For No Especially Good Reason I Put Each Letter of the Alphabet Into My Web Browser and Posted the Link it Autocompleted To
Posted on September 27, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 48 Comments
And here’s what we got. Click or hover on the letter for the links, and don’t worry, they’re all work safe, since if I ever did any naughty searching, and I’m not saying I do, I would do it in incognito mode (i.e., not being written into my browser’s history).
A: Andrew Sullivan’s site. Not a surprise, I find him quite readable, and now that Sarah Palin’s in his rearview mirror, usually sane.
B: Gizmodo. The “b” here comes from “blog.gizmodo.com,” which directs me to their blog format, which is ever so much for readable (for it and every other Gawker site) than its default layout.
C: CNN. Middle of the road news although their entertainment coverage can make me cringe from time to time.
D: Deadspin. This is an indication I don’t type “d” into my browser bar much, since I visit here maybe three times a year.
E: Engadget. What can I say, I’m a tech nerd. I visit The Verge a lot, too.
F: Facebook. Hey, everyone I know is on it, and sometimes you want to see what they’re up to.
G: Google. I think it would be mildly surprising if it were something else.
H: Hulu. Another letter I don’t use much. I think this pops up because I see the occasional Saturday Night Live clip.
I: Icerocket. For when I ego surf and don’t use Google.
J: Jezebel. Yes, I know. It’s links like these that make me a beta male.
K: Know Your Meme. This is so I don’t feel lost when I go to Reddit.
L: Los Angeles Times. Because I grew up in the LA area, therefore it is my “hometown” newspaper.
M: Metafilter. One of the few other places I actively comment at.
N: NBCNews.com I was mildly surprised that it wasn’t NYTimes.com. I wonder what this says about me.
O: Orbitz. Because I travel a lot.
P: Popurls. Because I like to aggregate my online procrastination.
Q: Quickmeme. Look, I’m not saying everything I do online is productive.
R: Rhapsody. Where I listen to music online.
S: SFWA. This is because I go in and check the SFWA director’s board areas because, you know, I am the president.
T: Talking Points Memo. Because, among other things, Josh Marshall is a high school classmate of mine, and I’m proud of what he’s done with his site.
U: United.com. For when I want to know just how long my flight’s been delayed!
V: WordPress’ VIP site. Because this is where Whatever is hosted (and hosted well, I would add).
W: Whatever. I mean, duh.
X: XKCD. Stick figures are awesome.
Y: YouTube. Another one that I suppose is not terribly surprising, much to Yahoo’s chagrin.
Z: Zillow. Because occasionally I look at real estate. But only occasionally. This is another letter that doesn’t get much play in the browser bar.
Huh. That was an interesting experiment.
Just as a procedural matter I wouldn’t suggest you all try to do the same thing I just did, directly here in the comments, since 26 separate links in a single comment would definitely get you bumped into moderation. If you want to do it on your own site (or Facebook, or Google+ or whatever), however, and then link to that here, that would be fine.
Don’t worry I’m not going to do what you just did. Thing is I work off up to four different PCs at work. I have a PC at home, but also an iPad, and I do get on my wife’s iMac from time to time, since it’s conveniently located in the kitchen. I probably use my work machines the most, sad to say. I wonder, would resultant links off the various machines point to whether I was at work or home? Would it be blissfully ignorant of that fact? Do I want to know the answer? Hmm.
“i” would have been the cheezburger site if they hadn’t changed their format recently, right?
it’s okay, you can tell us.
My observation on the September Semi-Hiatus is that it is mostly semi with a smattering of hiatus. Not complaining one bit mind you. Thanks for some new websites to checkout.
Well, that’s the secret: This entry was, like, ten minutes to make. It just looks like it took forever.
I did what you just did but will summarize the results: apparently on the Internet I shop, read comics, and go to message boards. Somewhat embarrassing. The weirdest result was that “f” didn’t take me to facebook (although w did, for the www) but instead to my local Fringe Festival.
Two of mine were about:blank and localhost. Is there anyone else here who can say the same, even partly???
@bhenick: Yes, localhost, because my private wiki for collecting information about everything lives there…
I do a lot of my surfing/reading via Google Reader (RSS), so autocomplete won’t very well match what I read the most. N for example brings up NFL.com, which I really pretty rarely go to compared to NYTimes.com, and W brings up Weather.com, which is maybe once a week compared to daily for Whatever.
Now try number.
Being Norwegian I would have three more letters to play with in a game such as this. Not that I thought Æ, Ø and Å qould be very useful in this way.
As a matter of curiosity I did try to write these letters into my web browser, and did get some useful things. For Æ i got a couple of useful links about the weather (weather is været in Norwegian – not the first letter, I know, but it did pop up), for Ø in got the economics section of Aftenposten, one of the largest Norwegian newspapers (økonomi is economics in Norwegian) which is very useful because they have this nifty currency calculater. Very useful for online shopping. Å didn’t turn up any interesting or useful results, but 2 out of 3 isn’t so bad… ;)
I think the link to A is a little borked. It’s sending me to a page for this article on whatever/andrew sullivan’s site, which is a 404 page, instead of going to his site.
Hmmm, we share C, M, T, and W; it’s for the same reasons, too. Well, okay, I didn’t go to school with Josh Marshall, but I am proud of what TPM has become.
Ben S. Fixed.
J: Jezebel. Yes, I know. It’s links like these that make me a beta male.
Nah. It means you readily submit to the Matriarchy.
But seriously. Jezebel is a bigoted, hate-site. I’m surprised you read it.
Scorpius, I know you’re not intending to troll. So I’m just going to suggest to others that they not bother to respond to that bit of ridiculousness you just posted.
For you, I’m going to remind you to close your italics tags. And not to followup on that comment.
By coincidence, just 2 hours ago Mary A. Turzillo asked on Facebook:
“If you’re a writer, what strange things do you do when you’re not actually writing?”
and I improvised this answer:
Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Demon-hunting, Economics, Fantasizing, Geology, Homesteading, Ipso Factoing, Joke-telling, Kangaroo-watching, Legal briefs, Moon-watching, Nerdliness, Omniscience, Poetry, Questioning, Ridicule, Sierpiński graphing, Time travel, Undersea living, Velocity vectoring, Wage-slaving, Xylopagy, Zymurgy.
Only a couple of surprises. The most surprising: No autocomplete for Q whatsoever.
Jonathon Vos Post, what happened to ‘Y’?
X is always xylophone. Always.
This is actually a fascinating experiment. Now what would happen if I compared my results at work with those at home? I suspect M=Mouser, N=Newark, and D=Digikey would not show up there.
Joe asked: Jonathon [Jonathan] Vos Post, what happened to ‘Y’?
“Yes-saying” to people whom I just KNEW would point that out.
In the interest of providing you a more interesting Z, might I urge you to say hello to http://zenpencils.com/
The most surprising result I got was for g. Goodreads came in first. Google came in fourth after Gmail and Gamestop.
Google will come in low because nowadays, most of the browsers let you search just by typing the search string in the URL area, so you rarely manually go to http://www.google.com
Far too many of my letters expanded out to either Antipope or Whatever threads…
http://xkcd.com/1110/ was awesome
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I didn’t know about the blog view option for Gawker sites & had mostly given up on them on account of the ghastly default format.
Many of my results were for fast food places or restaurants (I like to look up menus before we go somewhere). G & F were the same for me (Yeah, BIG surprise!) Then there were a few that told my my kids have been using my computer because I have no idea what they are.
G also came up goodreads for me. I suspect that’s going to be the case for a lot of Whatever’s readers, at least the ones that don’t get google. I note that i apparently spend a lot less time reading news than than John (or checking out the latest hot memes) and a lot more playing games.
“For No Especially Good Reason” = “desperately seeking a break from profitable work,” right? :-)
No drudgereport or theblaze? Ah, those must be the naughty sites you search in incognito mode.
How is ‘A’ not Amazon, or ‘E’ not Wikipedia (English)? But then again my ‘F’ doesn’t go to Facebook, it goes to Google Reader instead (for Feed). Using RSS/Atom feeds instead of the actual sites skews my autocompletion, mostly away from things I waste time reading so it looks like I’m more serious than I am.
Huh. My results are skewed towards websites I open regularly and then close again, rather than the Most Important Ones, which I leave open eternally because I never turn my computer off. So in Chrome, G is Girls With Slingshots instead of Gmail, which is open all the time (Google searches get typed straight into the address bar; I rarely go to the Google homepage). Firefox is Gmail, however, and for the rest of the letters is heavily skewed towards websites that don’t work in Chrome.
OMG!!! I haven’t even heard of some of these sites. I may have new favorites!
I came out with a lot of blogs and webcomics. Interestingly, the autocomplete is often, if not mostly (I didn’t check) different from the first link in the drop-down that shows up.
NBC news coming up before the NYT could mean that you have visited both sites an equal number of times and NBC comes alphabetically before NY Times. Or you go to the times less often because of the paywall maybe?
Jezebel is awesome. If anything, reading it elevates you to alpha dog.
Hmmm. Just ran my alphabet. Apparently, I pay bills, research (library, federal budget, census, various wonky sites), visit Whatever and Jezebel, watch Hulu, am an xkcd fan, and like Zappos. No surprises there.
Whoopsie! I didn’t scan the comment thread until after I’d posted. I was responding to you, John, not Scorpius, but if you feel the need to delete my comment, I understand.
In the long list you did not mention the NFL referees one time. Rather dissappointed in your lack of interest in current events!
Yay B! I can read lifehacker again now. Thanks for the blog.gawker trick.
ok ‘C’ almost made me spew my coffee laughing. CNN as middle of the road? Ha!
It says a lot about some people that everything has to be about their politics.
fastu and rentagoat surprised me.
Errhm, time passes, and never suggests that one might need an umbrella.
I eventually remembered visiting rentagoat, (dotcom) because, like, I had
About fastu.com . They may provide webhosting, and I /did/ find an email
address of person’s name @fastu.com.
But I’ve _really_ never heard of them, and don’t understand why they’d
show up ahead of froogle dot google dot com. (A bookmark, I happen to
prefer* “froogle” to “shopping.”)
* froogle dot google dot com now redirects to google ‘kitten**’ com ‘slasher
**Garage Kittie? Anything to say? Even if all that can be said is that isn’t
anything to say?
I was expecting to make a joke saying your W and mine are the same but when I actually tried it I go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com. I’m slightly disappointed. My F takes me to Facebook and I don’t have a facebook account. It’s that ubiquitous I guess. The only letter of mine you would find even remotely interesting is B which takes me to borderlands-books.com. Always checking those author events.
I was mostly surprised with how boring my links turned out to be (two or three sites excepted): http://www.tekstadve nture.nl/branko/blog/2012/09/26-2-links
Sullivan’s site is what first linked me to your site), though a co-worker had already turned me on to your books (specifically OMW, one of the first books I purchased on my Kindle).
I decided to do it a little belatedly for a blog post. It really is weird to do them all… http://300pages.com/browser-alphabet-a-la-whatever/