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Why worry about your life when you can visit someone else's, writes Ben Wyld.

Saturday, July 7, 2001


One of the most frequented Australian Webcam sites, Mandycam offers a smorgasbord of features centred on the life of a Sydney network engineer and programmer. Ten house cameras and one work Webcam capture Mandy at work, rest and play. Six games offer entertainment during quieter times while the journal makes interesting reading. The site contains chat facilities, a public forum and email capabilities allowing you, the cyber voyeur, to contact Mandy. A comprehensive glimpse into the everyday.

Jenni Cam

There are attention-seekers and there are attention-getters. US resident Jenni Ringley, one of the latter, rose to fame with a simple Webcam in her bedroom five years ago. Then the concept - which she calls "a virtual human zoo" - was so original we all had to look. Log in daily or skip to the good pics by leaving it for a few years and looking through the archive.

The Most Embarrassing Moment of My Life!

The disclaimer says it all: "Many of these stories are pretty gross or sexually explicit and not for the squeamish." With designated family, sex, gross, school and work sections, this offering is a typical mish-mash of puerile toilet humour interspersed with the odd comic gem. If delving into intimately embarrassing details in cyberspace is your thing, this is the place for you. The addition of a message board makes for an interesting, if not original, read. A cheap laugh, nevertheless.

Anonymous Confession

Offers a collection of nameless stories where the protagonists, assured of anonymity, confess to their hearts' content. Unlike the previous site, this hub has a privacy policy and rules about content. Unashamedly sensationalist without the gratuitous sleaze, Anonymous Confession.com is a refreshing change. With the option of 'fessing up or viewing the naked truth, surfers also play judge by replying to confessions - anonymously, of course.

The Real World

Five young students sharing a house would appear an obvious choice for entertainment. Sure, there's the journal, but reading about how Tony spent a day on the lounge just does not make the grade. The site is also available in Spanish, Italian and French but with only two Webcams there is a distinct lack of snoop factor. Merely a platform to advertise the fact the occupants are budding film-makers. Neat stunt.

Golf Etiquette Confessional

If belting your way around 18 holes is your idea of recreation, this collection of breached golfing etiquette tales may tickle your fancy. Share in the e-absolution of hackers as they admit such sins as obliterating the sanctity of the fairway by the ring of a mobile phone.

Daily Confession.com

The confessions are organised around the Ten Commandments - and then some - to make navigation around the site easier. A separate "wildest confessions" section spices things up somewhat and provision is made for you to submit your own darkest secrets. Nitty-gritty details are there to be found, but it requires that sought-after virtue - patience.

Diary of an Average Australian

Daniel Bowen pulls no punches in this account of his life, which details the birth of his first son, the breakdown of his marriage and the highs and lows in between. Stretching back to 1994, Bowen's journal entries provide a commentary on important events in recent history, such as taking a bath and going tenpin bowling. Cleverly scripted, Bowen's journal contains his interests, hobbies and talking points. Extensive use of photos and the confronting nature of some accounts make for compelling reading. A fulfilling, vicarious experience.

A Cam Girl Dot Com

"To see but not be seen, to suspect but not to know, mystery, anonymity, ambiguity." The words of Gore Vidal could not be more applicable than when examining the life of Aimee, a 29-year-old accountant in an unidentified North Carolina town who for the past four years has lived under the Web looking glass. Scan her diary, read through her email and message boards, spy on Aimee and boyfriend Jeff's every move. A Cam Girl Dot Com boasts more than 10,000 hits a day and attempts to capture an ordinary couple leading a "real" existence through four Web cameras. For more risque surfing follow the obligatory "voyeurcam" links.

The spotlight

With the abundance of journals, Webcams and confessionals online it is clear many like being watched. An estimated 250,000 people worldwide have Webcams running in their homes at any given time. This should be a comforting thought for addicts of "reality" TV show Big Brother when the series ends.



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