Home Office: Need Help Goofing Off?

It's late December and I doubt you're in the office today. If you are, don't try to kid me into thinking you're doing diddly squat towards improving the company's bottom line. And the very last thing I want is the responsibility of forcing you to work. So with my editor's blessing, here's the year's last column--and it's dedicated to goofing off and killing time.

Videos to Make Your Head Spin

I've been an amateur magician for more than 40 years and I'm rarely fooled. Here's an excerpt of a card routine that's dazzling, one that definitely floored me. BTW, the magician's name is Lennart Green.

Months ago you watched a video that shocked--yes, shocked--my editor and copy editor. They both thought you might worry that the guy in the video was harmed. He wasn't, don't worry. I delight in worrying (and often aggravating) editors and copy editors. So here's a quick flash video that will make you ask yourself: How in the world was that done? And again, not to fret. No one was harmed in this make-believe video.

I didn't know anything about BASE jumping until my buddy Alex sent me the URL to B.A.S.E. Videos. "To be young, Norwegian, and a little crazy," he said, and he's right. Because BASE is an acronym for Building, Antennae, Span, Earth, and it's about jumping off cliffs, buildings, bridges, dams, and other dizzyingly high objects. Want more? There are skydiving movies at--where else?--SkydivingMovies.com, which requires you to register for free.

Boost Your Computing IQ

Have you ever wondered what happens when good printers go bad? They supply you with nasty dialog boxes.

For the last few weeks, people have been sending me an intriguing image of a room-sized computer. The message includes the following blurb: "This article is from an issue of 1954 'Popular Mechanics' magazine forecasting the possibility of 'home computers' in 50 years. It appears that the 'mouse' replaced the steering wheel..." It's a great picture; too bad it's a hoax.

I love looking at images taken with an electron microscope. They're weird, fascinating, creepy, and cool. Go to the Micro Angela site and check out "Everyday insects from our lives," "Grows on you," and "Denizens of the invisible empire." Make sure to click the More link so you don't miss any of the gems.

Weird Pictures and Other Strange Things

Here's an amazing GIF--an animated image--of a pool with rippling water.

If you like cats (and even if you don't), go to "My Cat Annie." Watch Fetch One and Two, and definitely don't miss Stealth--it's hilarious.

I thought I was done with ZeFrank, but with deadlines looming (whoops, one just whizzed past), I kept poking around. I ended up spending another 20 minutes creating a masterpiece with DrawToy, then I spent a bunch more time making sounds with the Sequencer. You can find my saved musical creation by looking for my name in the list on the lower left (stevebass). [With thanks to Daron L. Olesch-Williams]

I don't know what a Grappa is, but it's sure nifty to play with one. Click on one, say, Delayed Trace, or my favorite of the bunch, Grappa White. Now just click and drag, or move your mouse (instructions are just below the window).

In addition to writing PC World's Home Office column, Steve Bass is the author of "PC Annoyances." Sign up to have Steve Bass's Home Office Newsletter e-mailed to you each week. Comments or questions? Send Steve e-mail.
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