20 of the best time-wasting websites

bored woman at work

I've been looking through some of my old Delicious bookmarks (Hands up if you didn't know Delicious is under threat) and realised I could easily mess with your day by creating a list of 20 compulsive websites that will definitely prevent a consciencious travel blogger/journalist, PR or travel professional from doing the work they should be doing.

Deadline, you are so busted! Muhahahaha

  1. Rock, Paper, Scissors This one drives me mad. There is just no way I could be so predictable.... or so I thought.

  2. The Daily Mail-o-matic The tool Paul Dacre uses to set the day's agenda ;) If you begin to get bored with the permutations it has handy links to other similar tools like the Alastair Campbell Wheel of Retribution.

  3. Hand-Written Clock This is guaranteed to waste at least a minute!

  4. National Grid Frequency A Duty Engineer (yes, one man!) controls the minute-by-minute balance between the entire country's electricity demand and supply. Electricity cannot be stored, so the instantaneous generation must match the demand. His (or her) guide is the frequency - nominally 50hz. If demand is higher than the generation, the frequency will fall, and vica versa. National Grid has statutory obligations to maintain the frequency within +/- 0.5Hz around this level. However, they normally operate within +/- 0.2Hz. Watch how well he is doing in realtime as he literally 'drives' the grid. Bet you won't take electricity for granted anymore!

  5. Bloody Day An oldie, but goldie. This is SICK, SICK, SICK... and therefore perfect for some of you! But be very careful who you let see you playing this. It could take a long time to restore your 'PC' credentials!

  6. Singing Horses The antidote to No.5 above. I first found this in 2005. It's still cute.

  7. Live Tube Map Watch the little trains go round & round :)

  8. Monitter.com Hard to believe, I know, but there are people who don't use Twitter, or Tweetdeck. This is for them. A simple way to watch what's going on without becoming involved. Change the keywords at the top of the three columns to things you are interested in (eg. Oslo, money, vintage camera) and watch people all over the world writing about those things in realtime. This site cost one of the BGTW's most prolific and self-disciplined journos, two days' work, after I showed it to her!

  9. Blue Ball Machine This is another golden oldie. I bookmarked this back in 2005. It still makes me happy watching it.

  10. The Dialectizer This is a little flakey, but quite fun. For example, see how a fine site like Andy Jarosz's www.501places.com can be improved in 'redneck'!

  11. Sandcastles When you figure out how it works, and get through round one.... yer stuffed!

  12. British Pathe If you are over a certain age, Pathe News will bring back all sorts of memories. They've digitised a lot of their old newsreels and now you can search them. Try your local area/town name. (Bye bye...see you in an hour or two!)

  13. Fly Guy Looks a little dated now... but still quite fun :)

  14. Flightradar24 Watch flights progressing around the map in real time.

  15. Famous Objects from Famous Movies Start this one, and your morning has gone!

  16. Eye Revolution Local photographer (to me in Crouch End) who specialises in 360° photos has built up a pretty spectacular portfolio. You can waste 20 mins in here, easily.

  17. Will You Join Us What they call an "educational simulation" game. You are charged with making decisions on how to power a city, balancing environmental and financial needs/concerns. If you like this sort of thing, NASA have got a multi-player 'edu sim' based on the moon (that you have to download).

  18. Rush Hour at Lukla Listing a Youtube video is a bit of a cheat because we all know you can spend a lifetime on Youtube once you start, but I can't resist this one, especially for travel peeps. Many of you will know it already, but I bet even you watch it all the way through! And if you wonder what it looks like from the other direction, so to speak - see this.

  19. Airpano High resolution aerial photos. They are pretty spectacular. I like the shots taken over Amsterdam.

  20. and for the last one...

  21. World Travel Map This will have travellers hooked. Tick off the places you've been. It doesn't matter how many you tick (26% for me) the map still manages to look empty (unless you've concentrated on the biggies - China, Russia, Brazil, etc)!

Oh, and a couple of seasonal time-wasters...

  • The snow map I spotted this in 2008 when Ben Marsh first created it. This winter it came of age; the Met Office started using it to show what was actually happening on the ground as opposed to what they predict. It's fascinating watching the snow spread over regions during the course of a day.

  • NORAD Santa Tracker Somebody has to keep tabs on Santa, why not the US military?

Now, for heaven's sake don't go sharing these, or I will be charged with bringing the entire UK travel industry to a halt single-handed.

...unless you want to share culpability...?


Andy Bostock said…
Nice selection of stuff, some of which I remember from way back. Cheers! (Doesn't help with my deadline though . . . .)

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