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* SAVE B3TA - Send us your cash
* SPOOF SITE - Annoys the world
* KITTENS - Crappest hand-draw cats ever

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B3ta email 145 - 30 Jul 2004

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  Your cash will keep the site running
  Our site costs money to run, but it's not a 
  business, we do the site for fun.

  However our server bills are quite hefty - 
  we shift about two terabytes of data a month.

  To pay for this we solicit donations from our
  readers and the people who hang out on our
  message boards.

  Recently we've been running a bit low in our
  server fund, and frankly we need a top up.

  If you've enjoyed b3ta over the last three
  years then please dig deep.

  Oh, and for the boarders our designer Denise
  Wilton has made a new set of icons only
  available to new donators.


  Parody site goes ballistic
  The problem with running a weekly newsletter 
  based upon the stuff people do on a daily basis
  is that sometimes the items are so hot, that
  they go around the world twice before we even
  have the chance to tell you about them.

  Thomas Scott writes -

  "The UK government registered
  www.preparingforemergencies.gov.uk to go with
  their anti-terror advice leaflet.

  "Pity they forgot to register co.uk , really.

  "It would only have been mildly funny, had some
  bod at the Cabinet Office not objected, sent me
  a firm email, and turned the whole thing into a
  news story

  "This has gone beyond Tonbridge Monkey Man
  proportions - I've had about two pages
  in the Guardian supplement today, as well as
  being on three local TV news shows last night.
  See what all the fuss was about:

  Read the newspapers:


  Just a Geek

  Wil Wheaton went from being a child actor in
  Stand By Me and Star Trek TNG to being, well,
  a bit washed up.

  Over the last couple of years he's re-invented
  himself on the web using a confessional
  blog where he writes about his failed auditions
  and attempts to grapple with back-end geekery.

  He's become an every-geek poster boy for sites
  such as Slashdot and Fark, his site proving so
  successful, that whilst the acting career
  hasn't reignited, he has got a book deal out
  of it. Result.

  It's a great read. We demolished it in
  one sitting and we frankly identified with
  the joy and pain of sticking stuff on the
  web and seeing the world's reactions.

  So if you're a blogger, a flash animator, or
  even someone who just wonders what it's like
  to be behind the steering wheel of a website
  you need to read this book now.


  Stuff we like that wasn't made by our mates.

  >> Best cat archive ever <<
  The web is full of excellent cats. But think
  how much clicking you'd have to do to see the
  best of them. You could well die before you get
  them all. Well worry no longer - some kind soul
  has gathered up the very crème de la cat for
  your viewing pleasure. Enjoy. 

  >> Shatner sings Jarvis <<
  B3ta favourite Bill Shatner has a new album out
  in October called "Has Been". Hear him duet
  with Joe Jackson in a cover of Pulp's "Common
  People". It's strange to hear the song
  covered by a septuagenarian US action star.
  Surprisingly ace for all that.

  >> PC oven <<
  Spend a lot of time at your computer? We do,
  and this little beauty has us fizzing with
  excitement. You can fit a tiny oven in your PC
  instead of a CD drive. Bake yourself delicious
  little cakes to scoff while you finish writing
  that proposal. Who could say no to that?

  >> Arm-less college boy <<
  Own a CD featuring 100 pictures of a 'drunk,
  arm-less midget'. That's the unmissable offer
  of this preposterous eBay auction. But not to
  worry, it's actually being sold off by
  the man himself. Supposedly this is to pay
  for his college fees, but we suspect he's
  really doing it because he likes the attention.

  >> Smoking booze <<
  The AWOL machine is a modern version of the
  middle-eastern hookah pipe, but with gin
  instead of tobacco. Apparently, the alcohol
  goes directly to your brain, but you don't
  have a hangover the next day. What can we
  say - we need one of these. Mind you, the
  site also claims it's 'great for weight loss'
  because you're so dehydrated afterwards.
  Hmm. That doesn't sound like good advice.

  >> Seagull upgrade <<
  Inspired by tales of piracy, some creative
  sailors have replaced a gull's amputated leg
  with a plastic doll arm. Disturbingly, there's
  a chubby little hand on the end of it. This is
  excellent - there's no reason why limb-loss
  can't be amusing. Kind of reminds us of Toy
  Story. More please - we'd like to see a hamster
  with Action Man's head next.

  >> Playing in traffic <<
  Frankly, anyone who cycles to work must be
  fucking insane. Anyone who hasn't experienced
  for themselves can sample cycle commuting's
  white-knuckle delights by watching this team of
  excitable New Yorkers playing tag through the
  city's rush-hour traffic. Some of the gaps
  they get through defy belief. It's like an
  eco-friendly The Fast & The Furious with Vin
  Diesel in Lycra. Warning big, fat download.

  >> Inexplicable baby pic <<
  We don't really understand the text of this
  Czech health article, but that won't stop us
  speculating wildly. Judging by the photos, a
  factory just outside of Prague has commenced
  mass-producing Pete Tong. A world trembles in
  fear and dread. Oh, this just in: It's about
  playing music to babies to aid their
  development. Awwww... shame.


  Stuff we've watched this week

  Find of the week has been the UKNova site
  which is packed with British telly. Makes a
  nice change from watching American stuff.

  >> BNP documentary <<
  Watch with your mouth agog as BBC journalist
  infiltrates the British National Party
  and uncovers not just criminal behavior, but
  that the political party is peopled by stupid,
  violent and frankly mad thugs. 

  >> Eastenders episode 1 <<
  Eastenders might be failing in the current
  ratings battles, but it's interesting to
  catch up with the roots from whence it came.
  This episode was rebroadcast for American
  TV complete with an introduction from Tracy
  Ulman, "TV soaps are not all glitter and
  romance - this one has had the big business
  tycoons stripped away, leaving teenage
  pregnancy, rape etc."

  >> Inventions that changed the world: The PC<<
  Presenter Jeremy Clarkson might be a bit of 
  of a dick cheese, but he ably guides the
  viewer through a history of computing,
  controversially putting Tommy Flowers, the 
  engineer behind Colossus, the world war II code
  breaking machine, as the real father of
  computing. Good stuff on how World War I
  might have ended earlier if Babbage had ever
  been able to complete the difference engine.

  All this and more on:


  Crap kittens, Odd pigs & Stalking project

  >> Crap kitten drawings <<
  "I never now leave the flat without pens and
  paper in case I bump into someone who hasn't
  drawn me a cat." screams Splorp. Wow there's 
  some amusingly rubbish drawings here.

  >> Who is this Traffic Warden? <<
  "I made a series of "Margaret the Traffic Warden" 
  pictures based on an image robbed from the BBC.
  Now I'd really like to meet the lady behind the
  photos. I need everyone's help to track her
  down." So if you recognise her, get in touch.

  >> Odd pig thing <<
  "My mate Jim is a little fucked in the head",
  confesses the_blagger, "and occasionally stuff
  spills out onto paper. As he can't be arsed to
  learn flash, I animate stuff for him. Hope to be
  churning out more weirdness very soon."
  This is odd, but the style is great.

  Results from the Ebay Challenge
  Each week we run a competition to test your
  creative skills. We set a challenge and you
  open Photoshop and mess with our heads.
  Two weeks ago we wanted you to make up stuff
  to sell on Ebay:
  We asked B3ta boarder 'Cosmo Smallpiece' to
  judge the entries - here are his faves.
  Cosmo writes -

  #1 "Homeless Native American - Best overall
    punnage and use of cardboard, Little Big
    Issue anyone? One of those that lands in your
    e-mail still a bit damp - Brilliant.
    (Zak McFlimby)
  #2 "Anarchism and Other Essays - Tough call
    this one. From a number of top class entries
    of the same origin. Stood out a mile for
    being unique and dead funny - Ace!
    (Beau Bo d'Or)
  #3 "ebayeux Tapestry - Second and third to the
    same person didn't seem fair, but this was
    totally deserved. Produced a number of top
    class posts. Well done you - Top of the class.
    (Beau Bo d'Or)
  "If I'm allowed a special mention, it's for
  Sunshine Elephant's iced fancies.  It was a
  lovely thought.

  Results from the Heath Robinson Challenge
  Last week we wanted overly complicated machines
  to do simple tasks:
  We asked B3ta boarder 'Mofaha' to judge the
  entries - here are his 3 faves.
  Mofaha writes -

  #1 "The Bush slapper - The timing and execution
    are wonderful, and the expression at the end
    is just perfect. This still makes me laugh out
    loud every time I see it. (eclectech)
  #2 "The vicar pleaser - A giant leap forward in
    clergy gratification technology! Very funny,
    and very much in keeping with the theme of the
    challenge. Plus there's a kitten in it.
    (Kris Fucking Kristofferson)
  #3 "The eye opener. Lovely animation, and
    another entry featuring a great expression,
    somewhere between horrible discomfort and
    dogged determination. (pippy)
  "The honorable mention. In a challenge that
  produced some excellent entries, both of
  Dangleberry's efforts made in onto my shortlist.
  My favourite was the Gastro-Prod XL.
  >> This Week's Challenge <<
  This week, B3ta contributor Fraser gave us
  the suggestion, "Rhyming Photoshops"


  Follow-ups on previous stories.

  * SNAILHAUSEN PROTEST - Leo Humphries writes - 
    "Being the snail enthusiast I am, I was
    somewhat shocked by the promotion of snail
    murder in your newsletter. As soon as I
    read it, made a petition to end the mindless

  * BIROMASH FAME - "Following my posting of my
    giant biromash on b3ta, I had 300 emails
    within four days asking to buy a copy and
    82000 hits to the picture in  the last
    eight days. Prints of it are now available
    to buy."

  * B3TA STUFF REVIEWED - we enjoyed this review of
    (your ginger furher) Rob Manuel's work over the
    years. It's both the level of detail and the
    utter missing the point that makes the whole
    thing a joy to read.


  Paper tossing

  Everywhere this week has been this neat little
  game challenging you to toss screwed up balls
  of paper into the bin.
  It's tricky - see how you do.



  Make something cool and tell us about it. If
  you are in it then people will see your stuff.

  Things we'd really like to see include

  * LAPTOP CONKERS - Say goodbye to old
    technology with the biggest game of
    conkers ever devised.

  * HITLER'S WHITTLERS - a site devoted to
    beachcombers who carve elaborate Nazi
    figurines out of driftwood.

  * AFTER HOURS BOOZE ALERTS - A mobile texting
    service that alerts users to the location of
    the nearest off-license illegally selling
    alcohol after 11pm.

  Send contributions via the mail form.

  BTW: If you've sent something in that hasn't
  been featured then don't be put off - we look
  at everything you send us.


  Subscribe:  [email protected]
  Unsubscribe:  [email protected]



  This issue was written by Rob Manuel with 
  David Stevenson.
  Links sent in by Sonicboozy, dominicmikulski,
  jspearmint, essexjan, pete/moving-picture
  & justinb.
  Top Tippery, additional linkage and star stuff
  by Fraser "not Fazer" Lewry.
  Other star suggestions from Tomsk.
  Board research by Fnorditch.
  Image challenge handled by Mystery Bob.
  Proofing by b4ta. With guns.(77697)


  Use toothpaste to clean your piano keys. This
  assumes that the keys are made from high grade
  ivory ripped from the carcasses of freshly
  slaughtered elephants. It doesn't work with
  cheap pianos.

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