One computer program is more important than all the others combined, and you’re using it right now. HAL9000 could appear on your desktop and offer to explain the meaning of life while winning you the lotto, but if he doesn’t have a browser you’ll kick his heuristic ass to the curb for a 486SX with a dial-up connection.

In this Internet-enabled age there’s more to browsing than choosing between the big three (Firefox, Security Risk and “I use a Mac and haven’t installed Firefox”). There are all kinds of add-ons to enhance your experience, and while everyone uses AdBlock and Flashblock (it’s like dipping the internet in disinfectant) there are some lesser known apps:

1. The YouTube Comment Snob

Christopher Finke will go down as a saint among men, for he has fixed the Internet! The YouTube comment snob filters out comments based on spelling mistakes, ALL CAPS, punctuation, profanity and the filthy presence of OMG!!!!!! It’s bliss. We can only hope that this is just a test before the code is installed over the entire web at the server level. Preferably with a shotgun-armed “human backup” sent to deal with repeat offenders.

2. DS Linux Text Browser

Another extreme for cleansing the Internet is text browsing – it’s certainly impossible to get Rick-Rolled over an ASCII prompt, but it’s not so much throwing out the baby with the bathwater as exterminating the entire family tree and drowning anyone who’s ever seen them. If you must insist on nerding out with a command line browser, make sure you achieve the maximum geek combo of Nintendo-DS-running-linux-text-browser, aka the only thing someone can do to make the Star Wars kid look like the socially adjusted one.

3. FireNES 2000 Games

You don’t need extreme hackery to protect yourself from the rest of humanity – just find something better to do and you’ll never need to deal with those annoying fleshbags again, and it doesn’t come much better than FireNES. Two thousand ROMS all ready to go in a browser toolbar. Claim that isn’t better than constantly refreshing an e-mail window and you’re a filthy liar.

The Java application doesn’t deliver the smooth emulation of Nestopia, but for somebody stuck in some kind of work-like environment where they can’t install software, it’s perfect. Not that we encourage reliving the joys of your childhood rather than doing those really interesting spreadsheets, of course.

4. Rotary IP Browser

This makes even the NES roms look newfangled. A more incredible combination of awesome and useless hasn’t been seen since dinosaurs were fitted with jetpacks (note: jetpacks can’t work until the dinosaurs turn into oil). Every website you know has a considerably less catchy numerical name, an Internet Protocol (IP) address. This awesome browser hack allows you to dial any site like a phone call, and presumably twiddle your finger around the curly cord while you wait for it to load.

5. Web Locked Door

Opening security doors with a modified phone isn’t just for the movie haxxorz anymore – Trosson Robotics member “Dave” has put together an electronic lock that can be opened from a web-browser. We can tell a lot of things about Dave: he’s a cool electronics expert, he knows his way around HTML, and because he’s a man named Dave giving a computer the ability to lock him out of his own home, he’s never seen 2001.

6. PSP Wipeout Browser to Control the House

We just said these gadgets aren’t like the movies, but when a man named “LiquidIce” hacks his entire home to be controlled by a modified gaming console, we might be wrong. This digital domicile domination is based on the Wipeout browser (a cool homebrew by itself), running through a WACI NX server control box, and after that point the how-to guide gets so acronymized it looks like a bag of Scrabble tiles after all the easy letters are gone.

7. Anchorun

But enough with the even conceivably useful applications! Browsing has already cut office productivity by approximately two million percent (check over your shoulder), and now the sort of thinking that led to electric toothbrushes and pre-chewed food gives you Anchorun: a way to make your browser surf by itself.

It’s not clear if sitting watching a computer browse itself counts as meta, silicon masturbation voyeurism, or simply the laziest state someone achieve without starting to rot. But it’s at least one of those three.

8. TwittyTunes

Twitter is an awesome invention, high-tech haiku proving that even in this web of flash and film well written text still has a place. So why not help bury it in a never-ending stream of pointless garbage with TwittyTunes? It’ll update your Twitter with every song you listen to: not your comments on them, or how they make you feel, or anything even remotely relevant to anyone. Just more drops in the ocean of everything/nothing irrelevancy drowning the online scene. Like spam but even more depressing (because at least spam is someone’s job).

9. StealthSurfer USB Drive

The USB StealthSurfer preys on the fear of 90% of web-surfers: that someone else will find out what they surf. (The other 10% don’t know anybody else to have that fear about.) You know, the stuff you ’study’ before the “Close all but one tab/Home/Clear History” ritual that’s depressingly close to entering muscle memory at this point.

RingCube Technologies offer workers in particular the option to keep all their browsing history and files on a USB drive, safely off the hard drive. Because it’s not like every single page you look at is somehow loaded through a network of routers and switches, all of which keep caches and unalterable logs in various locations through the building. Nope. If you’ve bought a StealthSurfer, please contact us – we’ve got this awesome bridge we want to sell you.

10. IE InPrivate

RingCube’s brief window of masturbation-guilt profit may soon be over; the big boys are getting involved. The latest iteration of Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer 8, offers an “InPrivate” mode during which no records of browsing are made. Well, apart from those network logs we mentioned earlier.

The only question is why they’re being so coy: advertising a no-traces browser mode as a boon to security is like pushing brothels as great ways to avoid hypothermia – technically true but not the real point. Come on, Microsoft, you’ll score a lot more cred if you advertise these things honestly:

“Where do you want to go jack off today?”.

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