Favorite Time-Wasters of 2007

If you're working anywhere near as hard as I am today, [Note from editor: Oh, like you ever work hard?] then you'll have plenty of time to sit back and enjoy these time wasters--favorites from 2007, plus a few brand-new goodies.

Videos & Animation

Watch this French TV commercial saying that to really enjoy a movie, you have to see it. They use a spoof of the trailer for The March of the Penguins to plug the idea--and it's hilarious.

If you think 24 took a turn for the boring last season, just be thankful that Jack Bauer isn't fighting terror in the age of dial-up connections, pagers, and dot-matrix printers.

Watch "The Day The Routers Died," a well-done musical--and geeky--parody of "American Pie" as performed at a RIPE 55 meeting, a five-day gathering of networking geeks in Amsterdam.

The wind is misunderstood, no doubt. This weird bit of performance art (actually a public-service announcement from an investment firm and a German government agency) will set you straight.

If you liked "Animator vs. Animation," you'll love the author's second version.

Remember when you were a kid and tried your hand making cool shadows? Okay, maybe you didn't. That's why you need to watch this terrific rendition of El Gölge Kukla Gösterisi's shadow puppetry set to Louie Armstrong singing "A Wonderful World."

Watch an original play starring Kevin Spacey, made just for the Internet. It's brilliant. (Make sure to click the 2X in the right corner of the frame.)

Microsoft's entry into the mobile phone arena is sure to give Apple a run for the money--and promises to take the nerd world by storm.

Ever heard of Buddy, the famous surfing dog? He's a Jack Russell Terrier and obviously can't wait to get into the water.

Addictive Games

Play FetchFido instead of working. It's easy...all you need to do is touch the black squares and avoid the red ones. Ha!

Marbles is an updated version of Tetris. I didn't do so well.

Launchball is a really, really addicting puzzle game.

Have a deadline? Forget about it If you start playing Bloxorz, you'll kiss the rest of the day good-bye. (BTW, level one's a snap. It's downhill from there.)

"Don't go there!" That was enough of a warning to ensure I'd ignore Brint K.'s advice and spend an hour with DesktopTD. It's not easy, for sure, but it's great for exercising synapses. Fair warning, this isn't a shoot-'em-up. You'll have to spend some time reading the instructions and warming up to the strategies.

You say you like Flash walk-through games, especially while you're sitting in on a boring teleconference? Try this one--it'll keep you busy for at least an hour. Use your arrow keys and be careful--it's easy to get trapped.

Save the cute bunny's life. You've got one minute to do it. So hurry up! (It took me two tries.)

Test Your Smarts

Think you have terrific geography skills? Take your Lufthansa for a quick trip and see if you can land in the right country. (Careful, it's addictive.)

Build your vocabulary with the FreeRice game--and believe it or not, it's real. They really do donate rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

Computer programmer or serial killer? Can you tell the difference? Take the test and see what kind of cop you'd make.

The Japanese IQ Test is incredibly annoying, impossible to solve, and according to Alex, who sent this to me, "a massive, epic waste of time. Epic." No lie. And good luck. (Lots of people have figured this out, though, and I really resent their reasoning powers.)

Are they real or faked photos? I got six correct. Take the Fake or Foto challenge and see how you do.

DIY Projects

Here's a nifty way to write your name in the snow.

Troubled by pesky alien abductions? Only 32 thousandths of an inch of Velostat will set you free.

With a little fiddling (okay, more than a little), you can change the display on HP printers to say just about anything you'd like. It's a cool way to do a number on your office buddies.

Steve Bass writes PC World's monthly "Hassle-Free PC" column and is the author of PC Annoyances, 2nd Edition: How to Fix the Most Annoying Things About Your Personal Computer, available from O'Reilly. He also writes PC World's daily Tips & Tweaks blog. Sign up to have Steve's newsletter e-mailed to you each week. Comments or questions? Send Steve e-mail.
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