Stumble Upon is an application that lets you uncover websites related to your interests, as suggested by people with similar mental illnesses to yourself. It's also guaranteed to destroy any semblance of a sleeping pattern you had upon installation.
So, what is it?
Stumble Upon was created in 2001 by Garrett Camp, Geoff Smith, Justin LaFrance and Eric Boyd, who all agreed that they quite liked the internet and had too much free time on their hands. As of 2010, Stumble's community has reached 10 million members; which is actually bigger than the projected population of New York. In an interview with the BBC in 2007, Camp claimed that the reasoning behind Stumble was to allow its users to discover interesting information without having to trawl through search engines such as Google or Yahoo. Whether or not this is due to some traumatic event that he suffered at the hands of Google as a child remains unclear.
His mother assured him that it was so he'd get nice toys for Christmas this year.
Once you've set up an account with Stumble, you can choose from a list of almost 500 topics of pursuit, ranging from Chaos Theory and Marine Biology to good old-fashioned porn. Once you've chosen, all that you need to do is press the Stumble icon on your browser toolbar, and you're on your way to truly seeing what horrors the internet has to offer you.
What can I expect to see?
Well, first off, that's a stupid question, as it all depends upon what you select as your interests. Secondly, chances are that as you're reading a Cracked article, you'll choose 'Humour' (as it should be spelt, I think you'll find) as one of your preferences, in which case, you can expect to find stuff ranging from the fantastic (http://www.jazjaz.net/2010/06/spongebob-the-end.html) to the downright depressing (http://www.whiteninjacomics.com/comics/makespennies.shtml). But this is where Stumble begins to shine the most; using the 'Like' and 'Dislike' buttons next to the Stumble icon, you can express your feelings towards whatever it has spewed up, allowing you to fully customise your Stumble experience. So, for instance, if you got a photo of a fluffy-wuffy-adorable kitten doing something cute with something in bold type over the top and you liked it (despite your masculine protests to your friends that Lolcats are the bane of your existence), all you have to do is click that 'Like' button, and Stumble will make a note in its server brain that pages similar to it may also pique your curiosity, and thus be more likely to turn up in your travels, and vice-versa.
Look into its eyes and tell it you hate it.
And so it begins, an addiction that grips you like no other, shaking the very foundations of your being; nights sat in front of your computer, telling yourself that it'll just be the one more, just the one more. And the itches, man, those fucking itches.
Dear God, does it ever stop?!
Don't worry, this is what we call the 'Honeymoon Phase' - the period fraught with the thrill of discovery. As much as you may initially love Stumble, eventually you'll begin to become a little disillusioned with it, and, sooner or later, it'll be relegated to the category of 'Severe Boredom Activities'. Even if you're individual enough to have a group of friends with very similar interests to you, and whilst finding something new that you all like may be fun to start with, it soon becomes a war of attrition; the same pages turning up for everyone, whomever is the most bored finding them first. For instance, if this page was to turn up on my Stumble, it would only serve to prove my point. Or not. I'm not actually sure which.
Regardless of this, Stumble is a superb web application and time-sink, and if you haven't checked it out yet, it really is worth a few minutes of your attention.