Digital cow pies for offensive Web sites

Plugged In

November 16, 2006|By Craig Crossman | Craig Crossman,McClatchy-Tribune

How many times have you surfed over to a Web site only to become really annoyed at what you see?

Have you ever had your browser hijacked to some really despicable advertisement page?

If so, you might love an online toy called netdisaster.com. After spending a small amount of time there, I promise that you're going to feel a lot better.

Netdisaster allows you to select any Web site, preferably one you have found to be annoying or offensive, and do all sorts of terrible things to it.

To begin, log onto the netdisaster Web site and enter the offending site into the Target field. Beneath that is a pull-down menu entitled Disaster from which you can select a wide variety of disasters you wish to apply to the offending site.

The choices fit into one of six categories: Nature, Technology, Life Forms, Home Office, Miscellaneous and Dirty. Respective examples of each are Meteors, Gun, Mold, Scribbling Baby, God Almighty, and Cow Dung.

The final pull down menu entitled Control lets you choose from auto or mouse. Auto usually means that your selected disaster will increase or persist without any further intervention on your behalf. Mouse lets you apply your disaster manually.

Once you have made your choices, the fun begins.

Netdisaster then takes you to the Web site. Upon initial viewing, everything looks normal. Depending on your Disaster choice, what happens next should make you feel a lot better about the offending Web site.

For example, had you selected the Gun disaster, you would see the barrel of a large gun superimposed over the Web site image. As you move the mouse, the barrel repositions itself along with a red laser dot.

Click the mouse and you hear a loud gun retort as you see a realistic-looking 3D bullet hole appear where the laser dot was placed. A metallic surface appears just below the blown-away surface of the Web site. Click again and more bullet holes appear. Or hold down the mouse button and spray a line of bullet holes into the Web site.

It's amazingly real-looking and you're definitely on the road to recovery.

Of course, you're not really burning any bridges here. Whatever disaster you inflict on the Web site is seen only on your computer and can easily be removed. Still, the stress relief is quite real and will, I hope, last a lot longer than the trail of Spilled Coffee that you just had netdisaster deposit on the offending Web site.

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