How to avoid boredom if I have an internet connection?
August 23, 2008 2:07 PM   Subscribe

The Internet: the perfect weapon against boredom?


I've recently started a diet but I'm having a problem with eating because of boredom. I was wondering if anyone knew of any websites (other than metafilter) which I could use to distract myself?

Ideally I'd like a list of websites with a lot of content that I could explore any time I feel bored.

Thanks in advance.
posted by Tnuocca to Computers & Internet (25 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Wikipedia is a classic time sinkhole.
I recently discovered Neatorama. It's neat.
posted by Plug Dub In at 2:14 PM on August 23, 2008

To be contrarian, there is absolutely nothing on the Internet that will distract one enough to lose weight.

Hobbies and sports are actually terrific for just this. There's also Outside.

Other than that, cruise the hot deals web sites.

Not snarking, just saying what worked for me.
posted by vers at 2:30 PM on August 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:33 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Setup a Google Reader account and subscribe to a ton of websites including, but not limited to:

-The New Yorker
-The Economist
-The New York Times
-(aforementioned hot deals websites including boddit and woot)

The more subscriptions you have, the more articles will pop up. Everyday I encounter ~500 items. I don't read them all of course, but after weeding through the chaff, I usually find some gems.
posted by mahoganyslide at 2:38 PM on August 23, 2008

Um yeah, what vers said. A diet isn't much use without exercise.. so why don't you read some articles about geocaching or Urban Exploration or parkour or Ultimate, and then go put your newfound knowledge into use?

Speaking as a chubby person, sitting in front of the computer doesn't burn many calories.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:50 PM on August 23, 2008

However, not all times are conducive to exercise, whilst lots of time could be better spent surfing instead of snacking.

I like Arts and Letters Daily.
posted by konolia at 3:21 PM on August 23, 2008

Let me see if I've got this straight...

You want to lose weight by surfing the internet?

I think your main problem might be strategy.
posted by Autarky at 3:23 PM on August 23, 2008 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: I'd like to use the internet to make my life more interesting so I don't decide to go off buy some food as a way of alleviating boredom.

I'm not going to spend all day on the internet, but occasionally if I get bored I would like to use the internet to distract myself so I don't go out and buy food just for something to do (which is a problem for me at the moment).
BTW, thanks to all the contributors for the advice given so far. Some of it looks really useful.

Could someone please explain what 'Ultimate' is? I tried the link but it just reloaded this page.
posted by Tnuocca at 3:28 PM on August 23, 2008

Nthing exercise, but I guess a calorie neutral activity is better than more food. I'd suggest, if you haven't already seen it. It's been slow updating lately, but there's enough of a backlog that they'll start updating once you finish it. I also like and CakeWrecks.Blogspot.Com. Granted, then you're just staring at bad cake and screwed up frozen meals, so that may not be the best option. Or maybe it'll put you off food for a while.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:30 PM on August 23, 2008

Browser games?

posted by juv3nal at 3:40 PM on August 23, 2008

When I'm bored and chained to my computer (aka compiling), I'm always a fan of Overcoming Bias. Find the end-chain of a series of posts (start at one that has "followup to..", open those in new tabs, repeat) and read the whole thing. For bonus points, understand what the hell is being said.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:40 PM on August 23, 2008

'Ultimate' is essentially Frisbee, just sort of made into a sport.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 4:43 PM on August 23, 2008

Go to Websleuths and try to solve a crime. For me it keeps my mind working plus it makes me lose my appetite ; )
posted by cda at 5:21 PM on August 23, 2008

In that case, Zombo should fulfill your needs.

You can do anything at
posted by Autarky at 5:30 PM on August 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

conceptis puzzles
posted by rmd1023 at 5:50 PM on August 23, 2008

The perfect weapon against boredom? Of course. If the internets are not enough then nothing will satisfy you intellectually at least. To ask what is the perfect website I think is to ask the wrong question. The internet is interesting because it is huge, it is the unexplored territory of the New World, the edge of the ocean,. The fun is in finding what there is to find. Google is great, but better yet is to act like Google - find a site, then find the sites to which it links and so on. Of course, keep your security up to date and don't let any sites talk you into installing anything. Two sites with some very interesting links (some of which are nsfw) with which to to start a search journey include Spitting Image and Notes From Somewhere Bizarre, with the former being also a continuing and interesting site in its own right. Many other great starting sites can be found by searching the term "via" on the blue.
posted by caddis at 6:54 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Learn HTML/CSS, soend hours trying to perfect a web page design. You don't need web hosting to do this.

PlaceSpotting is my new favorite. I found this website (possibly through MeFi) a week or so ago and it was one of those "Oh wow this is interesting" (an interlude) "Oh shit, it's four in the morning" things.
posted by MadamM at 6:59 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I could spend forever on Flickr and YouTube. Seriously. I could easily never get off the computer and never go to a third or fourth website. First, search for stuff that you'd like to look at or watch. From there, you'll find groups devoted to the stuff you like and people who upload hundreds of pictures and videos of stuff you want to look at. At that point, it will be a neverending blur of pictures of cute cats and videos of old Jem commercials. Or, you know, whatever you like. And, as far as YouTube goes, you can probably find some educational videos (or videos demonstrating different exercises), if you want to feel like your expanding your mind a bit.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:35 PM on August 23, 2008

I really enjoy a blog/site called Plep. Whether or not it will be of interest to you will depend on what you like to read about and look at online. The blogger collects brilliant (imo) links, and his blogroll is gigantic. If a large amount of his links happen to catch your fancy, I would start with the top of the blogroll and visit every site in order. This is his current blog.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:44 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'd like to use the internet to make my life more interesting so I don't decide to go off buy some food as a way of alleviating boredom.

Then what you want is probably some kind of hobby or social networking site. Just browsing the internet endlessly defines boredom, even if it's diverting at first. And I speak as someone who was browsing the internet endlessly before the web.

Here's a (2-year-old) list of weight-loss oriented sites and forums. I would focus on partnering up with one or more buddies on your weight loss quest because there's nothing like peer pressure to keep you honest. (Uh, don't start lying to your partners.) Better than that would be using one of these to find partners for weight-loss exercise plan such as walking.
posted by dhartung at 10:38 PM on August 23, 2008

Things Magazine
posted by Mrs. Buck Turgidson at 1:04 AM on August 24, 2008

You need a constructive hobby. Take up a martial art, or learn to draw.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:12 AM on August 24, 2008

Biking and tennis are great fun and good exercise, along with the other such suggestions in this thread. But you already know that, and I am not taking your question to mean that surfing the web is going to be your one and only weight loss strategy.

I totally agree with you that having some go-to entertaining websites is a good way to combat boredom, especially if you live alone, or at least end up with lots of alone time, where boredom snacking is indeed tempting.

Addicting Games is appropriately named, and often linked here on the blue.

Hulu is fantastic and offers full movies, current TV shows, plus a lot of old classics. Also, be sure to check out all the broadcast and cable channel's websites for full episodes of shows that you missed, or don't get.

Internet Movie Database is one of my favorite sites as well. It can be a huge time-sink for me. When I am watching a movie, or even when I just remember a movie I liked, or even one I hated, it's interesting to look it up and check out the trivia and message boards.

UCBComedy is a great collection of comedy clips (skits, standup, and various weird stuff), mostly based around the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre.

You can spend hours at This American Life, listening to free, streaming episodes from the archive. Subscribe to the podcast as well, and you'll always have the latest episode on your computer and/or iPod. (Note that the archive episodes cost 99 cents to download as MP3s, but are free to listen to without downloading.)

The ever-popular, yet much maligned Fark has a lot of great links, videos, and news. The message boards are entertaining, if sometimes juvenile. Be sure to check out the Photoshop challenges, where you are offered a picture to edit. There are some hilarious entries offered up. Sign up for a free account and you can upload your own.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:51 AM on August 24, 2008 aggregates popular links from all sorts of sites.
posted by desjardins at 7:08 AM on August 25, 2008

I don't want it to seem like I'm not answering the question here... I'm *totally* supportive of wanting to diet, I'm doing it mysef. But my first reaction when I read your question was that I think your relationship to food is more of an issue than the need to find a distraction.

Rather than trying to hole yourself up in a bunker to avoid the world, why not refocus on changing your lifestyle in a way that makes the grocery store not feel like such a threat to your wellbeing? There is a lot of really delicious food out there that isn't bad for you! Perhaps discovering that would be a better goal. If you go onto sparkpeople and plug in what you're eating every day, it'll tell you the nutrutional information and make it kind of a fun project to diet. Do some research and think about coming up with a nutritional plan for yourself. Start reading the backs of food labels. Become more involved and take control of what you put in your body instead of letting the cravings control you and hiding in fear.

Just a thought. And I mean it with the utmost respect because I've had to do this for myself.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:23 PM on August 27, 2008

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