93 Top Sites That Are Free, Cool And Interesting

Arrived at the office early? Got some time to burn during lunch? Sitting comfortably with nothing to do? Look no further. I have compiled a list of 93 sites that I find very interesting. Interesting enough to distract me from finishing this article. Took me 2 weeks when it could have been settled in 2 days. Oh well, it just goes to show how entertaining the sites were. Some sites you may have come across before, some not. So far, I’ve only managed to find 93 that make the cut. So if you have one in mind, let me know, yes?

Have fun getting distracted!

Blogs Internet

8 Ways To Deal With Web Traffic Spikes To Your Site

And so it was my first time getting into the frontpage of Yahoo, experiencing the sudden spike of traffic exceeding 60,000 users in 2 days. What a phenomenon. So much that I got a notice on my website looking like this :

I had mix reactions actually. Good in the sense of exposure, bad in the sense of forking out additional cash to buy extra bandwidth. I wasn’t really prepared for the wrath, but nevertheless it’s an eye opening experience.

Over the hours, I scoured the web for all the information I can find about preparing myself for the next StumbleUpon, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus effect. Some of the methods suggested seemed complicated but anyhow, all are useful. Anyways, here are 8 simple things that everyone should know about preparing for the next sudden increase of traffic due to social network sites.

  1. What’s The Host’s Reaction?
  2. I for one, am a client of a shared hosting account. If you are like me, you don’t have much control of the situation when a spike occurs. When it happened to me, I thought that i could bring forward some of next month’s transfer limit. However, the only choice presented to me by my host was buying additional bandwidth which will only last until the end of the month. I bought it today 28th May, and will last only till 31st May.

    I found out that some other hosts may even think that the spike is an attack of some sort. So it’s pretty important to find out the actions of your host. Cause once the server is down, none of the steps below will help.

  3. External Media Hosting
  4. This includes images, videos and audios. All the media for all my websites are hosted externally. It helped me tremendously. I had over 60,000 visitors before I exceeded my bandwidth transfer quota of 10GB. It meant that the size of a page is about 166KB. If I had included the 8 screenshots, the total size of the page would’ve been over 500 KB, capable of serving 20,000 visitors, 3 times less, before exceeding bandwidth.

    I host ALL my images in imageshack, videos in YouTube and audio files in imeem. All 3 are highly reliable media hosting sites in their respective categories. Thanks to them, I have lifted a huge burden on my server’s side by keeping page sizes as small as possible.

  5. WP-Cache 2
  6. Super efficient caching plugin by Ricardo Galli. It improves pages of self hosted WordPress blogs by caching and storing them in static files, improving efficiency by skipping the process of compiling the entire PHP code and building the page from the database. Serve hundreds more for each passing second and improve performance from near a minute to millisecond. WP-Cache 2 is a huge improvement over its predecessor, WP-Cache.

  7. PHP Accelerators
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    The name says it all. As long as the application is written in PHP, you get to enjoy the performance boost. What it mainly does is
    cache the compiled bytecode form of PHP scripts to avoid overheads on ALL page request of parsing and compiling source code that may never even get executed.

    Depending on execution time and the percentage of source code executed, the PHP code will experience speed boosts of an average of 6X on a given request. Check out the list of PHP accelerators. The current general preferred accelerator is eAccelerator. However, you will need to ask your host about installing this. Your webhost may have already installed a PHP accelerator.

  9. Mirrors
  10. duggmirror and Mirrordot are the most famous mirrors for social networking sites like Digg and Slashdot. Both sites will mirror articles that hit the front page of both social bookmarks, keeping a copy in their servers in the event that the ‘dugg’ site goes down. For example, here’s my site’s ‘dugg’ article mirrored in duggmirror. Put the mirror link in the comments of Digg or MirrorDot, to redirect traffic in the event the site fails.

  11. Switch Off Plugins
  12. Know that plugins are also files that are called by your themes to generate queries to the database to yield the information on your blog. The more plugins, the more queries to the database. Sudden increase in web traffic will last mostly around 2-3 days. Choose a few from among the list of plugins that you can live without for a few days. Once you realize an incoming surge of traffic, quickly turn a few off temporarily.

  13. Optimizing Apache Server
  14. This article lists 5 steps that you can take to configure Apache for maximum performance.

  15. Upgrade Hosting
  16. If frustrations still appear after executing the above steps successfully, then it’s time to move up. Take everything a step at a time. If you’re on :

    • Shared hosting, try upgrading to Virtual Dedicated Hosting.
    • Virtual Dedicated Hosting, try upgrading to Dedicated Hosting.
    • Dedicated Hosting, try upgrading to a higher-powered dedicated server.
    • High-Powered Dedicated Hosting, go for multiple Load Balanced Servers.

    If it is a bandwidth transfer problem, try negotiating for an increase. If not, move over to a different provider that can feed your traffic bandwidth requirements.

Information Technology Internet

15 Of The Most Useful Facebook Applications

Facebook, the social networking site that has more than 200 million active users nationwide, is as interesting as it is today thanks to its awesome base of applications. As of July 23rd 2008, the total number of applications have exceeded 33,000. What’s more, they’re growing more each passing day as developers identify potentials of having their stuff all over millions of Facebook profiles.

Sounds good but let’s be honest. Facebook is not a tool. It is an escape. Very few people go there or would want to go there to write a document, plan a meeting or collaborate. Out of the tens of thousands of applications, only a handful is truly worth your time. Below are some of the most useful Facebook applications I’ve come across.

    Default Applications

  1. Photos.
  2. In my opinion, this is the most popular and useful Facebook application. There is no limit to the number of albums and photos an user can upload, you get to control your own privacy settings and label users in the photo with the ‘tag’ feature. What an interesting, natural interaction generator.

  3. Block Application.
  4. Frustrated by annoying applications? No more. Since the introduction of the ‘Block Application’ feature, you could easily block the application directly from the request. Once blocked, it will not be able to send you any more requests.

  5. Mobile.
  6. Facebook while taking a crap in the toilet or waiting for the bus.

    3rd Party Applications

  7. kaChing
  8. Great application that is worth getting addicted to. Relevant to the world and your career. A cross between Google Analytics, Yahoo Questions and Seeking Alpha. Ka-Ching is easy and simple to understand, all stocks and shares ARE REAL, based on real time and experts from all sorts of fields to learn from. The combination of visual risk metrics, statistical tools, and a structure conducive to high-value interactions amongst its community investors makes Ka-Ching the #1 in terms of investing ideas.

  9. SocialVibe
  10. SocialVibe is a great way to give back to the world that we live in. What happens is you get yourself sponsored by your favourite brands and earn donations for the charity of your choice. The idea is to enable everyone to play a great part and network globally.

  11. Selective Twitter Status
  12. Update your Facebook status from Twitter, but ONLY for the tweets you choose. IMO, better than the original Twitter developed Facebook application as it avoids confusion with your Facebook friends and prevents swamping your profile with too many updates.

  13. How well do you know me?
  14. Have fun constructing your own questions and have friends answer them.

  15. Extended Info
  16. Winner of the Facebook F8 Contest. Extended Info allows you to add extra fields to your profile, such as Currently Reading, Favorite Foods, or anything else you can think of. Supports videos, images, music, and HTML.

  17. Similar People
  18. Discover people that share your personal sense of humor, style, politics, art, and more. The best way to connect with people you’d actually want to be connected to in Facebook.

  19. Shopaholic Magazine(For Girls)
  20. You’d love this. Shopaholic Magazine keeps fashionistas ahead of the curve with insider info, exclusive photo shoots, a virtual store and addicting fashion games.

  21. Sexgames
  22. Sex Games is a tongue-in-cheek multiplayer game where you work with an Entourage to prove your skills in the Club. Complete sexual conquests and pick up all the hottest players on Facebook.

  23. Groupcard
  24. An application that allows you to create group birthday cards, group greeting cards, and other group cards for your friends. Start the card and then invite your friends to sign it.

  25. Quitclock
  26. Most motivating application for smokers. It keeps track of how long you’ve been off the ciggy and a total running cash you’ve saved. Youc an also read handy health tips and collect support messages on your Quitclock wall.

  27. Myxer
  28. Select from hundreds of thousands of ringtones, wallpapers, videos and games for your mobile phone available at no charge. Also, make your own original mobile content and share it with millions of other Myxer users. You can even make money by selling your own original content as ringtones. Limited to North America.

  29. On Track
  30. A practical online application that helps you save time and effort by keeping you focused on goal objectives, tasks, and progress. On Track significantly improves the chances that the goal will be achieved on target.