Spend long enough on the web and you’ll find yourself regularly getting worked up into a frothed up rage. Sometimes it’s over things we should be genuinely angry about, like injustices, horrific crimes and insane levels of corruption. A lot of the time though it’s over a fairly trivial issue that you wouldn’t even blink at if someone told you about on the street.
It’s not necessarily your fault that the web makes you so angry either (although we’re not psychologists here, so it might well be). There are some that think the web might be changing us neurologically. There’s no conclusive proof of that, but a group of Chinese researches recently managed to establish that anger is the most pervasive emotion online and that angry sentiment is far more likely to be shared socially.
It might therefore be a good idea to try and break the cycle in as many ways as possible. Imagine if you could interrupt your rage, how much happier you’d be if you’d never seen the photo on your Facebook newsfeed that has you muttering obscenities into your morning cup of coffee. Fortunately, there are a few brave, pioneering souls out there aiming to make sure exactly that kind of thing is possible.
A good few of them have released browser extensions that make subtle, but vital changes to your online experiences and, in a bid to coax you into dropping your proverbial rampage weapon of choice, we’ve gathered together some of their most promising efforts.
If you work in the tech industry, or even just have a passing interest in it, you will have no doubt read article after article about “the cloud” or “cloud computing”. They can get pretty dry, especially when they get a little technical.
You could try ignoring them (although if it’s your job to read them, we wouldn’t advise that), but there’s a much more entertaining option. The Cloud to butt extension replaces occurrences of “the cloud” with “my butt”.
That means the headline for this article would read “Want the truth about my butt? We’re still just getting started”. And if that’s not a spectacular improvement, we don’t know what is.
2. Hey Girl
Ah Ryan Gosling. Even the most red-blooded heterosexual male will admit that the web feels a little brighter whenever his face pops up (purely because of his acting chops, you understand?). And thanks to the Hey Girl plugin, your browsing experience can be pure Gosling.
Reading about the latest moves in the stock market? All the images will be Ryan Gosling. Checking out what the aging sports legend thought of your team’s performance over the weekend? Ryan Gosling. Ryan Gosling. Ryan Gosling. For some people, this is heaven.
If you’re of a certain age, then you’ll have noticed something happening to your Facebook news feed over the last little while.The photos of wild parties and “morning after the night before” statuses are suddenly looking a lot thinner on the ground. In their place are wedding photos and babies. Oh so many babies.
If you’re not at the stage where you’re ready for that or you have a massive phobia of infant humans you can install Unbaby.me, which promises to turn all the baby photos on your feed into pictures of cats, otherwise known as the fuel the internet runs on.
So you’ve installed Unbaby.me and you really love it. Except for one thing: there just aren’t enough cats. That’s where Facecats comes in. This extension replaces all the images on Facebook with images of cats.
We do however think it might be a little unfair on your friends who already post pictures of their own cats to have their beloved fluffy balls of joy replaced by some strange feline from the recesses of the internet.
This one is a little more serious and looks like it could actually be used as a teaching tool in a university gender politics course.
Jailbreak the patriarchy pretty much does what it says on the box: When it’s installed, the developers say, “everything you read in Chrome (except for Gmail, so far) loads with pronouns and a reasonably thorough set of other gendered words swapped”.
We would love to have seen what would’ve happened if you’d covertly installed this extension on someone’s browser during the Miley Cyrus twerking debacle.
There was a time, not so long ago, when having a mustache was the opposite of cool. It signaled to the world that you were a little bit backward, not to be trusted with small children, or a cop.
In the last few years however, facial fuzz has undergone something of a renaissance. In part this is due to the hipster movement sticking mustaches on everything from coffee mugs to Christmas tree decorations.
Mustachio takes that obsession a step further by automatically sticking ‘staches on any faces it identifies on the web. Obviously the mustaches aren’t realistic (we don’t have the technology to do that automatically do we?), but it’s a bit of fun and, in some cases, can lend some much-needed gravitas to people you wouldn’t otherwise take seriously.
Bear with us on this one, because at first it just seems like a little bit of fun. 1-Up for Google+ turns all the Google+ share buttons on the sites you visit into a Mario Brothers 1-up mushroom (and, optionally, plays 1-up sound when clicked).
But just imagine that you’ve read an article online that, while excellent as a piece of journalism, has thrown you into a frothing rage. You +1 it, and the 1-up sound from Super Mario Bros plays. Imagine how much less irritated you’ll feel as the waves of nostalgia wash over you.
8. Kick Ass
The retro gaming theme continues with Kick Ass, an extension that pretty much turns any website onto a game of Asteroids. Now you can’t tell us that’s not a great way to take out frustration online.
As an added bonus, you can also use the extension to remove some elements from any page before printing.
While Kick Ass might be good for taking out your frustrations, for our money Destroy the web has it beat. It’s based on an old game called Destroy your Desktop and it pretty much does what it says on the box. That is, it allows you to shoot up and destroy a web page of your choosing?
Hate fueled rant from a narrow-minded bigot? Destroy it. Poorly researched article trying to debunk an established scientific theory? Destroy it! Gif filled listicle explaining that you should treat the introverts in your life like rescue puppies? Please, oh please, take full delight in destroying it.
So the folks at Unbaby.me clearly weren’t done with things they find irritating. Unpolitic.me is a follow-up extension, built in collaboration with Buzzfeed, which blocks political content on Facebook and Twitter and replaces them with cuteness.
The extension appears to have been designed with the 2012 US elections in mind, but you can tweak the list of words you want blocked so that it works no matter which idiotic political opinions you’re trying to avoid.
Put in the names of shows and movies you’re waiting to watch, and avoid spoilers by getting pictures of cats instead. Pretty standard stuff, but very useful if you feel the need to constantly be surprised by your entertainment.
Image: Dat via Flickr.