Surfing at Random

Talking to non-web-savvy folk, as I do from time to time, I often hear such gems as "The internet's full of rubbish" and "It's all a bit over-hyped". I often get asked about how you're supposed to "surf". It seems most people just come on the web with a set of tasks to perform - email, banking etc. Once done, they log off. What a couple of people have asked me is how I can spend any longer than I need to on the web. What do I look at?

It's a good question and one I don't really have the answer to. I find that a session surfing the web just happens. You also have to be in the mood to surf and you need a starting point. Somewhere to catch a wave ;o) From there you can follow links and end up just about anywhere. This to me is surfing.

Anyway, there's a point. I was looking at my referrers the other day and found I had quite a few from this URL - http://www.altavista.com/image/randomlink. The last part of the URL caught me eye. Sure enough it's a link that takes you to a seemingly random page from the vast "load of rubbish" that is the web. Here you have a way to catch that wave when you're at a loose end.

How random is it though? Why does my tiny contribution of pages warrant 40 or so hits from a random pooling of the web? If there are billions of pages out there there must be a hell of a lot of people using the link. Anyone know the math on this?

A warning to the office drones. You can easily waste time by mindlessly clicking this link (best to drag it to your toolbar) and looking at the bizarre pages returned. Not only are you wasting time but you risk inadvertently looking at something you shouldn't!

Why not set your browser's homepage to this URL and see what surprises you get during the day. Only for the brave that one though. Imagine the scene: Your boss has come over to the PC to get a demo of your latest work. You say "Let me just start the browser and I'll show you ... what the!!"


    • avatar
    • Brett
    • Sun 24 Oct 2004 22:42

    Watch out in the office! my first click of this returned... :)


  1. Jake a interesting tool is this


    It achieves the same function by adding a toolbar to your browser.

  2. "What a couple of people have asked me is how I can spend any longer than I need to on the web. What do I look at?"

    You folks in the UK are lucky! Here in the US we have internetS to peruse. At least according to our President. ;-)

    • avatar
    • Michael
    • Sat 30 Oct 2004 11:24

    Uh-oh, when I clicked this come up:


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Written by Jake Howlett on Sun 24 Oct 2004

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