Sunday, June 8, 2008

Read at Work

Read at Work is a website dedicated to disguising short stories, poems, and classic novels in a corporate Powerpoint layout format. The purpose is to make you appear to be working hard at your boring office job to the casual nosy cubicle-peering passerby. Especially your boss. If your boss is illiterate.

Clearly, the site is more fun than function. But it's worth a mention. When you click on the site, it turns your browser window into what appears to be the start up screen of a windows machine. Then it opens a windows desktop, with click-able folders, files, and email links. This was an impressive feat of cognitive dissonance, as I was viewing this through my Mac.

Read at Work is sponsored by the New Zeland Book Council, a Wellington based not-for-profit that promotes books and reading. (Which explains the New Zeland writers folder and the draconian reading list.) I was informed that some of the files are "not available" in my area, which was somewhat disappointing.

The Wall Street Journal noted Read at Work has origins in the "boss key" of video games of yesteryear, and is similar to the website workFRIENDLY. Workfriendly extracts the text of any website and spits it out as a faux word document. Again, probably works best if you're doing it in Windows.

Overall, very nice work. Sure, the readability suffers, but the faux working windows shell is way well executed. This deserves an A for ingenuity. (From Mefi, Da Buzz)

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