red bullet all things design

February 10, 2011

Websites to See Before You Die!

I’m willing to bet that since you’re reading this blog, browsing the internet has become as common to you as turning on the TV.  In fact, you probably turn on the computer first.  You’re checking email, Facebook-ing your friends, looking for the weather and world news or playing games.  And, I’m also willing to bet that you have a fairly set number of sites you visit to accomplish these goals.  Well, be prepared to have your online world rocked!  The editors of MaximumPC have put together a list of websites that promise to bend your mind without opening your pocketbook.  The article in this month’s edition is called “101 Websites to See Before You Die!” and it offers some very cool opportunities to travel to the fun, creative side of the internet.  Fair warning - you will want to spend some time on these sites, so make sure you have some spare hours to indulge.  It will be worth your while.

Since 101 websites is a large number to wade through, I’m here to help by distilling down to what I think are some of the best.  One of the coolest and most interactive is called Shape the Hive sponsored by the Art Institute of California-Orange County.  This is a visual “experiment in digital collaboration” based on the premise that humans are really like bees buzzing around a hive.  Shape the Hive is a massive, color-coded hex grid where anyone can fill in hexes using a kaleidoscope effect that distorts their image or video.  It’s fun to check out the filled-in hexes and easy to participate if you are so inclined.  There is a voting button as you view each hex and the one with the most votes wins a Macbook.  I did a few and you can see them at #s 4348 and 4351.

Another very cool site that some people spend days at a time working in is called Line Rider.  This is a Flash game that challenges you to draw a course that a little guy on a sled will ride on.  Sounds easy, but, I can tell you from experience; it takes some practice to understand the geometry of a successful track.  Check out the Top Movies to see how the pros handle this ingenious puzzle game.

If you need to be reminded that we are all insignificant little blips in the unfathomable dimension of the universe or if you just want to see some unbelievable images, then Hubblesite is for you.  This website highlights images taken by the Hubble telescope in its journey through the cosmos over the last 20 plus years.  A couple of images in you will start to realize that it would be incredible if, in all this expanse, we are alone.

The next two sites challenge the way you look at music.  Incredibox is a web app that lets you create your own a cappella group by clicking and dragging different parts onto some cartoon Frenchmen.  Sounds weird, but is a blast to do.  In Ball Droppings, a steady stream of little white balls bounce off of walls you draw with your mouse.  Each bounce creates a different tone, so drawing the perfect maze of walls creates a hypnotic audio-visual experience.

A fun list of websites such as this isn’t complete without some games.  The following two really showcase the creativity and game ingenuity available online.  The first, Get The Glass, brought to you by the California Milk Processing Board, blurs the line between advertisement and gaming, however, it is a well thought-out virtual board game with amazing graphics.  Machinarium is a testament to what can be done with Flash.  A full version is available to buy, although, the demo version gives you a good peek at the stunning graphics and fiendish puzzles that work to make Machinarium an enthralling adventure-game.
If these websites have piqued your interest and you want more, head on over to the MaximumPC website for the complete article.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you; these sites are addictive and will eat up your time having some of the most fun you have ever had online.  If you prefer having them in the distilled version, check out some more of the sites with their links at the check this out sidebar to the right.

‘til next time, take care.


Insert your comment

Author Name (required):

Author Web Site:

Comment (required):

Please Type In Secure Code:


red bulletall things design - 27 Oct 2009 - What is Design?

red bulletall things design - 11 Nov 2009 - Form & Function
red bulletall things design - 02 Dec 2009 - Juices Flowing
red bulletall things design - 21 Dec 2009 - Wrapping It Up
red bulletall things design - 12 Jan 2010 - Green-er in 2010
red bulletall things design - 10 Feb 2010 - Graphics Tools
red bulletall things design - 24 Mar 2010 - Smart Marketing
red dotall things design - 28 Apr 2010 - Adobe CS5
red bulletall things design - 15 Jun 2010 - Print Obsolete?
red bulletall things design - 05 Aug 2010 - New Publishing
red bulletall things design - 23 Sep 2010 - Masters of Design
red bulletall things design - 21 Nov 2010 - Adobe MAX
red bullet2009-2010 Holiday Image
red bulletall things design - 22 Dec 2010 - Technology 2011



check this out

More amazing websites from the MaximumPC article:


Don't let this websites Spanish intro deter you, you don't need to understand it to enjoy Soy Tu Aire's floating, lyrical melodies and graphics.


Stop right here if you want to have your mind blown by the street artist Blu. Check out the Video tab for some unreal stop-motion animations.


I believe this was in a past check this out, however, it's so cool it's worth another look. The 80 Gigapixel London image is a 360 degree view of London with enough resolution to zoom in to read the license plate on a far away bus.

Want to make a million dollars without too much fuss or bother? Do what this enterprising college kid in the UK did. Sell off a 1,000,000 pixel website 100 pixels at a time to advertisers for one dollar a pixel. Want to advertise on the site? Too late. The million pixels are completely sold out!


Do you want to build a 3D building? You don't know how to use a 3D program? Well, Google makes it easy for you at Google Building Maker. And, if your building is any good, it will show up on Google Earth.


Photosynth is brought to you by Microsoft and allows you to upload collections of digital photos to be stitched together to form panoramas. The cool thing about Photosynth is that you can move through the scene and see objects from different angles.