Sunday, 25 November 2007

Mousetrap - 127

Remember the LOLcats meme this column wrote about a couple of months ago? Well, if you liked the lunacy of the whole thing, you’ll also like this one. You know the very long URLs that some websites—this newspaper’s for instance—generate? I told you ages ago about services like TinyURL and DURL that let you, in your emails or other communication, point to them by using a short, unique string of randomly generated letters. This service goes one better. You get to choose the words you want to use as your link (corollary: you need to choose words that no one else has chosen before) . For instance, will take you to an archived version of this column.

Cat food
A bonus link for those of you who have become LOLcats fans (courtesy friend of this column, Jugal Mody). It will will “LOLinate” any website for you. Just go over, enter the URL, and giggle. For best effect, choose a site that takes itself really, really seriously.

Search and ye shall not find
404 Research Lab
A 404 page is a page your web browser shows you when a page on a website for which you have entered a URL does not exist. For instance, will show you the Time of India 404 page (because, in their wisdom, the good folk who run the site do not link to this column about websites from the website; you will only find it in the e-paper). Your web browser will generate the error page automatically, unless the host website has its own 404 page. All the good ones do, because it is an opportunity to hold on to your reader, to guide her through to what she’s looking for. And, coming to the point, perhaps have some fun as well. This site links to the best 404 pages around, ones that are useful and amusing, that take the frustration out of finding a bum link. The site doesn’t seem to be updated for a while, going by the archives, but there are enough links there to keep you going.

Greek and Latin. Not.
The Internet Classics Archive
One of the senior citizens of the internet, this site has been around since 1994. It gives you over 400 works of classical literature, mainly Greek Roman (with a smidgen of Chinese and Persian thrown in), in English translation. Homer, Aesop, Aristotel, Marcus Aurelius, Hippocrates, Virgil, Caesar, Plato, Sun Tzu, Confucius, Omar Khayyam, they’re all here. No, junior, no pictures or animation; just the text, like in old books, y’know? Never mind.

“What’s for dinner?” “Go search!”
Cookin’ With Google
This will come in useful when there’s nothing cooked at home but you do have some ingredients. Enter the names of whatever you have, and the site, does a Google Custom Search, looking only for recipes that name those ingredients. Unlike many other recipe-generating sites, this one easily handles Indian recipes, even when you use non-English words. Which reminds me. Dinner calls! See ya next week, folks.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail The writer blogs at

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 25th November, 2007.

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