Introducing Tab Therapy: A Palliative Treatment for Terminal Internet

In theory, the internet is diverse and vast bordering on infinite. In daily practice, it can be a sad parade of numbing, over-targeted content that is consistent only in its decreasingly subtle hatred for the reader (that’s you). Is your internet starting to feel claustrophobic? Are you in an abusive relationship with your feeds? Do you dread every tab you open? Are you in denial about these things?

Try tab therapy!

A friend of mine told me that every tab he opens — every CMD/CTRL+T, every click of the button — automatically directs him to a random Wikipedia page. This sounded great: a brief detour through something unexpected that might be good, or at least sort of interesting, before the inevitable arrival at something bad. And it turns out it is.

It’s easy to set up. In Chrome, install this extension:

Then, add this URL:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random

Right here:

This, it turns out, is a fairly common trick; here you will find instructions for Firefox, as well as a link that only includes “featured” Wikipedia pages, in case you’re not interested in seeing hundreds of four-sentence Wikipedia articles about small towns in other countries (why not?).

But why not take this further?

Some more options for new tabs:

A random Earth View in every tab (this is its own extension).

A random query in Wolfram Alpha. Copy this URL:

https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/random.jsp

A random fullscreen GIF. Copy this URL:

http://gifff.in/fullscreen/

A random Ask Metafilter question. Copy this URL:

http://ask.metafilter.com/random

An image from Flickr (also its own extension).

A random subreddit (not technically porn but also not not porn, this one may not actually make your internet “seem better.”) Copy this URL:

http://www.reddit.com/r/random

A random actor from IMDB. This one is weirdly unsettling! Copy this URL:

http://www.imdb.com/random/name

A “Random Website” from a list that seems to have been made at least ten years ago, probably more. V good. Copy this URL:

http://www.randomwebsite.com/cgi-bin/random.pl

A random WikiHow article (this is the best one, do this one). Copy this URL:

http://www.wikihow.com/Special:Randomizer

Random Urban Dictionary entry. Copy this URL:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/random.php

A random GIF from Wikipedia. Copy this URL:

http://www.wikigifs.org/

Random Street View. Copy this URL:

http://randomstreetview.com/

Random Esperanto Wikipedia article. Sure! Copy this URL:

http://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciala%C4%B5o:Hazarda_pa%C4%9Do

Yahoo Answers newest questions. Excellent page. Updated constantly:

https://answers.yahoo.com/answer

There, fixed. You’ve taken back your new tabs from the anxious, needy internet monkey perched on your back. Your internet now makes no sense in a way that at least makes sense!

Update: Reader Yoz Grahame has made a tool that combines most of these options into a single new-tab randomizer. It is EXCELLENT. Just copy this URL:

http://cdn.rawgit.com/yozlet/randomrandom/master/randomrandom.html