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This Week:
* ART - Classical look-a-likes
* TOY - Cursor catcher
* GEEK - Best toy idea ever

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____/  _)|_  // /_/ _ |      
___/  _ |/_ </ __/ __ |      "We're saving the
__/____/____/\__/_/ |_|       web... together"

B3ta email 153 - 01 Oct 2004

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  Look-a-likes, Mad bloke, Cursor thing

  >> Classical look-a-likes <<
  "I fancied a bit of culture", writes your
  ginger-haired web god Rob Manuel, "So me and
  the missus popped down the National Gallery.
  Frankly, we got bored and spent the afternoon
  looking for look-a-likes of famous people.
  It's a great game. I challenge you not to
  play it the next time you visit a gallery."
  Fantastic stuff, suggesting that most
  celebrities are in fact 1,000 year-old aliens
  who live among us, and pop up at various
  points in history.

  >> Mad bloke bigs up b3ta <<
  There's this bloke who stands in London's
  Oxford Circus ranting and raving like a mad
  man. B3tard Kirk thought it might be fun 
  to have a chat with him. Hopefully the 
  full interview will be coming next week,
  but in the meantime here's a sneak preview.

  >> Cursor catcher <<
  "I made this a while ago", confesses Bastiaan
  Might, "and posted it on the messageboard.
  Recently it seems to have been getting around
  the interweb quite a bit and I came to realize
  people rather like it." With good reason. It's


  Web team fights back

  Last week we pointed out that typing Chav
  into the Argos product finder produces goods
  that are a little chavvy.

  IdentityProtected writes -

  "I work for the Argos Internet Customer Service
  team. Yup you should feel sorry for me. However
  I would like to point out that a vast percentage
  of customer-focused time is lost because we're
  too busy looking at b3ta. Also last week we
  managed to freak out the entire call centre by
  showing pics of spider bites to anyone who came
  to our little corner of Argos.

  "Anyways just to point out that the reason Chav
  comes up with the chains is because the search
  engine is arse and only uses the first three
  letters of a word to search with. Hence you get
  chains and chairs."

  Fair enough. And it also explains why searching
  for "wank" produces an electronic duelling wand.


  Best kids toy ever

  Louise Klinker & Anab Jain are students studying
  Interaction Design at the Royal College of Art.

  They've been asked by Mattel to take part in a
  competition to rethink toys based around model

  What they've come up with is genius. It's a demo
  mind you - the video is faked - but the idea
  damn it - the idea is the coolest idea for a 
  toys we've seen in yonks.
  You need to watch this video. WARNING: It's 13MB
  but it streams on broadband.


  Shoddy Presents

  Last week we asked for the worst presents you
  had ever received:

  Why is it always aunties and grannies?:

  #1 Good Girl and Good Boy
  "My ageing (and now rotting) gran once gave my
  sister and I stockings filled with little toys
  and sweets. Unfortunately she managed to get
  them muddled up. Not only did I get the "Good
  Girl" stocking and my sister the "Good Boy"
  one, but my gran had forgotten we were human.
  The stockings, containing mini marabones and
  jingley toys, were for cats and dogs. Bless.

  #2 Socks and Pants again
  "Ever since I was about 10 I've been able to
  rely on three certainties: Death, Taxes and
  Socks and Pants for Christmas. So I thought
  "Why go to Primark and spend a whole English
  pound on five pairs of boxers when I will
  undoubtably will get a shedload for chrimbo?"
  I am a genius. And last christmas I was a
  genius going commando. My aunts and my nan
  thoughtfully bought me selection boxes.
  I don't eat chocolate.

  #3 The Garage Sale Queen
  "My nana is vaguely crazy, and spends all her
  money on the races and furs, leaving nothing
  to spend on presents. Instead, she goes to
  garage sales, buys random second-hand toys,
  puts them in clear plastic bags with a price
  tag pilfered from something new. I was always
  impressed with her attempts at sneakiness
  until the year she bought us all second-hand
  underwear: then I was just grossed out.

  Oh, and woo to the South African airlines
  Customer Relations manager who gave an 11 year
  old the box (and just the box) from a promotional
  toy plane as compensation for a 10 hour delay.
  B3ta salutes you!

  >> This Week's Question <<

  What is the strangest thing you've ever been
  paid to do? Talk to us here:


  Fuck the bandwidth, we're on broadband

  >> One-legged Dance Dance Revolution <<
  Nothing fills us with more joy that seeing the
  differently abled excel at stuff we're shit
  at. This video is inspirational, funny, and
  probably will end up as a TV ad.  

  >> Fucking awesome plane crash <<
  How do you prepare for someone crashing a
  plane into your nuclear power station? If you're
  the US military you smash an actual jet into
  a similar wall. Almost as entertaining as
  watching the fighter get pulverised in slow
  motion, is seeing the 9/11 conspiracy theorists
  crawl out of the woodwork to comment.

  >> Carl Lewis <<
  Through the 80s and 90s, athlete Carl Lewis
  seemed unbeatable - the consumate athlete
  perfect at everything he tried. Critics,
  however, might suggest he lacked the ability
  to laugh at himself and expected everybody to
  take him seriously. No-one who's seen this stab
  at a music video could accuse him of that though.

  >> Festive warfare vid <<
  This is an amazing recreation of an air raid,
  made, mostly, with bits of Christmas decoration.
  The realistic soundtrack makes the result
  exciting, but still oddly cheerful.


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

  >> Sinatra sings post-9/11 <<
  Old Blue Eyes croons his way through a little
  number about terrorism - or is it racial
  profiling? Great tune, wherever its politics
  actually lie.

  >> Best Flash intro ever <<
  This extraordinarily bombastic spot for David
  Hasselhoff's fansite seems to suggest that being
  a Hasselfan is an extreme experience, akin to
  taking a shed-load of powerful drugs. We can't
  say we disagree.

  >> Mass pillow-fight <<
  We love the idea of this: pillowy violence
  breaking out in the city of London. Let's hope
  it doesn't get out of hand and the police have
  to turn up with riot cushions.

  >> Kabbalah for Dummies <<
  Everyone's talking about Kabbalah, the
  bible-analysing trend that's perplexing deep
  thinkers like Britney Spears and David Beckham.
  Now you can give it a try yourself - or something
  a bit similar. This page analyses the patterns of
  words and letters on a site and tells you whether
  the result is good or evil.

  >> How to bag a brain <<
  Just in case you ever need to ship your brain
  across country, Columbia University has provided
  rather helpful instructions. Don't come crying
  to them when your Frankenstein creation runs amok.

  >> Dodgy old book covers <<
  Ah, how we yearn for the kinder, gentler times these
  over-heated book covers hark back to. You do have
  to wonder who'd be titillated by pulp titles
  like 'Matador of Shame.' Judging by the vintage,
  possibly your granddad. Now there is a thought.

  >> Body of art <<
  This is the kind of art that we like. Naked people
  painted up to make pretty pictures. We love the
  chest hair on the portrait of Elvis. Oh, and the
  wanking hands. Always love the wanking hands.

  >> Funny porn titles <<
  We don't know much about porn Well, okay, perhaps
  we're not fooling anybody there. But this chap clearly
  knows loads more and he's put together a list of
  the worst-ever actual titles for your non-viewing
  delight. Moulin Splooge, Anal Chiropractor, it's
  all there.


  Porn bread

  You can't really be disappointed by a site that
  promises 'vagina Danish'. Although this wasn't
  quite what we'd had in mind. Still, we managed
  to crack one out.


  Stuff we've watched this week

  >> Lost <<
  David Fury, part of the team behind both Angel
  and Buffy  has come up with a fantastic new
  series called Lost, telling the story of what
  happens to a group of survivors after a plane
  crash. We've seen the first epiosde and think
  it rocks - the suspense is incredible and the
  Hollywood style production values kick arse. 

  >> Arrested Development <<
  A sitcom loosely inspired by The Royal
  Tenenbaums. A great ensemble cast, gloriously
  unsympathetic characters and the time to let
  the absurd plot properly brew make this a far
  more entertaining prospect than the film.

  >> Smallville <<
  Hardly an off-beat choice, but the new season
  has just started in the US. Part of the charm of
  this series is the way it delicately foreshadows
  tragic changes in the future life of Clark Kent.
  But with this run featuring the S symbol and
  introducing Lois Lane, it might be the final one.


  Mobile phone controversy

  Last week we gave you a tip claiming that
  wrapping your phone in foil would increase
  the signal.

  The debate raged fiercely and comments include -

  * It works by fooling the phone into thinking
    the signal is weaker than it actually is
    and upping its sensitivity. (Freef)

  * I'm a mobile handset engineer. It's
    complete bollocks.  (Dr Shambolic)

  * I tried it. It works. Here are pics (Meak)

  Hmm. We remain unconvinced. You haven't faked
  these photos, have you Meak? Like the moon landings?


  QPR manager Ian Holloway

  We watched with mouths open as this footy
  manager digs himself deeper and deeper with
  his sexist analogy for his team's poor

  The guy is a star. We say get him out of the
  ghetto of football and give him his own show.
  Or at least as a regular guest on Buzzcocks,
  Grumpy Old Men, etc.


  Weebl, Tits & Star Wars

  >> Weebl writes evil song <<
  Several months back Cadbury's contacted
  Rob & Jonti about doing some stuff for their
  site. This was the result. They weren't that
  keen, but Jonti likes it so he's shoving it
  out anyway. It will rot your brain but not
  your teeth. Huzzah.

  >> Wobbling tits <<
  "Behold my Small And Animated Boobs", intones
  Vord, "Recently I happened upon some bloke's
  'images' directory and therein found two or
  three of these small and animated boob files.
  Naturally i went on a hunt for more." Blimey,
  we found some cheap sniggers here. NOTE TO
  TEAM: tits are funny.

  >> Star Wars skit <<
  Koit is a bit of a B3ta star these days. The
  creator of "cunt cunt cunt fucking cunt cunt"
  has tapped into the current mania for all
  things Star Wars related and reminded us
  of the worst bit of being at school.

  Results from the 'Boris Johnson' 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.
  Last week we wanted you to show us the world of
  Boris Johnson:
  We asked Boris himself to judge the challenge,
  but unfortunately he declined.  Luckily, B3ta
  boarder new_matt stepped in to do the job.
  new_matt writes -

  #1 "Oh Boris, not again - A late entry, but
    after wading through 40-odd pages of pictures,
    exactly what I needed to see (which probably
    says something deeply meaningful about
    something). Hats off! (DarrynR)
  #2 "X Ray - Mr or Mrs Duphrates produced a
    couple of absolute belters this week, but
    this was my favourite. And having lived through
    the Thatcher years, it's came as a pleasant
    surprise to see she really did have a heart
    after all. Three cheers! (Duphrates)
  #3 "Boris for PM - There were a few cartoony
    ones this week, but this one is beautifully
    done and just plain lovely. Oh, and the milk
    bottle made me chuckle. That was the clincher.
    Gold star! (Threepwood)
  I really didn't want to do a special mention, I
  fought against it, I agonised over it, I sweated,
  but then I got drunk with power. God knows what
  this is all about, but it was nicely done and
  just odd enough. Pat on the back!

  >> This Week's Challenge <<
  This week, the Challenge Dictator said we should
  stick cheese in our ears and mishear some lyrics.


  Follow-ups on previous stories.

  * B3TARD ADOPTS DEAF CAT - "I read your 'adopt
    Britain's saddest pet' article with interest",
    purrs amaryllis, "Unfortunately, living outside
    of London, I  was unable to adopt Pirate, the
    one-eyed cat. However, I got in touch with
    Brighton's city cat shelter and am now the
    very proud adoptive mother of Frank, the
    deaf white fluffy cat with the rather
    loud miaow."

  * STUPID NAME AMAZON EXTRAS - "With regards to
    your Amazon list of names (Newsletter 152)",
    barks Neilo Winton, "The guy called Norman
    Conquest taught my partner at Perth Academy.
    Unfortunately he taught Chemistry, but
    his dog was called HASTINGS (honest!)."
    Fantastic stuff. We've updated the list with
    the many suggestions that came pouring in.



  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

    out of these farcical groups in a battle to
    the death?

    KILLING MACHINE - that's a special request
    from b3ta regular Tomsk. We says, "That's what
    I'd like to see anyway. It'd be awesome."
  * TONY BLAIR HEART-OP GAME - remake the classic
    operation 'buzzt' game. If you like.

  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]
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  This issue was written by Rob Manuel with 
  David Stevenson.
  Links sent in by r.fowden, keith.waddell
  trianstarcraft, nick.delaney, 
  simon.goldman, kakihara_the_masochist,
  thechrismurphy, dan_nobleuk,
  patrick, Fraser, spanishcatfish,
  tk/nunchaku, mikebaja, p__bremner & addey.
  Top Tippery by tree sap.
  Additional linkage by Fraser Lewry.
  Board research by Fnord.
  Image challenge handled by Mystery Bob.
  Proofing by the light-footed b4ta bummers.


  Got tree sap in your hair?  Massage your
  sticky locks with peanut butter and shampoo.
  Works like a charm and leaves you smelling
  nutty fresh.

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