May 27, 2005

Mousetrap - 4

Graduate School of Rock
Snobsite.com
Though it is a site meant to promote a book (The Rock Snob*s Dictionary), it stands on its own as as web destination. Meant for Rock Snobs, and the people who have to live with them. Caveat: only if said Rock Snob has a sense of humour about his (yes, it;s usually a guy) obsession, as the site’s authors do. What is a rock snob? If you know who Zimmy is, and which Beatles track it’s cool to like, you’re one of them. For the rest of us, I’ll let the site answer: “Since the dawn of rock, there have been individuals, usually young men of argumentative tendencies, who have lorded their encyclopedic musical knowledge over others.” You get a snob Term of the Day, a large chunk of extracts from the book, an inbuilt blog, and a set of links to other “vaguely snobbish” sites and blogs.

Blog of the week
Tricks of the Trade
Very high up on my things-I-wish-I-had-thought-of list. It started with a blogger who asked his readers for suggestions on tricks of the trade, little professional secrets only people in a specific industry would know. His readers sent him a bunch of suggestions, which he turned into a column on an online publication he wrote for. That column saw huge traffic and citations across the web. So he decided to turn it into a reader-fuelled blog (which in turn, he plans to turn into a book). Down-to-earth suggestions from people in all walks of life, including - random sample, this - cooks, signmakers, parents of toddlers, failed job applicants and alcohol lovers.

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be
Abandon Ware
For those of our readers old enough to remember MS-DOS games, or even early Windows games, this site is a wonderful blast from the past. An archive of downloadable games that were made by gamemakers now defunct, or made for machines that are now veritable museum pieces. Remember Dave, Digger, Prince of Persia, Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy, Mortal Kombat, Grand Prix Circuit...? Well. they're all here. And free. And customised to be playable on today's lightening fast PCs. Enjoy. (Oh yes. See also: http://www.freeoldies.com/)

Their red caps are Russian
Badmash
A weekly internet comic strip created by three young second gen desis in the USA, Badmash is a favourite with the NRI crowd. Sandeep Sood, Nimesh Patel and Sanjay Shah take digs at the idiosyncrasies of South Asian culture in the US, at US politics, at just about anything in between. Aside from the standard strips, every now and then, they do an animation as well. A personal fave: the hilarious Dishoom, part of their “Green Card Party” campaign for Amitabh Bachchan for President in 2004. And yes, they idolise Mr Bachchan. [Gra├žias, Annie Zaidi]

Utility site of the week
The Universal Currency Converter ®
The internet is borderless. Currencies, however, are distressingly old-fashioned. This site remedies that. It lets you do instant conversions from any world currency to any other. It covers over 180 currencies in over 250 geographical locations, at live market rates, and also covers precious metals. The service is available to install on your own site in various versions from free, with ads, to a fully customised pay version. In a word, invaluable.

This column explores the wilder, wackier, weirder corners of the world wide web. Mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com.

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 27th May 2005.

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