10 Best Sites of the Week
Pro, Ash, The Independent (London, England)
A long, thin site, as opposed to one that sits neatly inside a standard browser window, can be fun to navigate, as you get the chance to wander off into the little-traversed wilds over to the right-hand edge of your screen. The cat- and-pixel-fixated creator of this skinny site presents you with a gently unravelling list of crazy things to do and see, including download-print-and-cut-out "Thumb Puppets" and the unmissable "Nipple Gallery".
Typeractive's creator, Peter Cho, has created a beautiful Java applet from the letters of the alphabet, swirling in a spinning galaxy of text. This astrological alphabet soup has plenty of tasty design morsels from A through to Z, all of which morph attractively along to your mouse's movements. Watch out for "I", in particular, which endlessly and spontaneously dissolves and recombines itself.
A digital art piece from Mark Daggett, the DeskSwap uses the much- vaunted file-sharing clients (the most famous being Napster) to make a useful point about the trade-off that exists when net-users want to download free information. They have to make the files held on their own machine available to others, either by a "peer to peer" (one to one) or "round robin" (several users in a group) connection. DeskSwap takes a snapshot of your personal desktop space, and offers it to other online sharers.
"If you ain't on you ain't in", or something to that effect, seems to be the message of this government initiative, which wants to get everyone who wants to be online by 2005, thus spreading the gospel of connectedness to any neo-luddite waverers holding up the info-conomy. The site gives some straightforward information about the net, plus details of centres that offer help to newbies.
The Growing Edge is an online magazine specialising in hydroponics and similar intensive plant growth techniques. Learn the basics of this fascinating and rewarding hobby, or, should you be one of the lucky initiated, keep up to date with the latest developments within this ever-expanding field, which allows you to grow exotic plants such as Japanese wasabi from the comfort of your own basement. …