A common pitfall of internet use is clicking on broken links that lead nowhere. Sometimes dodgy coding is to blame, other times the linked-to webpage or subsite has since been removed. Whatever the cause, it can be bloody annoying. Occasionally though, the website in question will take some of the sting out by turning its 404 error page into an interactive experience. Here are 15 of the best; from digital art canvases to full-blown text adventures. (We’ve also included broken links so you can play them yourself.)
Everyone needs to access PDF files now and again, but Adobe’s Reader software is hideous to install and update and a major security risk. There are lots of free alternatives for reading PDFs, but the newly-released (and equally free) Nitro PDF Reader gives them a serious run for their money, letting you read, edit, create and save PDFs, without annoying crippleware features or intrusive adware.
Windows< only: Proxy Switcher Lite is a tiny application that allows you to easily choose between proxy servers without having to open the settings panel. The application runs in the system tray, providing a context menu that switches the current connection with a mouse click. Once installed, use the Show Manager panel to add in your proxy servers. (Use the "Notes" field in the properties screen to give you proxy a friendlier name.) This simple utility has been an essential tool in my kit ever since I learned how to encrypt my web browsing with an SSH SOCKS proxy to give me some privacy while browsing at work. Proxy Switcher Lite should work perfectly whether you're using Internet Explorer, Opera, or any application that relies on the Windows proxy settings. Firefox users, check out the previously mentioned FoxyProxy extension.Proxy Switcher Lite
Windows/Mac/Linux (Firefox): Mr. Uptime, friend to anyone who’s ever waited for the Digg/Slashdot/Lifehacker Effect to abate before reaching a cool new web site, has recently updated to be Firefox 3 compatible. Not much seems entirely new with Mr. Uptime, available both at its Mozilla home and official page, but that’s probably a good thing. As we noted when we last checked it out, the Firefox add-on can also monitor sites and alert you when specific text appears or disappears from a site, making it more than just a monitor of web hosting power. But next time a big, time-sensitive promotional give-away happens and you can’t grab it in the first few tries, you’ll be glad Mr. Uptime also does its basic function so well.
Mr. Uptime is a free download, works wherever Firefox does. Thanks, ScaryMike! Mr. Uptime [Mozilla Add-Ons]
Adobe is in the process of building a time machine for web content designed to provide users with robust tools for analysing not only changes in web pages over time, but also for tracking actual data within web pages and comparing it with other data from around the web. MIT’s Technology Review has posted a demo video in which the app looks incredible, but don’t get too excited—Zoetrope isn’t available in download form yet. [via]