Monday, August 11, 2008

Slackin' on the Internet 2

Previously, I told you about games you can play on the Internet when looking at boobies just isn't practical. But, what can you do when a connection to the Internet and a PC aren't available? I'm glad you asked that because that's what I'm writing about. Funny how that works, eh? The scenario is this: you commute to school and spend between an hour and 2 hours a day in commute and you want to know how the Internet can save you from this boredom. Let's pretend that you also have a digital music player, for simplicity's sake. Well, in that case, have I got the solution for you! I am going to introduce you to a spawn of the Internet Age known as podcasts. Podcasts were originally produced with the Apple iPod in mind, but don't let that fool you into thinking that you need to rush out to buy one; any portable MP3 player should do. The idea here is that you use the Internet and a computer at your home or school to download audio broadcasts onto your music player and then listen to them during your commute. Now that you know the basics of a podcast, let's look at some of the best. Full disclosure here, these also happen to be my favourites and the ones I use to lessen the drag of my commute.

The first group I want to tell you about are the shows on These shows are produced by Leo Laporte who used to be on TechTV and still has a show on G4 Tech TV Canada. Most of the shows are pretty tech heavy. The flagship show, This Week in Tech, features Leo and a constantly changing panel of tech pundits discussing the week's news in tech to keep you abreast of the latest developments with a healthy dose of the panelists opinions. There are also weekly shows on computer security topics, internet developments, geek food, law, biotechnology, Windows, Macs. In total, there are 14 periodical tech related shows on the TWiT network, so there should be something that interests you.

Another good site to find these things is The site was started by another TechTV alumnus named Kevin Rose. You may remember him from the internet video series "thebroken" which focused on cracking, intrusion and other "questionable activities." If you don't, no biggie, you can find the series on the Rev3 website. Most of what Rev3 has to offer are video shows, which you can use with your fancy-shmancy iPod Video or just on your computer. Also, most of the shows are released as audio along with the video version. The flagship show of the network is Diggnation in which two guys sit on a couch drinking beer and talking about the weekly top news on If you're more into comedy, Revision3 offers up Martin Sargent in Web Drifter. Martin interviews people behind some of the weirdest sites on the web including a guy that talks to Andromedans and a guy that believes that immortality can be had with a $28 ring. Finally, I'd like to point your attention to the Totally Rad Show which is basically three geeks making interesting conversation about geeky topics and reviewing TV shows, movies and video games. Again, there are a lot more shows on the site so you should check it out.

As you can see, there are lots of technology related podcasts, but that's not all there are. There are also tonnes of audio fiction to listen to. These can be anywhere from someone reading a book to full on plays using multiple actors and sound effects to describe the action. A good starting point I found is the They produce a show that plays the best of free audio fiction but their page also contains a lot of links to creators of audio fiction.

Lastly, if video games is your thing, then is the place to be. They have a number of audio casts and a video cast all dedicated to video games. There's a podcast to cover almost every kind of video game. There's the Legendary Thread for World of Warcraft players (no, I'm not one of them. I can claim to have a life), Sports Anomaly for, you guessed it, sports games, and Retronauts to cover all those classic games that are new again. You can also find GFW Radio which covers all things related to Windows gaming and EGM Live to cover console gaming. The flagship shows are 1UP Yours which is usually a pretty funny commentary on recent gaming news, and the 1UP Show which is the video show that covers new games and usually has a loose, but humorous, narrative that ties the show together.

I haven't even started to scratch the surface on semi-regular audio recordings that people post for the world to listen to, so don't be afraid to check out rating sites like and I'd like to leave you with a word of warning, though: podcasts can be so enjoyable that you may not notice someone sneaking up to offer you some cotton candy. Cotton candy is very sticky, kids. So remember, have fun, but not too much fun!

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