Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi "Useless" Stuff on the WWW

By Devin D. O'Leary

MARCH 9, 1998:  While some would undoubtedly argue that the Internet is an invaluable tool, still others would contend that it is an entirely useless employment of plastic, wires and electricity. Sure there are hundreds of libraries, universities and scientific laboratories online which would seem to argue the former, but there are also thousands of dancing babies, toilet cams and Hanson fan pages that lend resounding credence to the latter. Leave it to the Netheads to achieve a certain scientific perfection in their uselessness.

Useless Fact of the Day (www.southhouse.com/useless)--There are plenty of sites out there which provide users with reams of useless information, but this one right here actually has a subscription service! That's right. Drop on by, enter your name and e-mail address, and "Useless Fact of the Day" will jam your computerized mailbox with a useless fact each and every day of your miserable life. On the Useless Fact Home Page, you can also access the site's library, containing over 1,500 useless bits of information. For example: James Buchanan was the only unmarried President of the United States. Gee, I did not know that. Or how about: Lincoln Logs were invented by Frank Lloyd Wright's son. How about that. UFD is currently sponsoring the Useless Lie Quest '98. Send in your most ridiculous lie, and you could win what I'm sure are tons of useless prizes.

Dave's Page of Useless Lists (home.earthlink.net/~synnik/)--Dave is one bored individual. Here he's constructed a page for people to send in suggestions for his "useless list" file. At any given time, Dave has himself 10 different categories (ranging from "Ideas For My New Tattoo" to "Alternative Uses For The Death Star"). E-mail your answers to Dave, and he'll shove 'em into the list. When the submissions reach about a hundred, Dave retires the list, spruces it up a bit and posts it for everyone's edification. By way of example, there are currently 69 entries in the "Favorite Colors Spelled Backwards" list. The most common answer seems to be "esiouqrut." Utterly useless, but oddly compelling.

164 Reasons Why This Is The Most Useless Page On the World Wide Web (www.geocities.com/SoHo/3724/164.html)--As bored as Dave is, I don't think he even comes close to matching the gentleman who constructed this Zen-like gem of uselessness. On this page, we are treated to a numerated list of the 164 reasons why ... Well, I think you get the idea. The number one reason actually sums it up pretty well: "1) This is all that's on the page." Unfortunately, our faceless creator has 163 more reasons to come up with. After exhausting the obvious ("No graphics") and the blunt ("You can't even use this page to get sex"), our narrator turns to some rather Dadaist prose--discussing everything from the basketball court below his dorm room to "Sesame Street." I dare you to plow through all 164 reasons--it will undoubtedly lead to some altered state of mind. But you've got to admit, the guy makes a pretty compelling case.

Useless Industries (uselessindustries.com/)--Normally, you'd think that uselessness would imply a certain lack of effort. This particular page may just change your mind. Somebody went through one hell of a lot of effort to construct this entirely useless chunk of cyberspace. So impressive is this site's vacuousness that it has actually garnered awards such as "Big Weenie's Wurst of the Web." Ostensibly, this is the home page of Useless Industries, "a manufacturing and marketing organization dedicated to bringing USELESS™ products into the lives of every man, woman and child." You can take a factory tour, page through the employee handbook, browse the company gift shop (the bottomless coffee cup is a particular favorite of mine) or even fill out an application for employment (though I warn you, the opportunities are shockingly limited). Useless Industries doesn't actually do anything, of course, but this stylish site (with its omnipresent yellow and black safety stripes) rivals some of the real corporate sites in cyberspace.

devin@alibi.com


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