Sure, you could use the Internet to find thoughtful, reasoned critiques of modern advertising culture. Or you could get right to the funny by visiting "Ad Freak". With tongue planted firmly in cheek, this blog dissects our industry with just the right amount of keepin'-it-real candor.
Long before "Panic! At the Disco" co-opted the carnival-gone-mad look, Altoids was kickin' it retro-fabulous in their ads and branding. Deliciously old-school, with fantastic interactivity, the Altoids website is an example of corporate branding done right!
So you'd like to support the arts, but you're too busy spending all your money on clothes? Problem solved! Threadless is a specialty-shop that features uber-cool t-shirts designed by artists and graphic designers. Now you can feed your fashion jones AND starving artists!
Don't let it's kid-like interface fool ya, 'cause Fact Monster kicks some serious knowledge. Combining a dictionary, encyclopedia, almanac and more, this is the perfect resource for helping your younger siblings research that history paper. Or getting yourself edumacated! Library, schmibrary, right?
Ever wonder why you don't see A-list stars hawking products here in the States? Because it's beneath them, that's why! But apparently that doesn't hold true in Japan, where stars like Brad Pitt, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts routinely pitch products for mucho dinero. Japander collects the best of the best (or weirdest of the weirdest, whichever you prefer) of these commercials. Our personal faves? The ones starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as some sort of weird genie-superhero-court jester that magically appears out of a soda can. (We only wish we'd made that up.)
Having trouble telling apart your "ice" from your "floss"? Can't distinguish between "bling" and "blang"? Well, fear not! Street cred is a mere click away thanks to Urban Dictionary! Just watch a few hours of MTV, jot down the words you're not familiar with (we're assuming that'll be a lot) and before you know it, you'll be able to understand the conversation patterns of your average, everday 16-year old. (Which, come to think of it, may or may not be a good thing.)
Move over Entertainment Weekly, there's a new sheriff in town. Her name's Whitney Matheson and with her blog (which she pens for USA Today), she delivers the latest news in movies, music, TV and the web. It's up-to-the-minute, witty and, unlike most blogs, relatively snark-free.
|Ask a Ninja
Sure, we here at Steam Studios often go to Rocketboom for our dose of daily news. But when it comes to our most urgent inquiries, we go to our other favorite vlog: Ask A Ninja. Why? 'Cause if you've got questions, ninjas got answers.
The grand-daddy of internet video, iFilm's stronger than ever. Movie trailers? Check. News clips? Check. Viral Videos? Check. The ability to destroy your social life with its easy-to-navigate interface guiding you into a realm of time-wasting digital entertainment? Check with a capital "C".
Sure, you'd write the Great American novel if there was any hope of getting it published... Well, guess what? Thanks to the internet, the accelerating pace of technology and Lulu.com, you can publish anything you want yourself! Quickly, easily and, most of all, affordably! Time to let your inner-Salinger shine.
|Best Week Ever Blog!
If you're like us, then you probably have a healthy love/hate relationship with pop culture. And, like us, you'd like to wittily and incisively comment on this dichotomy from time to time. But the truth is, neither we nor you are that funny. Better take a step back and let the gurus at the "Best Week Ever" blog handle it. Pop culture deconstruction is a job best left to the pros.
Want a one-stop shop for funny videos, movie clips and new music? Want it wrapped up in a Maxim magazine vibe? Then Heavy.com's for you! The Flash interface and content delivery are top-notch, the humor's delightfully juvenile and the style is 100% geek-cool.
MySpace is to Friendster what crack is to cocaine: faster, easier and instantly addictive! No other "virtual community" in webland can touch MySpace's dependency-forming formula of profiles, blogs and comment voyeurism. Be forewarned though! This site really should come with its own "After School Special".
If you're still confused by this newfangled "blogging" thing, better slap on your aluminum foil helmet 'cause it's only getting worse! Rocketboom, hosted by the lovely Amanda Congdon (sigh), is a vlog. As in "Video Blog". As in, if you want to keep up with the latest internet trends, you'd better learn how to stop blinking. Starting now.
|The Million Dollar Homepage
Take one "Get Rich Quick" scheme, sprinkle in some free publicity (including this newsletter) and toss with a heaping spoonful of cyberspace and what do you get? The Million Dollar Homepage (or as we like to call it: Marketing Genius)!
If you thought breakdancin' movies had hit their zenith with "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo", well - you'd be right! But another great film is Style Wars, which is an amazing documentary that chronicles the rise of hiphop culture in the early 80's. But you know what's even cooler? The Style Wars website! With amazing Flash animation and great interactivity, this website is the perfect way to celebrate the re-issue of Style Wars on DVD.
First off, we're not even 100% sure what this site's about. Ostensibly, it has something to do with Sony's Aiwa product line. But in reality, it appears to be some strange Tokyo-flavored trip through a cartoon wonderland populated by strange and interesting creatures. Which is actually far cooler than a site that has anything to do with Sony's Aiwa product line.
As everyone knows, Halloween is Steve's favorite holiday (and if you didn't know... um... you know now!). And just in time for that one night where we embrace thrills, chills and tooth decay, comes this great site that has everything you'd ever want to know about the spooktacular. There's even a great "Top 10 Halloween songs" on the site right now! So check out some ghost stories and prepare to scare the bejesus out of the kids in your neighborhood.
Robot : www.giantrobot.com
Even without the really cool name, Giant Robot would be a really cool magazine. Covering all aspects of Tokyo's underground youth culture, it... What's that? Why should you care about Tokyo and/or its underground youth culture? Because Tokyo is light-years ahead of us in terms of technology, fashion and "let's-throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks" attitude, that's why! And thanks to Giant Robot, we knew what a "harajuku girl" was waaaay before you and Gwen Stefani did. So there.
Greatest Story Never Told: www.tgsnt.org
What if we told you that there was this great annual competition for Flash animators? And what if we told you that some of the most entertaining and challenging short animations on the Net were a result of this competition? Well, we couldn't, because... it's The Greatest Story NEVER Told! (Sorry for the bad pun, but we just couldn't resist. Just click the link, watch some cool online cartoons and we'll pretend this never happened.)
Sherpa : www.comicssherpa.com
Thanks to the suckers...uh... kind folks at Universal Sydication, tons of comic strips are available for your reading enjoyment free of charge! From old favorites like Calvin and Hobbes, to newer strips like The Boondocks, as well as online exclusives, you can wile away hours laughing your tuckus off when you know you should be working. We sure love helping you slack, huh?
So, you want to become an art collector, but you don't have the scratch for that Picasso you've got your eye on? Art-o-mat lets you get in on the ground floor with original, one-of-a-kind artwork that's cheap ($5) and easy to access (through the magic of old cigarette machines). Art and Tobacco nostalgia? That's a win-win if we ever saw one!
Every where you turn it's blog this, blog that. Blogs are everywhere now! And you want in, right? Welcome to WordPress. As it states on its homepage, WordPress is "free and priceless at the same time", helping anyone who wants to blog churn out elegant, easy-to-use blogs for consumption on the World Wide Web.
|The Meatrix: www.themeatrix.com
Sure, Matrix 2 and 3 were the worst sequels ever produced. Sure, Matrix parodies are all over the Internet. Sure, this particular parody is really a front for vegetarian activists. But you know what? It's funny. And sometimes that's enough.
|Star Wars - Revelations: www.panicstruckpro.com
With the massive letdown that was Star Wars Episodes I and II, a group
of dedicated fanboys (and fangirls) spent the last 3 years making the ultimate fan-film. And if you think this particular online flick will be just another showcase of bad acting, weak story structure and utter geekiness, well, you're absolutely right. But the production value is nothing short of astonishing and the passion for the material is undeniable. Sorry, Mr. Lucas, but THIS is how you make a Star Wars movie.
With the modest goal of eventually cataloguing all human knowledge,
Wikipedia, the web's largest encyclopedia, can be read and edited by
anyone the world over... for free! Encyclopedia Britanni-who?
|Rotten Tomatoes : www.rottentomatoes.com
It's the great conundrum of the 21st century: How does one stay informed of the quality of newly-released films, while not having the time to actually read any movie reviews? Let Rotten Tomatoes do it for you! Instead of reading one film critic, Rotten Tomatoes assembles the opinions of hundreds of critics and spits out an easy-to-digest percentage. Anything above 60% = "The Matrix". Anything below 60% = "The Matrix: Revolutions".
|Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes: www.museumofhoaxes.com
It seems everywhere we look, we're confronted by list-mania: "The Top 100 Albums of All Time", "The 100 Greatest Movies", "The 100 Most Terrifying Dinosaurs". Enough already! What about a list that actually puts a smile on your face? Check out this list of the best pranks of all time and enjoy a heart-warming chuckle on us. 'Cause we don't know about you, but we're tired of seeing "The 100 ways in which P. Diddy's life is superior to everyone else's."
|The Onion: www.theonion.com
You've probably heard this common lament before: "I want to stay informed of current events, but real news is soooo passe. What do I do?" America, we hear your plea. Presenting The Onion, the best fake news on the planet (next to the Daily Show, of course, but their website sucks).
Tokyo Plastic: www.tokyoplastic.com
Umm... we have no idea what this site's about, but it seems like it's supposed to be a techno-fueled, anime-inspired journey into the metaphoric rabbit hole that is the Internet. But enough pseudo-intellectual artspeak. The site's fun and wacky. And at the end of the day, that's what matters most, right? (ps. Check out Drum Machine)
Josh Agle, the artist currently known as Shag, puts the "it" in "kitsch"! His so-cool-it-burns illustrative style combines elements of 60's mod, tiki art, and spy flick sensibility into something truly unique and mesmerizing.
A photo album that you can hold in your hands? That's soooo 20th-century. With Flickr, you can easily upload, store and share photos the world over while using one of the most intuitive and user-friendly interfaces we've ever seen. And the best part? It's free!
|Boing Boing: www.boingboing.net
Boing Boing bills itself as "a directory of wonderful things". Boy, is it ever. Dealing with everything from the lastest tech news to how Twinkies are made, Boing Boing is like "Choose your own adventure" for geeks. WARNING! Boing Boing is safe for work, but some of it's story links are NOT. Make sure to read article descriptions carefully before clicking in your cubicle.
|Mozilla Firefox: www.getfirefox.com
Chances are you use Internet Explorer. And chances are you’ve gotten your fair share of computer viruses, worms, trojan horses and pop-up attacks. Allow us to introduce you to a web browser that doesn’t bite: Firefox. Download it, love it and break free from Bill Gates’ clutches.
|Cowboys and Engines: www.cowboysandengines.com
What makes a good online videogame? The three F’s! Fun, Free and Fuel! Fuel Industries, a super-cool design house out of Ontario, Canada, created this western-themed time-waster just because they could.
Let Howard Stern preach the virtues of satellite radio all he wants, the coolest radio stations are streaming online right now. Top 40, Hip-hop, Polka (you know who you are)... there’s something for everyone to listen to. ( If you’re feeling adventurous, click on shoutcast’s “I Feel Lucky” link. Well, do ya? Punk. )
|House Industries: www.houseind.com
You know you're a geek when you drool over well-constructed typography. And nothing's more drool-worthy than House Industries' ultra-stylish fonts. The printed word never looked so good...
|Emily the Strange: www.emilystrange.com
Sure, anyone can slap a cartoon character on a shirt and bilk you out of
your hard-earned dollars. It's that rare company that'll make you feel cool while doing so. Enter Emily the Strange: goth girl extraordinaire. She's smart, sassy, and created solely for selling t-shirts.
|Neo Pets: www.neopets.com
Remember those Tamagotchi virtual pets? Didn't think so. Neopets are cooler anyway. Design your own virtual creature and explore a fun-filled world of magic and wonder. And contrary to the last sentence, it's still fun even if you're over 9 years old.
Just in time for the holidays! With recipes ranging from finger foods to gourmet cuisine (and easy instructions to boot), you're holiday dinner will no longer be the travesty that everyone knows it to be! You can thank us later.
|Bolt City: www.boltcity.com
Continuing with our "monthly webcomic" theme we present Bolt City. Part comic strip, part art project, part blog, Bolt City is 100% enchantment. (It ain't bad for wasting time, either.)
|Ad Tunes: www.adtunes.com
Why spend countless hours trying to find new music when advertisers will do it for you? When that Gap commercial comes on for the 117th time, don't ask "What's the name of that pseudo-indie track in the background?", go to Ad Tunes! Impress your friends, annoy your enemies, and find good music.
|Kid Robot: www.kidrobot.com
G.I. Joe is sooooo over. Enter the ultra-cool creations of underground toymakers (yes, you read that right) like Michael Lau and Jason Choy. Merging classic toy-making technologies with a graffiti-inspired, urban aesthetic, these toys are guaranteed to give your cubicle a much-needed ìtoo cool for schoolî vibe.
|City Creator: www.citycreator.com
Are you ceaselessly working? Not goofing off enough? Have we got the solution for you! While away hours, possibly days, of your life building cute pixel cities. Warning!!! This is even more addictive than playing Tetris. Not suitable for anyone who likes being a productive member of society.
|Same Difference: View Same Difference
Words can't express how much we LOVE Derek Kirk Kim's webcomic experiment. A tale of two Korean-American twenty-somethings who learn lessons about life, love, and growing up over the course of one weekend, Same Difference is bittersweet and mesmerizing. Please note: There's no nudity or violence in it, but it does deal with adult themes (read: bad words. gasp!) so if you're uncomfortable with that sort of thing, feel free to stick with "The Family Circus".
|PVP online: www.pvponline.com
If you haven't checked out Scott Kurtz's hilarious online comic strip about a group of video game magazine staff writers, now's your chance...
Who says a CGI film has to cost millions? Not Brian Taylor. Check out the eye-popping results of his home project!
|Palmer Jarvis DDB: www.pjdbb.com
A Canadian ad agency with a great sense of humor and talent to burn. Check out their TV ad campaigns and prepare to laugh your @$$ off!