20 years of the internet: 10 sites that changed my life


The internet is 20 years old today, and that fact made me start thinking about what the internet has given me over the years. I’m not going to get too gushy on you, I promise, but here’s ten websites that have completely changed my life.

What are the internet applications that have changed your life? Our comments box isn’t working at the moment, but you can drop us an email or a Tweet sharing your favourite sites, past and present. Please do, I’d love to hear your stories. Now, without further ado, let’s begin the in-no-particular-order list. Click on the big Hotmail logo to begin.

Google Earth adds oceans, hits 5.0


James Cook. Ferdinand Magellan. Vasco Núñez de Balboa. Hannu. Want to count yourself among their ranks? You could do worse than installing the new version of Google Earth – which features the oceans.

Previously, 70% of the earth’s surface in Google Earth was just covered with a basic blue blob. It vaguely reflected what was below, but not in any detail, especially when compared to Google’s land coverage. Well, now you can explore the seas in huge detail. You can even go below the surface and view data points – video, photos and text of ocean life and expeditions.

HEARTWARMING TALE: Kid takes up Archery after playing Age of Empires


Next time you’re being ranted at that videogames cause violence, point the complainant to this story. A 17-year old guy, Ryan Tyack, is competing in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney. He’s the flag-bearer for the ceremony, and is competing as an archer, a sport that he took up in 2001 after playing Age of Empires.

Over to Ryan:

I just sat around playing Age of Empires all the time and my mum wanted me to do a sport and meet some kids. So I chose either fencing or archery as Age Of Empires had swordsmen and archers

Thing is, I sorta know what he means. That game has improved me too – I was a bit of an AoE addict, and I had no idea what a Phalanx, Trireme or Trebuchet was before playing. Now, having played tonnes of AoE and Civilization, I’m considerably more knowledgeable about ancient empires! Perhaps “edutainment” works after all.

(via Kotaku)

Related posts: Playing Halo is as addictive as heroin or crack cocaine, says judge in Halo killer case | WoW fan threatens suicide to Blizzard rep, gets arrested

Over a decade of web archives blocked by Demon's overzealous "dirty old men" filter


Yet again it seems that systems designed to block out illegal/deemed objectionable content have gon into overdrive and blocked a huge chunk of the Internet, including the company itself.

If you haven’t discovered the Wayback Machine before, it’s a massive archive of what’s been published online since 1996. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that, amongst that hideously large (but interesting) archive will be some material that some deem inappropriate. This seems to have triggered Demon Internet’s IWF-inspired filters to block the entire archive, including pages of — yep, you’ve guessed it — Demon and its owners Thus Internet, plus the IWF…