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Friday, June 14, 2024
Laterally SpeakingThe Internet of Things

The Internet of Things

As we all continue to emerge from isolation, it’s really great to be able to view real people and real places again. We’re like a troupe of bears slowly shuffling out of our winter hibernation and rubbing our eyes with the brightness of the light and the green countryside all around us. I don’t know about you, but I reckon we’ve all learnt quite a bit during the lockdown, and because we couldn’t go anywhere or meet anybody for four months, we’ve been exploring the only area that was truly open to us—the internet.
With all that spare time, I have now discovered websites that I never knew existed. I have played loads of computer games with my children and learnt humility and how-to-lose comprehensively. I have watched endless BBC news headlines but have also widened my global view by downloading news and opinion in English from non-UK websites like Russia’s Pravda, Singapore Straits Times, the South African Herald and China Today. The Pyongyang Times website from North Korea is worth a giggle or two provided you don’t actually believe a word it prints.
Yes, there’s a lot of garbage out there but there are some worthwhile gold flakes hiding in the internet’s cobwebs if you can find them. I have relived my childhood and streamed wall-to-wall old movies, zoomed through various Broadband quizzes and even tried to learn a new skill or two (card-tricks and poetry). In the course of which I have also purchased loads of online stuff that I never knew I wanted! Yes, you can really buy or experience just about anything over the internet if you want.
Here is my lateral guide to some online websites that might be useful in these post-lockdown times. You don’t have to click on any of them because they don’t exist. But I feel that some of them should exist and perhaps someone might launch them online someday… will supply literally any vegetable from all over the world – even things that don’t really exist at all such as Siberian Eel Grass, Game Of Thrones Lettuce and Arctic Pepper. It’s all 100% organic and reassuringly expensive. Based in Azerbaijan, the cost of delivery is over ten times the cost of the food itself, but presentation is everything. Your handpicked delivery of Fresh Dragon’s Spittle will arrive in a Yak-driven Siamese cart lovingly packed inside a sterilised anti-Corvid organic balsawood coffin. Enjoy…
www.esperanto.lingo is an entirely pointless language learning website based in Germany. You could spend hours every evening at home learning Esperanto, but since nobody else speaks it nowadays you would be better advised to learn about basket weaving, Japanese sword design or breeding Mongolian catfish—all of which might be more useful to you in the future. is for anyone wanting to learn about Taxidermy. All your friends can bring you their favourite pet cat, hamster or canary so you can deliver back to them a lasting memento of their dearly loved departed animal. Use your time constructively and become a qualified taxidermist in lock-down. Launch yourself on a new career! Also works with reptiles, rats and goldfish. Avoid stick insects as they’re a bit thin and fiddly. is another of those instructive websites to teach you new and useful skills while you’re isolating yourself at home. This website has diagrams and instructions for you to learn how to make wooden clogs for your feet. Simple, useful, organic and good for the planet, you can pretend you’re a Dutch tourist on holiday in Chard. Warning: it takes about two years to carve and polish each wooden shoe, so you’ll need to be patient to get both feet covered. is a Russian based website that downloads an infra-red anti-viral ray gun to your phone. Simply point your mobile at any passing virus (if you can see it) and ‘ZAP’—it’s gone! Warning: also kills passing birds, dogs and small children. Not to be used anywhere near Salisbury. will download a virtual mask to you on those annoying occasions when you need to enter a shop and you’ve forgotten your own personal mask. Made from light tissue paper and spray-on black paint, it makes you look like you’re wearing a mask when in fact you’re not. If you hate wearing a real mask because it’s itchy and uncomfortable and makes your glasses steam up, this is for you! It’s entirely non-hygienic and has no effect on blocking anything, so from a safety point of view, it’s probably best to avoid. is an app for mobile phone and PC that sounds an alarm if you get closer than 2 metres to anything. It is extremely loud and goes off every couple of seconds as you walk around town. Lamp-posts, traffic lights, abandoned rubbish, passing cars and other pedestrians will all activate the alarm making it extremely annoying and completely useless. Avoid at all costs. Do not install.

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