hubristic attempt to reinvent the very nature of time to reflect a new, interconnected world; everyone will soon be telling time with ".beats." What? You don't remember that part? Allow me to refresh your memory.

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  4. Behold the Hilarious, Magical Horror That is Shaye Saint John

    Back Alley Internet is a recurring column in which we explore some of the weirder corners of the Internet and see what we can drudge up for your amusement and education. This week: Max plumbs the deeper mysteries of Shaye Saint John, and attempts to reveal what's behind the horrifying mask. It's extremely hard to find things on the Internet that still manage to be surprising and shocking, but the bizzarre low-fi avante-garde videos of Shaye Saint John manage to be both horrific and hilarious. If you've never experienced Shaye, hold on to your hats. Hello again!

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  5. Time Cube: Beliefs Equate Pornography, for They Coexist on the Web

    Back Alley Internet is a recurring column in which we explore some of the weirder corners of the Internet and see what we can drudge up for your amusement and education. This week: James explores an old, extremely weird corner of the Internet, the immortal Time Cube. Where beliefs equate pornography, for they coexist on the web.

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  6. The Most Wildy Psychedelic Net.Art Rabbit Holes

    Back Alley Internet is a recurring column in which we explore some of the weirder corners of the Internet and see what we can drudge up for your amusement and education. This week: Eric explores a few of the most bizarre and sprawling instances of abstract net.art and where they came from.

    It's all but certain that you've been to a website that is impossible to navigate. In this increasingly digital world, one tends to assume that anything that needs to be done can be done on, or at least with the help of, a website. And while plenty of people and companies have kept up with the times, some haven't; I mean, have you tried to hire a clown recently? It's not always an accident though. There's a whole world of jarringly neon, effectively innavigable sites out there that trade entirely in content that's meant to baffle, stun, and amuse. It's called net.art, and it will make you wonder where the day has gone.

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  7. The Unintentional Hilarity Of Twitter Spam Bots

    Back Alley Internet is a recurring column in which we explore some of the weirder corners of the Internet and see what we can drudge up for your amusement and education. This week: Eric studies the legions of Twitter bots that trawl the trending topics and spit out some unintentionally hilarious tweets.

    If you're on Twitter, it's inevitable that you have some contact with bots. I hate to burst your bubble, but that friendly stranger tipping you off to a free iPad sweepstakes? Bot. That new lady following you who has quite the saucy bio? Bot. Bot spam is a pretty big problem Twitter is trying to crack down on. It's not all just vanilla link mentions and auto-adding though; there's a whole breed of Twitter bot that cruises the trending topics trying to con meatbags into clicking spam links by pairing them with a trending topic and one of many stock phrases. The results can be absolutely hilarious.

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