The internet is a weird and wonderful place, packed to the brim with everything from cat videos to online banking apps, and it’s growing all the time. In fact, according to a survey carried out by Netcraft in March 2012, there are more than 640 million active sites on the web today. With so many choices, it’s no surprise that there are great sites that a lot of miss. So we’ve done everyone a solid by compiling some of the very best websites that most people have no idea about. You never know, you might just be about to find your next favourite website. Let’s dive in.
We’ve all been there: you’re in a very specific kind of mood and it calls for a very specific type of music. But nothing in your music collection seems to hit the spot. Or perhaps you’ve got an album with just one or two songs that suit your mood. All in all, it’s a headache, and not great for scratching that itch. Enter StereoMood. It’s a simple idea: you choose a mood from the list on the left, then the site puts together a playlist of songs that will suit that mood. With everything from relaxed to upbeat, there’s a whole world of choice. And best of all, listening to StereoMood is totally free.
Lots of us have dreamed about being to write computer code, either for software or for the web, but find it near impossible to get access to a beginner’s course at a low price. Well, you need look no further. Codecademy is a fantastic free website that lets you learn a wide range of code languages, including HTML, CSS, and more, in a practical way. You’ll follow lessons, earn badges and awards, and be encouraged to code every day. The layout is simple and fun, and it’s totally free – meaning learning to code has never been so easy, or so entertaining.
Slick Deals (www.slickdeals.net)
Everybody loves a bargain, right? Well, with Slick Deals, you can find the very latest deals on a whole host of products. The site trawls the web every single day for up-to-date info about where you can get the best offers. It’s a fantastic way to save money, especially when you’ll find everything from 1p products to the more high end items, all listed in a way that’s easy to follow, and subscribe to. With everyone rushing to get their hands on low-cost products in a faltering economy, Slick Deals should be your first port of call whenever you buy anything on the web.
If you’ve ever reinstalled your copy of Windows, you’ve probably had the frustrating experience of having to re-download all the essential software – PDF readers, web browsers, and so on – then have to sit through each install. It can take forever. But with Ninite, the process is easy. In fact, it’s easier than easy. You just visit the site, choose the software you need, then download a ready-to-install all-in-one package for everything. You can choose from Firefox, OpenOffice, Dropbox, uTorrent, and many more. The package installer means no clicking ‘Next’ a million times, and an all-round much faster experience. If you’re about to reinstall Windows, this one’s a must. Oh, and it works with Linux installs too.
Rainy Mood (www.rainymood.com)
Sometimes music just won’t cut it. You don’t want to listen to anything melodic, you just want some background noise. Like the sound of a rainstorm. Remember all of those ‘Sounds of Nature’ CDs from the 90s? Well, if you enjoy the relaxing sound of rainfall, you no longer have to shell out for a compact disc – or put up with pan pipes. Rainy Mood does just one thing: plays a undetectably looping rainfall sound, complete with thunder. Choose the volume, lay back in your recliner sofa and relax or increase focus when you’re working on something important. Try it out, it’s free!
So there you have it: five brand new ways to kill some time on the internet. But many of these aren’t just distractions, they’re handy tools that you can use to transform the way you use the web. Don’t settle for email and Facebook – the web can be so much more. And with these, you’re only really scratching the surface.