Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Now THIS is entertainment!

You know how you get when you come across something that is just so much fun, so interesting, so entertaining that you thing "why didn't I think of this?" because it's so damn cool? Well, welcome to StumbleUpon, the greatest time waster I've ever seen.

The concept is so simple, but the implementation so complex. Once you install it on your computer,you're given a list of subjects you are interested in. Choose wisely and liberally, for those interests direct Stumble to find web sites you'll enjoy. Once installed, a toolbar is displayed that has the all magical button Stumble!. Press the button and SU will find a web site for you to explore. If you like it, give it a thumbs up. If you don't, thumbs down. You start out simply, just rating sites and exploring each site you StumbleUpon. But that's not all. Once you're got a wealth of sites you've found (and maybe reviewed or commented upon) you can find 'friends' of other Stumblers who might have similar likes and dislikes. If you categorize someone as a 'friend' then they start sending you web sites that they've Stumbled on. If they like your profile and find you interesting, they can add you to their list of friends. You can display the profile of any Stumbler and look at their friends, and maybe find someone who might be a good match for you as well.

So eventually you build up a group of friends, and this group refines your web site choices as they send their recommendations. You keep approving or disapproving, and SU learns from your choices. In the meantime, you can discover interest groups on various topics. You join the groups to discuss those topics or to suggest sites that you have found that might be of interest to the group.

The more groups you belong to, the more friends you'll gain, and the more you'll refine your searches. Some sites are boring, some sites aren't the best match, and some are amazing time wasters. I spend hours making snowflakes last night, and I had to make myself quit. I'll go back to that site often! Check out Snowdays. This is so addicting. You just can't stop.

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