When you’re bored and can’t figure out what to do, you can always turn to the internet. These free websites recommend the best, coolest, and most entertaining online places, all at random.
The old StumbleUpon was the go-to service for times like this, helping you discover the web’s coolest spots. But StumbleUpon is dead, and the age of social media usually has a stranglehold on your attention. That doesn’t mean the internet has stopped creating cool stuff. In fact, there’s more of it than ever before. So go on, browse the web with these chariots of serendipity, and see what you find.
1. Jumpstick (Web): Best New StumbleUpon Alternative
If you miss the old StumbleUpon, then you’ll love Jumpstick. It recreates the experience of serendipitous discoveries of new websites and web pages on the internet, based on your interests.
You can try out Jumpstick without creating a profile. You’ll first need to select topics of interest, like beautiful websites, pets, food, writing, riddles, etc. Then Jumpstick will show a random web page, while always retaining a Jumpstick menu bar at the top.
On that bar, you can upvote or downvote a page, or head to a new random recommendation. Through this bar, you can also change the topics you selected, or let Jumpstick pick five random topics. This feature can sometimes malfunction and you’ll need to refresh the app, but it’s a nice way to get even more serendipitous finds. It’s truly one of the best StumbleUpon alternatives out there.
2. Sharkle (Web): Random Pages of Awesome Design and Sound
Sharkle is a collection of awesome websites with a focus on design or sound experiments. Click the button to open a new tab with an artistic web page that is usually something you can interact with.
You’ll find things like amazing Chrome experiments, interactive art projects, soothing animated images, background sound machines, etc. The focus is on being “awesome” rather than useful. These aren’t web pages you will want to bookmark, they’re meant to be a distraction from boredom.
It’s unclear how Sharkle’s directory of recommendations is compiled, but the editors seem to have great taste. Consistently, I found Sharkle taking me to web pages that I have never seen before.
The subreddit r/InternetIsBeautiful is a community to share websites and pages that are awesome, cool, useful, or gorgeous. Generally, these are the kinds of websites that you would want to bookmark for the future.
It’s an old community that has recently become active once again and shares new discoveries every day. The focus is on showing something that others on the internet wouldn’t come across easily. It also prohibits games, articles, advertisements, and videos or GIFs. So you won’t find the latest viral trend here, but you will come across nifty tools and entertaining corners of the web.
Because it recently became active, try sorting the subreddit by the Top posts of this year to find new discoveries. Sorting by Top posts of all time will lead to many cool sites too, but some of them are years old and no longer functional.
4. Useful Interweb (Web): Cool Links Hand-Picked by One Guy
Johnny Webber collects some of the best web links, tools, sites, and apps every day at his website Useful Interweb. There are often multiple entries every day, across a range of topics.
Largely, the selections span five topics: educational (something to learn), life changing (self-improvement), useful (accomplish a task), interesting (something worth knowing, but not necessary), and just cool (awesome stuff). The good part is that in one line, Johnny writes what the link is going to be about, rather than just the website name.
Sometimes, you will find links to books or other products on Amazon. These are still Johnny’s recommendations, and a way for him to earn through affiliate links to keep Useful Interweb going.
For 15 years, the team at Dark Roasted Blend has picked a bouquet of weird and wonderful web pages. Every week, the ‘Link Latte’ presents a collection of things worth checking out, including videos, articles, online art, websites, and other cool artifacts.
The selection of material here is different than what you’d normally find. The team has eclectic tastes, with a particular bent towards art, tech, and geek culture. If you’re into popular culture, get high on great design and style, and are fascinated by the impossible and improbable, you’ll find yourself at home.
With its rich history, you might want to check out the archives which are neatly categorized. The most popular posts reside in the annual “Best Of” links in the left sidebar. And there are a few feature articles by DRB staff worth reading too.
6. Bored Button (Web): Press the Button When Bored
Any list of such websites for random recommendations would be amiss without the Bored Button. We’ve mentioned it before as one of the best time-wasting sites when you’re bored, but it bears repeating.
Press the button to cycle through a series of online activities to waste some time. Most of these are made by Bored itself, and range from magic tricks and jokes to short games and trivia.
Do a Real-Life Activity Instead
It doesn’t matter how much time you have to kill or how bored you are, these websites will find something to entertain you. However, there’s no easy answer for which site to turn to, as they all have different types of content that generally surfaces to the top.
Of course, you don’t have to go online always to beat boredom. As much as our tech-wired brains push us towards wasting time on the internet, a better option might be to do a real-life activity. And a cheat to satisfy both scenarios would be to visit ActivitySuggestion.com. Pet the cat to get a real-life activity recommendation, and go do it.
Looking for websites to go to when bored? Don’t let boredom get boring. Even Steve Jobs was a fan of boredom. He believed that boredom allowed room for creativity. We all know how that turned out.
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